The first instruction of the Lord is: Ask yourself, “Who Am I?” Generally you are not what you usually think that you are.
Everyday as you wake up in the morning pose the question, “Who Am I?”
The Lord gives foremost importance to this, “Who Am I?” This is a fundamental question by which we lose all our identities with all that which we think we are. We are just not what we think we are.
We are habituated to define ourselves and settle into an identity. Mostly our identity is a worldly identity. We do not remember that we are just a being among the billions and billions of beings – just a being with a given name, with a changing form, and with an activity in this world. I am Kumar is not so true, I am male is not so true, I am teacher is not so true. I Am is not Kumar, before I was named so. I Am is not male till I developed a male form. I Am is not teacher at all times. I Am is I Am, which is the original identity. This I Am has neither name nor form but a pulsating awareness which has no independent existence. It emerges from Existence and merges into Existence and has an identity of itself as a unit of awareness. When it merges into Existence the question “Who Am I?” also disappears.
From that state of pure Existence there are relative and successive states up to the worldly state.
Our name is not what we are, because it is given after we are born. The form is not what we are, because if we see the photographs right from childhood till now, they kept on changing and they will continue to change. We only settle with those photographs which are very good looking and we do not prefer other photographs being displayed! But we are not this form, because in every life we have a different form. We are not what we think of ourselves as our name, we are not what we think as our form, and we are not what we think as our activity. Activities keep changing. Our forms keep changing not only in terms of small and big, but also in terms of male and female from time to time, to gain varied experiences for fulfilment.
Our activities also keep changing as per the need of the soul to fulfil itself. Activities change from life to life and also from time to time within a life. We cannot identify I Am permanently either with a name or a form or an activity. We are just I Am, a unit of awareness. We are just a concept emerging from Existence. Even I Am is not considered real. The only reality is Existence. I Am is the secondary state to that Existence. I Am is an awareness of Existence. In pure Existence awareness is not. It is merged. Therefore, “Who Am I?” when ideated, it leads you to the reality of one Existence. The rest that is built on that reality is an edifice. I Am itself is a projection of Existence, a sprout. Existence is even when awareness is not. Therefore the question leads you to one reality and reveals to you the relative illusion of the rest. The seven planes are built with Existence as their basis, though they have a relative reality.
In that context people get stuck with their name, form and activity. They are hopelessly localized that they get stuck in the narrowed down identity. To uproot oneself from such hopeless localization one is recommended to contemplate upon “Who Am I?” When this contemplation does not happen man gets stuck with definitions, which are but circumscriptions. As many circumscriptions as one builds, so much he suffers.
Persons incarnate into male and female bodies according to the need for experience. The scriptures say that the souls alternatingly experience male and female bodies to round up their imbalances in male-female energy. A Yogi or a Master is one in whom the male-female energy is well balanced. Such ones are considered androgynous. Until that state of androgyny, there is experiencing the imbalance of male and female energy in oneself.
Every person is more or less male or female. God is male-female. Therefore all beings are male-female. In every being there is spirit and matter, which is called positive-negative energy, transmitting-receptive energy and expanding-contracting energy. When these energies are balanced in oneself, one gains optimum experience. In truth the being, the soul, is neither male nor female. Is it not therefore ignorance to think “I am male, I am female”? The truth is, I Am is in male form and I Am is in female form. Just like I am in a Benz car, I am in a Rolls Royce car. The vehicles are different but I Am is the same. The male-female bodies are like the residences, they are not the residents. The resident is the one I Am. Forms change, the resident is the same. Therefore one cannot associate oneself excessively with the definition of male-female.
Likewise, the names are but given names. They differ from life to life. The name does not come with you into the next life. The form does not come with you into the next life. Therefore associating oneself excessively with name and form is ignorance. Identifying with name and form is utter ignorance.
I Am is thus male-female and has the centripetal and centrifugal pulsation. Even in that pulsation the expanding pulsation is male and the contracting pulsation is female. I Am can therefore be seen as a pulsating awareness and as a projection of Existence. Defining with names and forms is but an act of ignorance. Identifying with them is illusion. Daily recollection of I Am is therefore helpful for disassociating with the name and form and for recollecting oneself as a projected entity of Existence – a unit of Awareness. This state of awareness is recommended to be gained. Remember, even this state is but a secondary state.
