If someone asks you ” Who are you?” what would be your response? Well…you may say , I am a man, I am John, I am an Engineer or I am an American, i am father or a mother etc.. generally one tends to identify oneself with their bodily designations like sex, name, profession , nation, relationships etc., Let us take a moment and think about the designations that we tend to identify ourselves with a little more deeply!! With the advancements in medicine, one’s identity as a man or a woman can be interchanged with reassignment therapy. One’s nationality can be changed so as one’s Name or his or her profession. The truth about all of the above designations that we describe ourselves with are that of our human body. With time, our body changes, our mindset changes, our desires and plans change so do our so called designations.
What is my real identity?
It does not appear sound to identify oneself with any of these designations which are either temporary or changeable. Would not it be logical and correct to identify oneself with something that remains inseparable from oneself forever? Does such an identity exist at all? Firstly, let us see if our identity has anything to do with our body? Let us take the example of a person who is dead. When a person dies, we say that he left his body. But the body is still there lying on the bed. The chemical composition of the dead body remains as it was before the death. Chemically one remains the same before and after death, so there is less of an option to understand one’s identity through any of the scientific means. The question remains..who left the body? We all intuitively refer the identity of the person to be something different from his or her body. Let us for a moment turn our attention to scriptures to see what they speak about this identity that left the body.
- In Srimad Bhagavad Gita, the most authoritative scripture, Lord Sri Krishna states about the identity of a living entity in the Bhagavad Gita 2.13 “As the embodied soul continuously passes, in the body from childhood to youth to old age, the soul similarly passes into another body at death. A sober person is not bewildered by such a change.” As you can see in the video linked above the body is changing as thej girl grows from a baby to 14 years of age, but the soul remains the same. She may look the same but all the cells of the body at 14 years of age are different from the body’s compisition when she was a baby. It is stated in the verse that we are a soul covered by a material body. But then why we identify ourselves with the body? It is also stated here that it is due to the illusion (not being sober) covering our real identity that makes us believe and identify ourselves with the body. We will reincarnate from body to body, life after life. At death we will take on another body dependent on our karmic actions (good and bad actions)
- Another verse in this connection Bhagavad Gita 2.22 states “As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, the soul similarly accepts new material bodies, giving up the old and useless ones.” Watch the video below to hear a short explanation. Just as we change worn out clothes, furniture, cars, shoes and houses , we will change our body at death. Just as a manufacturing company designs products today to make tomorrow,you are designing your next body today with your current actions. It is also mentioned in the scriptures that there are 8.4 Million different material bodies that the individual soul keeps circulating. Based on one’s mindset at the time of death, one is awarded a specific material body. Once we attain the human body, if we misuse or fail to utilize the higher consciousness then we again fall down in the plant and animal life.