Our topic tonight is “Let love into your life”, is that right? Good idea, good idea.
We are going to talk about a few things in relation to this; many things are connected as always. Those of you who have been to my previous talks, you’ve heard what I am going to say now, but those of you who haven’t, this is all very important information, something that we all need to know. This is how the understanding of life really begins and that is knowing who we are, the subject of identity.
We speak from the platform of the Vedic scriptures. This is called Vedic knowledge. “Veda” means “Truth”. The Vedic scriptures are the most ancient scriptures, actually they were written down 5,000 years ago, but the knowledge contained in these Vedic scriptures is eternal. Prior to being written down it was passed down orally from one perfect master to the next. Such a line of perfect teachers is known as a disciplic succession or a parampara. We are in the parampara known as the Brahma Sampradaya and we feel very fortunate to receive our knowledge through this linage. This is not my opinion; I am just passing on this eternal science.
In the Vedas it says that we should all ask ourselves the question “Who am I?” But unfortunately we almost never ask this question because we think we already know the answer.
Certainly we all have our identities. We’ve had them our whole life, we have them in our minds, we have them on our lips, and we even have them in our pockets. Meaning this is who I think I am, this is who I tell others I am and I can prove it, “Here is my passport, my documents.” We accept this and so does everyone else, but is this our true identity?
Upon close examination we find this is only a compilation of many labels and the labeling process begins at birth. All of us here right now, as soon as we took birth received one of two labels: male or female and we still indentify ourselves like that today: I am a man or I am a woman. At the same time we get another label according to our race: Caucasian, Negroid, whatever it may be. Our national identity can be very strong: I am Canadian, I am American and our family identity: we belong to this family. Actually this identity is so strong that every day on this planet one person kills another person, just because they have a different label.
And this is just the beginning; many labels come and go throughout our entire life. So once again, at birth we are also known as babies, then kids, and we start school – now we are students, a few more years go by – we become teenagers, and then finally adults. We take up some profession in life and we are known accordingly: doctors, lawyers, secretaries, nurses. Then we get married, immediately we are a husband or a wife. We have a child and now we are parents: fathers, mothers; a few more years go by: grandfathers, grandmothers. And this is how we see ourselves, “This is me, this is who I am.” This continues on and on until we finally get the last label: dead.
But looking closely we see this is all in relation to our material bodies. Yes, it is true, the body is male or female, black or white, old or young, big or little, whatever the body is, it is, that is true. The question is, “Is this who we are?”
Every day we all take our pilgrimage to the mirror to see how ‘we’ look. Sometimes we are a little disappointed. We always come back the next day, “Maybe there has been some improvement”…. usually not. (Laughs) But do we really see ourselves? So the question is, “Am I this material body?”
If we want the most authoritative answer, we should go to the revealed scriptures of the world. There we learn very quickly: no, you’re not the material body, but this is the modern world; very rarely does anyone go to scriptures to find the truth in life. But we do readily accept the conclusion of the scientists, you see, we like the scientists because they prove things.
In this case the scientists had proven in their laboratories that we are not our material bodies. They have discovered that there is no cell in the human body that lives more than 5 years. Some cells have a very short life. For instance, the lining of the stomach, those cells live 5 days, our skin cells – one month, liver cells – 6 weeks, etc. But in 5 years everything has changed. So if I am looking at a photograph of myself taken 10 years ago, the eyes in the photograph are different than the eyes I am looking at the photograph with, actually they are not the same eyes.
According to the scientific knowledge, if I am 35 years old, I’ve had 7 bodies. But of course we all know that we are not 7 different people. Everybody knows, “Hey, I am still me.” So the changing factor is the material body, the constant factor is ourselves. Yes, we are not these material bodies.
At this point some people become introspective, they begin to look inside to find out who they really are. And when we do look inside, what do we find? There is emotion, desire, sentiment, feeling, will, all very real and it’s easy to conclude, “Aha! This is who I really am!” Maybe we even have some experience that reinforces this. Let’s say we are very emotionally upset, when we realize that when people look at us, they don’t see us, all they see is the outside cover. We might feel very lonely, sometimes we may even say, “Gee, nobody really knows me.”
But again we must confirm this conclusion with scripture, especially the Vedic scriptures because they are very detailed in knowledge. And when we do, we find we made another mistake, this is not who we are either, this is actually another material body. It is called the subtle mental body, sometimes called the astral body, I know some of you have heard of the astral body. So we really have two bodies, we’ve got our physical body and we have our mental body. Like having on two layers of clothing, we have our outer layer and then we have our under layer. But who are we?
So once again we go to the Vedas. There we learn that we are in a different category of energy. Everything is energy. Our bodies are material energy, but we learn that we are spiritual energy, and we further learn that we are a tiny little spark of spiritual energy.
We learn that material energy is temporary and that is very easy to see. We know all too well our bodies are very temporary, so much so that we don’t even want to talk about it, “Hey, hey, hey, don’t talk about that!” But even the more permanent things like this building, come back here in 1,000 years, “Gee, where was that lecture again?” see, temporary. But we learn that spirit is eternal, eternal means no beginning and no end; so we are eternal.
We also learn material energy is non-living, and that is easy to see. This table or this microphone, there is no life, but we learn that spirit is life itself. There is no such thing as live matter, there is no such thing as dead spirit. We are the life force in the body and as long as we are present in the body, the body is called alive. But actually this is not true; the body is dead. We are alive, and that becomes very obvious at the time of death. At the time of death we leave the body and at that moment the body reveals its true nature. It can’t even sit in a chair; it falls on the floor. We are the life force in the body; therefore our true identity is spirit soul. Spirit meaning that we are spiritual in essence, soul meaning we are eternally the individual spiritual sparks; we never become someone else, we never cease to exist.
For some people this is very depressing news, “What? I’ll always be me? Gee, I thought it is going to be over soon.” Sorry, it’s never over. (Laughs) But when we learn the truth in life, this becomes very wonderful news. So once again we are spirit soul, we further learn that we are a part and partial of the Supreme Soul. We all come from the Supreme Soul; we are known as the atma and the Supreme Soul is the Paramatma.
This is the foundation of understanding life. If we don’t know this, it is impossible to understand life.