A few years ago, while conversing with a distant relative, the words that have defined this article came to existence.
My relative had called and my 4-year old Brother answered the phone. My relative asked a simple question, “Who is this speaking?”
My little brother replied, “I”
My relative questioned him again, “Who is I?”
“I am me”
Now, while this might sound funny, it is not. The phrase has enough power to provoke thoughts about oneself and one’s identity. The saying “I am me” might sound like a mistake that a 4-year old would make, not the head of an article. To answer this question let us first analyze the question to which this statement was formed.
WHO AM I?
The simple question of “who am I” is what we hear from people with amnesia, but why don’t we ask this ourselves?
To answer this we must think about how we view ourselves, all of us have a lot in common, we have a body, a mind, intelligence, and emotions. In fact one can keep on listing all the things they have in common with everybody.
So then why are we so different? Why do we behave differently?
In the Taittriya Upanishad, we have 6 “body tags”,
- The body
- The life giving force
- The mind
- The “Anandamayakosha”
- The entity called God
Within these “body tags”, the Anandamayakosha is “you”. All other body tags are with everyone, except for this one. The Anandamayakosha is what makes you, you. It is the single body tag that differentiates you from everyone else. All the thoughts and experiences that make you the individual you are today is stored in this bag. It is because of this one “body tag” that the individual is different, although all other body tags are made up of the same stuff.
One might say all of us do not have the same intelligence or body features, to this there is a simple answer. The choices that “you” (Anandamayakosha) make will affect your level of intelligence or body features. For example- A student who refuses to study will obviously appear to be of lower intellect when compared to a student that studies. (With reference to a particular subject) In the example it was the choice of the first student himself not to study, hence his intellect was affected.
One might also say we are all not born equal. To answer this I will have to create another document. It is a vast topic and is open to discussion.
THE QUEST TO BECOME UNIQUE
Who doesn’t like to be in the limelight? Once you reach it, losing the spotlight can be a sad experience. This provokes a question about “uniqueness” is it really the way to go?
In the above paragraph we talked about the entity “you” and how despite having so many things in common with everyone, we are unique. Being “unique” is something that everyone wants to be. They want to be distinguished figures and excel in their fields, and as they climb up the ladder of uniqueness they often forget that no matter how unique they try to be they are still made up of the stuff that everyone is made up of.
So is the quest to becoming unique bad? No
The quest to becoming unique should not make the person forget about the other 5 body tags, the individual must remember that no matter how high he flies he is still tied to the earth.
Usually we find history’s most distinguished individuals saying humble things. Quite often great quotes come from the most humble of origins. “I am me” came from a 4-year old, very humble is it not? So if not being unique is the right way to go then which direction shall we go?
ONE IN ONE
My Father has an affinity to Rave Unde (a traditional sweet made out of cream of wheat and sugar) or any sweet in general, and to make sure that he didn’t eat a lot of them he would always tell me, “In life, the most important thing is moderation.”
“Moderation is the key”
Then he would go and gobble up one of them!!
Just like my father’s tussles with portion control, doing something in moderation is very difficult. Just like all sayings this one too had a humble origin. Why is it so easy to go overboard with something? Why can’t we all do things in moderation?
My teacher once got angry with me and said, “Sometimes you sit quietly, other times you talk so loudly. Your mind is like a monkey!”
Monkeys unfortunately have no self control; hence they do things to their liking always trying to stand out of the crowd. Without the final body tag the “entity called God” or “conscience” we would all be monkeys. The choice is ours (the Anandamayakosha) to listen to this guiding force. So in our quest to be unique we must change our perspective, not to see “two in two” or to find differences in everything we come across, rather we must see “one in one” to see everyone as equals. Only when one does this does the path to become unique becomes righteous.
“Instead of being one in a million, we must be a million in one”
Often my father, who is fond of taking power naps, tells me, “One must be in peace with himself and his surroundings. Only then would he be happy”
He would then promptly fall asleep.
All in all to be truly happy, one must be unique, stand out of the crowd, yet not appear as a distant figure to people, to see everyone as an equal, and continue to be himself / herself.
True to the statement “I am me”