In February 1995, when our Spiritual Master graced our home at Calcutta, he spoke on the subject of “Spiritual Dimension of Personality”. Swamiji built up the talk gradually, making the message more interesting and effective. Here is a summary of his talk, as I interpret it.
Swamiji began requesting us that we must understand the term personality first. ‘Often we talk of a total or integrated personality, and this shows that personality has more than one component. Only when all the components are adequately developed, does the personality become total or integrated. We shall use the word 'dimension' in place of ‘component’ in order to give it a larger scope.
The first dimension of our personality is ‘physical’. It relates to our body, state of health, appearance, etc. We have little control over it. By and large the shape, size and the colour of our body is determined by our genes. The only thing in our hands is to maintain it well in order to remain healthy. For this, certain discipline is required in our habits. If we cultivate good habits, the body becomes an asset and the development of other dimensions of the personality becomes easier.
The second dimension of our personality is 'mental'. It relates to the mind which is superior to the body. Thus, this dimension of the personality is superior to the first one. It is the mind which works behind our sense organs. Proper development of the ‘Mental Dimension’ is very important for using the powers of the physical body. It is the mind which makes us educated, skilled in our jobs and enthusiastic about our progress.
In terms of personality, a compassionate doctor is always considered better than a professionally superior doctor. We always prefer a person who is good, kind, helpful and courteous. This establishes the fact that there is a superior dimension of personality over the mental one. This dimension is known as ‘Intellectual’. The mind is capable of playing mischief if not controlled by a superior faculty. It is the intellect which gives us the wisdom to discriminate between good and bad. In the process we earn respect.
To add perfection to our personality, some finer qualities have to be acquired. The next dimension of personality is the ‘Spiritual’ one; it is the highest dimension. It is a fact that the world we live in is transitory. Even our good deeds are forgotten with time. If we do not transcend them, the same goodness may become a cause of misery. Also, goodness is only a relative term and its perception varies with persons and time. We do not get the same response from all persons, even for our good behaviour or virtues. Therefore, a sense of detachment has to be developed towards our good qualities too. It has been seen that many good and successful persons suffer just because they lack this aspect of the personality. One has to accept that all our actions are only a means to an end and the end is self-realisation. Those who understand this reality develop the spiritual dimension at the right time and are fully prepared for all the eventualities of life. This dimension is thus superior to the earlier three dimensions and is necessary for the complete integration of the personality.’