Chapter 6: The Touchstone of Truth
The first question:
Through studying texts like Vedanta and the Ashtavakra Gita, I have learned that whatever is worth attaining has already been attained. Making efforts for it is going astray. I have deepened this conviction, so why has self-realization not happened? Please show me the path.
Never think that what you understand from scriptures is your own understanding. Never think what you understand from words has become your own experience.
Hearing Ashtavakra, many people will feel, “Far out! Everything is already attained.” But it is not attained this way. What connection is there between your listening to Ashtavakra and attaining? “It has already happened”: but this must be your own experience. This recognition, the realization, must be yours, it cannot be an intellectual conclusion.
Intellect will quickly accept it. What could be easier than, “It has already happened. Good, our troubles are over. Now there is no need to search, no need to meditate, no need to worship or pray - it has already happened.”
Intellect is ready to accept - but not because it has grasped the truth. It accepts because then the difficulties of the path can be dropped, efforts of sadhana dropped, and the need to continue meditating dropped. Soon you look around and find that you have not attained. If it could happen merely by the intellect grasping it, there could be spiritual universities. There is no university of spiritual study. It is not attained from scriptures, it is attained by your own spontaneous, inspired wisdom.
Listen to Ashtavakra, but don’t be in a hurry to believe. Your greed makes you hurry. Your greed will tell you, “This is very handy. We already have the treasure, so the whole bother of attaining it is over. Now there is nowhere to go, now there is nothing to do.”
You always wanted to attain without effort. But remember, the desire to attain is still there behind all this: to attain without doing! Previously you thought of striving to attain; now you think of attaining without effort - but the desire to attain is still there. This is why the question arises, “Why has self-realization not happened yet?”
The one who has understood it - he will say, “To hell with self-realization. What would I do with it?” If you had understood Ashtavakra, no other question could arise. The statement, “Self-realization has not happened,” indicates that while accepting what Ashtavakra says, you are watching from the corner of your eye: Is it attained yet or not? Your eye is still focused on attaining.