16 Oct 2014

#77 Individual and Individuality

Individual and Individuality

This post is totally based on the idea of individual from the book entitled complete work of Swami Vivekananda, Volume-2. While reading one of the chapters of this book, I found the paragraph that holds the essence of individuality very convincing and it is the answer to one of the questions that arise frequently in our minds regarding the existence of an individual. This has provoked me to pen down some of my views on this topic.

An individual is a state of being himself. Every individual is different and unique from each other because it is very difficult to find the replica of two persons. An individual is his own master and critic. He is the one who knows himself better than anyone.

‘Individual’ and ‘Individuality’ are two different terms though they may seem to be related. Individuality is being in a state for long without any change or being stagnant for long. Individuality is the Infinity and in other words, it can be considered as the real nature of man. In true sense, it would not be wrong to state that we are not individuals because we keep on changing with respect to situations. We are struggling towards individuality. To make it clearer, this can be exemplified from an instance mentioned here. A thief has the habit of stealing things from people’s house. If he does not continue doing so, he loses his individuality. From a practical point of view, one can’t always retain the same characteristic in all circumstances. Thus he approaches to individuality but can’t attain that.

Practically, it is not feasible to reach Infinity. How can one reach a point which is not defined? Suppose we want to travel Delhi. For that, we have already set the location in our mind. Hence the distance of the place from our home is known. Infinity is something that can never be reached and it is where individuality exists. It is the only condition of being static or stagnant. Any perturbation or turbulence can create no change.

Our own soul or spirit is an individual because it is infinite. It can neither be divided nor be broken into pieces. It is the Real man who is an individual. The apparent man is merely struggling hard to attain the state of being an individual. It is out of the power of common man.

I would like to mention one example where the concept of individuality becomes more convincing and justified. Imagine that there is a screen between you and a group of people. The screen is translucent. So, the picture of people standing on the other side of the screen is vague. Now, a hole is made on the screen. Few faces are now visible. Just enlarge the hole. More faces will be seen prominently. If the hole still continues to grow on the screen, a point will come when the screen won’t even exist. You can directly see the faces of the people. There is no change in their faces. The case is exactly similar to that of the spirit. Everyone’s spirit can be considered as individual because it remains same without any change throughout. It is already perfect and nothing extra is needed to be added to it.  

So, there is an urge to discover yourself and your potential. We generally search a better individual outside regardless of the fact that the perfect individual is just hidden in ourselves. We often pray God to bestow us with qualities of our choice but we don’t realize that the spirit or our own soul is that perfect one. The most important need is to identify the strengths and analyze the shortcomings in such a way that success comes in our way.

Sweta Sarangi

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