Every human being is a river flowing towards the ocean. Every life or being without exception is seeking total fulfillment and freedom. Every human being can’t rest until he experiences fullness or complete satisfaction or absolute happiness. Every human being can’t rest until he finds total freedom from all limitations. Every human being can’t rest until he finds himself as Ishvara or lord of the universe. Continuous longing of the human being’s faculties of reason, emotion, vital, and physical can never be satisfied until they recognize their source – the self of a human being. Spiritually, we can say that is the soul can rest only after recognizing his divine or Godly nature. Rationally, we can say that as a human being, one can not rest until he finds the cause of the universe or Ishvara.
Shortcomings of human life are mortality, seeking or constantly becoming something, sorrow, conflicts, a feeling of smallness, and helplessness. Every human being knowingly or unknowing trying to find the solution to his insecurity and unhappiness. Human life is nothing but a search for happiness and immortality.
Enjoying objects of the world and pleasures, vacations, position, wealth, health, and transactional relationships are just starting point towards the ocean of fullness and fail to give lasting happiness. Although, they provide reflection or bytes of happiness and freedom. They provide some testimony that happiness and freedom lie somewhere in a human being which he and all his activities are seeking. It is not until one turns towards one’s core or self that one experiences and knows real happiness and wisdom. The self of a human being is the self of all. Recognizing Ishvara or the self of all as one’s self is liberation.
The self is what we are essentially. Understanding Self-Knowledge means understanding ourselves. It is not that we do not understand ourselves. As human beings, we are gifted with a self-conscious human personality. The question is what we understand about ourselves is proper or valid in accordance with the truth about ourselves? Gaining the valid knowledge about ourselves is what I call here understanding the self-knowledge.
Why it is so much important to understand the self of a human being? As a common man, I am busy with so many things to understand which are other than me, and besides that, I already know about myself whatever I consider myself to be. I know that I am such-and-such person with specific gender, race, color, nationality, and temperament. I am busy with learning too many things like sciences, languages, internet, finance, politics, cooking, etc.
Well, let us succinctly understand why we need to focus on this topic. As a human being, I am a thinking person and works with a motive to achieve things which fulfill and secure me. I keep on following these urges coming deep from my personality and continuously keep myself busy with followup actions, thoughts, emotions, desires, and relations in accordance with these unknown urges from my unconscious. Understanding self-knowledge means understanding the connection of my personality consisting of thoughts, desires, emotions, actions, and relations to its source or root from where they spring into existence, maintained themselves, and ultimately lose themselves.
Yes, our personality traits follow what we know about ourselves. It is the human being’s self which is the source of his personality and hence understanding the self means no more human suffering and mortality. We need to dive deep into the human personality to find its root and understand this topic. Fortunately, Vedant – the end portion of Vedas has this eternal wisdom for the benefit of a human being. This subject of self-knowledge is the very topic of the texts of Vedant – Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, and BhramSutras. The Bhagavad Gita states that self-knowledge means ultimate freedom and joy that we all want and hence keep focused throughout the life to understand the self as we are. After all, the knowledge which is important to me is which can solve my all troubles permanently and not just gives me short-term solutions or pain killers.
Based on our current understanding of ourselves, we have either no desire to understand the self or less priority due to so many reasons. The Self appears as an individual or personality and hence we do not look in that direction either because of fear of losing oneself or thinking it will make me more individual and more little. As human beings, we are rational and emotional. Hence, by focusing on understanding the connection of our thoughts, desires, emotions, actions, and relations to the self; we see the highest priority in our lives to understand the self-knowledge and not in any other way.
अध्यात्मज्ञाननित्यत्वं तत्वज्ञानार्थदर्शनम् |
एतज्ज्ञानमिति प्रोक्तमज्ञानं यदतोऽन्यथा ||