There have been great seers and saints in different climes and ages who have realized this Freedom and proclaimed it to be the Supreme End of life. So declares the Vedic seer of India, “I have realized this self-effulgent Supreme Being beyond darkness. By knowing Him alone one overcomes mortality. There is no other way out.” He who knows the Truth, becomes one with the Truth, because the Truth is his very self. You cannot objectify your own Self. You simply recognize the self. “The knower of Brahman becomes the Brahman (the Supreme Being),” says the Mundaka Upanishad. Why ? Because “That thou art.”
Self-realization and God-realization are not two different experiences. In realizing the self, we realize God. In realizing God, we realize the self. The self and God are subjective and objective views of the same Reality, which is beyond relativity and is neither the subject nor the object. In the relative plane it is the Eternal Subject, the Soul of all souls. The direct approach to It is, therefore, through the self. This is why we seek God with closed eyes in the innermost depth of our being. In the words of Jesus Christ, “The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation; neither shall they say, Lo here! Or Lo there ! for behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.” Further, “God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” To all worshippers the instruction of the Hindu Tantras is : “Worship the Divine, being divine [by evoking the divine spirit within].”
The same approach was taught by the great German mystic Meister Eckhart, who loved from 1260 to 1328.
To get at the core of God at His greatest, one must first get into the core of oneself at his least, for no one can know God who has not first known himself. Go to the depth of the soul, the secret place of the most High, to the roots, to the heights, for all that God can do is focussed there.
The great Chinese sage Lao Tzu, in the sixth century BC spoke in a similar strain:
Without going outside one’s door, one understands [all that takes place] under the sky; without looking out from one’s window, one sees the Tao of heaven. The farther one goes out [from oneself], the less one knows.
Therefore the sages got their knowledge without travelling, gave the [right] names to things without seeing them and accomplished their ends without any purpose of doing so.
Man’s intrinsic divine nature and his relationship with God is the keystone of all theistic faiths. “Religion” as defined by Swami Vivekananda, “is the manifestation of the Divinity already in man.” In other words, it is the unfoldment of man’s innate perfection. That the human soul is essentially pure and perfect is not only a fact of suprasensuous experience but also the basic principle of the process of evolution. If a human being can evolve into such a divine personality as Buddha or Christ, it necessarily follows that Buddhahood or Christhood must be involved in man. If, according to the theory of evolution, an amoeba is progressing towards perfection, then perfection must be latent in the amoeba.
A tiny seed grows into a giant oak tree because the tree exits in the seed in potential form. The growth of a living organism means the unfoldment of its latent potency. An oak tree never emerges from an apple seed. To hold that man evolves into a godlike being and at the same time deny that Godhood is involved in man is illogical. It is but a one-sided view of the evolutionary process. Evolution presupposes involution. If perfection or Divinity be man’s goal, Divinity must be the origin of man. According to science man is arisen animal; according to religion man is a fallen spirit. The acknowledgement of involution as a antecedent to evolution harmonizes the seeming conflict between scientific and religious views.
from Introduction to the Book THE GOAL AND THE WAY by Swami Satprakashananda, 1974