Realising the Self

CHENNAI: Liberation from all the illusions of the world is possible by contemplation and repeated meditation on God who is present in all beings and controls the entire universe.

The Upanishads present many approaches to God realisation. This includes true knowledge of God, the material world and one’s Self. When these approaches are harmonised through inner reflection, the mind becomes calm, desires cease to drive and sense organs are quietened.

The Svetasvatara Upanishad teaches the way to purposeful living through the practice of Bhakti Yoga, pointed out Swami Atmashraddhananda in a lecture.

Bhakthi Yoga is easier for a majority of people. Emotions play an important role in one’s life. Impulsive reactions lead to reflections and ponderings over what one has done. Emotions are not bad in themselves; but they have to be directed into higher ideals. Bhakti is inclusive and can be practised by all at various levels since each one travels according to each one’s state of realisation.

Spiritual quest is a continuous one and is not a direct jump from error to truth. Rather it is a series of jumps from one lower truth to a higher one similar to the experience of realising the presence of higher peaks after climbing one with great effort.

Bhakti involves the cultivation of a deep sense of one-pointedness towards God. It is not to be identified with performance of rituals, but with the spirit behind these acts of worship.

In the individual’s struggle to toe the spiritual line to escape the cycle of birth, the senses keep drawing the mind away from the goal of life. Those of steady mind, realising what is truly lasting, do not turn their thoughts to transient pleasures. The feeble minded, who do not make earnest effort through well-directed meditation and control of mind and senses, cannot hope to realise the Self within. The will to realise and strenuous effort exercised in the way of self-control and steady application are necessary.

The teacher of Katopanishad says that those who know but don’t follow what they know, and continue to pursue external pleasures fall into the net of birth.

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