This is the one question that has intrigued many, and one that deserves an answer. Who am I? Am ‘I’ my name or my profession? Who am ‘I’?
The difference between the terms- ‘I’ and ‘me’ or ‘my’
We generally signify ‘my’ in the context of the body. This implies that the one who says ‘my’ is something separate from the body. Just like someone sitting in a room doesn’t say they are the room. Or someone using a telephone to speak or hear, is an individual separate from the instrument. Similarly, ‘I’ am an entity that is distinct from the body. I am a conscient living entity while the body is lifeless matter. Isn’t’ this what is written in the Bhagavad Gita as well? Even though I use the body- use the eyes to see, ears to hear and the mouth to talk, I am an entity that is separate from it.
Knowing the self as a soul and understanding my faculties of the mind, the intellect and the habits.
I am a soul, different from the body. Now the soul is a point of energy or light in the centre of the forehead. This is also the reason why there is a custom of putting a tika in the middle of the forehead. The soul has three distinct faculties – the capability of thinking, of experiencing pain and pleasure or even bliss and peace (mind) , the capability of reasoning and taking decisions (intellect) and (samskaras) or habits which is the effect of one’s own actions- good or bad.
This is exactly the reason why someone, who uses their will, effort and experience in a righteous way is regarded as an elevated soul (Mahatma) while the one with a bad-will is called a sinful soul (Paapaatma), wicked soul (Duraatma) or a fallen soul (Patitaatma)
Why do some people regard the mind as an entity separate from the soul?
Some people end up considering the mind as an entity different from the soul. In this way, they end up blaming the mind for its thoughts, while considering themselves to be weak. By doing so, we are actually absolving ourselves of our responsibility of creating thoughts. Now also, the main point of difference between the inconscient matter and the sentient soul is that the soul is capable of thinking, feeling and characteristics of desire, feeling etc. To regard the mind as separate from the soul would thus also mean that the soul is lifeless, which would be wrong.
So it is important to understand that the mind is the own faculty of the soul to think. Just like someone who plays the role of a lawyer in a courtroom, also plays the role of a father, a husband etc. at other times. Similarly, when the soul thinks, we say that these thoughts are running in my mind or that the mind is thinking, when we decide or deliberate over a problem, we say that the intellect has arrived at the decision.
Today, we require accepting that it is because the soul has become weak, that it produces weak thoughts. It is we who require to actually rejuvenate with the nectar of spiritual knowledge and meditation and take perfect and complete responsibility for our thoughts, words and actions.