Identity and Personality

One of the most Intriguing and disturbing Novella, I have ever read is METAMORPHOSIS by Francis Kafka.

Franz kafka

In that novel a salesman, goes to bed and on waking up the next morning finds him transformed into a giant Insect. He is horrified and terrified and the novella then captures all the essence of everything that happens when a unexpected change happens. I was extremely thrilled to read the novel and was amused how a human mind can leap to such high to create such a master piece.

Years later, I was into psychology and started reading all the Psychological writings available. When I wanted to trace the origination point of western psychology, I had to end up with Philosophies of western world. I took a tour of it and returned to read Psychological writings by Indian and of India. To my surprise I found very little. So when I start searching for them intensely, one thing hit me. If we need to read psychology in India, it Is in the epics and in the Philosophies. Why would all Upanishads start with a story and then try to explain the most complex universal structure.

Two of the most important Philosophical Indian text, which I consider as the ultimatum of Psychology, is The Bhaghavath Gita and the Yoga Vashishta. If one can perceive these two texts with some depth, I can say he has seen all in psychic realms. Among the two i was blown away by Yoga Vashishta.

yoga vashishta

The Period of Yoga Vashishta is a uncertain. It is said 6th century text by some and 14th century by other. But we see a pattern very similar to Upanishad. Its starts with a story, the story here is RAMA who is a warrior philosopher, is in a great confusion about reality. He has questions like is there a single realty or multiple realities and what is his role if there is multiple realities? Will his Identity change if he is in multiple realities? Vashishta, a wise sage clears his doubts through parables.

In one story there is a king called Lavana. One fine day he wakes up and finds himself as a Shudra (There are four types of layers in Indian society humans based on their roles and the work that is to be done; they are Brahman – To acquire and spread knowledge; Kshatriya – To protect Brahman and other people from Danger and give Just rule; Vaisya – To build business and trade which brings money to the kingdom and to act as peace and marriage ambassadors for kingdom; Shudra – the tools men who make things that enables Kshatriya and vaisya to perform their role better). Lavana was confused and then it was found that he was hypnotized by court medicinal.

When I read Yoga Vashishta, almost 10 years have gone by since I read METAMORPHOSIS. The striking was hard as the conclusion of both the stories gave me the same feeling. Identity is the main theme for both the stories. The stories may be separated by time, but time is like a shore of a same wild Big river, tells Upanishads.

Identity is the most basic thing which gives a man his sanity and an understanding of his world around him. If a human does not have awareness of his/her Identity it would be the biggest problem of one’s life. Because Identity is the one which gives the skill set and behavior for a person to be social with the world that he is in. Identity shapes one’s personality. Identity is the awareness, and personality is the image.


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