What Is knowing Oneself? How To Gain Self-Realization?
‘I’ – our real Self is not John (you may insert your name here), yet we believe I am John
Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan, the Enlightened Being has said, “One does not know who he really is, and hence claims to be what he is really not. To claim to be something you are not is called ‘ego’!”
Self means Aatma, Aatma means Soul
One has gained knowledge of everything except one’s own Self, the Soul. The Lord has said, “To the one who has realized his Soul, nothing more remains to be known in this world!”
Not being able to comprehend this subtlest and the most profound element in the Universe, namely Soul, which happens to be one’s own real form (the Self); one is surrounded by endless thoughts like, ‘What must be the Soul like? Is it in the form of light? If so, how is its illumination like?!’ The true Vision of this Soul that transcends all imagination can be attained today, only through the Gnani Purush, who has already attained that vision.
Where can we find the Gnani Purush?
In India! The country of India is a country of spirituality. For centuries, the sacred land has born countless saints, Satpurush, seekers of the truth and Gnani Purush, those who have absolute spiritual knowledge, Vasudevas, Balrams, Chakravarti Kings and Tirthankars, who are perfect embodiment of Omniscience. These divine beings have not only attained their own salvation, they have become instrumental in the salvation (ultimate liberation of the Soul) of others too.
They have shown people the essence of real religion (Self-Realization), through the support of the knowledge (of the Self) they have acquired. They have given people the experience of liberation, despite the bondage of the physical body, and have pointed out the right path for all to follow.
Let us go through some thoughts and insights of few glorious great men to know our real Self:
Saint Kabir: I believed the Lord (i.e. the Soul – our real Self) is far away, but He resides within. I could not see him due to the veils (kapat) on my vision.
Sahjanand Swami: I could directly see the Soul from the beginning. I can also see it now. Not even for a moment do I lose contemplation of the Soul in any of my actions.
Jesus Christ: Know thy Self!
Mohammed Paigambar: God (the pure Soul) is one, and he is complete in all of us. Neither is he born out of someone nor does he cause anyone to be born.
Vashishta Muni: Oh Ram! You are not the son of King Dashrath. You are not the King of Ayodhya. You are not the husband of Sita. You are God (Aatma). You are the Absolute Soul (Parmatma).
Shrimad Rajchandra: I do not belong to any particular sect. I am a Soul. The one who knows the Soul knows everything.
Dada Bhagwan: Nothing but the Soul is dear to me. The Soul is the greatest wonder of the world!
Lord Krishna: Aatmavat Sarva Bhuteshu. Oh Arjun! The Soul resides in the elemental form in every living being. So look at everyone, as being the Soul.
Lord Mahavir: I am an eternal Soul with the properties of Knowledge and Vision. The rest are all outward desires living according to circumstances and not of the Self. The root cause of all circumstances creates a sequence of ongoing misery.
During Self-Realization, the separation happens between ‘I’ and ‘My’
‘I’ without ‘My’ is Pure Soul. I is the real Self, and My is our relative self.
So, wherever we say, ‘my, my, my,…’, all of that is relative. Eg. You say, “My name is John (please insert your name here).” It means ‘I’ and ‘My’ are two separate things. John is your name to identify this body. You are not the name; you are the owner of the name.
When you say, ‘my name is John, this is my body, this is my mind, my speech, my ego, my intellect, my house’, everything goes in my, my, my; not in I. I is all alone, Absolute, single. The real Self is all alone, and that is pure Soul. The pure Soul is always there – it was, it is and it will be. The Pure Soul is permanent and John is temporary. So, wherever we say, “My, my, my”, it is totally separate from the Self.
The Doership is not there in the real Self
The Soul never does anything. Soul cannot do any worldly things. The property of the Soul is just to see and know and it is full of bliss! Let’s understand this further…
Suppose there is pure gold, from which a bangle has been created. After a few years, the bangle is melted and a ring is made out of it. Now if gold could speak, it would cry aloud at every instance, ‘I am bangle; Oh! I died; I am now reborn as a ring; I will die in some time.’ Only the goldsmith could calm it down, by explaining to it the reality, ‘Look, You are pure gold! You are neither a bangle, nor a ring, nor any earring; these are all only temporary phases, while really You are pure gold only.’
Attaining Self-Realization from Akram Gnani
Just like in an ornament where gold, silver, copper, everything is in the form of a mixture, what do we do if we wish to separate gold from other elements? We go to a goldsmith; we are not doing it ourselves. The goldsmith knows the property of gold, property of copper, property of silver; he has experimented with how to separate gold, silver and copper from each other. He has the knowledge, the experiment.
So very similarly, in Akram Vignan, there is an experiment for Self-Realization.
Gnani Purush understands the properties of Soul. The Living Gnani Purush has the spiritual power to make us experientially realize, ‘I am Pure Soul, I am real, I am eternal, I am immortal; and everything else is relative and temporary.’ From Gnani Purush, we get the knowledge of, ‘how I am Pure Soul and John is separate.’ Also, we learn how John is governed by scientific circumstantial evidences. So, whatever is happening around us, behind all this happening, ‘who is the doer’ and ‘who am I’ – that knowledge we get here. And I (one’s Self), is the knower and observer of the doer!
We can know the Self (attain Self-Realization) only in the human form
After having passed through 8.4 million life-forms, we have acquired this birth in human form. Even the celestial beings earnestly await a birth in the human form, because it is the only life form, from which one can break-free from the cycle of birth and death. That is why, in order to fulfil the purpose of human life, everyone should seek to realize one’s Self, when in human form!
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