Who Am I ? What is Self Realization ? - Saurabh Sharma
WHO AM I?
“Naa kar bandeya meri-meri,
Naa teri naa meri,
Chaar din ka mela yeh duniya,
Fir miti ki dheeri”
Baba Bulleh Shah
Often we heard our master saying “self-realization precedes god realization”. But what does self-realization really constitute of. Is it something beyond us to fathom or is it very much innate within us. There are tons of questions which often develop in our mind. The most obvious being ‘do I really need to know myself’. As if these many years are not enough for me to realize ‘who am I’ or ‘am I laboring under wrong assumptions, till yet’. Does such realization take me to the path where I really ought to be? These are few of such anomalies which are quite often prevalent inside us.
Even though this journey of self-realization is often marred with lot of mysteries, yet, it is instilled with a clear path. But before dwelling into this path/journey, let’s appreciate its importance in our life. Again, let us take the basis from master’s teaching wherein he makes us realize that the word ‘I’ is the biggest misnomer. Spirituality is a path which demands ‘humbleness’ on the part of its seeker as the first requirement. Albeit that, it is deconstruction of this word only which it entails throughout this passage. If we are not able to comprehend our individuality, we will not be able to submit ourselves to the greater will. It is so because our ego, perceptions, parameters (i.e. standards with which we often assess this world), etc. would naturally become the roadblocks to our spiritual development. As a result, it would be a great disservice to our own self.
That been said, let us now contemplate ‘how should we tread on this path’. If we break the term ‘self-realization’, it is evident that we would have two words in our hand, which are ‘self’ and ‘realization’. Focusing exclusively on the term ‘realization’, it is imperative that it is construed as “a process which involves our mind”. It is our cognitive faculty which makes us realizes something.
But mind only works as a computer, which means that, it requires to be fed with some external inputs through its sources. Quite clearly in the case of human being, these sources are ‘our senses’. It is our senses which collect information and pass it on to our brain in order to grasp the ‘scheme of things’.
The only issue is that these senses are directed outward, i.e. it could interact only with material world. Therefore, information which it passes on to our brain, for the purposes of realization, is nothing but interpretation of information received from materialistic world. Hence our realization is subject to various limitations.
This could be presented through a pragmatic example. If we take some time to reflect upon ourselves, we would eventually realize everything we learned about ourselves is limited to ‘what is being taught to us by the society’.
To put in simple words, we have limited our identity to our name (as the society call us), our gender, our religion/caste/class, our clan/tribe/family, our friends/well-wishers/relatives, our nation/region etc. As a result of it, we have not understood the other aspect of this debate which is ‘self’.
It only goes on to show that our realization is only limited as our brain via its sources is limited to what it perceived through external world. Spirituality should not be seen as anti-thesis of our external personality, as it would be a mere reiteration that such is only limited understanding and something more is yet to be achieved.
For the purpose of self-realization, it is important for our brain to perceive those aspects of our individuality which are inherent within all of us.
They come to us alike and there is not even a slightest probability of any inequality. That is to say, such aspects of our individuality do not see the boundaries of caste, creed, gender, religion, etc.
But in order to realize them, it is necessary to ensure that sources are directed ‘inwards’. This would be possible only if we listen and act in accordance to the teaching of our master. Shabd-Surat yoga which consist of ‘bhajan’ and ‘simran’ is the exercise which help our sources, i.e. our mind/consciousness in this case, to go inward or inside to learn about our personality. Once we go inside, we would gradually start inculcating those things about our personality which can neither be defined nor explained. It is only then our realization is considered to be self. The procedure as mentioned is gradual and therefore it would take time. But loyalty, love and compassion to find the trail would surely make it a smooth journey.
It is often quoted by seekers that our small step (baby step) is reciprocated by a colossal step of the mystic. But the beginning would surely be ours. Keeping these narratives in mind let me take this opportunity to decipher the opening statement (quoted in italics). Baba Bulleh Shah informs us that there is nothing in this world which could truly be ours. All of these are temporary just like our external personality. One day they have to meet its end and one should prepare himself for that day.
Radha Soami Jee