Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Discovering One’s Identity - I

Srimate ramanujaya namaha

Priya arangan adiyar,
One of the marks of a Srivaishnava is the lapse of his personal artificial identity in his true nature of servitude or śeṣatva.  At this stage, the Srivaishnava gives up his temporary qualifiers gained from birth and adopts the dāsya nāma.  Thus, we come across the common names of Rāmānujadāsa, Śrīvaiṣṇava dāsa and Śrīnivāsadāsa among Srivaishnavas.

The realization of this nature of subservience is not the loss of identity or the shedding of one’s distinction.  It is the attainment of the true nature of the self, where one’s identity is truly gained.

Artificial qualifiers with which we often associate ourselves and consider to be integral parts of who we are, are misleading.  These qualifiers are gained from various events and experiences of life, and are gained at defined points of time.
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They do not reflect our eternal identity.  The role of these artificial qualifiers is to shroud the true nature of the self and Nārāyaṇa.  Going by these qualifiers, one submits oneself to the actions, emotions and philosophy associated with such identities.  Though one feels accomplishment at times, one has in truth lost oneself to these qualifiers.

Realizing the dāsya svarūpa of the self is the process of regaining this lost identity.  It is the means to see ourselves as we truly are without contamination from external factors.  It provides insight to the true character of the self divorced from the labels derived from habit or bondage to various aspects of our mundane existence.  It is what defines us even when these binds fall apart.

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