Who am I?
Why am I here?
The vedas, Upanishads and the religious scriptures, particularly Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, address these crucial questions.
The answers to these eternal questions form the basic element of the Sanatan philosophy that has been passed on to successive generations for thousands of years through the Vedas, Smritis, Shrutis, Upanishads, Puranas and the sacred scriptures like Valmik Ramayan and Shrimad Bhagavad Gita.
Bhagavad Gita is a part of the Bhisma Parva (the 6th part) of the Mahabharata. The Gita consists of 18 smaller chapters and is around 700 verses.
Bhagavad Gita was written by Maharshi (great sage) Vyasa. It was recited by Lord Krishna to Arjuna on the battlefield of kurukshetra.
Maharshi Vyasa also composed the Mahabharata.
The seeker of Truth must try to find the answer to one basic question: Who am I?
Your body belongs to you when you say your body is aching and you need some medicine to overcome the pain. One can draw the analogy here. It’s like saying your automobile needs repairs and you have to contact a car mechanic.
Similarly, your mind belongs to you. This is explicit when you say there is something in your mind that is disturbing you and hence you want to drive away that thought out of your mind. At times, going through mental agony or depression, a person may say I am sad. Here the mind becomes one with you.
But the dichotomy arises when you say I have started looking old and what you have in mind at that point of time is the receding hairline and the laugh lines around the eyes or the crow’s feet. These are features directly connected to the ageing body. This is where the thin line between you and the body disappears.
When asked for an introduction, someone may say: I am a lawyer, doctor or an engineer. But these are only professional or economic activities people take up to perform their role towards their family, society, country and the world at large. One may also say, I am somebody’s son, father, mother, wife or husband but this would be to define a relationship.
If we ponder on these lines, it will not be difficult to conclude that “I” means the person who is aware of all this, or in other words conscious of all this, that is one who is witness to all that is and all that is happening around. Hence it is the awareness that is witnessing it all is the real you.
In the battle field, Arjuna became the ideal seeker (of Truth) when Lord Krishna told him that he was the witness independent of the body and mind. In chapter two of Shrimad Bhagwad Gita, Arjuna surrenders to Lord Krishna and accepts the position as a Shishya (disciple).
Shrimad Bhagwad Gita
अशोच्यानन्वशोचस्त्वं प्रज्ञावादांश्च भाषसे |
गतासूनगतासूंश्च नानुशोचन्ति पण्डिता: || 11||
While you speak words of wisdom, you are mourning for that which is not worthy of grief. The wise lament neither for the living nor for the dead.
न त्वेवाहं जातु नासं न त्वं नेमे जनाधिपा |
न चैव न भविष्याम: सर्वे वयमत: परम् || 12||
Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be.
नासतो विद्यते भावो नाभावो विद्यते सत: |
उभयोरपि दृष्टोऽन्तस्त्वनयोस्तत्वदर्शिभि: || 16||
Of the transient there is no endurance, and of the eternal there is no cessation. This has verily been observed by the seers of the truth, after studying the nature of both.
अविनाशि तु तद्विद्धि येन सर्वमिदं ततम् |
विनाशमव्ययस्यास्य न कश्चित्कर्तुमर्हति || 17||
That which pervades the entire body, know it to be indestructible. No one can cause the destruction of the imperishable soul.
यामिमां पुष्पितां वाचं प्रवदन्त्यविपश्चित: |
वेदवादरता: पार्थ नान्यदस्तीति वादिन: || 42||
कामात्मान: स्वर्गपरा जन्मकर्मफलप्रदाम् |
क्रियाविशेषबहुलां भोगैश्वर्यगतिं प्रति || 43||
Those with limited understanding, get attracted to the flowery words of the Vedas, which advocate ostentatious rituals for elevation to the celestial abodes, and presume no higher principle is described in them. They glorify only those portions of the Vedas that please their senses, and perform pompous ritualistic ceremonies for attaining high birth, opulence, sensual enjoyment, and elevation to the heavenly planets.
कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन |
मा कर्मफलहेतुर्भूर्मा ते सङ्गोऽस्त्वकर्मणि || 47 ||
You have a right to perform your prescribed duties, but you are not entitled to the fruits of your actions. Never consider yourself to be the cause of the results of your activities, nor be attached to inaction.
योगस्थ: कुरु कर्माणि सङ्गं त्यक्त्वा धनञ्जय |
सिद्ध्यसिद्ध्यो: समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते || 48||
Be steadfast in the performance of your duty, O Arjun, abandoning attachment to success and failure. Such equanimity is called Yog.
श्रुतिविप्रतिपन्ना ते यदा स्थास्यति निश्चला |
समाधावचला बुद्धिस्तदा योगमवाप्स्यसि || 53||
When your intellect ceases to be allured by the fruitive sections of the Vedas and remains steadfast in divine consciousness, you will then attain the state of perfect Yog.
दु:खेष्वनुद्विग्नमना: सुखेषु विगतस्पृह: |
वीतरागभयक्रोध: स्थितधीर्मुनिरुच्यते || 56||
One whose mind remains undisturbed amidst misery, who does not crave for pleasure, and who is free from attachment, fear, and anger, is called a sage of steady wisdom.
य: सर्वत्रानभिस्नेहस्तत्तत्प्राप्य शुभाशुभम् |
नाभिनन्दति न द्वेष्टि तस्य प्रज्ञा प्रतिष्ठिता || 57||
One who remains unattached under all conditions, and is neither delighted by good fortune nor dejected by tribulation, he is a sage with perfect knowledge.
योगयुक्तो विशुद्धात्मा विजितात्मा जितेन्द्रिय: |
सर्वभूतात्मभूतात्मा कुर्वन्नपि न लिप्यते || 7||
One who works in devotion, who is a pure soul, and who controls his mind and senses, is dear to everyone, and everyone is dear to him. Though always working, such a man is never entangled.
ये हि संस्पर्शजा भोगा दु:खयोनय एव ते |
आद्यन्तवन्त: कौन्तेय न तेषु रमते बुध: || 22||
An intelligent person does not take part in the sources of misery, which are due to contact with the material senses. O son of Kunti, such pleasures have a beginning and an end, and so the wise man does not delight in them.
शक्नोतीहैव य: सोढुं प्राक्शरीरविमोक्षणात् |
कामक्रोधोद्भवं वेगं स युक्त: स सुखी नर: || 23||
Before giving up this present body, if one is able to tolerate the urges of the material senses and check the force of desire and anger, he is a yogi and is happy in this world.