Mistaken identity and blurred consciousness || IIT Kharagpur (2022)

May 30, 2022 | Acharya Prashant

Questioner (Q):You talked about consciousness, and you also said how we should not associate ourselves with our identities like daughter, student, or a friend. But I was born as a daughter, and my parents took care of me; then I was a friend, a sister, and a student. So, in all this chaos, how do we identify who we really are? What exactly is consciousness?

Acharya Prashant (AP): That which is making you ask this question right now, that which is hearing and would respond very soon, that without which this world itself doesn’t exist—that is consciousness.

These identities that we are born with or start assuming later on through the course of life, they are shallow things. Sometimes we need to carry them just to make practical life a little smooth and a little efficient. It makes sense to carry your ID card if you are to enter an examination hall, right? You cannot say there, “I am nobody and I don’t have an identity.” If you want to cast your vote, you need your voter ID proof and such things. You cannot say, “I do not exist, I am none of my identities. What is India? I am not an Indian, I am not a human being.” If you say all those things, probably you would be existentially right but you won’t be able to cast your vote.

So, we have to take all the various identities with a pinch of salt. They are there, but they must be kept in their right place. They should never be allowed to encroach on the center, on the pure sanctum sanctorum of your life. And you know that. You never keep one identity very close to your heart anyway. When you go home, for example, you do not


Acharya Prashant is an emerging champion of socio-spiritual awakening in the world today. An alumnus of IIT-Delhi and IIM-Ahmedabad, and a former Civil Services officer, Acharya Prashant is an acclaimed Speaker, Vedanta Teacher and author of over 50 books. Apart from that he wears various hats: a veganism promoter, an environmental activist, a science activist, a campaigner against superstition, and a champion of essential human freedom. Know More