Paramahansa Yogananda
Quotes on Self-Realization

SELF-REALIZATION

Self-realization is yoga or "oneness" with truth—the direct perception or experience of truth by the all-knowing intuitive faculty of the soul.

srfLord Krishna... proclaims Self-realization, true wisdom, as the highest branch of all human knowledge—the king of all sciences, the very essence of dharma ("religion")—for it alone permanently uproots the cause of man's threefold suffering and reveals to him his true nature of Bliss. Self-realization is yoga or "oneness" with truth—the direct perception or experience of truth by the all-knowing intuitive faculty of the soul. (bg)

SRF AUM

"Self-realization is
the knowing – in body, mind, and soul – that we are one with the omnipresence of God; that we do not have to pray that it come to us, that we are not merely near it at all times, but that God's omnipresence is our omnipresence; that we are just as much a part of Him now as we ever will be. All we have to do is improve our knowing."

SRF AUM

God is
the life behind your life,
the sight behind your eyes,
the taste behind your tongue,
and the love behind your love.
To realize this to the fullest extent is Self-realization. Without God's power you can do nothing. If you always hold this thought, you cannot go wrong, because you will have purified the temple of your mind and your soul with the vibrations of God.

SRF AUM

Self-realization means to know truth through yourself, and not through others. By seeking God first, through Self-realization, all things — strength, power, prosperity, wisdom, health, and immortality — will be added unto you. (os)

SRF AUM

It takes a long time — many incarnations of right action, good company, help of the guru, self-awakening, wisdom, and meditation — for man to regain his soul consciousness of immortality. To reach this state of Self-realization, each man must practice meditation to transfer his consciousness from the limited body to the unlimited sphere of joy felt in meditation.

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Truths are not truths to you unless you realize them within yourself. Without realization, they are just ideas. For spiritual perception, spiritual consciousness, lies not in vague theological ideas, but in the acquisition of Self-realization. (dr)

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I don't want people to think that they can attain realization simply by listening to others or by reading books. They must practice what they read and hear.

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You must know the difference between

imagination,
theoretical knowledge and
true realization.

Could you nourish yourself by only listening to a talk on food? To know food only theoretically is to always remain hungry. You must eat to satisfy hunger. So he who seeks new doctrines continuously but does not put them into practice in his life is in continual spiritual starvation.

SRF AUM

Self-realization is not something one can learn from books; it comes only through personal experience. Realization of Truth, experience of God — not dogma merely — is what every religion should bring to its followers. (me)

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The man of Self-realization knows a bliss that cannot be compared to anything in this world. His joy is independent of any object or sensory experience. It is an incomparable happiness that cannot be described in words. Such joy is known as sattvik-ananda (pure bliss).

SRF AUM

God-realization is the most difficult state to reach. Let no one fool himself, nor think that someone else can "give" it to him. Whenever I fell into a state of mental stagnation, my Master could do nothing for me. But I never gave up trying to keep in tune with him by cheerfully performing whatever he asked me to do. "I have come to him for God-realization," I reasoned, "and I must listen to his advice."

SRF AUM

A theoretical knowledge of scriptures often produces a conviction that one knows the truth when he actually does not know it. Only by communing with God, the "Library of All Knowledge," may one know all truths in their exactitude, without wasting time in the theoretical understanding and misunderstanding of scriptures. That is why a wide gulf may exist between scripture readers and men of realization who are themselves embodiments of scriptural truths.

When the scriptural philosopher dissects words and thoughts with the scalpel of his reason, he may grow so fond of theoretical knowledge and of mentally separating wisdom into various segments that he may "dry up" through lack of the experience of truth in divine ecstasy. If a person spent his lifetime in analyzing the properties of water and in examining water from different sources all over the world, he would not thereby quench his thirst. A thirsty man, without fussing over the atomic constituencies, selects some good water; drinking it, he becomes satisfied. An exoteric jnana yogi — a follower of the path of discriminative reason — may read and analyze all the scriptures and still not slake his soul thirst. (bg)

SRF AUM

Through Self-realization man becomes aware of true values as to his place in the divine plan and his relation to the past, present, and future of mankind.

