Know thyself1

Atmanam Viddhi — Know Thyself. Each individual has to know himself. He has to know himself as the infinite, eternal and immortal Consciousness. The concept of Infinity, Eternity and Immortality is absolutely foreign to us. Why? What is the reason? The reason is quite simple. We live in the body. We do not live in the soul. To us the body is everything. There is nothing and there can be nothing beyond the body. The existence of the soul we feel as sheer imagination. But I assure you that the soul is not imagination. It is at once the life and revelation of the cosmic Reality. Most of us live in the body, in earth-bound physical consciousness. Our teacher is Darkness; our professor is Ignorance. But if ever we live in the soul, we shall see that our teacher is Vision and our professor is Illumination.

"Life is effort," so says the body. "Life is blessing," so says the soul. The human in man does not want to go beyond morality, society and humanity. The divine in man comes down from divinity into humanity, from unity into multiplicity.

Atmanam Viddhi — Know Thyself. The seers of the Upanishads had not only discovered this Truth Transcendental but had offered it to the suffering, crying and striving mankind. In order to know oneself, one has to discover oneself first. What is self-discovery? Self-discovery is God-Realisation.

No Yoga, no self-discovery. Yoga is not a religion. Yoga is the universal truth. It is the traditional truth of India. It is the most important experience of life. True Yoga and life go together. Do not try to separate them. If you want to separate them, you will fail. Yoga and life are as inseparable as the Creator and the Creation.

Is Yoga another name for severe asceticism? Positively not. Is Yoga another name for self-discipline? Decisively yes. Does Yoga demand the rejection of the world and the starvation of the senses? No, never. Does Yoga demand the acceptance of the world and mastery over the senses? Yes, a mighty Yes. Is Yoga for everybody? Yes and no. Yes, because each human soul has come from God and God-Realisation is the conscious need for God. No, because some feel that they can live without God.[fn:: AUM 341,5. In the original magazine, it was printed as "Yes and no. Yes, because each human soul has come from God and God-realisation the conscious need for God. They feel that they can live without God.”

Can learning and reasoning endow man with self-realisation? No. Mere book-knowledge ends in self-deception. Why? Because a man of knowledge feels that he has achieved the infinite wisdom. Unfortunately he does not know that the real Infinite Wisdom can come only from God, from God-Realisation. Mere mental reasoning ends in self-frustration.

Can dedication and aspiration endow man with self-realisation? Yes. Man's dedication is his heart-flower offered at the Feet of God. Man's aspiration is his soul-fruit placed in the Lap of God.

For self-realisation, man needs freedom. God gives him freedom. What is freedom? Freedom is God's sacrifice and man's miracle-power. Sri Ramakrishna, the great spiritual Master of India, remarked, "The wretch who constantly says, ‘I am bound, I am bound,’ only succeeds in being bound. He who says day and night, ‘I am a sinner, I am a sinner,’ verily becomes a sinner. One must have such burning faith in God that one can say, 'What? I have repeated God's name; how can sin still cling to me? How can I be a sinner any more?'"

We must cherish positive thoughts, positive ideas and positive ideals. Then only our Goal no longer remains a far cry. Each man has to feel, "I am at the Feet of God, my own Master. I am in the Hands of God, my own Creator. I am in the Heart of God, my only Beloved."

"Ask and it shall be given to you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you." I asked. My Lord has bestowed His boundless Compassion on me. I sought. My Lord has given me His infinite Love. I knocked. To my utter surprise, the door was not bolted from inside. My sweet Lord was eagerly expecting my arrival. Lo, I am come!


  1. AUM 341. This talk was given to the students of the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras, P. R., on 26 August 1968 at 8:00 p.m.