How to know that one is not the body?

Acharya Prashant
20 min readJul 21, 2021

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

देहाभिमानपाशेन चिरं बद्धोऽसि पुत्रक ।
बोधोऽहं ज्ञानखंगेन तन्निष्कृत्य सुखी भव ॥

dehābhimānapāśena ciraṃ baddho’si putraka
bodho’haṃ jñānakhaḍgena tanniṣkṛtya sukhī bhava

O son, you have become habitual of thinking “I am body” since long.
Experience the Self and by this sword of knowledge cut that bondage and be happy.

~ Chapter 1, Verse 14

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Questioner: Sir, in the verse above it is mentioned that one is constantly identified with the body. I feel I am deeply identified with the body most of the time. How do I start detaching myself from this body identification? Being a woman, I find it more difficult because of social and physical conditioning.

Acharya Prashant: The question is, how do I start detaching myself from the body? How to get rid of body identification?

You can have a small vessel, which contains small pieces of many metals — iron, aluminum, nickel, copper — and happily they go together. They are all kept in the same vessel. They have been coexisting for long and being in the company of each other they have all started appearing as one, very very similar. But what happens when you bring a strong magnet near that vessel? It is then that the iron pieces just lose their old company and rise towards the magnet. Now the difference between iron and the others is very clear, there is no similarity at all.

One has a love for magnets, the others do not have, but this difference becomes clear only when a magnet is around. Otherwise, iron, copper, and zinc will all hang around as if they belong to the same fraternity. You require a strong magnetic pull to disrupt their bonhomie. Unless that magnetic pull is there, iron will keep feeling that, “Aluminum is my best friend.” The moment the magnetic field engulfs the iron piece and others, the iron piece comes to know that aluminum, copper, zinc — they are all nothing. The destiny of iron is to be…

Acharya Prashant