What is Self-realization?

Anandamayi Ma
December 13, 2016

Self-realization from the perspective of direct realization Tantra means to know your Self, to be immersed in the natural state of living presence, and to realize the total equality of all phenomena. A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi.


Anyone who has been around here for a while knows that I often quote Anandamayi Ma’s saying, “Self Realize and know your Self.” So her teaching was that Self- Realization and knowing yourself are the same thing. But the question for us of course is what is self. What self are we knowing, and then of course how do we do it?

Most of us are probably having, this kind of experience: you are having an experience that you are an individual. Maybe you even have a conviction that you are an individual. Maybe even you’ve heard something about that oneness thing, and you kind of wish it were true, or you think it’s true, or you are sure it’s true, but you just can’t shake this thing about being an individual.

The second thing that most of you are likely embodying, or having an experience of, is that there are other people, other individuals around you. The experience that there is you and that there are others creates all these other kinds of issues, funny little dramas that we go through in our lives. Another kind of experience that you are probably having, or maybe it’s just kind of an idea, is that somehow consciousness is in living things to different degrees. Maybe in some animals or maybe you read something about Findhorn, so you think it’s in plants too. But unless you have been doing certain kinds of practices for a while, you probably aren’t having the experience of consciousness being elsewhere, let alone everywhere equally.

And then because we live in a Judeo-Christian culture, we probably have some vague ideas that somehow self-realization has to do with up-ness. Yeah. We have to go up in some way, even if that’s just a very vague idea. Even if we reject to the idea of heaven, or of God as a white guy with a white beard, we still have these ideas about up. Up and out, right? So even if we have some experience, maybe with say more conventional kinds of kundalini yoga, we are still trying to go up and out and somehow escape this. You just have this idea in all kinds of different ways.

These four ideas that most of us embody to one degree or another–that you are an individual, that there are other individuals, that consciousness is contained in individuals and that self-realization has something to do with upwardness–are the components of what in this tradition is called Anavamala. Anavamala means the root ignorance. The absolute essence of this ignorance is separation, an experience of separation, the conviction that you are separate and that God is separate, that you are here, and it is there, and you have to go from here to there to get It.


Satsang with Shambhavi is a weekly podcast about spirituality, love, death, devotion and waking up while living in a messy world.