When you believe in your identity, you will never know the reality

Acharya Prashant
6 min readJun 30, 2022

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

Questioner (Q): How can I know what is my real identity?

Acharya Prashant (AP): What’s your name?

Q: Siddhartha.

AP: Siddhartha, am I answering someone, am I replying to someone who does not ‘know’ his real identity? Am I talking to someone who believes he is somebody he is actually not? And if that is the case, how will that ignorant mind understand?

Who is asking? Siddhartha is asking. Where is Siddhartha standing, he is asking, ‘What is my real identity?’, that’s his question. Now, ‘somebody’ is asking me this question, some ‘identity’ is asking me this question. Right? You are always in an identity in your mind. You are always ‘somebody’. If I ask you to write something about yourself, you will write so many things about yourself, you are somebody in your mind.

So Siddhartha is asking this question to me as ‘somebody’. Now if this somebody who is asking me this question is deeply mistaken about who he is, then it will be impossible to communicate. Why? Because his identity is his immediate reality, he deeply believes in it. If I refer to him as ‘Pranav’ he won’t respond. Why? Because he is deeply convinced of his identity as ‘Siddhartha’.

Don’t we all deeply believe in our identities? Aren’t we greatly convinced about them? We are. Now if he is greatly convinced that he is ‘Siddhartha’ and he asks me what is my real identity, then my reply would be, “What can I say about your real identity. You already know that you are ‘Siddhartha’. You are deeply convinced that you are ‘Siddhartha’.”

If I ask you, Siddhartha, to write twenty statements beginning with ‘I am’, you would gleefully write twenty statements about yourself in five minutes. Now when you are so clear, so copiously clear about who you are, then how can anybody give an answer to your question?

Q: Are these statements coming from self-realization?

AP: No. There can be no self-realization as long as you are deeply convinced that- I am… XYZ. You are standing here believing ‘this’ to be your real identity, and you are asking, “What is my real…