Posts tagged: guru

Jan 23 2011

Is Enlightenment a Myth?

Enlightenment is the word describing the ultimate achievement for many a spiritual seeker. The highest honor, the top rank, amongst the many following the Path. Why call enlightenment a myth?
After all, Buddha said that the idea of enlightenment is extremely important. Especially, if you consider the fact that most people go through their lives not even knowing that there is such a thing as enlightenment; and the idea of striving for it is totally foreign to them. Knowing that once people heard of it, a seed was sown which cannot die, he would send his disciples to preach continually for eight months – every year.
Not surprisingly, the subject of enlightenment features prominently in teachings of the great majority of spiritual masters – real and self-proclaimed gurus.

Talking about gurus… have you noticed how they are propagating lately with the speed of light? And how the Internet became their favorite medium, to reach you with their wares, or as they call it: sacred message. The whole spiritual industry was born and keeps growing rapidly, fed by humanity’s suffering and never ending search of happiness.
Sure, they are spiritual gurus – Realized Masters, to whom you can entrust your faith and life. Their message, although pure and untainted by pecuniary interests, can often be misinterpreted. Case in point: the teachings of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, the Tiger of Bombay. In particular, his “take” on enlightenment.

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj during his last days - September 1981

Those familiar with “T Am That” (BTW, it is a short version of what became Maharaj’s mantra: ‘I am that by which I know “I am”’ will remember his words: ‘”One can give food, clothes, shelter, knowledge, affection, but the highest gift is the gospel of enlightenment” my Guru used to say. You are right, enlightenment is the highest good. Once you have it, nobody can take it away from you.’ These were his words, recorded sometime in the late sixties (1960). If you are familiar with Maharaj’s book “The Nectar of Immortality” you must have noticed these, somewhat startling, words: “So who is it that needs enlightenment? There is no entity that needs enlightenment. There is no such thing as enlightenment!”
Surely, this particular book comprises of his teachings from the year approx. 1980 – some twenty years later.

So has his message changed so dramatically as to doubt a reason for the whole “enlightenment drive”?  No. Nisargadatta Maharaj, being himself what we would term an enlightened being, didn’t suddenly wise up enough, to pronounce that enlightenment is a myth. The latter book records his sadhanas where the audience was very much different to that in the early sixties. They were his followers, mostly westerners, characterised by high degrees of intellectual development and spiritual awareness.
Yes, awareness is the crucial word here. From the point of view of advanced spirituality there’s no person (no-body) to get enlightened. You ARE the Absolute, whether you realize (another crucial word) it or not. If you insist on getting enlightened, all you’ll be doing is trying to enlighten you mind, which not only has no individuality (personality); it doesn’t exist at all.
You cannot enlighten the Absolute. But, you can became Realized/Liberated by realizing that. And this should be your sole spiritual goal.