Who am I ?

elmec elmec at GIASBG01.VSNL.NET.IN
Sat Apr 8 13:15:44 CDT 2000

Bondada Umamaheshwar wrote:

> I request the learned list members to enlighten me with their views (and
> advice on how to put this kind of contemplation into practice) on this very
> important question, "Who am I?" -- as taught by Bhagawan Ramana Himself.
> Om Namah Sivaya
> Uma

Hari Om,

" Who am I ? "

The first thing that comes to my mind is " I am a woman by name Latha ".
The word woman refers to this body which is identified by everyone as Latha.
Fine. I say " I see ",  " I talk ", " I walk ", " I eat " etc etc. So I am
identifying myself with my eys, my tongue, my legs, my hands ........
Sometimes I say " I think ", " I decide ", identifying myself with my mind, my
intellect etc.
Sometimes I say " I am happy ", I am sad ", " I am angry " identifying myself
with my feelings / emotions / antahkarana.

So I am all the above put together.

But, wait, look, I am saying " My " eyes, ears, legs etc. " My " thoughts,
decisions, " My " emotions, " My " feelings etc.

When I say " My " pen, " My " book etc it is clear that I am not the pen or the
book. Pen and the book are something that I am seeing. So, the ' seer ' (one
who is seeing) is different from the ' seen '. This is the ' dR^ik ' - '
dR^ishya ' vivEka.

Similarly, I am not my eyes, ears, thoughts, feelings or any of those things
which I can point at and say " my this or my that ".

So, I am none of the above, but I am that which is watching all the above
things, isn't it ?

When I say " I am that ", I am not pointing out at ' that ', but I understand
very well that ' that ' is pointing out everything to me , but itself can not
be pointed out at all.  It is self luminous knowledge / jnaana which is
permeating the hearts of all the jiivaas.
The pleasure or pain that I feel and the pleasure or pain that an animal feels
is all understood by that universal jnaana which can not be qualified, but
which is the same in every body. The degrees or levels of this jnaana may
differ, but we agree that it is the same chetana which is manifested in all

This jnaana / chetana we say is eternal, it undergoes no change at all . Hence
we call it ' nitya ' and ' satya '. Because Truth / Satya is something which
does not change whatever the ' kaala ' or ' desha ' is. It is in our own
experience that except this immutable chetana which is watching everything,
which can be called a ' saakshii ', all other things like our body, mind and
emotions are changing every moment. And so is this world . So they can not be
the truth. If we say that this body and this world are true, they should remain
the same always. Again, it is in our own experience that during the dream
state, this body and this world undergo change. They are projected differently.
And during the deep sleep state, we see nothing and we experience nothing. That
is because there is no mind or antahkarana during this state. YET, we say " I
dreamt ", " I slept very well " and " I woke up ". So it is very very clear
that though the body / mind / world changed during different states of our
being, there was one " I " which underwent no change at all but which was aware
of all the three states too. Similarly, when the body undergoes changes during
the childhood, boyhood, manhood and then oldage , there remains this " I "
silently watching all the changes undergone by the body, but yet without an
iota of doubt identifies itself as " I " through and through. This is the pure
" I " which I truly am. But the moment the mind / intellect comes into picture,
it wrongly projects a totally different ' I ' which  identifies itself with
various things and undergoes untold miseries in life. This is the avidyaa.

The above truth must be understood very well and we should consciously try not
to fall for the wrong identification ( the adhyaasa ) of ourselves. We should
try to cultivate the habit of watching ourselves, all our thoughts and actions,
standing aside  like a third person. This requires conscious effort on our part
to develop this kind of unattached observence. But, however serious our
intention may be, we do get caught in that mix up always. But, take heart, the
very fact that we become aware of this mix up itself shows us a way to get out
of it too. Constant effort in this line along with Ishwara's and Guru's
anugraha will definitely pull us out of this mire very soon.

Hari Om,
Latha Vidyaranya.
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