Who Am I?


I don’t understand anything, please help me 🙏 what is me, what is not me, why am I here, I had a near death experience before, why I have to take birth and die again, what am I doing , why I have to do anything, why these people, who are they? I am 21 year old college student and I have exams and responsibilities to fulfill in this physical plane, but why all this? Why I have to go through this path of karma? I don’t know anything. Please help me🙏

—Siddharth, India


Dear Siddarth,

I would say the first thing needed is to calm down! You are having an anxiety attack and feeling disconnected. There are some who would say this is an intense spiritual experience — it is certainly an existential one!

However, nothing can possibly come clear until calmness is achieved. The “answer” to all of these questions is hidden inside the personal pronoun “I”. Who am I? I AM that I AM (Tat twam asi). But this true knowledge does not trigger an anxiety attack. Only the very fringes of the seeming emptiness or void implied in the question is what triggers the fright. And having had a near-death experience, you would have experienced the unreality of the material world.

But in the meantime, getting your feet on solid ground is the first “step.” Even if existentially, or in terms Advaita Vedanta, the “I” as separate and real does not exist, that doesn’t help us so long as we live, breath, eat, and have exams to take and responsibilities to fulfill!

Those rishis who have known their dual nature (transcendent and immanent) are able to fulfill their duties calmly, even as they “in-joy” the beatitude of inner freedom from ego.

We are born to fulfill our destiny of finding freedom. By the practice of meditation (pranayam), yoga, prayer and nishkam karma (selfless service and activity), you can fulfill the dharma that will earn your freedom from the unreal “I.”

Take as a gift of intuitive insight the blessing you have received — even if, like Arjuna being granted by Krishna the vision of his divine Self, it is a bit unnerving. Choose as Arjuna wisely did to “come back to earth” to fulfill his rightful duties.

Blessings my friend!
Nayaswami Hriman