Quest for Identity: A Soulful Journey

“Who am I?” This ubiquitous question plagues everyone. In our daily lives, we often respond with our names or affiliations, but does this define us? These inquiries have persisted for ages.

Grammatically speaking, identity is defined by parameters like, I live here; my name is ABC, and this is my house. Yet, there is distinction between “me” and “mine”. While body, intellect, mind, and house belong to us, they don’t define us. This logical analysis reveals the dichotomy between our existence and our possessions. Now, when does this question arise? Every person living in the world has various experiences in their daily life. He learns a lot from those experiences, but few incidents deeply affect his mind when that person thinks about the self as separate from the external world, that is, about the inner world away from his outer world, he enters the world of spirituality. This is the threshold of spirituality, where he seeks self-awareness and understanding. Through this lens, “Who am I?” finds its answer – I am the soul, my true essence.

If we look at the soul and the body with the analogy of a lamp, the soul is the lamp’s light. In the same way, if a lamp in one room is placed in another, the first room becomes dark, and sunlight spreads in the second room. In the same way, when the soul leaves the body, the body becomes lifeless, and when the same soul enters the body of another, that body becomes conscious. It is also said in the Bhagavad Gita that the soul changes the body as one changes clothes.

The understanding of the Atman, the soul, is bestowed by Vedas and Shastras. Neither intellect nor machine can perceive it; it exists beyond subtlety. Veiled by Maya, divinity eludes ordinary perception. In this universe, 84 lakhs of Yoni souls are stuck in the cycle of birth and death because they get fruits according to karma. Awareness of karma’s flow activates progress. Amidst the perishable world, the soul stands eternal – the conduit to salvation. The Bhagavad Gita states, “No weapon can pierce the soul, fire cannot burn,” underscoring its eternal nature.

The soul’s journey spans 84 lakh yonis, traversing endless births, and exhausts karmas. The duration and path are unmarked by time, dictated solely by karma. The faster the nirjara of karma, the easier the path to salvation becomes. Amidst this uncertainty, introspection guides the soul’s navigation. The work done by a human being is attributed to his soul, and his deeds are the last to be accounted for. So, preparing to audit karma in positive way requires its inner knowledge and the development of consciousness; for that, spirituality is the only way. To fathom this, embracing spirituality becomes pivotal, the sole path towards self-realization. Thus, the call to become a spiritual traveller beckons the soul.

Dr. Sejal Shah (Ph.D.)

“Gandhi and the Fundamentals of Jain Tenets.”
Ethical principles of Ahinsa, Aparigrah and Anekantavada are pillars of Jain Philosophy.
M.K. Gandhi not only practiced these principles in his personal life but also applied them as a political value to get freedom for India. The October issue of Jain Avenue is to cherish this fact and articles of 1200-1500 words are welcome on related topics.
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