Almost all philosophical discourses emphasise the question of ‘knowing one’s own-self’ but very few serious efforts seem to have been made in this direction. No doubt, throughout our life, we identify ourselves and the persons around us with certain features and characteristics as their ID marks. But have we seriously thought, before being introduced to any divine ideology, whether all these ID marks relate to me and the persons with whom we associate them.
Let us take the most common and most important feature of our identity i.e. our name. Everybody is given a name in the family/society and in a family, no two persons are given the same name. In other words, my name seems to distinguish me from others. But have we thought whose identity it is or have we accepted our name as being my own self? Generally, in case of identity, we do not move beyond our name.
But then we go on associating our identity with many other things like education, job, profession, social status etc. But like a name, all these things and qualities have been acquired by the one whom we call ‘I’.
If asked, our reply would be ‘my parents named me…’ or ‘I was given this name’. But who is this ‘me’ or ‘I’? While we utter these words, we don’t understand their significance. We say, ‘…named me…’, ‘…was given…name’, but have never tried to find out ‘named whom?’ Who was given this name? Does this not mean that ‘I’ and ‘the name’ are two different things? Moreover ‘I’ am not just a name.
But then we go on associating our identity with many other things like education, job, profession, social status etc. But like a name, all these things and qualities have been acquired by the one whom we call ‘I’. The proof of these external achievements is that all these things were acquired in this present life and they remain with me as mine only in this life. So can I call them my permanent or integral features?
Surely the answer to these and similar other questions will dawn upon me the truth of our existence with which we are so passionately attached and so pathetically ignorant of.
The Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (BKWSU) is an international non-governmental organisation, which intends to help individuals re-discover and strengthen their inherent worth by encouraging and facilitating a process of spiritual awakening.