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On Reading Spiritual Book and Self Realization – Ramana Maharishi

A spiritual book is like asking you to see yourself in a mirror. The mirror (book) reflects only what is on the face (in consciousness). If you consult the mirror after washing your face (realizing self awareness), the face will be shown to be clean (free of confusion).

Otherwise, the mirror will indicate, there is dirt here (confusion), come back after washing (clarity).

A book does the same thing. If you read the book after realizing the Self, everything will be easily understood. But if you read it before realizing the Self, it will say, ‘First, set yourself right; and then see me.’
That is all. So:, first, know the Self!
Ramana Maharishi