It is very common for many people to think that enlightenment is something that only very special people attain, that the common folk just try but some will not attain self-realization in their life. This is both unfortunate and untrue.
Enlightenment means to uncover what is there already, your true spiritual identity, and then to live in that truth. But it requires that we apply a process (the use of spiritual sound as our primary meditational practice) and a willingness to alter some aspects of our life. This is not too difficult and can be achieved by all of us.
Aum Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
So we actually had a really nice weekend. We had a retreat up at Matakana for the last three days. It was very nice. But during the course of the retreat somebody asked me a question that made me feel quite sad.
And, I don’t have the question with me, but basically it was the idea, the person that asked it was a little surprised because I had stated that spiritual enlightenment was something that every single one of you can achieve and attain. In fact it is actually the purpose of human life. There is no higher or greater purpose to human life than self-realization and God realization. And in the question she, this person, mentioned that they were thinking that like, just like that some special person that became enlightened, and everybody else is sort of quite mundane and tangled in the world and that’s not really possible for everyone. And so for that I feel tremendously sad when people have this idea.
While it is true that many people don’t attain spiritual enlightenment in their lifetime, it’s not because it is so difficult or it is so—it’s only for someone with special ability or something. Actual spiritual enlightenment is the process by which we actually uncover who we truly are we, uncover our actual spiritual identity. It’s not like you’re attaining something in the sense of you’re like climbing to the top of Mount Everest, a huge personal endeavor or effort. It is—we are dealing with our deepest and truest and eternal, spiritual nature.
Material entanglement is the process of becoming unfortunately, I mean really unfortunately, overwhelmed by the incorrect idea that the current body I’m wearing around is me, this is who I am. And that is just a monumental—that is the lie of all lies. No, that’s not you. The body that you have on doesn’t define who you are. It doesn’t describe who you are.
But when we become caught up in this idea, this illusory idea that the body is who I am, and then we spend so much time playing around with this piece of meat—I mean, really that’s all it is. People spend so much time in front of mirrors, and so much time looking at what clothing to wear, what to drape over this hunk of meat and how to try to beautify it, and how to become loved, and how to become worthy of others, and how to become accepted, just through this piece of meat. And that’s kind of like, Oh! For anybody on a spiritual path that’s just like—it doesn’t get worse than that. This is like tragic and sad and unfortunate.
And then people go through this whole journey of life in this body, never making the inquiry, never trying to look any deeper. And then it’s sort of like, and then what? Then you just, your body ages, and then you just try to cling on to all of these past memories and experiences and fleeting happiness that can be experienced in this world. And that is not a formula for success. That is a formula for crash and burn failure.
I know this, to some people when they first hear this message, it’s sort of like “A bit harsh, a bit strong! Can we tone it down a bit?” Yeah we, mostly, we tone it down a bit. We just encourage people to engage in this meditative process, and try to live a good and kind life and act with kindness and mercy towards others. But really that is the beginning of being able to experience, in a deeper way, what it is that is our spiritual nature.
We live in a time that’s actually very challenging for people. There is this—it’s kind of like we’ve become increasingly—we’ve increasingly had these ideas pushed upon us of what our value is and how to become happy, and that material experience and material relationships, material acquisitions, are going to fulfill us and make us complete. And it’s—I’ll just say that the current state of people’s consciousness—it wasn’t (and I’m talking just generally and broadly. Of course, everybody’s an individual, and there are so many exceptions.) It hasn’t been like this for thousands of years of human history. People had greater ideas of purpose. There was always an idea of accountability, how I live in this life, how I deal with others, there is going to be some accountability. In the Vedic culture this was the laws of karma, as you sow so ye shall reap.
And there was an understanding that the living being transmigrates. When you show up in a brand new baby body you don’t just come there with nothing. You come with a mountain of baggage that’s going to be unpacked going forward through your life. You will experience things that you didn’t go looking for, that just come to you as a result of previous action in this lifetime and previously.
And so within Christianity there was this idea that they developed (which was actually not an original—it wasn’t originally like that), of you only get one shot, and if you succeed you go to heaven and if you blow it you go to hell. That’s actually not true. However, the idea that I will somehow be accountable for my life is a really good idea. That puts a curb, that puts up guard rails for people, not to be just wanton, self-centred materialists who don’t care about the pain and suffering they cause, no sense of duty: I’m through with this relationship. I’m out of here. You can handle the baggage, the person that’s left behind in the rubble. And it’s kind of like, oh my God, you think you’re not going to have to pay for that? You pay for everything. There is no free ride.
