The words “Know Thyself” were inscribed on the ancient Greek temple of Apollo at Delphi, where many (including kings of other lands) journeyed to hear the words of the famed Oracle of Delphi.
While there may be various levels of meaning to these profound words, the ultimate meaning is obvious to me. It is precisely what Ramana Maharshi and other enlightened people throughout history have always taught – that your essential Being, the real Self, is the ultimate One Being that is the very ground of Everything that Exists. The Hindus call it Brahman, and many contemporary teachers often call it Source.
This One Consciousness creates all reality. And the forms it takes are all characters in the mind of this One Consciousness, much like the dream world we create when we sleep. We are the Universe perceiving itself through our tiny and severely limited human forms.
Mystical traditions all over the globe have often spoken of the mystical union with the Divine – a profound spiritual experience. This insight is found in countless spiritual traditions throughout history, and even in those that appear to be the furthest from it – such as in the mystical forms of Judaism (Kabbalah), Christianity, and Islam (Sufism).
The most spiritually sophisticated among the ancient Greeks, like those in numerous ancient cultures, were well aware of this insight. The very popular mystery religions were built on this insight, though initiates had to advance to the inner mysteries before this secret was revealed to them.
So it’s hardly surprising that the ancient Greeks, advanced in virtually every area, would put the simple yet profound inscription “Know Thyself” on their most sacred temple.