As you wake up in the morning ask yourself, “Who Am I?” Define not yourself as the lady of the house, the man of the house. Define not yourself by your name, by your form or by your position at home. Those are all the roles we play. We play the roles of housewives, bread-earners and so on. We are all playing roles throughout the day. We are actors without knowing that we are actors. We are much better actors than the movie stars. The only difference is that a movie star knows that he is acting and we do not know we are acting. We have identified ourselves with our actions and with our roles. That is our problem. That is why there is a strong instruction that people should participate in dramas and play roles. Once we play the role of a hero, another time we play supporting an actor’s role, third time we play a villain’s role, and fourth time we play a joker’s role. Which of these four are we? Every time, if we play the role of Rama, we start believing that we are Rama! Do you know that in my childhood I was playing the role of females in the dramas? I never believed that I was a female, even while playing the role of a female. I remembered I Am and played the role of a female. That was a good eye-opener. It enabled me to play the role of a male, while I remembered That I Am and that I am not male. Initiations can happen through such events in life. In fact, initiations happen not through elaborate procedures, where the aspirant is more in expectation than being present. Initiations happen, they cannot be planed.
We play so many roles every day as we wake up till we sleep. A man who is a head of a family plays the role of a head (many times headless, the head could be his wife). As he sees his wife, he plays the role of husband. As he sees his children, he plays the role of father. As he sees his parents, he plays the role of son. As he goes to office, he plays the role of a boss, of a colleague and so on. He becomes a friend, when he sees his friend. All these activities are activities of becoming. Throughout the day the being is in the process of becoming. In the whole game he forgets that he is a being – I Am. Remember, we are beings, we are not becomings. Becoming is temporary, being is permanent. You are not head of the family, husband, father, son, friend etc. They are all roles played according to time, place and persons. When no one is around you, what are you? You are not your name, you are not your form, you are not your gender, you are just I Am and awareness, a unit of awareness. This reality has to be touched upon from time to time during the day. Otherwise you are lost into the world, busily becoming and changing roles like a chameleon. Chameleon changes its colours according the colour of the tree. It doesn’t know its colour until it gets into daylight. Daylight needs to come to us and it happens, when we recollect I Am as regularly as possible and as rhythmically as possible. This I Am has no definition of name, form, etc. This is only a half way point; it shall be pursued further thereafter, until it disappears as That. For this reason recollecting I Am is given as the first instruction by Lord Sanat Kumara. Staying in that recollected state at all times enables you to stand in the light of the soul and to function as soul. Enlightened ones function as soul but not as personalities that carry name, form, and all the rest of the luggage of identity. Other identities are only a luggage. I Am is the only traveller. “Less luggage, more comfort”, is an esoteric statement as well. It is not only exoteric.
Dismantle all other identities. You are only entitled to feel I Am.
People foolishly identify themselves with all that they do and sink in it. There are people who believe that they are bankers, businessmen, doctors, professors, teachers, scientists and there yet others who feel that they are Gurus, Masters. All this is ignorance. To oneself, all these are roles played. One is I Am, just I Am. Even this I Am is a concept. It disappears in the advanced states of enlightenment. The teachers of Advaita say that the first illusion is I Am, and all the identities that are built around it are worse illusions.
I Am is but a projection of that One Consciousness, which permeates all. It is the Universal Consciousness that projects as an individual consciousness. Just like the ocean projecting a wave. The wave is but ocean only. The wave has no identity by itself, but for the ocean. The individual awareness is but a periodical emergence, like a wave from the oceanic consciousness. Wave is but a concept of the ocean, a momentary projection of the ocean. It appears and disappears. The wave also builds its foam through its activity. In the foam there is hardly any substance. The substance of the wave is ocean, but the substance of the foam is illusory. Wave is I Am, and other identities one suffers from are like the foam. They have purely momentary value from the standpoint of eternal time.
To feel I Am as one’s identity is somewhat justifiable, but to feel anything other than I Am is ignorance. By living in false identities one is stuck in the world. He becomes worldly. Remember that none of us is of the world. We are with the world. This ideation is helpful. It enables to come out of our false identities. Living in mistaken identities leads us to gradual imprisonment in the world of activities. If we retain the original identity, we would not suffer the impact of the world. On the contrary, we enjoy being in the world.
Each time you enter into the world, it is like entering onto the stage of a theatre. You play a role knowing full well that you are just playing a role. You play and come out of the stage. You will neither overstay, nor speak beyond the script, nor over-act or under-act. On the stage you have to act the ordained act. You need to speak what has to be spoken. We should be timely to enter the stage and exit the stage. Without these regulations we are not seen as a good actor. The same analogy can be extended to the world. The world is the stage that you enter upon and play your role; speak what is required to be spoken, do what has to be done and exit from the stage in time. You cannot hang on after the role is played. You cannot withdraw prematurely. This is possible, if one remembers himself as I Am, a projection of the Universal Consciousness. When this identity is lost, you are stuck in the worldly theatre and receive undesirable experiences from the world audience. I hope it is clear.
