Monday, August 23, 2010
WHO AM I? = THE ETERNAL QUESTION (7TH POST DT 23,AUGUST,2010) = BEING A WITNESS = DISCOVERING SELF
WHO AM I?
To the same question of WHO AM I? - one of our most recent saint of Saints , the venerable Saint - Ramana Maharshi has replied as follows :
The physical body, composed of the seven dhatus, is not 'I'.
· The five sense organs and the five types of perception known through the senses are not 'I'.
· The five parts of the body which act and their functions are not 'I'.
· The five vital airs such as prana, which perform the five vital functions such as respiration, are not 'I'.
· Even the mind that thinks is not 'I'.
· In the state of deep sleep vishaya vasanas remain. Devoid of sensory knowledge and activity, even this [state] is not 'I'.
· After negating all of the above as 'not I, not I', the knowledge that alone remains is itself 'I'. The nature of knowledge is sat-chit-ananda [being-consciousness-bliss].
These are extracted from texts compiled by well respected disciples of Ramana Maharshi. We have taken only this one question of who am I and answer to it which is representative of the path to be taken by the SEEKERS OF THE SELF. The saint has clarified many related aspects, which we will take up separately.
To us, Seeking our own self appears to be a contradiction. What is the need to seek our own SELF? Are we not our SELF- we tend to ask? Very Reasonable questions to ask.
That is the reason we have earlier dealt with how little we understand the functioning of our body - mind - emotions complex.
You know the food you eat or the water you drink, till it crosses your tongue. Nothing beyond that. All other things happen inside you constantly and mechanically. It is not left to you to understand or regulate the process beyond that. The breathing process, even at the input stage itself, is automatic and not left to your control. Whether you are awake, asleep or dreaming – breathing goes on happening automatically. Your thoughts too happen automatically – you can’t stop them at all. You can’t avoid a thought by your will. That too is automatic and beyond your control. Your emotions too, are automatic. You do some thing externally. Either happiness or sorrow arises in you automatically. Anger arises in you automatically. Greed, envy, pride etc arise in you automatically on the happening of an external event. You do not generate the emotions in you. They happen inside.
What you know as body-mind-emotions complex itself is almost self regulatory requiring very little of control and regulation from you. Yes. In that, you do have about 5% intervention capability – as you can control input mechanisms to some extent and assist further by keeping the body and mind a little fit.
But, your five senses while assisting you in this job – also create HABITS, and make you a slave to them. These then become the vishaya vasanas that the saints talk about. Vishaya stands for objects (& persons) and Vasanas stands for habits, addictions and obsessions.
The Five senses and the vishaya vasanas that they create, always distract you from yourself to outside objects and persons. We have seen from the previous blog Posts how the seven great Thieves in you (Desire, Anger, Greed, Sex Instinct, Pride, Envy and Fear) induce the spell of MAYA around you.
Vishaya Vasanas arise on account of these seven great thieves. In simpler terms – these can be reduced to two vasanas – Raaga (Likes) and Dvesha (Dislikes). The seven great thieves in us fall under these two categories – Raaga and Dvesha.
So, the constant effort of a seeker of truth, or seeker of Self is – to avoid Raaga and Dvesha (Likes and Dislikes) both.
Look at everything with equanimity. Can you like some one or some thing, which is ever changing? Next moment, or, tomorrow, or next year, it is not the same person or same thing that you liked earlier. Will you like it now also or not, after it has changed a lot? Likewise, will you dislike some one or some thing – after they have changed a lot? And every thing and every person is ever changing – in their body, mind and emotions – which were the only reasons why like or disliked them once!! Modern science also acknowledges that CHANGE IS THE ONLY CONSTANT in this world.
There is another shocking truth about Raaga and Dvesha. Both are creators of Sorrow and Misery. Dvesha from moment one – which is very clear. Raga from moment two – which is not very clear. But, both do create sorrow and misery.
Ravana invited sorrow by raaga – not by Dvesha. Rama did not bring sorrow to Ravana. Ravana himself did it by his act of Raaga. Raaga creates sorrow and misery some times directly and some times indirectly, say, from moment two. But dislikes create them directly, from moment one. Let us be very clear here – that UNCONDITIONAL LOVE – is not Raaga or Dvesha. It is beyond that.
Once you clearly know (i) that everything and every person is changing (ii) that there is no reason either to like or dislike any of them and (iii) that the likes and dislikes are responsible for all of your sorrow and misery – the next thing that arises is – what is the sub-stratum against which You perceive the changing things and persons.
There is some thing in YOU beyond your body – mind - emotions complex – and that some thing is Ever unchanging, compared to the mind – body – emotions complex which is ever changing.
You and I must find out, locate, perceive and identify that substratum against which all changes are perceived by us. That sub stratum is Who you are, and who I am!!
That is why, the saints urge us : Be a witness; Be a Sakshi of your mind, your body and your emotions always.
Witness them; Witness them;Witness them.
All Yoga Is that. In being a witness, you gradually erase the seven great thieves in you, the two dualities of Raaga and Dvesha and the veil of ignorance (or Maya) that surrounds your five senses..
All saints say – your journey as trying to be a witness continues until you discover your SWAROOPA, or, Your true self – which is “Sat – Chit – Ananda”. Then YOU don’t need to try. You, in your swaroopa, will take charge.
PS : Learned readers are requested to contribute their wisdom, ideas, comments, corrections etc – which will be gratefully accepted.
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