Know Thyself

Jun 22, 2023·
Atul Anurag
Atul Anurag
· 5 min read
Image credit: resanskrit

In a world where beliefs about the existence of God vary, one must ponder whether these contrasting views truly impact the intensity of anger carried by individuals. The quest for knowledge often directs our attention outward, seeking answers from external sources. However, the true purpose of self-discovery and understanding is not to foster worry or anger but to foster a profound appreciation and active engagement with life itself.
As Lao Tzu once wisely remarked, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” The journey of self-discovery, intertwined with the quest to know God, commences by truly knowing oneself. When we attain a comprehensive understanding of our own being, we have attained a profound connection with the divine. Hence, the first step towards self-discovery is to embrace self-love.
Now, let us delve into the exploration of knowing one’s true self, and try to understand why it is important to know yourself.
In the Bible, Jesus imparts wisdom: “Examine yourself and understand who you are… Whoever does not know self does not know anything. But, whoever knows self has acquired the knowledge of the universe.”
Lao Tzu, in his renowned work Tao Te Ching, advises: “Know the simple self."
Krishna, in the Bhagavad Gita, proclaims: “This is true knowledge, to seek the Self… To seek anything else is ignorance."
The Prophet Muhammad, as mentioned in the Quran, states: “He who knows himself knows God."
In the Katha Upanishad, it is expressed: “Those who know and realize the Self are forever free."
Buddha refers to this state as Nirvana.
Who are these individuals? They are all divine messengers. Despite their diverse backgrounds, their teachings ultimately converge on a profound realization: Know Thyself, which signifies understanding one’s own essence.
In essence, their message is clear: If you desire to know the divine, begin by knowing yourself. Merely attending a mosque, temple, church, or synagogue will not bring about the desired transformation. True knowledge and connection with the divine stem from introspection and self-realization.
In this pursuit, one question emerges: How can this be achieved? The answer lies in love.
Indeed, love. Different people have different definitions of love; here, I will present my version. Love is not a finite resource that diminishes when shared or expressed; instead, it is the only thing in this world that grows more and more through giving. Love is an intangible force that eludes quantification. Have you ever wondered about the meaning behind someone proclaiming, “I loved that person so much”? How can the magnitude of such love be measured? The truth is, it cannot be adequately conveyed through words or even demonstrated through intense emotions. Love, in its purest form, is a deeply felt experience that transcends verbal expression. It is a profound connection that is experienced within the depths of one’s being.
Now, the question arises: Have you ever truly loved yourself? Have you made a sincere endeavor to genuinely understand your own being? Many individuals may assert that they have, but the reality often tells a different story. Consider asking a religious person if they love God, and their immediate response will likely be “Yes.” However, when you inquire whether they love their neighbors or roommates, the answer becomes uncertain or even a straightforward “no.” This dilemma stems from our tendency to perceive numerous faults in living beings, obstructing our ability to wholeheartedly love them.
As an example, we often find ourselves stirred by immediate emotions when we learn about the unfolding events in Ukraine and the resulting plight of numerous homeless individuals. However, it is crucial to pause and contemplate whether we have ever taken the initiative to offer a meal to a homeless person whom we are familiar with, someone who resides in our immediate vicinity. Sadly, the reality is that we often do not. In fact, we tend to avert our gaze from the sight of homeless individuals as we walk along the streets.
The purpose of sharing this example is to highlight the challenge of loving others in the world when we haven’t yet discovered how to love ourselves. It is disheartening that while we often express concern for global issues, we fail to extend the same level of care to those around us. This mindset obstructs our understanding of the true essence of love.
However, through small acts of kindness in how we live, act, and react, we can transform our lives. These gestures will have a profound impact, and we will no longer rely solely on external support during times of despair. Even if we find ourselves in what may seem like solitude, we will experience a newfound sense of joy and fulfillment. The concept of being “alone” will vanish from our lives, and we will embrace a state of genuine contentment. Don’t try to achieve something that lies outside of you. Living for yourself doesn’t mean that you’re selfish. Because Nature loves the ones who love themselves.
In conclusion, if you aspire to embrace the ultimate bliss in your life, it becomes imperative to Know Yourself. Having embarked on my own journey of self-discovery, I have reached a point where my genuine desire is to witness everyone thriving in their individual paths. Believe me. The intoxication of knowing oneself is greater than any other intoxication in the world.
In the color of love, I immersed myself so deeply that while chanting the garland of breaths, I experienced the divine vision of my beloved’s face in the form of God.