Experience Is Identity

Once a man visits a saint.

He asks the saint, “Did you recognize me?”

The saint asks back, “Who are you?”

The man replies, “I was a minister.”

The saint says, “This is your past. Who are you today?”

The man says, “I am a professor.”

The saint says, “Weren’t you a professor when you were a minister?”

Now the man is confused.

The saint explains, “Your designation or degree cannot be your identity. Even then I know who you are.”

The man is surprised. “How did you recognize me?” he asks.

The saint replies, “My dear man, there was an accident. A poor man got hurt. You put him in your car, took him to the hospital and asked the doctor to take good care of him. You even took care of all his medical expenses.”

The man was now utterly amazed. “How do you know all this?” he asks.

The saint says, “A good deed never goes unnoticed.”

The man says, “You are great. Please guide me.”

The saint says, “Divinity cannot be truly known by mere adjectives. While describing Paramatma, the Mundakopnishad quotes, ‘Can Consciousness (Paramatma, Chaitanya, Brahma) be seen? No. Can it be held in our hands? No. Can we know its origin? No. It is impossible to describe it. It does not have eyes, ears, feet, hands. It cannot be perceived by our sense organs, but it is eternal. It is infinite, all-pervading, omnipresent, subtle and changeless. It is the source of existence of life’.”

The saint further explains, “Efforts have been taken to describe the Self, the Paramatma. But even the Vedas have given up and said, “Not this, not this!” The indescribable Self can only be experienced. Its experience is its only identity. O man, this is the absolute truth. You are this Consciousness. You are the Divine, don’t forget this.”

Upon hearing this, the man, extremely pleased, exclaims, “This is so wonderful!”

The saint continues, “Do you want to experience the Divine now? Will you listen to me? I will tell you how you can experience it just as my Guru has shown me. My Guru says – sit comfortably, close your eyes and just observe (तदा द्रष्टु: स्वरूपे अवस्थानं).”

The man does as the saint says and after a while, he begins to experience something beautiful. After quite some time, he opens his eyes and says, “I feel very peaceful. It’s a beautiful experience. I am pure consciousness.”

The saint says, “Now you understand! Practice this every day and I am sure you will have wonderful experiences.”