Question: What are the signs of realization?
Answer: In Sanskrit a person who is ‘realized’ is called a jnani (someone who knows), or better yet, someone who has recognized that the truth of the individual self, and the truth of the entire world of name and form is one ‘thing’ alone.
One thing that is not a thing, not an object of cognition, yet intimately known as ‘I’—changeless, ever present, limitless, unaffected by the changing circumstances of duality, and at the same time, the underlying reality of all changing things.
In Vedanta we say there are three sadhanas for jnanam (realization). They are sravana (listening to the teachings), mananam (asking questions to clear doubts), and nididhyasana (resting the mind in the recognition of That limitless reality which is one’s true nature).
Only a jnani can do this last sadhana, because only a jnani has directly recognized the nondual self—the basis of the entire world of name and form.
Why would the Upanisads give out a third sadhana after realization has been gained? If all jnanis had the same ‘signs of realization,’ why would a third sadhana be recommended? Would it not just be ‘game over?’ Why would more sadhana be necessary at that point?
A third sadhana is recommended in order to gain unwavering stability in that recognition.
Identifying one’s existence as being limited to, and dependent upon, the individual body/mind and sense organs person, (in Vedanta that identification is called ahankara, or ego) is a very long standing habit.
And to counteract that habit, nididhyasana is recommended. Further it is important to note that some people are more emotionally mature than others when jnanam takes place.
If work on the psyche has been done prior to realization, then that person may display more of the dynamic aspects of the self, like compassion, love, tolerance, etc.
But if a person is less emotionally mature, and still has a lot of psychological baggage to work through, these qualities might not be as apparently manifested.
Therefore, the ‘signs’ may vary; and truly it is very difficult to know if a person is really a jnani by observing that person’s behavior. But overtime, as the psyche matures in the recognition of one’s true nature, more and more of the positive qualities of jnanam will manifest.
So that’s kind of interesting. On the one hand each person recognizes the exact same ‘thing’ when jnanam takes place, and on the other hand, each person may embody jnanam differently in time.