What is self realisation?

Self-realisation is the experience of realising everything in the universe around us, including ourselves as pure consciousness. As Yogini Chandra Kali Prasada Mata expresses it: “When once it is realised, there is nothing but consciousness without either inward cognition or outward cognition. The consciousness is One and alone and it includes gross or subtle or abstract or concrete, good or bad. It has nothing to acquire or store.”

In other words, it is not an object that can be sighted. It has neither form nor quality or attribute. It cannot be imagined because it is not manifested. 

It is, therefore, an abstract experience. Our ancients say that it is an experience that is hard to describe as it is beyond the body, mind and intellect. It is the experience of our own consciousness in the unlimited ocean of cosmic consciousness.

This is why it is said that the cessation of all manifestation is self-realisation. The spiritual aspirant who has realised the Self will be in state of gnosis or samadhi or unalloyed bliss. 

The entire universe of sounds and actions disappears as an illusion, resulting in peace and quietude.

It is the superimposition of the unreal over the real that makes self-realisation a difficult challenge. 

This is because the phenomenal objects that we see around us are in reality the reflected consciousness of Brahman; it is akin to the sun reflected in many pots of water.

Piercing through these layers of illusion requires the guidance of a self-realised master. 

Self-realisation is the ultimate goal of human existence. Guidance from a Mahatma is an indispensable requirement to reach the goal. It cannot be achieved by a mere desire to do so. 

Conscious effort is essential. An aimless life will be a useless life. God gives us the gift of human birth and endows us with intellect and discriminative power so that we are able to reach our destination. Vigilance is required till the destination is reached.

According to Swami Yatiswarananda: “As children in the world of the spirit, we are idolators to a degree. We cannot help worshipping a divine form. We have to pass through this stage when we take forms to be real but we must outgrow it. When our own forms are real to us, the holy forms are also real, but we must outgrow both and try to see the Spirit at the back of all forms. We should try to see the same ocean at the back of all bubbles and waves, to see the One in the many. At the beginning of our spiritual life we may meditate on holy forms, but we must pass to the formless, the principle behind the personality.”

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