Who am I? It’s not an easy question to answer.
Identity is something we seem to hold while staying alive; it is like our passport to the world in which we live. But does death mean loss of identity? Is it really the case? Are our identities so perishable? We are so accustomed to identifying ourselves with our names and forms and take them to be our identity. But are they not like the identity certificates issued to us for social convenience? Absence of which we suppose would be a chaos... perhaps that is what we might assume, but is it the truth?
And is it the loss of this identity that most people hold a fear of death? Is it really necessary to have an identity? Imagine living in the world without a birth certificate, a passport, or your country identification cards; just imagine would you not be alive without them? Were people not alive before all this was introduced? Were these not introduced only for the sake of a convenience and smooth running of systems rather than defining life itself? Is it not that name and form is for social convenience? What is the meaning of identity or who is the True Self beyond the name and form? Does it also end up with the end of name and form?
This entire quest led me to the story of Space, how she developed a false identity and then sheds it for good to discover her true self.
Long, long ago the Creator made an element called Space... it was the Creator's first creation and looked so much like Him, vast and infinite! A wave sprang in the heart of Space and moved about, thus Air came into being. This child of Space was unbridled and undirected, thus had no sense of direction and flew randomly. It was dark all over and a sense of direction was hard to develop. Having lived in darkness for a long time, Space had started identifying itself with darkness, so much so that she believed she was Dark. Random movement of Air started producing sparks that generated Light. Light was met with resistance from Space who chided Air for moving too fast so as to stop producing this 'Light'. But Air was untameable by Space. She kept producing light. Light awakened a sense of direction for Air, who excited by this phenomena moved faster than ever to discover more directions.
As more light was produced, darkness was being 'eaten up'. Space got a feeling that Light would destroy her. She was scared of losing her identity; but however hard she tried to drive out Light; the more it glowed and flooded her being. When the last tiny portion of darkness was destroyed, Space thought she was nearing her end. When Light fully consumed the darkness and Space was completely enlightened, she realized that she was still alive! It was a tremendous realization! The false identification with Darkness dropped and she realized that she was neither Darkness nor Light, but ever existent.
Air on the other hand was overwhelmed with the illumination that Light brought! All directions were visible now and Air was yet again at a loss as to which way to go. Earlier in darkness, where nothing was visible, even a small spark of Light would put Air on its feet to move. She was highly unstable then. But this loss of sense of direction was that in full illumination where all directions were visible, all seemed equally lit up. This state was such that sense of direction seemed meaningless for Air, and it stood still, as if auto-tamed by the omnipresence of Light.
Space felt thankful for the arrival of Light, both for freeing her from her false identity and making her realize her true Self and also for lending stability to Air who had taken light for her guide now. She realized that Darkness had no identity of its own, and was merely the absence of Light. And only Light, that had its own identity; had the ability to guide and make possible the realization of one’s true Self.
Author: Jyoti Prateek