Self-Knowledge: Very Difficult to Attain
श्रवणायापि बहुभिर्यो न लभ्यः
शृण्वन्तोऽपि बहवो यं न विद्युः ।
आश्चर्यो वक्ता कुशलोऽस्य लब्धा
आश्चर्यो ज्ञाता कुशलानुशिष्टः ॥ ७॥
śravaṇāyāpi bahubhiryo na labhyaḥ
śṛṇvanto’pi bahavo yaṃ na vidyuḥ .
āścaryo vaktā kuśalo’sya labdhā
āścaryo jñātā kuśalānuśiṣṭaḥ .. 7..
Many there are who do not even hear of Atman; though hearing of Him, many do not comprehend. Wonderful is the expounder and rare the hearer; rare indeed is the experiencer of Atman taught by an able preceptor.
Swami Vivekananda Says —
Many have not even the opportunity to hear about it; and many, though hearing, cannot know it, because the teacher must be wonderful; so must he be wonderful too unto whom the knowledge is carried.[Source] The teacher must be wonderful, so must be the taught.[Source]
To understand this truth is very difficult.[Source] Learn not the truth of the Self save from one who has realised it; in all others it is mere talk. Realisation is beyond virtue and vice, beyond future and past; beyond all the pairs of opposites. “The stainless one sees the Self, and an eternal calm comes in the Soul.” Talking, arguing, and reading books, the highest flights of the intellect, the Vedas themselves, all these cannot give knowledge of the Self.[Source]
The Guru is the conveyance in which the spiritual influence is brought to you. Anyone can teach, but the spirit must be passed on by the Guru to the Shishya (disciple), and that will fructify. The relation between Shishyas is that of brotherhood, and this is actually accepted by law in India. The Guru passes the thought power, the Mantra, that he has received from those before him; and nothing can be done without a Guru.[Source]