Paths to God, Spiritual Traditions, Understanding Self

Absolute TRUTH : Paths to Self-Realization

The ancient as well as the modern yogis and saints of India revealed the ultimate Truth about the Existence around us and our relation to it. This Truth is the cornerstone of the various spiritual traditions of the land, together referred as Sanatan Dharma. Literally meaning the Eternal Nature of Life, it is rightfully called so since it is based on the eternal and absolute Truth –

Our true identity is same as that of the Supreme Consciousness, permeating each and everything in the Existence.

How this one simple Truth has formed the basis of Indian spirituality as well as led to a multitude of paths and religions, not just within the country but worldwide, have been discussed in earlier posts. If you wish to further know how this qualifies as an ultimate Truth, you can read the post Absolute TRUTH : Its Nature and Relevance.

Experiencing the Truth

However, there is no question of believing the above Truth on faith, because it can be experienced by one and all. In fact, the scriptures encourage us to realize this Truth through direct experience.

For this, various paths had been laid out. Anything classified as Yoga in Indian scriptures and traditions, is a path towards realizing this Truth.

The word Yoga, literally means Union. In the context of spiritual usage, it refers to Union with God or the Supreme Consciousness, referred to as Paramatma or Brahm in Indian spiritual traditions.

The same paths taken for realization of the Truth also aid in directing our lives in a way that we remain in constant association with it.

Life becomes meaningful as we remain aligned to this Truth and live a life based upon it. The ultimate purpose is clear. To remain in oneness with the Supreme Consciousness, because essentially you realize as Truth that you are not any other.

Recognition of a Higher Power

In usual life, there is no reason or occurrence which make us recognize the presence of a higher power. It seems that I am the doer, and my achievements and failures are a result of my own actions and decisions.

However, if we sit back and reflect, we would soon discover a plentiful number of occasions when circumstances oriented themselves in a way to favor or disfavor us, or engage us into something, to which we had not invested any conscious effort. Perhaps a sudden disease or accident, or a sudden unfolding of events leading to positivity and happiness.

Even decisions taken by us are sometimes quite contrary to our very nature. It seems that our mind played a game on us.

Upon reflection, it emerges that we are not living our lives, but being played into a life by some greater force beyond our comprehension.

It only takes a quiet moment and a reflective mind to grasp the greater scheme of events in which I am no more than a character, with a definite entry and exit time in this stage of Existence.

Isn’t it worthwhile to spend our time in this world not caught up in our insignificantly small lives, which anyway is mostly beyond our control, but try to understand the reason behind all this drama and how it is played?

Meditation is the Key

Great minds since centuries have been in the same pursuit. The Indian scriptures have stood the test of time in their revelation about the Existence and our place in it. Modern science is also discovering the different layers of reality as it is progressing and advancing itself.

What has been common to all these great minds is an unwavering concentration with which they have pursued a problem. This faculty of unwavering concentration is called meditation.

The Indian scriptures prescribe meditation not for some specially talented people, but for all humanity in general. With meditation, they discovered, the different layers of reality start exposing themselves to an individual automatically. It works as though like a portal to the infinite repository of Knowledge, which made this Existence and placed each of its components, including us, in relationship with one another.

Hence, meditation as a faculty has been the target of development in each of the Yogas or paths to self-realization. It may or may not appear explicitly as a component of a path, but it is ingrained in each of them.

It is prudent to keep this fact in mind as we go forward on our exposition of the various paths to self-realization. Perhaps you can even start meditating from today if you already feel inspired. Being the International Yoga Day, it is indeed an auspicious day to begin the journey.

The Yogas

The journey, however, is inwards rather than outwards, the latter being the case with every other path in the world. Meditation does not take you anywhere apart from you, but help you dive deep within yourself, discovering yourself in ever new ways and unraveling your hidden treasures. It leads you to self-realization through a process of self-transformation.

The Yogas are a systematic guide to this process, laying down a definite path to be followed.

The Yogas are the paths which bring about self-transformation, making one ready to realize the absolute Truth on their own.

In the coming posts, discussions on various Yogas such as Raja Yoga or Ashtanga Yoga, Jnana or Gyana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, Tantra Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Yantra Yoga, Kriya Yoga, etc. will be taken up.

In fact, the first four are the most popular and together known as the Four Paths to God, which has been briefly described in an earlier post.

Each of these Yogas is a unique way of taking a seeker to the Truth, and generally an individual, based on their body-mind makeup, finds more alignment with one path than the others. However, a seeker almost always passes through all or most of the paths before reaching the final goal of ultimate Truth realization.

More about the different Yogas –
Karma Yoga:Karma and our relationship with it
More coming in due time…




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