Just ask, “Who Am I?” As we wake up in the morning, we immediately take to an identity. What was I in sleep? What was there in the sleep? Wherefrom have I come and wherefrom do I arrive every day? Forget about wherefrom I arrived in this birth. If we know wherefrom we arrive daily, we would know wherefrom we arrived from our past birth. Likewise, when we get into sleep, try to know where we depart to.
Arrival and departure – there are two gates in every airport. We go to arrival to receive and we go to departure to see off. Likewise, if we know where we are departing to, we know what will happen to us after death. Similarly, we can also know wherefrom we have arrived. This knowledge is important. By this knowledge we break the walls relating to our past and relating to our future. This knowledge gives us continuity of consciousness from past into the present and from present into the future. The continuity of consciousness leads us to Eternal Presence, wherein future and past merge. The future and the past converge into the Presence which is always present. “Who Am I?” leads us to the Presence.
It happened to the Creator also. As He woke up from the Eternity the question came up to Him, “Who Am I? Why am I here? What am I to do? What for have I come? How did I wake up?” All these questions are fundamental questions. We don’t have time to search for answers. This is because we have so many things to do as we wake up. The routine in the morning is so much that we are already in it. We are generally behind the schedule. We do not wake up a bit earlier. Even when we wake up, we don’t get up. The world already demands you. Is it not wiser to get up earlier before the world arrives and knocks at your threshold? All good disciples therefore get up early to ideate, to contemplate a while in the morning before they plunge into the world.
Do not let the thinking machine (the mind) get into the world as you wake up. Orient it to the fundamental questions. Ideate upon the fundamental questions. Contemplate upon them. Likewise, when you retire in the evening relinquish all worldly identities and go into sleep only as I Am. This practice of arrival and departure from the world on a daily basis helps in fact to stay recollected as I Am. It is an invaluable practice that enables us to stay afloat and not to sink while functioning in the world.
Two Steps of Discipleship: Amaratvam and Brahmatvam
Discipleship is in two steps: first to be immortal, and then to realise Brahman. “Amaratvam and Brahmatvam”, that is how Master CVV says. Amaratvam means ‘immortality’. Brahmatvam means ‘realisation of oneself’. Every teacher leads the students to these two steps. This is the way. There is no other way. The one who realises the Truth imparts the Truth in this way. He leads the students firstly to continuity of consciousness, which is beyond the duality of birth and death and secondly to the source of such consciousness, to pure Existence.
Recollection of I Am is the primary step to establish continuity of consciousness. I Am gathers around itself its personality and its body. It develops its own relationship with the world, which is domestic, economic and social. In the process, I Am disappears in the personality and personality sinks into objectivity. Recollection of I Am therefore is gathering oneself from the world of objectivity and from the personality of thoughts, desires, programs, proposals, etc. This re-gathering of oneself is symbolically expressed as gathering butter from the milk, which otherwise stays inextricably integrated in milk. The process of churning the milk brings the butter back.
Discipleship is thus the process of churning one’s personality to re-gather the Self, I Am. Only when one stands as I Am, he stands as a unit of consciousness. Such units of consciousness are called the columns of consciousness. It is only with the columns of consciousness a temple can be built. Meaning, Divine activity can be carried out. In another symbolic expression it is said, “Only when the butter is formed and stored well, Krishna approaches unnoticed to eat for Himself or to distribute to the colleagues.” The former is a Masonic expression; the latter is a poetic, a ‘poetic-romantic’ expression. Those humans who would like to work for the Divine Plan need to be in the identity of I Am, but not in other identities. When one lives in other identities of name, form, status, nationality etc., one cannot be of much utility in Divine work.
The modern man is busy. The modern mind is much more busy. It constantly looks for programs and proposals. Mind can be active, but one cannot let it to be overactive. The modern mind is comparable to the modern traffic that you find on the roads. Our roads are full of traffic and they represent the state of our minds. There is ever increasing traffic and the congestion is very high around the cities. Likewise the mind is also in congestion. It is stuffed with many thoughts, more thoughts than it can bear. It is all the more necessary now than before to sit and think for a while “Who Am I? What am I doing? Am I doing what has to be done or doing anything and everything? What is the purpose of this life?” Sit for a while daily and question yourself. Disintegrate from the world and even from your personality. Stay as I Am and overview your personality, activity, and your worldly involvement. Persons who regularly pray and worship are busy with their own prayers and worship, therefore are not proposing those questions to themselves. One needs to ask oneself these fundamental questions on a daily basis. Sanat Kumara therefore starts His teachings with this fundamental question of “Who Am I?”
