I take myself to be the body, the sense organs or the mind. My conclusion about myself is that I am confined to the personality. What yoga teaches us is that we are not merely this personality; that we are not merely the body; that we are not merely the sense organs and that we are not merely the mind. The personality is, in fact, the vehicle for the manifestation of the person. Just as electricity is a subtle principle and requires a filament, a bulb and such other appliances to become manifest, similarly, Consciousness or the Self requires this personality to become manifest as life.
Is there a problem in taking myself to be the personality? My conclusion or judgment that I am my personality plays a very important role in my life. Equating myself to my personality creates in me a sense of smallness and a sense of confinement. When I look at the whole world around me, I find myself to be nothing, I feel insignificant. In 1969, when man first landed on the moon, the television anchors were showing us the pictures of the earth taken from the moon. The earth looked like a small globe. What is this globe? It is a small little planet in the solar system. What is the solar system? It is one little thing in this galaxy. What is this galaxy? One among countless galaxies. Therefore, who am I? I am just an insignificant little speck of dust among these countless galaxies! Thus when we look at the scope of the whole universe and look at ourselves, we find ourselves to be insignificant. Each one of us suffers from a sense of insignificance. If we were quite happy being insignificant, we would not have any problem in life. But none of us can accept that we are insignificant, that we do not count.
We cannot accept certain things about our life. Do we accept the fact that we are going to die some day? A vast majority of us do not! We always want to push death as far out as we can. Ask anyone, “Are you ready to die?” He would want “One more day”. Even a person who is dying does not want to give up. A grandmother wants to see her grandson married; she is waiting for a great-grandchild! They still have a lot of aspirations or things to do. Nobody is willing to die. We cannot accept death; we cannot accept old age; we cannot accept gray hair, and we cannot accept wrinkles on our faces. We do not like to see that we are growing old and we do not like the idea that someday we may die. Even though we know that whosoever is born has to die, we still cannot accept this reality of life.
Similarly, we cannot accept ignorance. Nobody likes to be called ignorant or stupid or foolish, even though the world may judge him to be so! A new patient, who had been admitted to a lunatic asylum, was telling another patient all about himself. A doctor came to the new patient and asked him, “Hey, what is your name?” The new patient did not reply. “Where do you come from?” No reply. “What is the problem?” No reply. For about 10 minutes, the doctor tried to elicit information from this patient, but he would not oblige at all. In frustration, the doctor left. After the doctor had left, the other patient asked the new one, “You have been telling me all about yourself. Why did you not answer the doctor? The patient answered, “Do you think I am a fool? The doctor has my file and all the information he wanted is right there!” Thus even a foolish person does not want to accept that he is a fool. Even though we know that we are ignorant, we do not accept our ignorance.