“Know then thyself, presume not God to scan, /The proper study of mankind is man.” Alexander Pope echoed man’s eternal quest renewed from time to time. What is the true self of man? Let us listen to the claimants.
The body came boasting, “Man is born with me and dies with me. In between he hears, sees, touches, tastes, smells and performs all actions through my organs of perception and action. His identification is through me, so I am the real self.”
The mind smiled, “Can you lift your hand unless I exercise my will? Can you perceive anything when I withdraw during sleep? Can you act or feel on your own without intellect and emotion? I can independently act and enjoy during dream. I can think and feel so I am the real self.”
Pran or life-force said, “Where will you two remain if I withdraw? I am the energy behind and real self.”
Since such egoistic arguments end in futility they started talking and realised they are assembled together to work as a team like hardware, software and power in a computer. This assemblage is for a specific period and purpose under some mysterious operator. None of them have freedom to act or quit being subject to a master who has made them, united them and will dissolve them. Being overwhelmed they prayed, “O unknown self, reveal thyself.”
Their ego-less prayer with total surrender attracted the inner voice, “I am Atman identical with Brahman, unknown and unknowable to finite awareness being the infinite, endless and all pervading consciousness. Entire creation originated from my thought vibration is only apparent and subject to constant transformation called birth, decay and death. Since I am way beyond creation, I am not subject to these. Flow of phenomena takes place as per my blue-print and law. Plurality of consciousness felt by all is cosmic delusion as I am indivisible one without a second. I am better described as neti, neti, not this not that. Rise above your fragmentary sense of self in meditation and feel oneness with my omnipresence.”