Q: Is Following One’s Own Inner Conscience (Living Righteously) The Only Way To Self Realization ?
The Self reveals itself only and only when one is purified.
Impurities arise from the mind. If one consciously stops such impurities from the thought level, and implements pure (as per one’s own conscience) thoughts, words and deeds in one’s life, purification is direct and instant. The moment one is one hundred percent purified, self reveals itself.
In case one is unable to purify oneself in this direct and on the spot manner, you may try other techniques like meditation, yoga, self-enquiry, japa and for that matter any other sadhana. One should not forget that all sadhanas are aids which should help and support righteous living (living as per one’s own inner conscience). Every sadhana is futile till the time one consciously or unconsciously allows oneself to live unrighteously believing that he does not need to bother about living righteously as he is doing sadhana.
If one takes it for granted that doing sadhanas gives one license to ignore one’s own inner conscience, he is utterly mistaken. It will take eons and eons of time and births for such a one to realize the self. Self reveals itself only and only when purified one hundred percent. As long as one allows oneself to ignore his own inner conscience, purification is impossible.