Why Is The Path Of Self-Realization So Difficult? Can We Attain It Easily?
The path of Self-Realization is an interesting paradox – it can be intensely difficult or even extremely easy!
To understand this, one must first understand that there are more than one ways to attain Self-Realization. There is no one fixed path that all must walk on in order to realize the Self.
It is also important to remember that every person in this world is different; depending on the baggage one has brought with him from the past, what may appeal to one may not attract the other. Let us explore this still further.
For instance, Indian spiritual philosophy identifies three paths towards Self-Realization – the Karma yoga, the Bhakti yoga and the Gnan yoga. Here, yoga means the spiritual journey undertaken by an individual to attain Self-Realization. Now, each of these paths (and its numerous variants) represents a different type of journey to reach the same destination.
Based on the composition of one’s personality and the knowledge he has previously gathered so far, one finds each of the paths difficult or easy. And accordingly one chooses a particular type of yoga or a blend of two or more types of yoga. When we travel on the path we feel we are most suited to, we are bound to find the journey less difficult than when travelling on a path which is not a good match for us.
Furthermore, time and place too are important factors that influence how difficult or easy the path of Self-realization turns out to be. Certain paths are viable during certain times in certain areas. If one were to walk on the path that is best-suited for the given time and place, the journey would become relatively much easier.
Ultimately, we must know that every path of Self-Realization can be classified into two types:
1. Kramic path and
2. Akram path.
The Kramic path can be envisioned as a step-by-step path, like one on a ladder or a staircase which one climbs one step at a time. Each step requires further purification and presents a new set of challenges for the same. The top rung of this ladder is the attainment of Self-Realization. For anyone to successfully complete this climb, it is necessary to have a worthy Guru i.e. someone who has already climbed the ladder to the top and hence can provide guidance and protection throughout the path, because there is every possibility that the non-purified ego of the seeker can cause them to falter and tumble down the ladder. Only when finally one overcomes all the impurities within and purifies his ego completely, they will reach the top and realize the Self.
Therefore, on the Kramic path, as one advances in getting rid of impurities, one realizes the Self to that extent i.e. if one has done away with 20% of anger-pride-deceit-greed, they have realized 20% of the Pure Self (Soul).
On the other hand, the Akram path is one where we attain 100% Self-Realization, directly with the grace of the Enlightened One. One realizes the 100% Pure Self effortlessly and in first instance itself. Thereafter, all that remains is emptying of the anger-pride-deceit-greed that one has accumulated so far, and this is done by following the words of the Enlightened One precisely and concisely.
So, while the Kramic path is the regular path, easily practiced in good times when one’s mind, body and speech are unidirectional; the Akram path is an exceptional path to Self-Realization, particularly useful in today’s times, when our mind, body and speech are not in one line i.e. while the mind is longing to go in one direction, the speech maybe denoting another direction and the body is moving in the third direction.
Thus, to conclude:
Compared to the Kramic path, the Akram path to attain Self-Realization is much easier, swifter and secured, particularly in this day and age of Kaliyug, where one is unable to undergo severe penances in order to attain self-realization. The entire Akram path is traversed with the help of the grace of Gnani, the Enlightened One. And since, one first attains Self-Realization and the purification of the ego is taken up afterwards, the risk of downfall gets curtailed; and in light of the Soul, very easily the absolute purification is attained.
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