Vedantic Wednesday: The First Doubt

While most of us find it easy to get acquainted and interested in spirituality, many of us find it difficult to actually travel the journey. Why is it so? GRTTPA~1

We are unable to comprehend the purpose behind the quest for SELF or ‘I’.  We are very clear that we already know who we are. We are Mr X, Y, Z living in such and such address, doing such and such work, married, with kids and this amount as bank balance. Sitting in lectures we appreciate what is being told as SELF being beyond all this and complete. However, in reality we are unable to accept we are beyond these external attributes of our identity.

If these are what that defines us, then why is it that we always feel incomplete? Whether it is losing our wallet, a tea-stain on our shirt, loss of loved one or a disappointment in not getting something – we feel hurt beyond measure. We always feel incomplete and wanting for more.

It is said that people would go to Sri Ramana Maharishi for answers to their worldly problems. They would lament saying ‘I don’t have a child’. ‘ I just lost my brother’, ‘ I don’t have a good job’ or ‘I am agitated’ etc. Sri Ramana Maharishi had only one suggestion for all of them. He would tell them ‘ Go and find out who this ‘I’  who is having the problem is and then come to me’.  Many would not understand the deeper connotation behind this seemingly obvious question. They would move onto seeking solace elsewhere – and most often keep searching.

The question that Sri Ramana Maharishi asked, is what sows the seed of contemplation. Our spiritual journey can only begin when we believe that this question is valid. When we believe it could have a different answer from the worldly description we carry for ourselves. Today this question fails to excite us as we feel we are very clear  about the ‘I’. There is neither a possibility or a need for another explaination for who the ‘I’ is.

Spiritual texts provide us two theories which could plant a small doubt in us on our current understanding of ‘I’. I will attempt to share my understanding of these two postulates in the coming weeks. But the key is, unless we begin to doubt the current clarity that we have on who we are, who this ‘I’ is, we will remain spectators to spirituality. Our journey can start only if we dare to doubt on this ‘I’ that we claim to know.

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3 thoughts on “Vedantic Wednesday: The First Doubt

  1. I am attempting to answer this but don’t take this for granted as we get more clarity as we progress in this journey.. continue to contemplate and share…

    “I” refers to soul within the body and god resides within that soul.

    When is was listening to lectures on Bhagavatam by Sri Kandadai Ramanujacharya, it’s clearly mentioned that root cause of all the problems is carelessness. What is carelessness – not attending to the fact that “I” am soul not body

    If you refer “I” to body, then you have lot to worry about – need to satisfy 5 senses – tounge, nose, ears, eyes, skin. This itself is a big task and most of our efforts are towards this. You like/love someone who contribute to satisfy your senses and hate someone who doesn’t.

    If your refer “I” to soul & God within that soul, you observe how your senses are behaving and you have better chance to control them. During happy/sorrow moments, you observe them but will not excite/deject and that makes you more stable

    Will try to add some more points when I have time…

    1. Thanks Vijay for this lovely comment. Story of King Puranjana from Bhagavatam so beautifully brings out the difference between the worldly perception of ‘I’ and the indestructable and complete SELF. Your thoughts do give us something to start our thinking. We all look forward to your thoughts..

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