Philosophically, it may be a basic human curiosity as to which knowledge is necessary for the most subtle but basic questions of life and universe. Most appropriate answer to this question could be—“self-realisation”. For establishing most of the personal, professional and social trends, there is a proverb—“Charity begins at the home”. Practical meaning of this proverb is, that whatever trends/practices, you want others to follow, you should first set an example by yourself, so that your expectations from others is based on the foundation of truth, practicality and usefulness. There is also the basis of “Leadership” quality, which is much sought and taught in all the business schools of the world, today. However, it appears that we ignore or we fail to appreciate this approach, when we think about our usefulness and our role, as one of the “basic resource” for all types of tasks and issues, in personal, professional and social life. If a man fails to know about himself, he cannot judge and justify his required usefulness in different roles of the life, at different points of time. Hence, there is a role of self-realisation.
One may humanly think that, life begins first and a sense of role clarity comes much later, but most of the times, it happens never. It is on account of the sensory perception-related learning process of the human brain. We learn and register all the information in our brain, which is experienced by our sense organs and then this experience is registered with the brain for memorising. Since the concept of “spirit” or its presence is not experienced by our brain, through our sense organs, the way it is done for all other material objects, so there is no learning or registration about “self” or the “atma-tatva”, which is the life force of human body. We learn and cultivate every type of knowledge, when we are mentally focused and receptive, therefore we fail to cultivate and absorb the knowledge of “self” because of the worldly principle “Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind”. On account of non-material nature of the soul or spirit, which is beyond routine sensory perception, each one of us has to bring this issue consciously, on the “Mental-Radar” of human brain so that it gets attention and registration. It is therefore better to address this issue late, than never.
Self-realisation or soul searching is as subtle and dynamic a phenomenon as many other subtle tasks, in different spheres of the social and professional life of the world. Though medical and social scientists are not able to describe or define the exact nature of the soul/spirit, but it forms the basis of the existence of life. Its presence or absence defines life or death of any living being, which is certified by medical experts and also by common people, day in and day out. Hence, it is beyond doubt that there is some life force which is beyond matter and is responsible for life. On account of the non-material nature of the soul, it is difficult to describe it through conventional parameters, which are used to describe tangible objects of the world. It is in this reference that Lord Krishna defined the soul as an in-born, immortal force (shloka 17th and 24th , chapter II, Bhagwad Geeta), which is responsible for the existence of life.
Conceptually and philosophically, “self/atma-tatva” may be considered as a catalytic agent, which is essential for all the life processes but remains non-participatory itself, in all of them, as any other conventional chemical catalyst. Physiologically, it is this element which is instrumental in experiencing the joy (not pleasure or happiness) of natures’ beauty, refreshing feeling after a deep/sound sleep, unbound satisfaction as well as joy of selfless social service, connectedness of the self with all the living beings and environment around, and so on. It is this life force which imparts out-of-box thinking, creativity, helping attitude, selflessness, proactive approach and a sense of belonging with the family, workplace and society, to the “Self-Conscious” individuals.
Therefore it may be logically deduced that “Expression of Self” as such, may not be very simple in physical and physiological terms but at the same time it is also not as difficult as considered by majority population, on account of the ignorance, related to this issue. Ancient sages and philosophers were able to analyse and rationalise the role of Soul and its usefulness for the objective use of human life. It is in this background that need of “Self-realisation” was felt by our knowledge-rich ancestors.
Self-realisation is central to the element of connectedness. Connectedness with the family, neighbourhood, society, workplace, environment and whole humanity is basic for much-needed peaceful coexistence, cohesiveness, mutual trust, team work and excellence in personal as well as professional life. Yoga is the key to this integral learning of self-realisation, which imparts direction as well as perfection to this subtle but dynamic process. Therefore, process of self-realisation requires mature spiritual guidance and close supervision of an accomplished spiritual teacher, for the desired success.
It may be concluded that “self-realisation” is very much relevant in today’s world, in all the spheres of personal and social life. Incidentally, It is on account of situational priority for material scientific development, over a period of time, that we lost the thread of this “Basic Science” and became ignorant about its integration with personal, social and professional life and its overall usefulness. Now, when human race is feeling lost and disappointed, even after highest material development and glaring success, in all the walks of life, it appears to be the right time for “soul-searching” and redefining “self-realization” approach, for developing better and happy human society on this planet earth. How aggressively and sincerely we strive for it, remains to be seen, in the times to come.
By Dr Deepak Shukla