CHENNAI: Spiritual quest rests on the freedom to question and goes beyond dogma, tradition and religion. Probing the basic question, "Who am I" is necessary for a logical and reflective understanding of the self in relation to the universe. Scriptures reveal the answers for many such dogging queries relating to the nature of the universe and the mechanics of the human body and mind.

In a lecture, Swami Suddhananda pointed out that human birth is an invaluable privilege to realise one's self and should not be frittered away. One should seriously be engaged in self-analysis to observe and scrutinise the working of one's mind and body to gain mastery over oneself, while also exploring this magnificent universe.

Being self-conscious and aware, the individual has the ability and opportunity to develop towards higher levels. Knowing the self is equal to knowing God. The sense organs are external instruments but the human mind is the inner tool with interesting sub sections that drive an individual's personality. Thoughts arise in the mind, intellect processes the thought and memory records the thoughts, experiences and sensations.

But over and above all there is the ego, the sense of "I" and "Mine", that smartly tries to usurp the functions of the eye, ear or nose when it claims to perform the actions of seeing, speaking, smelling, etc., that are automatically programmed in the body. An objective analysis of one's wants and desires will clarify the truth that it is not the physical body but the ego principle that makes the demand, thereby dictating the actions of the individual. An intelligent hold on the real mischief-maker the "I" which works its way like a harmful virus is necessary. When the self identifies with the body, mind and senses, the individual seems to enjoy pleasure and suffer sorrow. If one learns to handle the mind, so that a sense of discrimination is cultivated, then one has mastered the art of living.

A rational person in search of truth accepts it without any prejudice about the source, just as a medicine is accepted without any bias as long as it cures.