The Quest for the Royal Road: The Problem of Existence

Published: 21.02.2016

Who was I?

King Shrenika's son Meghkumar was initiated by Bhagwan Mahavira. His mind wavered on the very first night of his life as an ascetic. He decided to return home the next morning after taking Bhagwan Mahavira's permission. With great difficulty he passed the night and went to Bhagwan Mahavira in the morning. But he felt very hesitant to mention what was in his mind.

Bhagwan Mahavira looked at Meghkumar and said: "Megh! You have been put off by just a little hardship and now you are thinking of returning home! Have you no memories at all of your previous birth?

"What were you before you had your present birth! Meghkumar, look at yourself. How much you had to suffer when you were born as an elephant! Instead of harassing anyone in order to elevate yourself, you subjected yourself to tortures. How cheerful you were even in those moments of intense pain! How self-contented you were in that deep sense of equanimity!

Meghkumar heard those words of Bhagwan Mahavira and he forgot himself. His wavering consciousness now went back into the past. Meghkumar thought "Who was I?" His consciousness was now centred in that thought and became aware of what he was.

Meghkumar then repented over his weakness and he became conscious of his power. Regretting sincerely before Bhagwan Mahavira, he was soon lost in sadhana. Even the past can give succour to the present. From that point of view, it is always necessary to remember the aphorism "Who was I?

Who am I?

Man remains mostly unfamiliar with his identity. He forgets his past and the future and is attracted by the present. Even in the present, forgetting about his own identity, he gets lost in the activities related to earning his livelihood. At such times, someone is needed to arouse his consciousness from moment to moment.

A philosopher was stroliing in a grove at night. The gardener woke-up hearing his footsteps. Carrying a lathi and a torch, he looked searchingly on all sides. Going up to the philosopher he asked, "Who are You?" The philosopher was absorbed in his own thoughts. He did not hear what the gardener had asked him. The gardener went very close to him and asked, "Who are you? Why are you wandering here?" After a brief pause, the philosopher replied, "Who am I?" That question has plauged me for many years. Thinking deeply about that problem, I have arrived here. Gardener, you tell me, "who am I?" The day I will be able to find an answer to this question, "I would feel gratified."

I am 'He' (The Supreme Being)

The first condition of the development of an individual is awareness of his identity. So long as he remains unaware about his being, his instincts and activities cannot become introspective. That is why the person who is devoted to the path of sadhana forgets himself in the mantra 'Who am I?' In this self-oblivion his sensitivity becomes more vibrant and he feels what cannot be described in words, cannot be understood by logic and which is not a matter of the intellect. It is all by itself. It is incorporeal. It is the knower. It is neither long nor short. It not a circle nor a triangle. It is not quadrangular nor globular. It is not black not blue not red, not yellow not white. It is not fragrant and it is not stench. It is not pungent and nor bitter. It is not astringent nor sour. It is not the body and it is not born. It is not anointed. It is not a woman and not a man, nor a eunch. What is beyond word, form, smell, flavour and touch and comparable to none, what is nectar and consciousness, is T. "I am He." When 'Who am I' gets transformed into 'I am He'. There is a great chance of developing one's awareness.

Sources

Title: The Quest for the Royal Road
Authors:
Acharya Tulsi
Publisher: Adarsh Sahitya Sangh
Edition: 2013
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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Bhagwan Mahavira
  2. Body
  3. Consciousness
  4. Equanimity
  5. Mahavira
  6. Mantra
  7. Sadhana
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