An image of a lit candle cannot remove the darkness within a room, but a lit candle can. Similarly, scriptural knowledge cannot give you the actual experience of the Soul; it can only give you understanding. In order to experience the Soul you need to attain Self Realization. When this knowledge is bestowed upon you by a living Self-Realized one (Gnani Purush), the experience of the Self begins. Thereafter the awareness that you are a Pure Soul will remain spontaneous and natural. It is there even when you wake up in the middle of the night.
Things you have to make an effort to remember fall under the category of the body matter (pudgal). You do not have to remember the Soul. Once your Real nature as the Soul has been realized, you do not have to make any efforts to remember it.
What happens when you experience the Self?
From time immemorial, one has lived in illusion. The Self is in its natural state (swabhav), but there has been an illusion (vibhaav). This illusion in turn has multiplied infinitely (vibhranti); that is considered a state of deep sleep. When one is awakened from this slumber, then he becomes aware (laksha) of the Self. This spiritual awakening occurs through Self Realization (Gnan). The Gnani Purush (Self-Realized one) awakens one through the speech of Gnan; the Gnan Vidhi (Self Realization ceremony). That awakens the Self and, thereafter, the awareness (laksha) of ‘I am Pure Soul’ will not leave. Once the awareness sets in, then experience (anubhav), awareness (laksha) and conviction (pratiti) will remain. There is always conviction (pratiti) within this awareness (laksha). Now the experience will continue to increase. The completion of the experience is absolute knowledge (keval gnan).
The experience of the Soul is the destruction of the experience that “I am the body.” When the experience of “I am this body” goes, new karma cease to bind you. What more could you want? We can understand what ‘John’ was previously and what is he now. That difference is due to what? It is due to the experience of the Soul. Previously, there was the experience of “I am this body,” and now there is the experience of the Soul. Conviction means that your entire belief has changed one hundred percent and that “I am definitely Pure Soul (Shuddhatma)” has become an established fact. Whereas the established faith of “I am Pure Soul” can also break, conviction will never break. Faith can turn around, it can change, but conviction will not change. Conviction means say we take a stick and bury it half way in the ground. Now if a lot of pressure is applied to the stick, it may flex and bend a little; but it will not leave its location. The conviction of “I am Pure Soul” will never go away. Experience, awareness and conviction (anubhav, laksha and pratiti respectively) will be there. Conviction will stay forever. Awareness (laksha) will stay for some time. If we get busy in our work of business, we lose our awareness; and as we become free from work, the awareness will return. And the experience (anubhav) occurs when we are free from work, we have withdrawn from everything, and we are “sitting” alone. Then we can get the “taste” of experience. Nonetheless, the experience will keep on increasing. There will be a gradual increase in this experience, until you reach Keval Gnan (Absolute State). Keval Gnan is the state of complete, full experience. Currently there is partial experience.
Milestones after Spiritual Awakening
Darshan (Vision as the Self), Gnan (knowledge of the Self) and charitra (conduct) are interdependent. The knowledge one acquires depends on the belief or darshan. The conduct then results naturally. The conduct does not require any effort.
I am ‘Pure Soul (Shuddhatma)’ is darshan (vision as the Self). Experience (anubhav) of that is Gnan (knowledge of the Self). However much You experience it, that much is the absolute freedom from attachment and abhorrence (vitaragta), and that much indeed is the conduct (charitra). Therefore, Gnan-Darshan-Charitra (Knowledge-Vision-Conduct) and tapa (penance), you will indeed have to settle everything with the fourth pillar of tapa, will you not? When the inner core heats up, You have to continue ‘seeing’ it, and that is called tapa (penance). That is indeed what is called adeethatapa (invisible inner penance).
When Gnan (Knowledge of the Self) and darshan (vision as the Self), the two combine, then charitra (conduct as the Self) arises automatically, while the penance is constantly occurring within. One has to do tapa (penance) where there is something not to his liking. One is not to starve (and punish the body) in tapa.
What is penance (tapa)? Is there inner friction (gharshan) occurring?
No, there is inner restlessness and agitation (ajumpo). One may not say anything but inner restlessness occurs within without hurting the other person, is considered adeethatapa (internal penance).
When one does with tremendous penance, he will move from darshan (vision as the Self) to Gnan (experience as the Self).
One can attain experience (as the Self) only after tapa (penance) occurs. How can you have experience (anubhav) otherwise? Inner penance (antar tapa) means that in whatever Your inner ‘heats up’, You try to remain separate from it. And when You do that, You definitely gain experience (anubhav) out of it.
So in whatever matter penance arises, one becomes free from that?
You will be free of it, and the experience of that is indeed the experience of the Self. Bliss (sukha) and the light (prakash) of the Self will continue to increase, that is all.
How long will the experience of the Atma (Atma-anubhav) last after Spiritual Awakening?
Param Pujya Dadashri says, “It will last forever. Not just for a minute or two. There are things in the world that last one or two minutes anyways. All these things we eat and drink, only last as long as they are on the tongue, and then they are gone. Does that experience (anubhav) last? How long does the experience last, when you eat sweets? Or when you use a drop of perfume? It may last about ten or twelve hours, but the Atma (Soul), however, even if you have experienced it just once, will last forever. If not, it would not mean a thing! Then it is something meaningless!”
What is the happiness of nirakudata (A state that is free of agitation-disturbance)
There are two kinds of happiness. One is happiness derived from worldly things – a successful business deal or a profit, or getting children married – but that happiness is of easiness-uneasiness (akudata-vyakudata). It is happiness of illusion. But when you experience the happiness of the bliss of the unaffected state (nirakudata), realize that You have attained the Self.
The bliss (anand) that You experience here in satsang (spiritual discourse); that is nirakud anand (Bliss of a state that is free of agitation-disturbance). There is no easiness-uneasiness (akudata-vyakudata). What happens in the happiness of akudata/vyakudata (easiness-uneasiness) is that a constant, simmering disturbance (jhanjhat) is taking place within. Here, such disturbance (jhanjhat) is not there and the outside world is forgotten (vismrut). If you experience happiness because of something, then its nature is happiness of the non-Self (paudgalik), whereas this is natural and spontaneous (sahaj) happiness. Therefore, it is happiness (nirakudata); there is no easiness-uneasiness. One feels a deep-seated stillness within. There is no jumping with joy (oonmaad) here.
On a hot summers day you feel a cool breeze, you can tell there must be a block of ice close by. Similarly, here in Akram Vignan, one gets an indistinct experience of the Self. The moment one attains this experience (aspashtavedan, partial bliss of the Self), the worldly suffering ceases. Experience can exist only in one place, not two. From the moment the experience of the Self begins, it is called swasamvedan, bliss of the self. This slowly increases to spashta vedan; clear and full experience and bliss of the Self.