By Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj

Every living being in the entire universe is attempting to find out the solution for a single question. “Who am I? Very few people know the answer, maybe one in millions. So this is something we need to know!” The Vedas state, “O humans! The answer to this vital question is absolutely vital for you to know. If you do not, you will suffer every type of physical and mental affliction for millions of ages.

Uddhava asked Shri Krishna, “Who is the greatest fool? (Bhagavatam 11.19.42). The reply was, “The biggest fool is he who identifies himself with the body.” One remains blind even after witnessing people dying daily – seeing the conscious leave and the inert stay back. They cry when the body of their mother or father is taken away. This is our foolishness. The fact however is that the body is dead and there is a conscious entity within is called the jiva or living being. This living being (the soul) is itself alive and gives life to the body.

You are referred to as a human being and called ‘Ramdev’ only as long as you are alive. But as soon as one dies, what do people say? Ramdev has left and this is his body with all the senses. It is visible to all. So who has left? The conscious entity and the inert is lying here. This means that we are constituted of two – a conscious me and an inert me. In other words, the body is inert and it is a conscious being. As long as that entity is within the body, the body appears conscious. Now when it leaves, the body becomes inert or reverts to its original state.

Imagine there is a dark room. We light a lamp and put it in the room. The room is now lit. Now you take the lamp to another room. Now the previous room is dark. The living being or jiva is just like that. It comes from outside into the mother’s womb and one day it also leaves the body. The entity that leaves the body is the “me.” But this is not really so. Why? Because when the jiva leaves, it does not leave alone. It goes accompanied by the mind, the intellect, body and senses. How can this be? We see the body lying here along with the senses. No, there is a subtle body. We actually have three bodies. There is a gross body, a subtle body and a causal body.

When you go to sleep and start dreaming, your body and senses are all lying on the bed. But in your dreams, you leave the bed and go to England, America, etc. You see and hear in your dreams just as you do in your waking state.You may have experienced eating a rasgulla (an Indian dessert) in your dreams sometimes or even experienced yourself dying in your sleep. You are not dead, the body is still breathing. Someone shakes you and you are awake. So when we leave the gross body, a subtle body, mind and senses leave with us.

In God’s mahodara, His vast belly, when He is lying in the Karanarnava Ocean, all living beings reside with their causal bodies consisting of their tendencies created from actions of past lives. They stay there in a state of pending after annihilation. So the living being who enters God’s gigantic belly in the Karanarnava is “me.”

What is this entity called ‘me?’ ‘What is not mine, is me,’ simply put. People claim, “This is my house.” But you are not the house. Similarly, you say, “This is my body,” but you are not the body. How can it be me when I am saying it is mine. Similarly, the mind and intellect are mine and so they cannot be me. The greatest scientists have created instruments to inspect the Sun, Mars and so on. But have they seen the entity called ‘me?’ It departs right in front of everyone and you wonder, “Where did it go?” But it is gone. The soul is so subtle that no instrument has seen it nor can any instrument ever see it. So how can one even know or examine it?

There are very subtle germs that have bodies, but cannot be seen. You eat yoghurt daily. It is full of little creatures. If you examine it under a microscope you will see that it consists of little organisms. You might be repulsed by the idea of ever eating yoghurt again! What about the soul? No microscope has been made, nor will any ever be made that will be able to see it. There is no one in the world nor will there ever be a person with an intelligence capable of knowing this “me” on the strength of his intellect or his mental ideas. No logic will work, neither direct perception or inference.

But by the third type of evidence, that of our scriptures (shabda pramana), one can know who you are and who is yours. This is the evidence of those words (shabda) in which there is no question of doubt – namely; the words of Saints who know and have found out this ‘me’ and the other is the words of the Supreme Power, God through the Vedas.

It is only through the Vedas alone that we can understand who we actually are. The Vedas are eternal. Even God has not created the Vedas. It is said that they are words of God. Why? Because they emanated from His mouth. That is why it is said to be His words. When God was lying in a state of deep sleep, the Vedas appeared out of His mouth with his breath.

So there are two things to be known – “Who am I? Who is mine?” It is vital to understand and know both. Mayic things cannot be used to understand ‘me’ or ‘mine.’ Mayic tools or material means cannot help us to gain knowledge of the Divine area – either ‘me’ (the soul) or ‘mine’ (God). Therefore it is only the evidence of divine texts that can give us factual knowledge of these two. Otherwise people confuse “mine” with “me” – even the most intelligent of men!

When a person is asked – “Who are you? Introduce yourself.” He replies, “I am the Collector of Pratapgarh.” “I am not asking for your post. Who are you?” “My name is Jagdish Prasad.” “That is your name. Who are you?” “I am a human being. What else?” “That is a description of your body. Who are you? If you do not know, then you should be put in a mental asylum.”

The fact is that we are all living in a mental asylum created by God, a madhouse made of maya, specially created for those who do not know their true identity. Wordly relations are not yours. They are related to your body. We should show our affection for our parents, siblings and so on, but not love them from within. Love has to be reserved for Him, who is actually yours. That is all that needs to be understood.

(Credits: Who Am I? Who is Mine? – Book By Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj)

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*A brief introduction of Jagadguru Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj*

(Known by His devotees as Shri Maharajji)

The original title of Jagadguruttam (‘Greatest Spiritual Teacher of the World’) was bestowed upon Shri Kripalu Ji Maharaj on January 14, 1957 by ‘Kashi Vidvat Parishad’ (a council of 500 greatest scholars saints of India). He composed divine texts like ‘Prem Ras Madira’, ‘Prem Ras Siddhant’, and ‘Radha Govind Geet’ to lead us on the right path of devotion. He also gave priceless monuments as gifts to the world which include  -  Bhakti Mandir located in Bhakti Dham, Mangarh,  Prem Mandir located in Vrindavan Dham, and Kirti Mandir located in Barsana Dham. Shri Maharajji also built hospitals for the impoverished, the Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya in Vrindavan, Jagadguru Kripalu Chikitsalaya in Barsana, and another one in Pratapgarh. All three help millions of underprivileged to gain free access to medical care. His Kindergarten, School, and College for impoverished girls Jagadguru Kripalu Parishat Education is located in Kunda and provides completely free education.