The Self already exists within us and not knowing this, is spiritual ignorance. There are other factors that contribute to bondage, like ego. Liberation can be attained only if one enters egoless state. What happens if Liberation is not attained? He transmigrates till such time he is liberated. Which is the important factor in not realising the Self. Primarily it is the ignorance and secondly due to the attachment to the material world, that one accrues karma. Why karmas are being accrued? Mainly because of ego, thinking that “I am the doer”. If one thinks that he is the doer, then he is bound by body and mind and as a result he cannot enter the egoless state. The concept of surrender is very important for Liberation. Krishna attaches great importance to the concept of surrender (VIII. 65 and 66). “Give your mind to me, be devoted to me, bow to me, and by doing so, you will become me. I promise you…..Resigning all your duties to me, take refuge in me alone. I will absolve you of all sins.”
Towards the closing chapters of Gita, Kṛṣṇa becomes too compassionate. He says to Arjuna and through him to the entire humanity, “You have suffered enough. I do not want you to suffer any longer. I am your Lord. Surrender unto Me by thinking about Me all the time. I will give you liberation. You have come very close to Me. Just a few steps, you will attain Me. Please do not go back.” Even after these compassionate words, if one is unwilling to surrender his ego to Him, then, nobody can save him. He will continue to undergo the pains of birth and death repeatedly.
When a person had fallen into a deep pit, one can throw a rope to save him. If he is not willing to take that rope and climb up, what can one think about him? This is the kind of situation, the humanity is in. The Lord says that he is giving you the rope to climb up and even promises that he would you take to safety. Even then, the fallen person is not acting, which means that he is resigned to his fate. The Lord says that one should set aside his ego and surrender to Him through one’s mind. He does not even want a person to suffer physically. Just developing the quality of renunciation, through his mind, is more than enough to attain Liberation. Sacrifice is the sole essence of Gita. One can perform any actions without intent on the fruits of actions. Nothing is barred and the only requirement is to stay connected consciously with the Lord all the time. If one takes refuge in the Lord, the Lord will take care of his Liberation. He will find the ways and means to absolve all his sins, purify him and ultimately make him one with Himself. After all, the Lord is the embodiment of compassion and love.
Kṛṣṇa once again tells Arjuna not to worry and asks him to surrender in entirety to Him. The Lord also gives a promise that he will be absolved of all his sins and liberated. He says, “Do not get repeatedly entangled with duties that may be either right or wrong. I am above all the scriptural dictums. When you aim to attain Me, dharma-s have no significance. Get out of your ego and come to Me is all that I need from you.”
When surrender is made through his mind, all his sins are burnt like heap of cotton burnt by a spark of fire. Here the fire is the illumination of knowledge about the Self. What is knowledge about the Self? This has been dealt with, in the previous three articles. When one affirms and realizes that he is the Self, further accrual of sins cease. He truly realizes the Self within, ever illuminating. All these days, the Self which was lustrous all the time, was hidden by the effects of māyā. Such a person’s action does not cause any karma and thus, he is free of karmas. The Self that was within, is now unveiled as three important impediments, ego, māyā and karma are destroyed. Such a person does not experience any dyads such as happiness and sorrow, fear and courage. Why? How can the Self have dyads and triads?
However, Liberation does not mean that we go to a particular place (say heaven) nor to another world (say the world of sun or moon). “Liberation is the revelation of Śakti (Power) inherent in the Self, in whom the bonds of ignorance have been burnt.” What about the physical body of a liberated person? He continues to exist in his physical body and he has to await his death.
More than rituals and japa mantras (japa here does not include aligning mantra with breath; what is referred here is mundane repetition of a mantra by using a rosary), it is important that we have to seek the Self within, who is always seated within, ever illuminating. The more and more we make enquires on the Self, we move closer to that illuminating Self within, breaking all the barriers of bondage and limitation. When the Self is realized in its own glory, we stop accruing all karmas.
(Further reading: There are two types of arguments. One, if a person is Self-realized, at that moment all his karmas are burnt by the Lord. Thus, he is freed of all karmas immediately. The other opinion is that one has to experience one’s own karma, even after realization. This is the concept of jīvanmukta. Many of us ask questions to find out which of the two, free will or karma is more powerful. According to Ramana Maharishi “this is of interest only to those who are not enlightened. It is the true nature of ego from which arises two notions. He who has that enlightenment has transcended both and is not interested in the question. Fate has a beginning, a cause, and that is action; and that cannot be without freewill. Freewill therefore is the first cause; it is the predominant factor and by cultivating free-will one can conquer fate.”)
“Being the Consciousness and Bliss, there is no longer any differentiation such as the knower and the known; the Self shines forth as Itself. During perpetual meditation (not the meditation that is practiced as a routine for 20 minutes or more), the Self and the ego are rubbed together causing fire of knowledge that burn away the whole range of ignorance. On knowledge destroying ignorance in this way, like the light of dawn scattering the darkness of night, the Self will rise like the sun in all its glory. Self is always here and now and it is not apparent owing to our ignorance. On ignorance being destroyed, the Self is realized.”