The word learning has great significance. Learning implies to understand something new, to gain knowledge of something that I don’t know. The act of learning is when in order to know or understand something, I enthusiastically put my whole being into it.

When does one stop learning?
When one believes, ‘I know.’

Generally people, as they grow in age, think in their mind, ‘I know, I know better than the other’; and they continue to live in that illusion. It is the ego that makes one believe, ‘I understand everything, I know, that is all.’ And because the ego makes one believe so, the learning part stops; and one starts showing fake pride by boasting, “See how much I know. See how I did this so well.”

Saying ‘I know’, the ego tries to show the superiority and importance (visheshta) of one’s self
The nature of ego is such that when it becomes bigger, be it on account of age or position or social status, etc, it makes one say, ‘I understand, I know everything, I know everything for sure.’ But one infected with this disease simply does the ego of knowing. Ego is a kind of madness.

One may boast of the learning that one has acquired as part of tradition from the elders, or as part of knowledge that one has accumulated while in school and college from the teachers, or as the experiences one gained in life so far; and displays their pride. However one forgets, I may acquire the superficial polish of learning, I may be able to quote books, repeat passages from great authors, but that does not make me learned.

When can we get benefit in life?
When we keep our mind and our ears open, we keep humility and say, ‘I want to know this, I certainly wish to learn it’; then not only our work gets done with better ease, but we also grow. If we say, ‘I have known’, then we do not grow; rather our weaknesses grow. Knowing is real when no weakness remains. As long as there is anger-pride-deceit-greed, one has not known anything, only weaknesses exist.

But one with fake pride finds a happy hunting ground in this darkness and illusion, although his happiness continues to betray him lifelong! If someone breaks a simple glass at home, one acts like their Soul is broken. Ideally, it is considered knowing when one does not get trapped into any worldly troubles, when one knows how to remain free and unaffected even amidst all kinds of mental, physical or external problems (aadhi-vyadhi-upadhi) present in life.

One keeps stumbling over and over at every step in life, and yet says, ‘I know this, I know that’
In darkness we stumble, isn’t it? When we stumble, it means it is darkness (ignorance) only. Knowledge is light. We mistakenly believe darkness to be light, and hence show fake pride. Only when one does not stumble, then we know that he is indeed in light.

Suppose there is pitch darkness in your home. How will you feel? You will have clashes with chair, table, etc. And what will happen if you have full light in your room? If you have full light, there will not be any clash, there will not be any suffering, there will not be any worries, no doubts, no stress! With full light, you feel happiness and your close relatives also will feel happiness. This is what we experience in the light of the Soul, which is the real Self.

Knowledge means light within. Should light not shine within?
As long as there is anger-pride-deceit-greed, as long as other people get hurt through our worldly interactions, or there are clashes; one has not known anything at all. How is the intoxicated ego or fake pride recognized? It is when one says, ‘You are wrong’. One strikes back when someone challenges him.

One who knows is always in great ease. But here, when asked, one will say, ‘No, I feel restless inside.’ What is the benefit of knowing then? Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan says, “One has to understand that which needs to be understood. What has one known? He is my father-in-law, he is my Uncle, etc.’ If one knows ‘who am I’ then it will come to an end. Until then it is all an illusion only. One has to know where one can attain knowledge of one’s own Self.”

It is from the Living Gnani that one can attain Self-Realization
Just like a goldsmith separates out pure gold from the ornament, Gnani too, with his divine grace, separates the Pure Soul, our real Self, from this seen worldly Self.

In true sense, when it is considered that one has known? It is when not even an iota of ego remains. When one becomes free from the ego of ‘I know’ of what he knows, he will have won the entire world because that is when real progress will happen. But how do we make that happen?...

The principle is that I cannot get rid of ego with ego; I cannot get rid of pride with ego
It is only after Self-Realization, that I (the real Self, the Pure Soul) am able to see and understand fake pride as it expresses itself in daily life, day after day - the roughness with which I (the worldly self) treat people, the pride, the arrogance, the coarseness of my habits and thoughts – and that very observation transforms what is, that very awareness brings about breaking up of pride.

This is the meditation required to be free from pride, to die to whatever has been achieved by me (the worldly self) in life and attain oneness with the entire mankind. And this meditation becomes possible only after Self-Realization attained with the grace of the Living Gnani!!!

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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.