I often mention a documentary that was done (I can’t remember when it was done) quite a few years ago, in the BBC. A guy by the name of Adam Curtis, and he did a four-part documentary on what was called The Century Of The Self. And in describing what that work was he said it was,
“…the story of the rise of an idea that has come to dominate society. It is the belief that satisfaction of the individual’s feelings and desires is our highest priority.”
And of course, nobody thinks twice about that now. That’s the common idea. That’s the common way most people think, but for thousands of years human beings didn’t follow that philosophy. They didn’t live in that idea.
And of course, the result of it is catastrophic. We have levels of mental illness and depression and suicide unparalleled in the history of humanity, and that’s directly the fruit of the adoption of this type of philosophical idea and trying to live this. Whereas in the ancient cultures they really promoted what in the Vedic culture was called coming to the platform of an atmarama. An atmarama means one who has become self-satisfied. That’s a scary idea for a consumer society, where you are required to be always dissatisfied, always looking for more, always hungry, seeking, consuming, buying, trying, doing all these things. The worst kind of person for a modern society, economically, would be an atmarama, because they’re just not, they’re not following the desires of their mind, the dictates of the senses. They have come to take the driver’s wheel of their life, and they are consciously deciding how they are living and how they are interacting with others, how they’re interacting with the world.
I mean we have this—I get upset by it, this whole situation about climate change, the extinction rebellion stuff, and it’s just like, oh my Gods. How many of you people in the protests are still using cell phones? You just think that by producing another form of energy that you’re going to solve the problem? The problem is this catastrophic over consumption and pushing upon the rest of the world this ideal that this is what you should be aiming for.
And so the people that live in more what would be considered backward, agricultural communities, they’ve got to unload everything. They’re going to move into the city. They’re going to get a job. They’re going to get their kids through college. They’ve got to have now the desire for all of the—and it’s just like, oh, okay? Mahatma Gandhi made this statement that the world can support everyone’s needs but not everyone’s greed.
And so it’s kind of like, well, what is it that we’re all striving for? What is it that we’re chasing? And we don’t even think about it. We don’t even analyze it. In fact you’re encouraged not to. You’re encouraged to just let yourself go and surrender to all of your desires, consume whatever fantasy arises in your mind. Chase it, and do it, and somehow you are going to be happy. And it’s not true. It’s absolutely not true. The thing that we seek is actually—Everything that we seek in the deepest part of our heart is inherently spiritual, the desire for unlimited happiness, the desire for deep and lasting love. These are spiritual desires. They’re not material desires.
In the Bhagavad-gita there is one verse that states,
“Before giving up this present body, if one is able to tolerate the urges of the material senses and to check the force of desire and anger such a person is well situated and is happy in this world.”
And of course, the only reason a person would be able to come to that position is the act of cultivation of this discovery of my true spiritual identity and to live a life totally in connection with that. The way I would think of myself, the things that I think will be important, the way in which I will deal with others, the nature of my relationships, how I deal with this world will all radically change for the better.
We are not proposing that in any way you have to be a special person to come to this platform or position, to have this experience. We are talking about the process by which you uncover your true and eternal, spiritual nature, the discovery of who you truly are, and to live in that spiritual identity, and to reconnect with your spiritual home, your spiritual source, to fall deeply in love with the actual Lord of your heart.
And of course, there is no more potent, effective, and efficient means for doing this than through this process, in this age and time, of using this spiritual sound to develop a daily practice of meditation, even if it’s only short. It will have the effect—
It describes in the Bhagavat Purana how we are covered by two bodies, the gross physical body you can see, and the subtle body that you can’t see, which is made up of the mind, the buddhi or intelligence, and the false ego that’s setting all the false ideas of who I am. And it describes that in this process is so powerful that it actually gradually like dissolves the subtle body, so the real nature of the self, you, the living being can begin to really shine forth, and in this light your life will be directed.
Okay. It’s about what I got to say today. Any question? If you ever have any question and—or you want to ask about something and you see me wandering around, please do ask. I’m a little shy, although I may not seem like it. I don’t really like invading people’s space at all. But if you ever have anything you wanted to ask, feel free to reach out.
We have a presence on social media and a website with lots of resources that—my offering to you all to try and take advantage of. Thank you very much. Haribol.
Shall we plug this one in or no? [referring to guitar] Thank you very much.
So I’ll chant also the Mahamantra.