“…the most dangerous of the dirty things within our hearts is this misidentification of the body as the self. Under the influence of this misunderstanding, one thinks, ‘I am this body. I am an Englishman. I am an Indian. I am an American. I am Hindu. I am Muslim.'”
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This is from the Srimad-Bhagavatam 8.5.23
[This chapter of the Srimad-Bhagavatam is entitled “The Demigods Appeal to the Lord for Protection.” Included here is a genealogy of Manus—administrators of the universe—along with a narration of prayers by the demigods to the Supreme Person.]
Now is the time to invoke the mode of goodness of the living entities who have accepted material bodies. The mode of goodness is meant to establish the Supreme Lord’s rule, which will maintain the existence of the creation. Therefore, this is the opportune moment to take shelter of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Because He is naturally very kind and dear to the demigods, He will certainly bestow good fortune upon us.
The other day we were discussing a prominent philosopher, Thomas Huxley, who was proud of being an Englishman. This means that he was in the bodily conception of life. Everywhere we find this same misunderstanding. As soon as one is in the bodily conception of life, one is nothing but an animal like a cat or a dog (sa eva go-kharah).
Thus the most dangerous of the dirty things within our hearts is this misidentification of the body as the self. Under the influence of this misunderstanding, one thinks, “I am this body. I am an Englishman. I am an Indian. I am an American. I am Hindu. I am Muslim.” This misconception is the strongest impediment, and it must be removed. That is the instruction of Bhagavad-gita and of Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu.
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