The self cannot be known by he who does not desist himself from unrighteous ways, does not control his senses, nor stills his mind and does not practice meditation. This awakening you have known comes not through logic and scholarship, but from close association with a realized teacher. But mere association with a teacher may not again be helpful, unless there is an inner and deep commitment to know the truth.
The Self cannot be known through the study of the scriptures, nor through intellect, nor through learned discourses. The self can be attained by only those whom the Self chooses. Verily to them does the Self reveals Itself. The connection between the outer and the inner worlds is not direct and straight. Atman the eternal, the Incommunicable, the end of phenomena, Brahman Itself. Perhaps this may not be the entire truth for so mysterious is the inward journey and so inadequately is equipped the human mind to record the experiences of the spirit, that there may be deeper and other planes of consciousness between the wakeful state and the Atman, about whom we have yet to gain knowledge.
But what about the ultimate experience? what happens when one reaches there?
No one seems to explain that experience accurately and to our complete satisfaction. It is beyond human language, for our words do not carry the intensity and luminosity of that transcendent experience. At the same time the delight of the experience cannot be contained in the secret caves of the heart, as it gushes forth with the thundering sounds of pure joy into open. Thus for the benefit of the posterity and the ordinary, the experiences show themselves in some feeble analogies and vague symbolism. In the Isa Upanishad we come across one such instance. The seeker first prays to Brahman, ” The face of truth is hidden behind your golden lid, O Sun. May you remove the lid so that I may see the golden Truth !” And when the request is granted and the splendor manifests Itself in him he, submerged in pure bliss, lets out these words, “In truth I am Him.”
Perhaps that is the ultimate Truth a person can discover in his or her spiritual journey, the Truth that remains hidden behind the golden lid eager to show its resplendent golden face while we struggle and strive in the mortal world with vague yearnings and uncertain future.