Who am I?
This morning as I did my morning exercises I listened to CBC Radio’s “Ideas.” The episode discussed the 1971 two-act play “Hayavadana” (Horse face) written by Girish Karnad. The play tells the story of three friends caught in a love triangle that leads to an intense identity crises after the heads of two of them are switched!
As the play opens the audience meets Hayavadana a character with a man’s body and a horse’s head. He pleads with the narrator Bhagavata to help him become a complete man, but nothing can be done.
As Hayavadana seeks completion throughout the play we learn of the love triangle between best friends Devadatta and Kapila, and the woman they love, Padmini.
Devadatta tells Kapila that he will sacrifice himself to the goddess Kali if he can marry Padmini. The goddess grants Devadatta his wish but when he suspects the relationship between his wife and Kapila Devadatta visits Kali and cuts off his head. When Kapila discovers what Devadatta has done he also decides to cut off his head!
Padmini, now pregnant, begs Kali to help. Kali agrees and instructs Padmini to place the heads back on the bodies and press a sword to their necks. She does, and the characters are restored, BUT Padmini has mixed up the heads!
Kapila and Devadatta think this funny at first until they try to determine which of them is married to Padmini? “Whose wife is she?” asks Kapila. “This is the hand that accepted her at the wedding. This, the body she’s lived with all these months. And the child she’s carrying is the seed of this body.”
The question really is: Who is the true person: head, or body? In other words, “Who am I?” “Where is my ‘self’?”
Scripture tells us the answer to this question. We are, each one of us, a living soul. We live currently In these temporal bodies, but soon, like all mortal things, they will pass away. But the soul shall never die.
Jesus warns us of the folly of mixing these things up. He asks us to think logically about this. He asks, “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” (Mark 8:36-37). He urges, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (Matt. 10:28).
Your soul is you! Your most important task in this life is that you give that soul to Christ.
“Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’” (Luke 23:46).
Link to the “Ideas” audio here.
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