Until Self-Realization, one does not have the understanding of the Self i.e. ‘Who am I?’
He knows he exists (astitva) but he does not have the awareness of who he is (vastutva). If he were to attain the awareness of who he really is even for a second, he can reach completion i.e. liberation (purnatva).

The Self is natural, the path to acquire the knowledge of Self is straightforward and easy, but a Gnani Purush (the Enlightened One) is needed to give the knowledge of the Self (Self-Realization), and only then can the Self be understood. The Gnani himself is liberated and He has the power to liberate others. He is called the savior as he liberates us from the vicious cycle of birth and death.
Let’s understand how...

What is the reality of this world? The Self!
The questions you ask and the knowledge you attain in daily life is all relative knowledge.
What is the reality? People generally say, “I do not have that knowledge.” The Self is verily that reality.

Everyone knows the relative viewpoints (worldly understanding) but will you not have to know the real viewpoint (right understanding)? Knowing both the real and the relative is knowledge through pragnya, the direct light of the Self, and to know just one viewpoint is knowledge through the intellect or buddhi, which is the indirect light of the Self mediated through the ego.

The belief of ‘I am’ in the right place (the Self) is not considered ego
To believe what one is not (eg. I am John – please insert your name here) is ego. The ego becomes absolutely pure when there is no trace of anger, pride, illusion or greed left.

There are two kinds of self involved in understanding the self, depending on one’s present state:
the non-awakened self (the impure ego or the worldly self), while in an ignorant state;
the awakened Self (the pure Soul or real Self), after Self-Realization is attained.
There are two paths to understanding the Self: Akram and Kramic
The fact that Akram Vignan, the shortcut path to Self-Realization, has arisen in this current time cycle is a tremendous occurrence. This ‘elevator’ path has come about naturally. On this path, you can proceed towards liberation even as you enjoy your worldly life, while eating snacks and sweets. Without renouncing anything or practicing any austerities, you can experience the bliss of liberation.

Alternately, on the Kramic path, one has to do penance, renounce worldly pleasures and progress one step at a time to understand the Self. He has to purify his ego in the process. The ego has to be purified to such an extent that he remains unaffected even when he is shown a lot of respect and importance. The Self can only be attained (fully understood) when the ego is purified to this level. The ego has to become so pure that ultimately the pure ego and the pure Soul become one.

On the Kramic path, a person progresses through acts of penance; he progresses by attaining the next higher level and renouncing the lower one; both these actions co-exist in the Kramic path but no matter what one renounces, the ego always remains. Not only that, the ego increases with the sense of, ‘I have renounced.’

To experience the Self, the real effort is required
Not the prakruti’s (the body complex’s) effort, but the effort of the Self is what is needed. The efforts that take place in the world are that of the prakruti. All the meditation, penance, chanting, etc. that one does is all the effort of the non- Self body complex! Real effort however comes after one becomes the Self). Only then, will it reach its precise goal!

On the Akram path, when the Self is awakened, pragnya is expressed!
Pragnya is the direct light of the Self (Soul), and on the Akram path, it begins after Gnan Vidhi (Self-Realization with the grace of Gnani). So when one attains Self-Realization, pragnya gets expressed. The energy of the Self that is awakened within upon Self-realization is called Pragnya.

Pragnya in the samkit (Self-realized) state is like a partial phase. It is like the second day of the moon. And it is verily the Pragnya’s role is to take you to ultimate liberation (the stage of full moon or Absolute Self).

What is it that warns you from within? It is Pragnya!
Pragnya keeps you constantly alert. Pragnya warns you constantly from within with the correct understanding of, ‘I am this (the awakened Self), I am not this (the relative self)’, thus helping you maintain the awareness of separation between the awakened Self and the relative Self. That is the experience of the Self (Soul).

Thus, Pragnya is the liberating energy of the Self i.e. the Soul, that leads one right upto the state of ultimate liberation by constantly cautioning one to remain in the right understanding of the Self.

Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan, the Enlightened being, says:
“This ‘Dada’ (the Enlightened One) has seen both Gnan (knowledge of the Self) and agnan (relative knowledge) as being separate, and that is exactly what he is showing you (when he graces you with Self-Realization). Thereafter, the Self comes into the domain of the Self, at which point, the pragnyashakti (the liberating energy of the Self) takes over and becomes the guide; maintaining one’s alertness. Until then, one remains in the religion and the realm of prakruti (the non-awakened self).”

To know more: https://www.dadabhagwan.org/path-to-happiness/spiritual-science/who-am-i...

Author's Bio: 

Ambalal M. Patel was a civil contractor by profession. In June 1958, spontaneous Self-Realization occurred within Ambalal M. Patel. From this point on, Ambalal became a Gnani Purush, and the Lord that manifest within him became known as Dada Bhagwan. A Gnani Purush is One who has realized the Self and is able help others do the same. Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan used to go from town to town and country-to-country to give satsang (spiritual discourse) and impart the knowledge of the Self, as well as knowledge of harmonious worldly interactions to everyone who came to meet him. This spiritual science, known as Akram Vignan, is the step-less path to Self-realization.