Who are "you" really? 🤔 A Practical, Spiritual Perspective 💡 | ClickReflect
Arjun is a 31-year old man. He has a lovely family and a decent paying job.
He recently got a promotion.
Soon after, likes and comments start pouring in. He clicks on his Rapidgram Profile and scrolls down. He notices that this is not him.
He has been putting on a mask, a persona, which he wants people to see. That is why his life is all about perfectly curated moments rather than flaws or failures.
Arjun finds himself in an Existential crisis. He is in a lot of distress. His performance at job degrades. His relationships suffer. His life turns into a mess because of his inability to figure out who he really is.
After thinking a lot, he decides to go to Acharya.
Arjun explains Acharya the problem he is going through.
Acharya asks Arjun, “Who are you?”
“I am Arjun.”, he replies.
“No no tell me, who are you?”
Arjun remains silent.
Acharya smiles and asks “Are you the name?” Are you just 5 alphabets?
Let’s say that the English Language of 26 alphabets did not exist. Would you cease to exist?
You would still be standing in front of me, right?
“I am this body that you see, standing in front of you”, Arjun says.
Acharya smiles at Arjun. Let me ask you a simple thing. "When you look into the mirror, do you see yourself?"
“Yes”, Arjun replied.
“When you were a toddler and looked at yourself in the mirror, at that time were you seeing yourself? Or was it someone else you saw?”
“I was seeing myself”
“It was you back then and it is you now. But your body looks and feels completely different. You are no more a small baby who your mom can carry in her arms. Also, when you grow old tomorrow you will look completely different to how you look right now.”
“What this means is that this body is continuously changing. But you are the same person."
So, obviously this body can’t be you.
“I think I am the thoughts in my mind. My opinions, likes, dislikes, emotions, impressions, experiences that I’ve gained over my lifetime.”, says Arjun.
Acharya asks, “When you were a kid, did you love playing lego?”
“Why was it so?”
“I thought it was a lot of fun”, says Arjun.
“Why don’t you play with lego now?”
“It’s silly. I don’t think it will be that much fun. Also, I have more important work to do.”
“Exactly. What you thought at one point is not what you think right now. What you liked at one point, you don’t like it so much today. But it is the same "you" in both the situations, right?
Just like your body, your thoughts are also changing all the time. So, your mind can’t be you.
Acharya asks Arjun to think a little deeper.
After a bit of thought Arjun comes up with this.
“I am the energy inside me. That energy which drives my life. Which powers my body and the thoughts in my mind.”
Acharya smiles. “Are there days when you feel very energetic?
“Oh yes! ”Arjun replied. “But, there are also those days where I feel absolutely lethargic.”
“Are there days when your stomach feels so sick that it won’t stop aching?
“Sometimes.” Arjun replied. “But, there are also those days where I feel absolutely healthy.”
“So just like your mind and your body, this energy inside you is also changing. Some days it’s high. Some days it’s low. Some days it feels nasty. Some days it feels perfectly normal. Hence, you can’t be this energy.”
Arjun realizes this is way deeper than he had anticipated.
He had no more answers of who he was.
Acharya insists Arjun to think a little more.
After a few minutes of thought, Arjun comes up with this:
“I am the intelligence inside me. That which has brought me to you today. That which makes me understand how life works. Which allows me to differentiate between the knife and the apple. That which helps me survive.”
Acharya smiles. True, he said. But is that really you?
Arjun knew what was coming.
“When you were a small kid, you did not understand a lot of things, let alone how to solve calculus problems. But when you were in high school, you learned calculus, understood it and you could solve those problems. And if you look at your knowledge of calculus now, you’ve again completely forgotten it and you won’t understand how to solve those problems.”
“This means that like the first three, your understanding, your intellect is also changing all the time. But it is the same you. It was you who never understood calculus, it was you who understood calculus and it's you who again does not understand calculus. So, this intellect can’t be you”
Arjun feels defeated. “Everything I could think of you’ve reasonably convinced me that it is not me. I don’t know who I am.”, he concludes.
“You sure have had experiences of deep sleep. If not in recent times, because of your busy life, but surely when you were a baby. Not the kind of sleep, which has dreams in it. But the one where this is pitch blackness. Dreamless sleep.”
“Do you remember how it feels to wake up after a sleep of that kind?”
“I feels fresh and new.” Arjun replied.
“How does it feel when you get applauded for work in front of the whole company?”
“Blissful” Arjun replied. “So, is that feeling of bliss me?”
“Do you always feel that bliss? Aren’t there days where you feel completely unhappy, hopeless, doubting every thing you are capable of?”
“So, this feeling of ecstasy is also relative. You feel it at times and you don’t feel it at others. But it is the same you in both the cases, right? Hence this is also not you.”
“Please tell me, what am I then?” Arjun pleaded.
Achara remained silent.
“You can’t be doing this to me. At-least tell me the truth!”, Arjun exclaimed in desperation.
Acharya explains to him. “You were so busy figuring out who you are that you forgot yourself. You were so busy pointing your finger out, that you forgot the one who was pointing the finger. You, Arjun, are the one who is experiencing this body, mind, intellect, life energy and bliss. You are consciousness. And all these are objects of your experience that come in the light of your consciousness.
Imagine this. When you are in a dark room and you light a torch, the objects that this light falls on, become visible to you. They become real to you. Until the light had fallen on these objects, they did not exist for you. They were not real. Just like that you experience the body, the mind, the intellect, the energy and the bliss because they have come into the realm of your consciousness. They have no objective existence outside your own consciousness.
If you want to know who you really are do this: Close your eyes. And for the next few minutes simply try feeling what it is like to be you. That feeling of yourself you’ve had since you were a small kid, studying in school, playing with your friends, everything from the beginning to this very moment.
You are the experiencer of this all. You are the one who is aware of your body, mind, energy, intellect, bliss. You are the eternal, immortal, infinite reality.”
Arjun takes a long time to completely internalize the words Acharya has spoken to him.
What Acharya explains to Arjun is actually a concept in the Yogic system called the 5 sheaths (koshas) of self.
They are: (kosha: sheaths)
Annamaya kosha – the body
Manomaya kosha – the mind
Pranamaya kosha – life energy
Vignanamaya kosha – the intellect
Anandmaya kosha – Bliss
Annamaya kosha: Anna means food. The idea here is that your body is basically a heap of food that you’ve eaten in your life time.
Manomaya kosha: Mana means mind. It comprises of your thoughts, emotions, likes, dislikes, etc. It can be said your “personality”. Personality basically comes from the greek word persona which means “mask”. This is the reason why Arjun goes into the existential crisis of “Who Am I” in the first place, because his “personality” does not seem true to him
Pranamaya kosha: Prana means life energy. The energy body which powers and drives the body and the mind.
Vignanamaya kosha: Gnana means knowledge. Vignana or Vishesh Gnana means extraordinary knowledge. It is composed of wisdom or intellect. This is the etheric body.
Anandmaya kosha: Anand means bliss. It is non-physical. It has nothing to do with the physical realms of reality. It is nothingness. As, the absolute deep, dreamless sleep.
Credits: Swami Sarvapariyanda’s video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPtHCCT1SZM
Death: An Inside Story by Sadhguru (Book)