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October 06, 2005

Who am I?

Sorry folks...yet another philosophical blog, and please forgive me this time, particularly because this is going to be really philosophical. The content of this post are essentially the thoughts that followed after someone mentioned Ramana Maharshi having attained enlightenment by asking this question "Who am I?". With all due respects to Ramana Maharshi, whose status of enlightenment I am incapable of judging or understanding, I would like to present these thoughts in as simple a language as possible.

To many, this is the ultimate question. They believe that if one could find the answer to this question, then one becomes enlightened, and is supposed to be 'realised'. Philosophers have often discussed this endlessly. However, it is my belief that this approach would lead us almost till the end, but would not take us to the end, which is 'realisation'. Why am I saying this?

The moment one begins with this question in mind, the mind provides an answer. At a very basic level, it would say "I am Mr.X". But, the mind can reject that answer, and wait for some more time. Soon, a new answer will come up - "I am not Mr.X, but I am a human being". Step 1 climbed. Yet again, the mind can either accept this answer, or reject it to probe further. Thus, it can keep going on deeper and deeper. "I am the body", followed by "I am not the body, but I am the Prana", and so on. At every stage, there is the rejection of an earlier perception of the Truth, and an acceptance of a new perception of the Truth. This is exactly the idea of "Neti neti" (not this, not this), where we progressively understand what we are not, but can never be certain about what we are. Therefore, the question shall remain unanswered. Which would imply that the enlightenment born out of this approach can only tell us what we are not, but cannot tell us what we are. One may ask if it is not possible to realise that "I am the Atman". But, it is my strong conviction that the Atman doesn't reveal itself to the one who creates an identity for himself - in other words, the identity of "I" (read more about "I" ). Therefore, so long as "I" remains, the true answer cannot be found. So long as the question "Who am I?" remains, one cannot find the answer. Paradoxical it may seem that to find the answer, the question should no longer exist, considering that a question is necessary before the answer can be sought.

Therefore, suffice it to say here, that an approach to find out the Truth with a belief that this is the ultimate question would take us till the door, but would not help us open the door.

10 Comments:

Blogger arbit said...

How abt., 'you just are'...The whole.

04:57  
Blogger The Ignoramus said...

You are talking about the "Tat tvam Asi". I will write about it some time.

07:09  
Blogger arbit said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

08:13  
Blogger Satya Smrti said...

how can the object of knowledge be the subject as well? 'Drg-Drsya-Viveka' - Distinction btw the seer and the seen.

21:07  
Blogger arbit said...

In the absolute realm, there is neither subject nor object...there is pure existence,brahman.

23:28  
Blogger Vijay said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:27  
Blogger Vijay said...

Copy-pasting from one of my earliest blog-posts (http://weird-wired-world.blogspot.com/2003/10/pot-is-pot.html):

"A discrepancy arises right when the human mind tries to differentiate, instead of integrate, objects and events, all the while putting itself at an observer's position, technically called the 'Saakshi bhaava' in yogic parlance. For, how can one get the whole picture when one excludes oneself from the picture one tries to comprehend? Remember 'infinite regression' from 'The Planet of the Apes'? The whole picture does not emerge as long as you try, but it magically evolves, say, like a stereogram, when you let go and just blend in."

10:30  
Blogger Trespasser said...

True. I agree. It will take you close. but you have to accept the atman and realize that the atman is what controls the mind. If you do not accept the reality, your mind will never be controlled by the atman and there is every tendency that it can go astray, temporarily or permanently.

07:32  
Blogger The Ignoramus said...

well...as of atman controlling the mind...

right now, most of us are living a life where the ego-self controls the mind, and the actions. The ego-self has assumed such large size that the Spirit within is hidden. Spirituality is about acivating that Spirit, and letting That take control of the mind. It therefore involves disciplines where the ego-self is made to shrink to a small size.

20:00  
Blogger Yasmin said...

...and how does one accomplish that?

10:34  

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