Who are we? This does seem an easy question to answer. Or so we would think. We know our given names. We know what our position in an office is. We know where we live, who is related to us, what social standing we have.

But does any of this answer the question? The fact is that none of this really serves to identify us, because all these are based on external factors. None of this really matters. What really matters is the imperishable atma, said Akkarakkani Srinidhi, in a discourse.

Position and wealth can be lost. Relatives are our relatives for this birth. Friendship ends too. But what remains is the atma. So, when we say ‘we’ or ‘I,’ we should not be talking of the body or about external appearances, but we should keep in mind the atma.

Great men and women realise this. Many of them have composed verses, expressing their devotion to God.

The Lord is not in the least concerned about our external appearance, or about pomp and show. We cannot impress Him by spending crores of rupees in worship, when in our hearts, we hardly ever think of Him. Thoughts of Him should fill our minds and love for Him should fill our hearts.

In our arrogance and pride, we assume that He will be moved by the magnitude of our riches. We forget that He gave them the riches and if He is so inclined, He can take away what He has given us. He can make a pauper rich in a trice or a rich man poor, if He so wishes. After all what did Kuchela offer Lord Krishna, when he visited the Lord? A handful of rice flakes. But his reward was unimaginable wealth.

The wealth that the Lord gave Kuchela was because of his love for the Lord. Those who know that the atma is all that matters are the ones who will reach God.

Meera Bai once wanted to attend a religious discourse. But the person who was giving the lecture would not allow women in. So she sent word to him wondering if there were such distinctions where the atma was concerned.

Man-woman, rich-poor, educated-uneducated — all these are just external factors. It is the atma which matters, not the body in which it dwells briefly.

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