Identify, "Who Am I?
Shri Ramana Maharishi.
You are all the Eternal SELF!
This is an ancient question. Many philosophers delved on this great question. Recently one great soul, who lived till 1950 was a living answer to this great riddle. Many might feel this as a very simple question. Probably, they have misunderstood the question itself. It has nothing to do with our body or mind. It is for finding the reality of "I" principle in each one of us! Let us ask any body in the world, "Who are you?. He will immediately introduce himself with a name, a profession, and as a resident of a particular locality! Obviously he means his physical form and identify the form with a name given by the parents. He identifies himself with a profession like Doctor or Engineer, a Scientist or Teacher, a salesman or business executive. Finally he may identify himself as an American, or Russian or the place of origin of his ancestors!
Now i mentioned about a great soul who lived his entire life, teaching the visitors, the answers to the question, "Who Am I? It is funny that every one answers the question replying with "I am so and so, I am a Doctor, or some other professional. They say, I am an Indian, I am an American! Have you noticed the common term in all their answers? It is "I am". Each answers the question in their own language which also means "I am". How this particular term is used the world over is a great mystery. Without our knowledge we are repeating a great Truth. Yes! "I am " is the real identity of all beings in the world. It is bereft of name, form, Nationality, Religion, Profession or gender.Every body invariably start answering this way! Now let us turn to the great sage of Tiruvannamalai in South India, who answered this question in a poignant manner and lived his entire life based on this Truth. He never considered himself as a body, a mind, an intellect or the senses. His assertion is "I am not all that is visible and tangible. I am neither the intellect nor the senses which activate the sense organs. I am neither the five basic elements which constitute the body. After negating every thing as "Not This, Not This, there will remain the Consciousness which witnesses everything as a mute witness. I am That, he asserted. Hence he never bothered even about the carcinoma in his arm and asked the Surgeon to operate it if he desires so but without any anesthesia . The surgeon cut the boil as though the patient is under anesthesia! After completion of the surgery, some devotee asked Ramana, "Whether he felt any pain"? Ramana answered the question in a most enigmatic way. He said, "There is pain but I AM not in pain!
This is not the first time, he exhibited supreme detachment to the body and its ills. When he was a boy of fourteen, he wanted to meditate without any disturbance. Hence he descended an underground cellar in a great temple and sat there motionless for six months absorbed in his Self! But the insects and other poisonous reptiles do not distinguish a saint and ordinary man. They bore into his skin and ate his flesh. When some good souls came to know about a lone boy practicing penance for six months without caring for his body or food or drink, they forcibly removed him from the floor of the cellar. Alas! His skins were peeled in this process. Only blood and pus was in his posterior region. He was absolutely unaware of his body and its need and remained motionless for six months. Fortunately he came alive after treated by some good souls. People started coming to his presence and enquired their doubts in spirituality and religion. He won't speak most of the time. He will remain silent. Somehow that in his presence, their doubts were resolved by themselves without any oral communication.
His silent was eloquent. At times, he will write some answers to the questions. Sometimes, he talked to the devotees. Eager devotees noted down his teachings and published many books. Paul Brunton was attracted by his teachings and he too has penned some memories about sage Ramana..
In conclusion, we are not the bodies and minds. We are the occupant of the bodies which are termed differently in different scriptures. The in dweller is called the SELF or ATMA or God. Bodies will come and go but the SELF is the eternal witness of the drama of life, the creation and Cosmos! This is the real identity of each one of us whether we hail from Asia or Europe or from any part of the habitat called Earth!