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Self-realization may be and sometimes is attained even by people who are struggling with sick and otherwise imperfect bodies; but it cannot be attained unless one can concentrate and meditate uninterruptedly upon God.

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God-realization is attained only by great effort on the part of the yogi and by divine grace.

SRF AUM

If one can feel and know that he is
a child of God, and as such possesses everything, even as his Father God does —whether he be poor or rich—
he can be free.

If one can believe in his soul-omniscience, even while endeavoring to add to his little store of knowledge, he can transcend the ignorance of delusion. All dualities belong to the domain of ignorance: fear of sickness and a desire for mortal health, fear of poverty and a desire for opulence, a feeling of inferiority from a lack of knowledge as well as a desire for a great intellect. Of course, if one is stricken with ill health, failure, or ignorance, this doesn't mean he should supinely continue in that state. He should rouse the perfection within him to express outwardly as health, prosperity, and wisdom, but without acknowledging the pain of lack or the fear of failure. Man should know that his struggle for completeness is born of delusion; for he already has all he needs within his inner powerful Self. It is only because he mistakenly imagines, while identifying himself with spiritually ignorant mortal company, that he is lacking in these divine endowments. He needs only to realize the everlasting fullness of his soul treasure-house.

The ignorant man stubbornly dreams about lack and failure, when he might instead claim his birthright of joy, health, and plenty as a son of the Ruler of the Universe. He is even now, in his transcendent Self, living in his perfect kingdom, yet in his mortal consciousness persistently dreaming Satan's evils. (sc)

"Ordinary man is dumbfounded by the enticing propositions of illusory sense experiences, and clings to delusive material forms as though they were the reality and the cause and security of his existence. The yogi, on the other hand, is ever conscious inwardly of the sole Reality, Spirit, and sees maya and avidya — universal and individual delusion— as merely a tenuous web holding together the atomic, magnetic, and spiritual forces that give him a body and mind with which to play a part in the cosmic drama of the Lord's creation" (bg)

SRF AUM

The love of God uplifts and enlarges us. I can never think of myself anymore as exclusively in this body; I feel that I am present in all bodies. I have no awareness of race or other distinctions at all. In my perceptions, just as I feel my own consciousness in every part of my physical form, I feel you all to be a part of me. Everything that is living I feel within this body. I know the sensations of all. It is not imagination; it is Self-realization. This consciousness is far beyond telepathy. It is awareness of the perceptions of every being. That is the meaning of Christ Consciousness.

SRF AUM

The way to liberation lies through this realization of the Self, by God-communion and by remaining in this God-aware state of the soul while performing dutiful actions. Any individual can reach this supreme actionless state by the renunciation of all fruits of actions: performing all dutiful acts without harbouring in his heart any likes and dislikes, possessing no material desires, and feeling God, not the ego, as the Doer of all actions.

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He who has realized oneness with God possesses all knowledge contained in Him. Knowing the Lord as Beginning and End of all beings and worlds, a true Brahmin has knowledge of the hereafter and of the workings of nature on this plane of existence. (bg)

SRF AUM

Practice the truth you hear and read about, so that it is not just an idea but a conviction born of experience. If reading books on theology satisfies your desire for God, you have not grasped the purpose of religion. Do not settle for intellectual satisfaction about truth. Convert truth into experience, and you will know God through your own Self-realization. (me)

SRF AUM

The essential proof of Self-realization—of God's consciousness in you—is to be truly and unconditionally happy. If you are receiving more and more joy in meditation, without cessation, you may know that God is making manifest His presence in you. (me)

SRF AUM

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References:
(aoy) — Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
(bg) — God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita by Paramahansa Yogananda
(dr) — The Divine Romance by Paramahansa Yogananda
(jt) — Journey to Self-Realization by Paramahansa Yogananda
(me) — Man's Eternal Quest by Paramahansa Yogananda
(os) — Other Sources... Talks, Booklets
(sc) — The Second Coming of Christ by Paramahansa Yogananda
(sm) — Self-Realization Magazines