From time immemorial, we have believed ourselves to be the body that we have been given. Because of that we get affected by whatever happens to the body. As a result, we become happy or sad. We wander around trying to make happiness last and try to run away from unhappiness. In this frenzy, we bind infinite good and bad karmas and thus live out the rest of our life. In our next life when we reap the seeds of karma then the questions arise, ‘Why is this happening to me?’ Just like this we have gone through infinite lives and yet we have not been able to find a solution to this worldly life.
The principle is that whatever you believe belongs to you, you will be affected by it. Whatever you believe does not belong to you, will not affect you. From the time you believe the body to be yours, you are bound and when you recognize it as foreign then you are free.
So if you are not this body then who are you and how do you know who you are?
For that, have a look at what Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan says about “Who are you really”.
Dadashri : Who Are You?
Questioner : I am John.
Dadashri : What is your name?
Questioner : My name is John.
Dadashri : Do you see a contradiction in the statements ‘I am John’ and ‘My name is John’? How can the name and the entity it belongs to, be one and the same? When a person dies, his name is taken away from him during his funeral rites, is it not? It is even removed from the census records.
Who does this hand belong to? Who does this leg belong to?
Questioner : They are mine.
Dadashri : They are all parts of this body. What is yours in all that? Who does the mind within you belong to?
Questioner : It is mine.
Dadashri : What about speech?
Questioner : It is mine.
Dadashri : Whose body is this?
Questioner : That is mine too.
Dadashri : When you say, ‘it is mine’, does it not occur to you that the owner of these body parts is separate from the body?
Questioner : Yes.
Dadashri : Then have you ever wondered who you really are?
Will you not have to investigate who you really are? For how long can you go on being in the dark, unaware of your real Self? Do you not think it is ignorance to not investigate your true identity? Only when you realize the answer to the question "Who are you?" does your wrong belief stop. It is because of this wrong belief that you have been wandering from one life to another. You do not know your true identity and furthermore you impress upon yourself, the belief of that which you are not. You have imposed this wrong belief on your Real Self.
Dadashri: The belief of, “I am John,” does not diminish, even in your sleep. And when you get married, people say to you, “You are this woman’s husband,” and therefore, you accept the role of a husband, and act like one. After that, through repetition, you keep reiterating the notion of being a husband. Is anyone a husband forever? If you get divorced will you still be her husband? All these false beliefs have become deeply ingrained within you.
The first wrong belief is that of “I am John.” “I am this woman’s husband,” is the second wrong belief, and “I am a Hindu,” is the third wrong belief. “I am a lawyer,” is the fourth wrong belief. “I am this boy’s father,” is the fifth wrong belief. “I am an uncle,” is the sixth wrong belief. “I am fair-skinned,” is the seventh wrong belief. “I am forty-five years old,” is the eighth wrong belief. “I am a businessman,” is also a wrong belief. If you say, “I am a taxpayer,” then that is yet another wrong belief. How many such wrong beliefs do you have?
Questioner: Too many wrong beliefs.
Dadashri: Wherever you superimpose ‘I’, where ‘I’ does not belong, that is a wrong belief. You have to get rid of all these wrong beliefs. How can you be happy with so many wrong beliefs? Now tell me. What kinds of beliefs make a man happy?
Questioner: The person who does not have any beliefs is happy.
Dadashri: No, one cannot live without beliefs. But what you need is the right belief.
Questioner: Is it possible to be without any beliefs?
Dadashri: Suppose we want to go from Los Angeles to San Francisco, but instead we take the road going to San Diego. Do we not then, have to backtrack from San Diego to Los Angeles (our original place) before we proceed to San Francisco? Likewise, it is important to keep this right belief in order to come back to our original place. Once you get rid of the wrong beliefs and keep the right belief for a while, you will arrive at your original place, after which there will no longer be a need to keep any beliefs. Then your work is done.
Now, how will you get rid of all these wrong beliefs?
Questioner: I don’t know. I need your guidance for that.
Dadashri: Yes, because one does not possess the knowledge of how to rid himself of this wrong belief, he continues to wander aimlessly in this world, life after life. Even if he comes to know that this belief is wrong, he does not know how to get rid of it. Infinite lives have passed without getting rid of even a single, wrong belief.
In order to get rid of your wrong beliefs, you need to understand the difference between ‘I’ and ‘My.’ You can find out the exact demarcation between the two by reading, “Scientific understanding of 'Who am I?' ‘I’ and ‘My’ Are Separate”
*John = Whenever Dadashri uses the name 'John' or the name of the person Dadashri is addressing, the reader should insert his or her name for exact understanding.