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.