Who Am I?
by Sankar Sastri

[April 12, 2001]

Prof. Sankar Sastri pondered on the awesome question of "Who am I?" He started with the body's five senses, through which we experience the external world, so-called reality. But our mind, and our intellect can create a higher level of inner and outer reality. The development of our senses and our mind, however, led to the construction of our ego, with a focus on the self: I, me, and mine. The more entrenched this ego formation is, the more difficult it will be for our soul to reach pure consciousness, the state of reunion with our Creator, where we will eternally be full of happiness, and knowledge.

Very often, we are bombarded by thoughts which drove us in mindless pursuit of sensual pleasure and material rewards. These random thoughts can be so loud that they drown out our inherent ability to stay serene. The practice of sitting alone, in the dark, concentrating on finding out "Who am I ?" may help us get hold of the silence in between thoughts, and provide us with a glimpse of reality, a state where we merge with the universe, and become one with our Creator.

The talk by Prof. Sankar Sastri drew one of the liveliest discussion afterwards. Questions and comments flowed back and forth between the speaker and the audience, and among the audience itself. Prof. Prasad even composed a poem exploring the me in the hope of reaching the bigger we. Prof. Eva Chan raised the question of whether a certain Gift is needed to connect to the Creator. Prof. Chandan extended the discussion to the concept of "Atman" in his Sheik religion. Mr. Charles Chung recommended to the gathering, the Confucianist ethics as a model of behavior while Prof. James Lap, who has worked closely with Prof. Sastri at New York City Technical College, wondered aloud what has happened to his old friend, the former Dean of Engineering.

In addition to his talk, Prof. Sastri shared with the audience some photographs taken at his 44 acres farmland, showing his cows which were rescued from the slaughterhouse. He called on the audience to join him in providing a haven for the gentle animal by more adoption. To achieve that, contribution of money or service would be needed. Prof. Sastri invited all who are interested to go and visit him and his cows, promising hands-on milking demonstration. He also suggested that the next AAHEC retreat could be held at his farm in Bangor, Pennsylvania, which is only 70 miles from New York City.




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