Om Sathguru Sri Seshadri Swamigal Thiruvadikkae
If the body is just inert flesh and the soul is pure consciousness, what is that experiences pleasure and pain?
It would seem that the person who asked this question has experienced pleasure and pain. You should try to find the answer to this question yourself. When you are experiencing these feelings, but at the time you always forget to inquire who the experienced is and begin to question only afterward.
The body is completely inert. If it could experience pleasure and pain, even a dead body could feel these things. In India, corpses are burnt on pyres, but not even a single body has ever cried out in pain as the fire consumed it. So this proves that the body itself does not have feelings.
The Self, or the soul, is so pure, clean and clear that neither pleasure nor pain can reach it. So if the body- that is, the senses-or the Self experiences pleasure and pain, then who or what is experiencing these things?
Even though the body is inert, it is able to function because of the Self, which activates it through what we call the antahkarana, the four psychic instruments of ego, mind, intellect and subconscious. Through these four psychic instruments shines the light of the Self. In this way, the body becomes conscious, and pleasure and pain are experienced.
The antahkarana is like a lens or magnifying glass. If we keep such a lens inside our house, nothing will happen – the lens cannot cause us any harm. But if we place it on the roof where the light of the sun passes through it, can cause a fire that will consume the entire house. Who should we blame for causing this fire? The lens is blameless because it is completely inert. The sun, also, is free from blame. Only because the light of the sun falls upon this lens is fire created. In the same way, the antahkarana, when (illumined) illuminated by the light of the Self, creates and experiences pleasure and pain. Therefore that which is between body and the self is what enjoys and suffers. Yogis meditate to transcend this antahkarana and attain a state that is free of both pleasure and pain.