“Not through discourse, not through the intellect, not even through study of the scriptures can the Self be realized. The Self reveals Himself to the one who longs for the Self. Those who long for the Self with all their heart are chosen by the Self as his own… Those who know the Self become the Self. Freed from the fetters of separateness, they attain to immortality.”
Like all aspects of the Veda, this quote from Mundaka Upanishad cannot really be understood until after the Self is realized. The crux here lies in the phrase, “longs for the Self”. What does that really mean? Often, longing may be thought of as an emotional state. But ‘longing’ here means much more.
Everything manifests from Oneness and everything gravitates back to Oneness. As the iron filing gets closer to the magnet, the pull gets stronger and stronger… as one gets closer and closer, the ‘longing’ is ‘with all of their heart’. Such longing is all consuming. It is not just emotional… it is physiological on all levels of ones being… it comes not from the emotional heart, but from the heart (the depth) of ones being. This is the experience of gravity in the broadest sense of the word ‘gravity’. It is Longing. It is not fully understood, not clearly understood, until after the Self is truly known. Along the path gravity pulls you…. there you find discourse, intellectual understanding, scriptures, etc. The closer you get, the stronger the pull, the clearer the vision, the more ardent the quest. Yet water remains water until it crystallizes into ice. Similarly, the Veda is not understood until the Self is realized. And then the word ‘understood’ takes on new meaning as well.
Echoes of Truth, perceived as Truth, hold Truth at bay. Echoes of Truth, perceived as echoes, assist one along the path back to Oneness… neti, neti, neti… not that, not that, not that. Humility comes with wisdom. To know everything is to know nothing.
Like water tumbling down a mountain stream, the gravitational pull is experienced in many ways with varying degrees of choppy chaos, swirling distraction, pooling stagnation, and utter confusion… with varying degrees of clarity of purpose, commitment, and understanding. At some point, the pull becomes so great that you will settle for nothing less than Truth. Everything else you have learned is then questioned. The veils of all indoctrinations, dogmas, misinterpretations, temptations, and identities are reexamined, discerned, and pierced… experienced as hollow and unsatisfying.
As if from afar, it calls you. Truth, in its purest form, is the only true focus of longing… the only nectar to quench that seemingly eternal thirst… the only healing balm… the balm of Pure Knowledge.