The Knowledge of the Self liberates a man from desire, fear, and death.
We don’t seek knowledge of the self because it’s the right thing to do or because it will make us better people, though both of these may be true. We seek knowledge of the self because it calls to us from within.
There is one Supreme Ruler, the inmost Self of all beings, who makes His one form manifold. Eternal happiness belongs to the wise who perceive Him within themselves–not to others.
Katha Upanishad, II. ii. 12.
When we know ourselves as the Self within, as the one consciousness, we know there is nothing other than Self; and without the sense of “other,” fear cannot exist:
For what was there to fear? It is from a second entity that fear comes.
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, I. iv. 2.
Knowledge of the self frees us from the possibility of pain.
When in the body [thinking this body is I, and I am the body], the Self is held by pleasure and pain; but when He is free from the body [when He knows Himself to be different from the body], neither pleasure nor pain touches Him.
Chhandogya Upanishad, VIII. xii. 1.
Knowledge of the self shows us a way through life that is clear and obvious. The Self is at-one-with the movement of the laws of nature, and the path shown us by nature is always the path of evolution. As the Self, this is the path we naturally will take. We will be led by evolution and the higher good for all, and we will no longer be attached to the false neediness of the ego.
The fetters of the heart are broken, all doubts are resolved.
Mundaka Upanishad, II. ii. 8.
Finally, to know the Self within is to know the Self of the universe. The Spirit of me and the spirit of the universe are one and the same. The Absolute. We are not humans having a spiritual experience. We are spirit, having a human experience. We are here to remember this and once again find our way back to Source. Back to our home.
Our home is within. When we find it here, we find it everywhere.
He who knows the Supreme Brahman [Totality] verily becomes Brahman. In his family no one is born ignorant of Brahman. He overcomes grief; he overcomes evil; free from the fetters of the heart, he becomes immortal.
Mundaka Upanishad, III. ii. 9.
Today I will open myself to knowing that there is far more to life than meets the eye, and I will ask for help of That which is greater than myself in seeking a different, more profound way of understanding my task at hand, and in guiding me through this day.
All translations and quotations from Swami Nikhilananda, The Upanishads
Orchid in the Last Rays of the Setting Sun, Studio City, CA