Let’s do an exercise before we read this. Let’s ‘introduce’ ourselves… Quickly in mind, then read on.
I am sure, most of our introductions can be summarized by:
1. Son/daughter/wife/husband/father/mother/relative of someone
2. Position in society/organization
4. Hardworking/honest/some-other-attribute OR
5. Something similar.
Am I right?But, isn’t that’s how others see us? .. Why are we introducing ourselves based on how others see us?
Do we even have an independent identity, separate from how others see us?
Do we even know who we are?
Answering this question is the goal of Vedanta, but, before that, first, we need to ‘HAVE that question’, only then it can be answered, right.
But, many of us don’t even have this question, why is that? Why not everyone thinks about this question?
Maybe this mantra from Katha Upanishad can help us answer that.
पराञ्चि खानि व्यतृणत्स्वयम्भूस्तस्मात्पराङ्पश्यति नान्तरात्मन् । श्चिद्धीरः प्रत्यगात्मानमैक्षदावृत्तचक्शुरमृतत्वमिच्छन् ॥ (Katha Upanishad 2.1.1)
Our senses are made to look outwards, due to that we always define ourselves in relation to our perception of the outer world. Rarely, a person comes who turns the senses inwards, and finds the self, achieving the ultimate goal of self-realization.
Basically, it’s the outward nature of our senses, that is keeping us distracted. Once we get over them and have that basic question of ‘who am I?’, Upanishad will provide tools/methods/mechanisms to turn the sense inwards and help us find the ‘real I’ within ourselves.
So, let’s cross the first hurdle by getting over the senses, and generate an urge within ourselves, to know ‘Who am I’.
All the Best!