Who am I?
Am I this Body of Flesh, Bone and Blood? Am I the Mind, Thoughts and the Feelings which distinguish me from the other persons?
Pursue the enquiry “Who am I”, relentlessly. Analyze your entire personality. Try to find out where the “I” thought begins. Go on with your meditations. Keep turning your attention within. One day the wheel of thought will slow down and an intuition will mysteriously arise. Follow that intuition, let your thinking stop, and it will eventually lead you to the goal.
The sense of “I” pertains to the “person”, the “body” and the “mind”. When a man knows his true self for the first time, something else arrives from the depths of his being and takes possession of him. That something is behind the mind. It is infinite, divine, eternal. It is believed that when a man dies, his character, desires, thoughts and will continues to exists until they enter a body of flesh once more and come among us in the form of a newborn baby.
The good and evil actions committed in the former birth will be suitable rewarded or punished in the present or even in the future births. This is how we explained fate. The destiny of every person must be fulfilled. Man cannot escape from their self-earned fate. The ‘cause and effect’ returns to men the good or evil fruits of their thoughts and deeds in earlier bodies.
What is Soul?
Briefly stated, the soul is the abiding, separate, constantly existing and indestructible entity which is generally believed to be found in man from the moment of his birth up to the time of his death, and to exist after his death in some other place.
Nature of Life
Life is merely a phenomenon or rather, a series of phenomena, produced by the law of cause and effect. And individual existence is to be looked upon not as something permanent but as a succession of changes as something that is always passing away.
Continuity of Life
As long as the causes of life persist – the sense of separateness, the craving for existence – so long will life continue. Remove the cause of life and life is not continued. The continuity of life is like a flame of a lamp. The light appears to come from the lamp throughout the night; yet every instant oil and wick and lamp-holder and the air that feeds the flame are constantly changing. It is the same, yet not the same.
Death comes about either by the lapse of his natural term of life or by the exhaustion of the karma that give him birth in this life or by both these causes or even by some strong extraneous karma, for there is such a thing as Akalalarama, untimely, sudden death. A lamp may go out with the exhaustion of oil or wick or both or by a sudden gust of wind.
If at death the craving for life has not been completely destroyed then this craving gathers fresh life, body and mind. The result is a new individual, new in a sense. There is nothing that passes from one life to another. It is the karma produced by us in our previous lives and in this life that brings about the new life. The new body and mind is merely the result of past lives so our next life is the product of that karma plus the karma of the present life.
It is essential that we fully understand DEATH, for by understanding this, we comprehend the mystery of life. By taking a closer look at life and death you will realize that both are ends of the same process and by understanding one, the depth of the other would be just as easily understood.
In fact, the most intensive contemplation of death will soften the hardest of hearts and pull down the barriers of caste, creed, race, pride and hatred for all of us are subject to the common destiny of death. Pride by birth, position, health and power, all must give way to inevitable death. This contemplation would destroy all love for sense-pleasure and gives balance and a healthy sense of proportion to misguided senses of values. Truly this reflection would give strength, steadiness and direction to the erratic human mind which is constantly wandering without an aim.
The average person would have no love to contemplate on this being distasteful. But, we should learn to value the necessity to face facts since safety lies in the truth. Thus, the sooner, we know where we are heading, the faster for us to take the necessary steps for our betterment.
Law of Impermanence
Nothing in this world is stable or static. Nothing in this world can arrest the ceaseless passage of time and nothing survives time. In fact, everything, mental or physical is transitory and changing.
It is because there is change, there is growth and growth leads to decay and therefore death. This is the law that makes the strength and freshness of youth give way to the decay and weakness of old age.
Think of anything and you will find it in a condition of change. The Law of Change can be made to operate to the highest benefit for any person. By analyzing the Law of Change in respect of one’s own body and mind one acquires also a familiarity with change that death will not appear fearful and unnatural. It will appear as one more example to the process of change to which one is subject to since birth.
Looking at ourselves in this manner, we soon realize that this is an illusion and that we are nothing but a bundle of various elements of matter and mind, that this will keep moving on and on ceaselessly. Look backwards through time and we see the darkness of illusion we have travelled through in the past and looking forward through time we see the uncertainty of illusion we have to travel through in the future. This is one of the ways to understand the real nature of life and the universe.
- Author Unknown