An interesting way the human mind works is illustrated by Pascal’s Wager. Blaise Pascal, an eighteenth century mathematician and philosopher presented this argument.
He argued that a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.), whereas he stands to receive infinite gains and avoid infinite losses. This exemplifies the trait of loss aversion amongst human beings which along with groupthink have ensured the proliferation of organized religion.
Hence, it is no wonder that a few in a million can break past this conditioning and reach the truth. Knowledge from scriptures and books can at best create an idle curiosity but it will not ignite the fire of self-transformation. The human ego is so crafty, that once it has read these ideas, it assimilates them and can create an outward appearance of having reached this state of being without there being an actual transformation. The only thing that can set a person on the path of self-transformation and become a true seeker is direct experience.
I had read many scriptures which talked about how one should be moral, ethical and in general be a good human being. From my experience of life, I know that it all sounds good on paper but when the rubber meets to road, it is convenience and not idealism which dictates the way we live. Every one of us is a living, breathing human being and we are all seeking to be more than we are. If this longing to be more express itself in the form of seeking power and wealth, it will eventually override any knowledge from books and religious or cultural conditioning. Then religion will get interpreted to suit and fit the ambition for power and wealth. In a way that is how spiritual traditions that start off meaning well for humanity, end up becoming dogmatic belief systems.
The only way genuine transformation can take place if its comes from within from a basis of personal experience. I personally did not see the importance of essential things like ahara, vani and vichar shuddhi (purity of diet, thoughts and speech). Our scriptures have insisted that these things are very important to lead a good life. Religious leaders talk about it all the time although many of them may themselves be unable to adhere to them. However, once I had a few inner experiences with the grace of my Guruji, inner purity became a sine qua non for me. It was not even as if I had to try hard to maintain it. It was as if everything inside me was starting to get aligned to the extent that it happened by itself. So I feel that kriya yoga is the ultimate in personal transformation as it is both potent and organic because unlike other standard methods of inducing personal transformation it does not rely on the mind. Guruji talks about how his methods have helped people quit habit forming substances like tobacco and alcohol, problems which modern behavioral scientists are still trying to solve. The mind can create its own web of illusion where one can be trapped for ages and feel that they have made progress. The grace of a brahma nishta Guru makes self-transformation almost effortless.