What Is a Conditioned Living Being? 

All bodies of all living species within the universe have life due to the eternal living being present within that particular body. From the controlling administrators of the universe down to the smallest germ, all are eternal living beings trapped within that material body. 

Life after life, the false ego, the modes of material nature, and the control of the illusory energy or Maya, relentlessly condition the living being. This conditioning forces one to accept the material body as himself. I forget my true identity as an eternal person, while temporarily incarcerated within a material body, within a material universe. 

Consider this situation. I am an eternal person from the eternal spiritual world, full of knowledge and happiness. Transgressing the singular law of spiritual love due to envy, I have been thrown into the material universe with absolute amnesia of my eternal identity and life.

I am now covered with the conditioning or ignorance that whatever body I am forced to enter I fully accept as “myself.” My underlying desire or motivation is to be lord and controller. I have been placed in the material universe to imitate the Supreme Lord and Controller who I have turned my back on.

From this point, being completely illusioned and under the control of ignorance, I accept body after body, life after life. Driven by my conditioned consciousness, I am struggling for existence and the pursuit of happiness in a place where invincible laws and energies have been enacted to perpetually defeat me.

Endlessly searching for this illusory happiness within the world of matter, I am cheated because I can only be satisfied by spiritual happiness which exists outside of the material universe. Material energy or the material world is masquerading as my original spiritual home.

I am an eternal spiritual person with a spiritual body and a spiritual home complete with loving spiritual relationships. I do not need a fake material body, fake material relationships, fake material enjoyments, and the fake carnival of material existence.

Everyone is simply being lied to and cheated, and in turn, lying to and cheating others.

If I accept a lie as the truth, not realizing it is a lie, then I have no problem passing that lie onto others. All cultures and societies within the material universe accept the underlying lie “I am this material body.” 

Covered and impelled in all activities by this untruth, the embodied living being wanders throughout the material universe from body to body, planet to planet. There was a song that defines this fruitless wandering: “I still haven’t found what I am looking for,” and another “I can’t get no satisfaction.”

“I am this material body” is the first lie covering the living being’s awareness or consciousness as he descends into the material universe. This lie is referred to as false ego and makes it possible for the living being to repeatedly cycle through the wheel of birth and death because material life seems to be the purpose of existence. It most definitely is not.  

In the condition of being dominated by false ego, the living being is also manipulated and controlled by the illusory energy of the Supreme Lord known as Maya.

Each conditioned living being is further handicapped by four defects: I make mistakes. I am illusioned. I have imperfect senses. I have a tendency to cheat. 

I am also forced to accept suffering caused by other living beings, my own mind and body, and natural disturbances and disasters.  

The path of destruction of the conditioned soul’s intelligence due to dictation of the senses and mind is portrayed.
[Image Credit: Asitis.com]

Maya presents endless, irresistible, alluring, material attachments, and seductive plans for enjoyment that promise fulfillment, satisfaction, and happiness. Attracted, attached, and bewildered, the living being is again and again betrayed and ends up lonely, frustrated, angry, and helpless against this onslaught of Maya.  

After countless lifetimes cheated by Maya, the fortunate living being will begin to question why happiness is so elusive and suffering so pervasive, and then will seek help. If he is most fortunate, he will be led to the truth which begins with the realization that I am not this material mind or body.

Dissolving the conditioning of millions of lifetimes of false ego, material habits, attachments, and the abusive illusion from Maya is only possible by sincerely embracing and following the transcendentally purifying path of Bhakti Yoga.  

On this path, I receive the mercy and the unconditional love of the Supreme Lord as soon as I open my heart to Him. The control of Maya is gradually withdrawn as I surrender to and follow the instructions of the Lord and I taste spiritual love which I have always been craving and searching for.  

Further progress dissolves the false ego and I become immune to and free from all material conditioning. Ultimately, I am given the realization of my original identity and form and am reinstated to the perfection of my eternal position of loving devotional service to the Supreme Lord. 

I have returned to the spiritual world, and whether or not I am still temporarily within a physical body, I will never again be covered by false ego and be forced to assume another material body.  

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About Author: 

Sahadeva Das is an initiated disciple of Jagad Guru Siddhaswarupananda Paramahamsa who comes in a long line of bona fide yoga spiritual masters. Sahadeva Das considers it his great fortune in life to have heard and learned from a self-realized soul and is humbly attempting to pass on what he has received.