September 15, 2011

How do you understand the meaning of the word enlightenment?

Hello and welcome back to the blog! This week I would like to talk about the meaning of the word enlightenment. Apparently for different people it means different thing. What does it mean to you? How do you see it? Many of you have heard of it, so much has been written about it. But what is it truly ?
Widely in eastern tradition  enlightenment or "mukti" or also "nirvana" is known as the primordial goal of life. According to the yogic teachings, it is ultimate liberation which every human being is longing for, knowingly or unknowingly. When I encountered Sadhguru for the first time in Atlanta about 7 years ago, I did not speak much English, but one thing I remember; he asked the audience "How much do you want? how much will settle you for good? How much  tell Me?!" People started shouting numbers, one after another, million, ten million, ten billion it went on building up. Finally some gentleman said: INFINITE!

Isn't that truly what we want ? if only we look deep enough within our self to see it. This is what a spiritual seeker wants, however. He's not willing to settle for just a small portion, he or she wants everything. Infinity is our nature, nothing even spiritual or mystical about it. Modern science is very clear today saying that every atom in our body is in constant transaction with the rest of the existence. Not only that, it says that our very bodies are made out of star dust. Now that's sounds pretty exciting, I'm made out of stars, but it's important to remember what Sadhguru is constantly repeating, there is distance between possibility and reality. That distance is the spiritual process that's offered to us

For me, enlightenment is just a word that I don't pay much attention to. All I know is as I am getting more and more in to the meditation, moments are coming when I clearly see that I know nothing, absolutely nothing about the way the body and every aspect of it is functioning. The very fact that I'm alive doesn't seem to make any sense, yet it is happening, and I don't have to do anything for it to happen, isn't that cool? Now, it isn't quite infinite yet, but it sure feels pretty vast :)

Swami Nisarga says 

Enlightenment is not the first step on the spiritual path. Nor is it the last. Yet, the word captures the imagination of people like neverbefore. There was a time, not very long ago, when spiritual seekers began their quest by asking to see God. Not anymore. Questions like, “Does God exist?,” “Have you seen God?,” “Can you show God to me?” don’t seem to bother people anymore as much as questions about Enlightenment do. “What is Enlightenment?,” “Are you Enlightened?,” “Can you give Enlightenment to me?”- are the questions that a Guru in today’s world is more likely to encounter from the spiritual aspirant.

 A casual Google search on the word “Enlightenment” reflects its popularity: something like 15 million word hits; 5 million images; 23,000 videos; and 30,000 books registered in a matter of seconds.For a moment, you would think it is a pity that Buddha, the one who brought the word into vogue, is not around to see it. But a closer look at the modern usage of the term is not so flattering. Starting from a purely technical description of the lighting of a light bulb, to some New-Agey people selling soaps, shampoos and incense sticks — everybody has staked their claim to the word. It seems as though most people have come to a conclusion that no such thing as Enlightenment exists, and have therefore decided to make the most of it by putting the word to market savvy uses. Surely, this would not impress Gautama the Buddha, for whom the word and the path was his life and breath.

"If you are not aware of this, for over 90% of the people, the moment of Enlightenment and the moment of leaving the body are same. Only those people who know the tricks of the body, who know the mechanics of the body, who understand the nuts and bolts of the body, can hold on to it. Of the people who manage to stay back, a majority of them spend the rest of their lives in silence. Only a very few are stupid enough to try to do something with people around them because it is so hopeless talking about another dimension which is not in people’s experience. These people are trying to be logically sensible, but it is quite a hopeless thing... "



  1. I could listen to Sadhguru's tell the story of his enlightenment a thousand times and never tire. Thanks Denis.

  2. Hi Jeremy! Thanks for taking the time and responding to the article ;)
    It sounds so easy and simple.. the way he speaks about it no? Hope maximum number of people will have chance to experience what he's talking about in this life time..

  3. lovey post, thank you! to me the word means nothing at all. even when i started on this path, it meant nothing. my journey started with one question: who am i? from there, to Inner Engineering, to India, to the discovery of things within myself i never dreamt were possible, it has been a roller coaster! the word still doesnt mean anything, but life is a dream :)

  4. "Discovering thing's within that I never dreamt were possible" .. why is it that I'm hearing this more and more often?
    Thank you for your comment Mad Joy.. ;)

  5. It's like trying to understand light when you are blind - there's just no way. Either you see... or you dont. I'm still rummaging around in the dark but heading towards a shining being.

  6. @Anonymus: Thanks for commenting..
    @Ronen: Nicely said Ro.. et even better describes what I feel about it...