Am I Bharath?
The question isn’t whether really I am John or Ram or someone else instead. It’s: am I a particular person designated with a name?
There is a voice in me which identifies itself with Bharath. As Bharath. This voice flares up when it is happy or sad or annoyed or bored. It says “This is great” or “This is awful”.
When I stand back and try to observe this voice, it says, “What are you standing back from me for? I am you. You are me. I am Bharath. That’s you! These good and bad things that are happening aren’t just happening to me. They are happening to you! Don’t feign detachment or as if you don’t care. As if you are different from me. You aren’t different. You are me. All these are your thoughts and concerns and issues. You might be growing bald. You need to pay the mortgage. Your daughter needs more things. Your pride and happiness is at stake. It’s not just me, some voice that cares about all this. I am you! You are Bharath! You need to care!”
Here is an existential reality: should I believe this voice or not?
Where does the voice come from? It acts as if it was always just there. But the voice is nothing but the internalization of other external voices. “Bharath is like this.” “Bharath is like that.” “Bharath is good.” “Bharath is loving.” “Bharath is serious.” “Bharath is judgmental.” These things others say coalesce into a single voice when those things are accepted.
So the voice that says “I am Bharath” is nothing but a product of others saying “You are Bharath and you are like this and this and this.”
And who are these others saying this about Bharath? Satyam, Subha, Gautam and other family and friends and neighbors and colleagues and strangers?
But then who is Satyam? Is he real? Well, there is a voice there too saying “I am Satyam. I am like this. I am like that. This is good for me. That is bad for me.” Is that who that person is, just that voice which identifies with being Satyam?
So there are all these voices which claim they are real selves, as real as can be, and they are all defined just in terms of each other. Every voice is just an internalization of what all the other voices say about it.
That’s all well and good. But what does that have to do with me? Is that who I am? Just a node in a matrix of social selves, defined with respect to all the other nodes?
Or am I the awareness of this dance of the nodes in the matrix? The awareness which doesn’t get its identity by what the voice says about itself. The awareness which observes the voice and its screaming and its laughter and its pain, and observes even the voice’s claim to be identical with the awareness, and still doesn’t identify with the voice.
The awareness is the cosmic awareness, which sees the voice as just the pebble on the beach that it is. And seeing the pebble as just a pebble, one among billions and billions of other pebbles, the awareness doesn’t – and can’t – identify with the pebble. How can the ocean be the same as a pebble?