Enlightenment, Self-realization, or Self-knowledge does not require much knowledge. Rather, accumulated knowledge is a hindrance to Self-knowledge. For Self-knowledge, only a sharp and open mind is needed which can reason on being pointed out. And if someone, who has already realized it, can rightly point, then the realization of the Self may happen in few moments.
For example, if I say – feel your breath. Then no knowledge is needed in this. Just your mind should be trained to catch subtle things because breath is a little subtle and people who have never practiced meditation find it difficult to catch even the breath. Self is subtler than subtlest because it is not an object but the subject itself. So, in order to recognize the Self, the mind should be open and flexible enough to drop all the previous accumulations on being pointed out and should be able to highly self-reflective. If the mind has these two qualities, then it can recognize the true Self instantaneously.
Knowing Self is like knowing the eye by the eye itself. Since eye has become accustomed to knowing everything by seeing them. Then it may take a similar approach for knowing the eye itself that if it will see the eye, then it will know that eye exists. But the problem is that eye can know other things by seeing but it cannot see itself. So, it cannot know itself by seeing. Now a question arises here that if the eye cannot see itself then how can it know that eye exists? This is a big problem. In seeing things, eye is the seer and other things are seen. So, the seer can see other things but how can the seer see itself? This is not possible. So, the seer can never know itself by seeing itself, the way it knows other things. The same problem arises in the recognition of Self. Self knows everything by experiencing. So, it does the mistake of trying to know itself also by experiencing it. But, it is not possible. Because Self is the knower who knows through experiencing so it cannot know itself through experience. Then, the question arises – what is the way out? How Self can be recognized by itself?
The way out is that if being seen is proof enough for the eye that there is a seer eye, it should not be fooled that the day I see myself, I will come to know that there is an eye. Secondly, it should also never make the mistake of trying to see oneself in what is being seen. Because when it has been clearly understood that eye can never see itself, then it is clear that what the eye can see cannot be the eye. It is something other than the eye.
Knowing Self is also like knowing the eye by eye itself. Self-knowledge is not the knowledge of what I am. Rather, Self-knowledge is the knowledge of what I am not. Self-knowledge is knowing that I can never know myself. Self-knowledge is knowing that I can never experience myself.
So, instantaneous Self-knowledge arrives through sharp deductions such as – if I can experience and know the body, then the body is not myself. If I can experience and know thoughts, then thought is not myself. If I can experience and know feelings, then the feeling is not myself. If I can experience and know ego, then ego is not myself. Then what is Self? On contemplating this question deeply, one finds that whatever is known OR knowable to me, is actually not me. I am that knower who remains after deducting/separating all which is known or knowable. I am unknowable. Knowing is happening, is sufficient proof that the knower exists, and that is the only proof of my existence to myself.
So, the funny thing about Self-knowledge is that on attaining self-knowledge, one becomes self-ignorant. Because one becomes absolutely clear that he can not know himself and that whatever is known or can be known, is not me.
So, Self-knowledge is not knowing what I am but knowing what I am not, and knowing that I can never be known, and knowing that whatever is known or can be known is not me. This knowledge sets you free from everything, forever…..