The Journey from "I Do" to "I Am"

For a very long period of time I believed that the answer to my quest for the supreme resided in my actions. It was all about doing, what do I need to do to reach the Gods? Clearly, I didn’t get the complete answer, but I did find pockets of divine excitement when I saw a smile on the next man's face if I did something nice for them. Karma marga, supported by the boundaries of one's own dharma defines who we are and what we become based on the needs of this external society. So busy are we pleasing others that we have lost sight of our inner selves. Who am I and why am I here... is a question that hits us once in 20 years if we are lucky. I believed for a very long time, that this world within which I am imprisoned was all there was to it, and keeping others happy was my primary concern. It took a long while to realize, Karma marga is not something I can run away from, but Karma marga is not something that should control me so much either. We can't do away with Karma marga and sit back, we have to act and every action or inaction has a consequence. The decision of course is, what flavour of Karma marga we choose to take up. At the same time I realized very soon, that Karma marga was not enough in isolation, for action, though necessary for existence was inadequate in my spiritual pursuit.

Meanwhile the mind doesn't rest, it has its own problems. It asks questions, it dives into itself and it can go either way. If it is nurtured well, the mind can do more miracles that we thought it was capable of. But if we let it go its own way, it can be the most difficult monster we could ever tame. And this is where most people fall, they take it for granted that they are not capable, losing this crucial battle even before it started. Their biggest weakness is fear and its biggest defense is ego. You can well imagine what a royal mess that can create within us. The mind is capable, if we direct it well and it is doable if we try hard enough. Gyana marga can go one of 2 ways. It can deflect course if we fall prey to intellectual egoism or it can be our trump card if we accept its folly with humility. The mind is not me, it is a tool I use. When this truth is understood and realized as a way of life, we have reached the next stage of spiritual development. 

It took me ages to move from Karma marga to Gyana marga to Bhakti marga. Karma marga felt interesting but inadequate, Gyana marga is a beast am trying to tame, not very successfully but am getting there. Bhakti marga, by far has been my fort that I conquered with ease. Bhakti, is a song I sing so loud in my head, I don’t even know you are talking to me. Bhakti is my inner dialog with my divine family. Bhakti is when I feel the mysterious Shiva linga in front of me and my heart is torn apart because I don’t want to leave it, I want to know everything about it and yet the mind yells inside my head telling me I have to get back to samsara - Karma marga. It’s the moment I have hated the most in my life. It tells me so loudly that samsara is in the exact opposite direction of my spiritual endeavour. 

I have stared at sacred diagrams for ages, I have studied Yantras to whatever extent I could. I know there is something in there and I have felt it, and yet I am not able to get to it. What’s the relevance to the topic you may ask...Deities reside in Yantras, it is a mystical depiction of a sacred spiritual truth beyond our comprehension. When we say "deities reside" they don’t live there, they are what they are, it’s in their nature to be there with a certain energy within a certain power center. And they exude brilliance if their energy is tapped, and that energy is capable of changing the whole environment, the whole situation within which we live. That energy can change the regular course of time, of events that mark our existence.

This brings me to the next level of abstraction. What am I defined by? Is it my actions, is it the events that unfold sequentially that describe my life, or is it me who has disassociated from my temperament. My temperament defines my actions, my wisdom defines me and I start to live life similar to the deities within that yantra. I am, period. I do nothing... I just am. When this disassociation becomes significant, by the path of Bhakti in my case, offering every action and every worry and every happiness to the Gods, then the actions I do are immaterial, the knowledge I acquire is significant, the mind has been tamed. 

And that is when I realize this truth, I moved from "I do" to "I am". 

And this "I am" is a silent being, in sync with the Gods observing the universe play with all of you. Karma marga becomes an offering, Gyana marga becomes a blessing and Bhakti marga becomes a way of life. 


The Art of Learning Wisdom

The mental detachment has set in, all that is around me appears like relative existence. Where then is my true home? 

It has taken many long years, to understand and control my own temperament and start working with my grey cells consciously. When trouble hit, the mind went its way and the heart went its way... that was my temperament. It was a tug of war between what I wanted - when the heart spoke, and how I wanted it - when my mind spoke. And they both were against me - The soul. How then were we to meet eye to eye and arrive at a solution that would work for all of us?

The mind had an ego to please, the heart was hurt and had to be soothed, and I, the soul, was left standing asking the question "what about me?"

The mind had traveled a million thoughts by then, from one potential disaster to the next, and the heart was on a self-inflicting binge, hurting itself more than it needed to. I sat down, quietly, detached from both and watched they till they went silent. Worship helped, the divine flame of wisdom glowed to guide me through the madness inside my head. I just rattled on with the japa, which appeared to be of no use as the mind and heart were tormenting me with their make or break deals. 

The soul stood up finally, deciding for everyone, mind, heart and itself, that war was not the answer. Things had to be sorted out amicably. And, with the grace of the divine flame, a messy situation actually got averted. Peace reigned again. In the external world, the problem actually subsided for the better. I made peace. 


This is a state we all go through, when any kind of trouble hits us. Some of us may face ourselves head on, some of us may play escapist and some of us may just inflict more trouble on ourselves. Such is our temperament and we keep adding to the karma bucket endlessly because we didn’t use the grey cells to their fullest potential. 

So what is fullest potential? Is there something beyond that state that I can tap to avert a possibly mishap in my life - thanks to me being me? Fullest potential is when we take control of 2 things, our ego, and our selfishness. We need to believe that it doesn’t hurt to let the ego go, it doesn’t hurt to let go our selfishness and all its related fears. 

The outcome, believe me, is a breath of fresh air. Using the grey cells to the fullest potential is to not give the mind what it wants, is to not nurture the hurt in the heart but to just switch off the brain for a while and live in the lull. The soul takes over at this time, the silence helps calm the madness, in the external world, I am silent and no one knows the massacre of the mind and heart that is taking place inside. I fix the problem because I just let go my ego and selfishness. 

At the end of this ordeal, there was peace outside, everyone out there was happy and I turned a step closer to understanding wisdom. 


I had to move mountains inside my head, I had to appease two parts of me that never have listened to me, I had to nab my temperament, and it worked! It worked brilliantly. I learned the art of exercising wisdom. And what a learning that was!

Will I be able to do it again, next time... i don’t know... but for now I have learned one thing - I am capable of doing it and that is a lot of divine wealth for now.