HomeFocusReality: going beyond fake existence

SANJAY SEHGAL, CEO of MSys Technologies, shares a story of a man whose ego-driven intentions led to a much-needed lesson, and explains the importance of connecting with our truest selves so we can authentically fulfill our purpose.

What is the purpose of my life?

Who am I? Why am I here? What am I really doing?

A direction to the answer to these questions is in this article, but bear with me to get there.

The three wishes

There was once a sage who gave his disciple a magic mantra that would fulfill three of his wishes. But the boon came with a catch: The disciple’s neighbor would be twice blessed with whatever the disciple received.

The disciple was overjoyed. He chanted the mantra for a good living, including a nice house, a beautiful wife, elephants, horses, cows, buffaloes, etc., without paying much heed to the codicil.

As predicted, his neighbor received twice what the disciple wished for.

Suddenly the disciple felt the weight of his wish and its condition. He became jealous, and started wanting to harm his neighbor.

So intense was his desire that he used his second wish for his neighbor to lose one of his eyes and break a leg and an arm. His neighbor thus lost both his eyes, and broke both arms and legs.

But, as destiny had it, soon the disciple was struck by paralysis that completely immobilized him. He lost the use of his working arm, leg and eye. He was devastated and wanted to use the last wish to get back to normalcy. However, the mantra did not work.

The disciple was confused and called his teacher, the sage. The wise sage came to visit his disciple and learned the whole story. He pointed out that the wish could not be granted because of the condition. The neighbor had to receive twice whatever the disciple wished for, and no normal human has four eyes, arms, and legs.

The disciple realized his mistake and used his last wish to regain the use of one eye, arm, and leg to at least be mobile. And lo! His neighbor was back to being healthy.

The moral of the story

This is what happens when we get too wrapped up in ourselves and our own importance. The disciple was probably hard-working, which is why he received a boon from the sage, but due to a lack of self-introspection his hard work turned him into an egotist.

To save our minds and not be trapped in an ego-trip, it is very important to investigate the motives behind our actions. And a reality check every now and again would not go amiss either.

To save our minds and not
be trapped in an ego-trip,
it is very important to investigate
the motives behind our actions.
And a reality check every now
and again would not go amiss either.

A reality check?

In life, we play different roles – son or daughter, brother or sister, wife or husband, mother or father, boss or subordinate, mentor or mentee, etc.

But who we are, our identities, differs in each of these roles. In other words, can we behave like a son or daughter, be demanding and emotional the way we are with our parents, say, or in front of a boss?

The answer is no, we cannot. Our behavior changes based on the people and situations we are in.

The same thing applies to social media. Our behavior, actions, the way we project ourselves, is influenced by the various platforms on which we have our profiles. And it is when our identities clash that we enter crisis mode, much like the story of the neighbor in the beginning. The desire to be better than someone else pushes us toward an identity crisis.

In the race to be better, to be the same as others, to fit in, we compromise on personal space, without taking a note of the fact that we have no control over the way people may perceive us.

We have no clue which version of us will be liked. So, to meet the unsaid demands of social media, we keep changing our behavior, which eventually leads to a loss of identity.

The only way we can save ourselves is to go beyond this fake existence, identify who we really are, and become secure in ourselves.


How to approach the real us?

How do we merge the experience of the virtual world with our authentic self ? Let’s do a self-study.

Ask yourself: “What does being authentic mean? Does our version of our authentic selves align with the reality?”

No knowledge is complete without subject and object. When we introspect, we can differentiate between subjective perception (that we imbibe from our surroundings), and objective knowledge (of things and life as they are).

This is self-study: To be able to differentiate between perception and reality, which happens when we go beyond our existence.

Meditative practices help this process, helping us to stay true to our inner nature without letting the demands of a consumer-driven society define our existence.

To summarize

Let’s return to the questions:

Who am I? Why am I here? What am I really doing? What is the purpose of my life at this time?

These are the questions that help us stay true to ourselves and stick to reality.

They trigger a spirit of inquiry from within, which in turn lifts us to another dimension that is free from ego, jealousy, depression, worry, and all sorts of mental stress.

Seeing life from a broader context is what meditation is all about. It is not about chanting a few mantras or some nasal breathing techniques and performing religious rituals. We don’t need to do any of that. Instead, the quest to uncover the very source of our existence is enough to help us differentiate fake from reality.

The only side effect of sticking to our true nature is a happy, healthy and intuitive conscience.

So, as they say, “You be you.” That’s the purpose of our life at all times.


Illustrations by ANANYA PATEL

Sanjay Sehgal


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