Tom has a great quote by Ramana Maharishi back on his blog. He talked about the difference between the false ‘I’ thought [idea] and the deeper true ‘I’ of absolute being.
At first we seem to be the false ‘I’. Then we wake up from that illusion. The ego, which has been pretending to be I, is shown for what it is. We find ourselves nyeti or neti – not this. Gradually, what we are opens and moves forward. We drown in the ocean of love, then all of our world is lost in infinity. At last, we wake up from the final illusion of the world.
Then the Upanishadic saying is true – I am That, Thou art That, All This is That. As the unity deepens, a new value emerges. Another surprise.
In ‘spiritual’ circles, people say things like “any teacher that says I am enlightened is not because they said I”. I becomes the dirty word. (laughs) But heres the surprise – its back. Only now, ‘I’ is everything, unbroken, unbounded.
It illustrates from where Ramana Maharishi spoke.
Note: Yogananda was the originator of the quote (without the because part) in response to a reporter. I think his statement was directed more at enlightenment as a concept. Any concept of enlightenment is automatically wrong.(laughs) It is not something the mind can conceive. So teachers tend not to make claims like this.