THE TRUE IDENTITY

Once Sheikh Raunqi Ram fell in love – with his hair!  So obsessed became he, with his hair, that he would spend hours every day, in front of the mirror admiring his cherished crown of dense silky hair.  He would cut corners in all other expenses, so that he could buy the costliest and the best hair oil, shampoo and accessories for his dear dear hair.  It appeared that he had reserved his right hand exclusively for caressing his priced possession, his crown.  The obsession with his hair became so deep that he started identifying himself with his hair only.

Once he set out for a journey to the hills, accompanied by two of his friends- a barber and a bald man.  With the kind of well kempt hair that he had, he felt at the top of the world, feeling like a lone tall tree in a desert, fluttering high in the air.

They walked and walked the whole day and reached a place which was just the beginning of a dense scary forest. It was getting dark. “We should stop here”, they decided, because the way ahead was not safe for travelling at night. Moreover, they were extremely tired. So they decided to end their journey for the day and to camp there for the night.

Tired though they were, yet in the heart of their hearts, they were afraid to go to sleep. They were just at the gateway of a dense, unknown, fearful forest, which may be full of dreaded animals. What if some animals or perhaps dacoits, or thieves strike them at night?  So they decided to sit on guard, turn by turn. The turns were also allotted. Barber was to be followed by Sheikh Raunqi Ram and then the bald man.

So, it started with the Barber’s turn. Sheikh Raunqi Ram had a bottle of wine with him. He gobbled it down and prepared to sleep.  “Oh see how tired he was” he said pointing to the bald man who was already in deep slumber.

“Wake me up when it’s my turn to guard” he told the barber, as he stretched himself. Soon he was snoring, in deep sleep.

The barber too was tired and was extremely sleepy. But how could he sleep? It was his turn to guard. “I have to ward off the sleep at any cost”, he was determined. But how?

“It would be impossible to keep awake, if I sit idle. I must do some work”, thought he.

So, he decided to do what he was best at doing. Shaving off the hair. Well, but whose hair?

The bald man did not have any.   So the barber didn’t have much of a choice.  “It has to be Sheikh Raunqi Ram”, he decided, and took out his glistening shaving blade.

With all dexterity at his command, he began his task.   After some time he was through. Sheikh Raunqi Ram’s majestic crown of hair now lay on the ground, shattered and shredded, his freshly balded scalp glistening in the moonlit night. The barber had finished his job and his turn too. However, Sheikh Raunqi Ram, blissfully unaware, lay there, under his deep sleep induced jointly by wine and tiredness.

It was Sheikh Raunqi Ram’s turn now. “Get up, Sheikh Raunqi Ram. It is your turn to guard now”, the barber shook Sheikh Raunqi Ram out of his slumber and then stretched himself besides him to enter into much needed repose.

Sheikh Raunqi Ram sat down with a jerk and, his hand, trained over the years, automatically moved to his head, to caress his pride, his hair. Unable to find his tuft, and caressing his own bald head he chuckled to himself. “Foolish barber! He was to wake me up for my turn, but he has woken up the bald man instead.”

How ironical! Sheikh Raunqi Ram misidentifying himself with his bald friend! He is not able to recognize his own self.

Why? Just because he could not find the hair that he identified himself with.  Did his identity get entangled into his hair alone? Entangled in those hair, which any one could remove from his head, without his knowledge, in his slumber?

Let us spread to the furthermost corners, this great realization of Sheikh Raunqi Ram.

Let us think, under the slumber of Agyana, and intoxicated by the wine of Ahamkara, have we not entangled ourselves in some or the other false identity, refusing to recognize our own selves?

I am a Hindu, a Sikh, A Christian…………., or a follower of any other faith which I believe has become my identity.  Why, entangled into this false identity, do I believe that I am superior to every other being?  Why am I not able to identify myself with that all pervading force present in every being, living or non-living?

I am wise , I am foolish,  rich, poor, good, bad, young, old, man, woman, which of these physical and material states has trapped me into believing  that I am egoistic, helpless weakling. What has made me forget my very source, the Satchitanand Paramatma, entangling myself in the thorny bushes of Raga-Dvesha .

I am an Indian, a Pakistani, a recluse or a worldly being, which of these adopted forms is forcibly trying to pass itself as my true identity making me oblivious of my true dharma, forming a smoggy veil of  mundane actions and beliefs.

In fact it is this false identity, which is ever inviting, to establish in my being, the storms of sorrow, the thorns of Raga Dvesha, the debility, and the ceaseless turmoil. It is this false identity that is robbing me of my greatest asset, my Paramsukha, the everlasting bliss, ironically making my own self the weapon for this robbery.

Can I achieve that Paramsukha unless I jerk myself apart from my false assumed and adopted identity! Till then can I be what I ought to be, what in fact I actually am!