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What Does Self-Realization Mean?

By Sadhguru Email By Sadhguru
October 2016
What Does Self-Realization Mean?

When people hear the word “self-realization,” maybe it conjures up images in their minds of some Himalayan cave. I don’t want to talk about anything that is not yet in your experience because the moment we talk about it, you will lose touch with reality. If you start believing realities that are not yet in your experience, you will lose ground in the reality you are in.

Unfortunately, this is what has happened in the world in the name of spirituality and religion. God is not an enabling factor; God is unfortunately a disabling factor in most people’s lives, because they believe God is going to take care of their food, their survival, their health, and their business. So, let us not talk about knowing yourself in some mystical way. Let us talk about knowing yourself in the most practical way.

Reading Your User’s Manual
If you want to work with anything—for example, let us say you want to drive your motorcycle or car—the better you grasp what the machine is, the more control and freedom it gives you as to what you can do with it. Or even with the people around, your own family, friends, or people who work with you, the better you know them the better you can deal with them.

The more you know about this piece of life, which you refer to as “myself,” the better your grasp over this and the better your ability to handle it, which definitely gives you more access to life. In other words, self-realization is a way of knowing this piece of life in a much better way than the way you currently know it. You may know something about your thought process, your personality, and your emotions—you may have been psychoanalyzed already—but you still do not know anything about the nature of this life: how this happens, where it comes from, where it goes, what is its nature. If you do not know anything about the machine that you are handling, you will handle it by accident.

When you live accidentally and exist here as an accident, you are a potential calamity. Whether you actually become a calamity or not, you are a potential calamity. If you live here as a potential calamity, to be anxious and fearful is very natural, and that is how life is happening.

Do not think of self-realization as some weird thing that some yogi does in a Himalayan cave. It is not about that. It is just that if you want to live your life with a certain ease, you have to know this piece of life. When there is no ease, joy is out of question. When there is no ease and joy in your life, questions will come up, “To be or not to be?” People think this is a very intelligent question. This is the most idiotic thing you can ask yourself. This life process is such a phenomenon, but you are asking, “To be or not to be?” Such silly questions have risen in the mind because people have not realized the immensity of what it means to be human. Self-realization is not a choice; it is a must.

Editor’s Note: Excerpted from Mystic’s Musings.


Named one of India’s 50 most influential people, Sadhguru speaks before millions annually around the globe, including to prominent leadership forums such as the United Nations, the World Economic Forum, TED, and the World Peace Congress. From groundbreaking yoga programs to projects for rural communities and the environment, Sadhguru’s Isha Foundation (www.IshaFoundation.org) serves as a thriving model for human empowerment, which is reflected in the Foundation’s special consultative status with the UN.


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