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Hindus/self knowledge

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Question
Respected Sir
How one gets the self knowledge?
What do i need to do for that?
Is it same like gaining any other professional knowledge or degree?
Do i need to renaunce everything for that?
Us it possible to obtain self knowledge/self realization while living a wordly life?
I am a young software professional.

Answer
Dear Shushant,

Thank you for your questions.

Swami Vivekananda clearly delineated four, main paths to Self-knowledge, which he called the four Yogas. These are Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Karma Yoga, and Raja Yoga. Jnana Yoga utilizes reason as a method to discriminate between Self and non-Self. Bhakti Yoga utilizes devotion to connect the devotee with the Supreme Self. Karma Yoga transforms every action into a method of purifying the mind to make it ready to receive Self-knowledge. And Raja Yoga trains the mind through meditation to penetrate to the very core of identity to the Source that is Self.

Swamiji recommended blending these four methods of Self-knowledge into a unified spiritual practice. He also taught that both monks and householders can succeed in spiritual life, each by his own methods. Sri Ramakrishna recommended spending some time in solitude now and then to deepen meditation and develop devotion.

It is clinging to worldly experience that blocks Self-knowledge. As Sri Krishna says in the Gita, the mind can be controlled through regular and sustained practice (abhyasa) and the cultivation of detachment (vairagya).

It is a great blessing to have the desire for Self-knowledge awaken in your heart. Seek a qualified Guru, take and follow his or her instructions with faith and devotion, and in time you will achieve the Goal.

For more information about the Four Yogas, see Swami Vivekananda's books on the subject.

Best wishes,

Brother William

Hindus

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William Schindler, a.k.a. Brother William

Expertise

I can answer questions about Vedanta philosophy, Patanjali Yoga philosophy and practice, Tantra, Bhagavad-Gita, Upanishads, Vivekachudamani (Shankara`s Crest-jewel of Spritual Discrimination), Advaita (non-dualism), the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda tradition, Goddess worship, meditation practice, Hindu monasticism (sannyasa), and Sanskrit.

Experience

I've been studying and practicing Vedanta and Tantra since 1969.

Organizations
I'm the founder and spiritual director of Ashram West, a gay spiritual community based on traditional Hindu Tantra. I have been a member of the Vedanta Society of Southern California since 1969.

Publications
I have three books in print: GAY TANTRA, ESSAYS ON GAY TANTRA, BLOOD OF THE GODDESS.

Education/Credentials
I hold a B.A. in Sanskrit (UC Berkeley 1975) and an M.A. in clinical psychology (Antioch University 1986).

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