A mother with her three sons entered into a metropolitan city. The sons wanted to see the city. The mother said, “Be careful! Whenever you cross the road, look out for the traffic. Come back safe by the evening.” The sons left. They did not come back by the evening. By the evening they landed in the hospital. They were hit by the vehicles when they were crossing the road. The mother told them to look for traffic when they cross the road. They therefore crossed the road only when there was traffic. They looked for traffic and crossed. They did not understand what the mother said. The mother meant that they should move when the road is free and make sure that there is no traffic when they cross.
The students want to meditate. But their meditations end in disaster. What do the students do during meditation? They keep on thinking about a symbol, a colour, a sound, a scenery, a divine form and so on. These are all thoughts. Thoughts are the vehicles of traffic. The students keep hitting the thoughts. They cannot go beyond thought. They cannot cross over. Meditation should enable to pass through the thought plan. Sitting and thinking is not meditation. Thinking of divine things is also not meditation. Meditation is the state, where no thought prevails. Meditation happens when one can pass through the gap between two thoughts. The mother in the story wanted the sons to move in-between the gaps of traffic. The teacher also moves dexterously through the gaps to the other side. It is the gap between two vehicles, two thoughts that leads you to the One Self. These gaps are called by some Masters as ‘interludes’ or ‘intervals’. Such intervals exist between inhalation and exhalation, between night and day, day and night, between sleep and awakening, wakefulness and sleep. It is symbolically said that one cannot enter the temple unless he passes through the two pillars.
Daily meditation is therefore to observe the thoughts and pass through the gaps between thoughts. Or observe the thoughts until they are all exhausted. If one sits for long duration, all thoughts get exhausted, just like all movement of vehicles ceases at one point of time or the other in a day of 24 hours. Then the road is seen, the gap is seen, the other side is seen. When there is no traffic of thoughts, one can see the way to move to the other side.
Every practice needs patience. Without patience one cannot achieve anything here in this world or hereafter in the other world. Patience is the key to success. Impatient ones fail. Tolerance is the first commandment in every theological system. Kshama – thus pronounces ‘Mahabarata’. Tolerance – thus pronounces Moses as the first of the Ten Commandments. Patience, tolerance, forbearance are the qualities that develop depth in one’s personality. Human failure is due to lack of this quality. But this is the quality needed for success in any aspect of life.
Recollection of I Am also needs patience. One should recollect I Am beyond one’s own personality as regularly as possible. These practices of recollection have to happen until one reaches the settled state, I Am. Only then one can be called a Being. Before that he remains a being conditioned by doing and is generally a doer and not a Being.
To be a Being is to be I Am. I Am is a state of Be-ness which is unrelated to the surroundings, unrelated to the one’s own nature, one’s own form and one’s own name. It is Be-ness as a static energy. Through time and place one relates to an act. After the act is done, one restitutes himself to I Am state of consciousness. It is natural for the accomplished one to remain in Be-ness, to relate to the surrounding events and come back to Be once again. When one is advanced in his accomplishment, even while he relates to the surroundings and does acts of the time, he continues to be in Be-ness. Such one is said to be in the natural state of Samadhi. It is called Sahaja Samadhi. Such ones are called Sahaja Yogis. Their natural state is Be-ness.
In meditation one is expected to reach the state of Be-ness. Occultly this state of Be-ness is expressed as ‘the head above the shoulders’. Meaning I Am is the head, personality is the executing body, is the worker. One’s head should always be above one’s shoulders. It cannot be in the upper torso. If it is so, man is just a mediocre thinker. The head cannot be in the lower torso. If it is so, he is just an indulgent one. The three states of man are depicted graphically:
1 I Am Personality
2 Average Man
3 Indulgent Man
Each one of us needs to see, where we are. Are we just sensuous beings? Are we just mediocre thinkers, thinking and working for self-sustenance? Are we souls that preside over our personality?
Constant recollection of I Am would lead us to be souls that preside over our personality. Sanat Kumara therefore recommends all theistic students to recollect
“Who Am I?”
… to be continued