One of the eternal quests for the mankind has always been to know oneself. Human beings have always been fascinated by this concept to attain a state beyond which lies nothing. In eastern philosophy and spiritual texts, it has been addressed by different names as “Moksh” or “Nirvana” or “Bliss” or “Ananda”.
Various cultures have given away ways by which a man can attain a state where he is mindful and aware of his existence. Psychology also is a subject where self-realization is being discussed in relation to mind, body and soul.
Eastern and western cultures have described this journey of self in their own ways and one cannot overlook the fact that Eastern Psychology had started this much earlier than their western counterparts. Indian scriptures i.e. Vedas and Puranas speak volumes about the “Purusha” and “Prakriti” as the constitutional elements of an individual. These two further have “The Logical Self” and “The Psychological Self” respectively as their western counterparts. While the logical self connects an individual to his reality, the psychological self holds the front of inner growth or “Atmabodh”. Bhagwadgita, the greatest text of Indian Philosophy talks of various ways by which one can attain the state of balance and can become an “enlightened” or “STHITPRAGYA”.
When it comes to understand the ways of achieving the state of “Pure Bliss” or Param Anand”, there is a bouquet of techniques in Indian psychology. The four ways through which an individual can embark on a journey of self-realisation are: Rajyoga, Jnanayoga, Bhaktiyoga and Karmayaoga. Another way to reach the highest state is by discussion (Shaastratha) or by reading (Adhyayan) or by the power of intellect (Buddhi or Medha). An individual can choose to adopt a path out of these depending upon his nature, skills, interests and Ability. The Yoga and the Sankhya philosophy of Indian history strongly suggest that the path of self-realization is nothing but the realization of “Purusha” as it the essence of self or the energy that binds all the static elements of Prakriti together to create a life.
In some Indian texts of philosophy and Psychology it is also mentioned that Self-realization can only be attained by Yoga and Meditation (Dhyan). Both the ways are simple to practice but are more effective If practiced with sincereity (Nishtha) and discipline (Niyama).
Western Psychology looks at self-realisation from outside. According to it, being able to observe the mind is what defines self-realisation as once we are able to observe our mind and its thoughts, we can learn to control it and attain the state of bliss.
Whatever be the philosophy or the method , the goal of knowing oneself has always been the at the core of human evolution and will remain to be so till eternity….