The Mother Divine
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A linguist recently observed that more words starting with “I” are being used in the last century than ever before. This linguist makes an argument, albeit a farfetched one, saying individualism is widespread today; everything is about “I”, there are more brands in the market starting with “I” than ever before (iPhones and iPad etc. included) and the number of times a person uses the word “I” has grown by sixty times compared to the last century. So true!

He further observes, that “there’s no ‘you’, there’s no ‘we’ and no ‘us’. Society is I-conscious, I-ridden, I-centric.” A modern Indian psychologist comments in this regard, “The highest philosophy of the day is assertion of “I”. Culture, civilization and social norms are not only promoting but also paying a homage to this “I” consciousness.”

When we contemplate about this scenario, we realize we are treading a dismal path and the credo of the day is in sharp contradiction with what the sages have been saying for centuries. Ramakrishna Paramahamsa said, “It is the increase of egoism that leads to the increase of sin and its decrease conduces to the attainment of virtue. When the “I” dies, all troubles are over.” “Ah!” he continues, “it is egoism only that is called in the scriptures, the ‘knot of spirit and matter’. Spirit or consciousness means the Self which is of the nature of pure knowledge and matter means the body, senses etc. This egoism has tied these two together and has created in the human mind the firm delusion, ‘I am a Jiva possessed of the body, sense etc.’ One cannot make any progress if one cannot cut this difficult knot asunder.”

Well, the message is loud and clear. Someone may think that, in that case, the very foundation of modern civilization needs to be razed to the ground. The ‘I’ thing –the ‘knot of spirit and matter’ must be undone. The twin towers of “I”/”Me” and “Mine” must be blown in our own interest. Sri Ramakrishna’s mathematical relationship of curve that shows increase in egoism leading to sin and its decrease leading to virtue is a telling one.

We can further note that while the earlier day individual shared in both ‘I/me’ and ‘mine’, often the me/ mine overreaching the ‘I’, now even ‘mine’ is disappearing and shifting its energies to the all-powerful “I”. There are no longer scruples over my house, my family, my community etc. The modern day individual seems to be an intense “I” conscious individual, reluctant even to let the self, diffuse into one’s own things or any collective identity.

A spiritual aspirant has many battles to fight, he has to subdue attachments to money, power, possessions, fame and so on. But these are mere battles, the real war is with the “I”. If one were to ask which is that one thing, by starving which, all other ailments may leave the man? Well, the answer is ego/ I. No wonder Sri Ramakrishna says in a sweep, “When the “I” dies, all troubles are over.”

Now comes the real challenge, How to kill the “I” and end all troubles, if possible in one shot? Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath provides a simple formula to win the “I”. He nattily tells us that you may not be able to renounce your sense of I, but you can hand it over to the One from whom you borrowed it in the first place. He asks us not to fear. He says, “My dearest! Fear not! Never forget that I am protecting you in My bosom. You have Me, dear, I am yours. Don’t be afraid.” God is saying I am yours in order to assure His protection, but before that it’s our turn to pledge ourselves with “I am Yours” in the way Lord Ram recommends. We must walk up to God and bend our I-filled head before Him saying, “God, I am yours! Make me yours!”

Thakur quotes from the Ramayana:

“Sakrideva Prapannaya tavaasmiti cha yaachate
Abhayam Sarva bhutebyo dadaamyetad vratam mama”

He who just once surrenders to me saying “I am thine,” to him and all such do I grant absolute reassurance, for that is my vow.

This is wonderfully simple. “I” can be killed with ‘I am yours’. Many are the prayers we can offer to God. God, rid me of anger. God, give me a house. God, remove my disease. God, give me fame. God, give me discrimination. All these are only secondary growths of the real malaise. The real malaise is in the “I” and by saying to God ‘I am yours’ (Tavaasmi) and surrendering to Him, we put an axe to all the problems. This is the discovery which saints like Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath have made. They have urged us not to go on tackling the manifold branches of the tree and hit right at the root of it all.

If I give up my “I”, whatever is mine is gone automatically. When someone is taken a slave, everything belonging to the slave goes along with it. In the same way, if we give ourselves to God, all that is an attachment to ‘ours’ (a hindrance to our spiritual growth), is automatically eliminated. We have to simply say and feel ‘I am yours’ and live this truth. We go to God and say all kinds of things, but how many actually go and say to him ‘I am yours’. The implications of saying ‘I am yours’ are really far-reaching. We are at once relieved. The onus shifts away from us.

Taking this to a further depth, Sri Sri Sitaramdas Omkarnath in Amrit Bindu says: “As the karana deha is chastened, one cultivates the realization of the idea that “all is You” (i.e. God)… “as spectator, you permeate all things and I have come to you for refuge”. This is enough to do away with the illusion of duality…. you have to hold fast to that supreme Mantra, “I have come to you for refuge”.
The bondage at the very root is lodged in the causal body (karana deha) in the feeling “I am the body, senses etc.” But with the practice of Tavaasmi (I am yours), the illusion is removed because whatever I think I am (erroneously) is disclaimed and its proprietorship handed over to God.
Let us keep repeating, “Tavaasmi…. God! I am yours! I am yours! I am yours!”

Raj Supe (Kinkar Vishwashreyananda)
The Editor