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Chapter 2: Neither Mine nor Yours

All the things of this world, organic and inorganic,
are filled with God.
Enjoy them through renouncing them.
Be detached;
do not covet other people’s riches.

The essential proclamation of the Ishavasya Upanishad, the very meaning of its title, Ishavasya, is: Everything is God’s. All things belong to God. But our human mind tries to argue that it is all ours, and we live in this delusion throughout our lives. Something is mine. The idea is of ownership and possession - it is mine!

When everything is existence’s, there is no place left for this “I” of mine to stand. Remember, for its manifestation even ego needs a base. To endure, even “I” needs the support of “my.” If the support of “my” were not there, it would be impossible to forge the “I.” From a casual observation it appears that the “I” comes first and “mine” follows it. But the fact is quite the reverse. First, “mine” has to be founded, and then the structure of “I” is built onto it. If whatever you have which you call “mine” is wrested entirely from your grasp, then your “I” will not be spared. It will disappear. “I” is nothing but the collection of “mines.” “I” is created from the fabric of “mine” - my wealth, my building, my religion, my temple, my position, my name, my family, and so on.

As we go on throwing down each “mine” the base of “I” is simultaneously eroded away. If not a single “mine” is saved, then there is no foundation on which the “I” can stand. The “I” needs a resting place, a shelter, a house of “mine.” The “I” requires a foundation stone of “mine” otherwise the whole structure of “I” will tumble down. The first proclamation of the Ishavasya intends to collapse the entire structure. The sage says, “Everything is of God.” There is no place for “mine.” There is no scope at all even for “I” to say “mine” for itself. If it can say “I am,” it is wrong. If it persists in saying “I am,” then it is a bewildered “I.” It is necessary to understand this from two or three points of view.

The first is this: you are born, I am born. But nobody asks me whether I want to be born or not; no trouble is ever taken to find out my wishes. My birth is not dependent on my desire or on my acceptance. When I know myself, I know myself having been born. There is nothing like my being before my birth. Let us consider it in this way: you are constructing a building; you never ask the building whether or not it wishes to be built. The building has no will of its own. You are constructing it, and it is erected.

Have you ever thought that you also were never consulted before your birth? Existence causes you to be born, and you are born. Existence creates you, and you are created. If the building becomes conscious, it will say, “I.” If it becomes conscious, it will refuse to consider its maker as its owner, as its master. The building will say, “The builder is my servant; he has constructed me. The materials are mine; he has served me. I was willing to be made, so he has made me.”

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