How Do I Reach Self-Realization?


Sages say that God realisation is like finding a necklace on our neck which we were searching outside. But do we need to have special heightened perception abilities to realise this or not.

—Vivek sharma, India


Dear Vivek,

Indeed that metaphor is valid because our nature is “Tat twam asi.” “Thou art THAT.” We and all people and things are manifestations of God. It has been said that God is with us as much now as can ever be and that all we need to do is improve our knowing.

So what is stopping us? Frankly, we (most people) are simply not interested. Life is full; life is busy; life is challenging; life is interesting. Desires, fears and attachments draw our attention outward into the world and into the inner world of our thoughts and emotions.

We do not therefore notice the necklace that we are wearing: the necklace, as you say, of God realization. Your question is whether it takes a special heightened perception to realize the necklace we are wearing.

Yes, and no: at least not entirely. Dogs and cats and cows don’t seem to notice, do they? So, yes, it takes a certain amount of refined consciousness. But intellectual acceptance is not realization either. Realization will completely change your life.

Some say that this realization can come “like a thief in the night” in a “satori”-like instance experience. Yes, of course, but the effects of that might fade, perhaps instantly or certainly over time.

This is why daily sadhana (prayer and meditation); selfless service (to family, work, community); devotion to the Supreme Lord in whatever form one holds dear; and all manner of purification are helpful to turn one’s attention to the necklace and to refine one’s consciousness to be ever more calm, self-aware, and open to the indwelling divinity.

Paramhansa Yogananda was born to bring to the world, along with others, the sadhana of yoga: meditation, and especially the increasingly popular, Kriya Yoga. He called this inner and universal path, “the airplane route to God.” Working with the life force within the human body and particularly the brain and nervous system, the practice of Kriya can quickly accelerate the awakening of the subtle energy centers through which divine consciousness enters the body.

A pure heart, however, more than anything, draws the Lord to one’s sight. “Blessed are the pure of heart for they shall see God.”

Joy and blessings to you!
Nayaswami Hriman