Knowing the “I”
A daily grind of life, from morning to night, in which all I do is important to me, so much so that a little sugar here and there in my cup of coffee is something I really get worried about. And why shouldn’t I for it is important to take care of myself. Create a distance between the “my ” and “self” and there lies the entire crux, the difference between ” I” and ” Self”, between the human and the soul.
If I leave the soul for now, do I even take a pause to wonder if this “I” is really important in the larger spectrum, to the scheme of things in the Universe? We look at interpersonal relations but what about our relation with all creation?
Here I talk of a single galaxy and there are many more galaxies beyond the Milky way- the vedas have termed them “Brihatbrahmanda”. Every galaxy has its own planets, their own habitable one like earth, and many more beings. Against those billions of galaxies, planet earth is like a speck and in that light, the existence of this “I” becomes insignificant in the larger play.
Ever wondered why does this “I” face so much misery and suffering in life? Because it is both the being and the non-being. The being takes it towards a finite perfection and the non-being draws it toward the infinite imperfection. There is a constant war, a mahabharata between life and death, between good and evil, right and wrong, this and that. The indriyas pull me towards a life of enjoyment, while the larger sense of justice doesn’t accept the idea. There is this constant tussle between life and death. Thus the spirit of enquiry becomes imperative. The Vedic prayer that we have been taught becomes so apt in this case:
Asato Ma Sadgamaya
Tamaso Ma Jyotirgamaya
Mrityor Ma Amritamgamaya
A life with a purpose is always a life well lived and one without a definite purpose and pursuit ends in fear and ignorance. But if you think about that point of death, what will end in ignorance will give rise to another ignorant beginning. To me, this point of the great merger between two lives is what seems to be of utmost importance if I need to understand this “I”. For what remains till that point is of value and rest is all what i can perhaps call my belongings in this lifetime. Distance the two words again- “life” and ” time” and you realise that everything lived here on this planet is all about time. And the One who created Time is Ma Kali whose very name has the word “Kal” meaning time. If there is anything that lasts beyond yoga it is only time and everything existing and non-existing here is also a matter of time.So now my pursuit takes a different dimension of ” I versus Time”. And the more I put this equation before me, the more it becomes difficult to defeat time and the more my own insignificance glares on my face. How different am I than the flower that blooms in my garden?
I still remember my childhood days when the epic drama “Mahabharata” used to come on television and start with the verses of time “Main Samay Hoon”. And i would keep myself focused on the two words “main” and “samay” meaning I and Time and each time I reflected upon this, it is only Time whose “I” seemed more true than mine. And that is when Time seemed more true than me, when I started thinking about the Creator of Time and started dwelling on the lines, ” God is Truth” and “Truth is God”. My definition of Truth changed at that nodal point and everything I knew or could seem to know became so shallow and superfluous in the light of that larger TRUTH. And that is where I started realising why “ignorance is bliss” for the more I knew, the less I knew.
I started asking the Universe why it destroys what it creates for creation is so beautiful, why make it suffer when it can dwell in eternal joy, why reincarnation when there can be a continuity. But the answer I got each time was that there is only one thing constant with time and that is “change”. So the “I” is constantly changing but the only meaning I can derive of it is in this moment, the present, which is not longer than the breath I take. So what becomes all important to me is the breath and i see my “I” in the light of this breath. For the next breath may not be, no matter how many plans I am making, no matter how much I desire to accomplish. What will be, will be and the deciding factor is time. Perhaps that is what Buddha meant when he declared that ” Decay is inherent in all mortal things but the truth will remain forever.”
And the truth is that the Truth is neither slayed, nor burnt, nor necessarily visible to the naked eye. There is no destruction of the larger “I” which is the eternal One; we may call it time, God, Source.
To be continued….
– Gurushree Vidushii ji