Question 51: What attributes should a seeker have to realise Atma?

parrots flying“From the Unreal, lead us to the real” says the eternal prayer that rises nightly from the hearts of millions. The world is the unreal, and when the mind is turned towards the world, dissatisfaction arises. Suffering arises, and the cycle of death-birth-death-again is assured. We must arrive at the discovery that our minds are our instruments, not our master. Turn it towards the world, you have discontent and suffering; turn it towards the heart, the home of the inner resident, you have peace, contentment.

Atma the Self, the soul, the life principle, the divine core of personality, man’s individual indwelling reality (jivatma), the wave in the ocean of the universal Self (paramatma or brahman), the inner controller which rules and regulates the senses, the mind and the intellect, and animates the body by means of prana: ‘I am the life-force in every heart’, ‘in the body but not of it’. ‘The atma is the unseen basis, the substance of all the objective world, the reality behind the appearance, universal and immanent in every being.

jiva: individual soul embodied as a person. Soul with a body.
sadhana: spiritual practice
śama — control of the mind SB 5.9.1-2
sama — unaltered Bg 2.15
sama — equiposed Bg 6.8
sama — same SB 3.29.33
sama — symmetrical SB 4.24.51
sama — and equal SB 5.22.7
sama — equal or proper SB 6.9.37
sama — the same. Adi 4.25
sama — equal level Adi 6.53
santosh — satisfaction
turiya: the fourth state of deep sleep. This is a state of complete ineffable Bliss in which the Universal Consciousness alone is experienced. It is beyond description.
vichara: self-inquiry; contemplation, thought; vichara: inner inquiry as against blind unreasoning faith.

Question 51: Sir, what attributes should a seeker have for the realisation of Atma ?

Answer: Ramji, only such attributes that help in the realisation of Atma are admissible for a seeker. He who assimilates the teachings
of saints is a superior person. But he who wishes to acquire knowledge for the sake of debates only is unwise. He who follows the teachings of saints and scriptures for the reinforcement of his knowledge, and also practises them continuously with understanding, attains the supreme state. Without contemplation and rigorous practice, it is impossible to attain the Atmic state. The four attributes mentioned earlier, viz quiescence, contentment, contemplation and holy company (shama, santosh, vichara and satsang) are prescribed as special attributes for Self-realisation.

Unwanted argumentation has been denounced by every saint and scripture and it is considered foolish. Until a seeker attains quiescence of mind, he must concentrate on the precept of his guru and engage himself in uninterrupted practice. When he gets peace and tranquility within, he attains the turiya state. This is the state of immortality, and when it is attained a jiva becomes liberated.

He who seeks Atma – that is omnipresent and pure – externally and not within, is unwise, and he keeps wandering in the world, entertaining unwanted thoughts under the influence of the mind.


The world and all its trappings encourage the fostering of the quality of ignorance and inertia; they can never raise man to a higher level of purity, balance and equanimity.

One must realise in this body itself, before death takes its toll, the Eternal Truth and the Relationship between Man and that Truth. The Kathopanishad exhorts: Arise, Awake, Get initiated from the great. Those who are agitated by doubts about what to accept and what to reject; those who are blinded by illusion, and those who cannot distinguish between darkness and light, death and immortality, all such should approach great persons who can show the path to understand the eternal Truth, the Self-illumined Basis of all creation. Then, this world and heaven both will be merged in the same effulgence! For the sake of this realisation, man should have deep yearning and hard disciplined practice. This human birth itself is the consequence of countless good deeds and it should not be cast aside; the chance must be fully exploited. As the Kenopanishad says, “The jewel in the hand should not be dropped aside“; when there are many chances of saving oneself in this life itself, is it not a big loss if no thought is spent on ways of escape? Therefore, the discriminating individual will endeavour by all means at his disposal to understand the underlying Principles, to master the teachings of the great men who traversed the spiritual path, and to bring all this, as much as possible, into the ken of one’s own experience. Without this effort, if one discards the Path and wastes his life, it is an insult to the very name of the species! Instead of getting enslaved to the evanescent and the false and wasting precious time in their pursuit, dedicate every minute to the discovery of Truth, the contemplation of the Everlasting, Ever-true Lord. Such dedication is the real function of the soul. The spending of time in illusory appetites on the other hand is the drag of the world. One should not fall a victim to the poisonous attractions of worldly luxuries or the wiles of seductive beauty. One day, all these fascinating senses will vanish as a story unfolded in a dream!

Whatever happens to man, education and the rest, to make him grow and become big, these are of no use for his spiritual progress; they bring about only his spiritual downfall. That is why this is called mayaprapancha. Truth, in whatever Maya it is immersed, will only shine more effulgently. For such is the nature of truth. How can we say that the objective world, undergoing modifications every minute, waning and wasting, with the waywardness of appearing and disappearing, is Eternal Truth? So, the characteristic of a spiritual seeker is the attainment of Truth, not the search of the Unreal in this evanescent world. In this false world, there can be no true living. There can only be unreal living. True living consists in the realisation of the Lord. This must be borne in mind by every man, every moment of his life.


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