There is a general lack of clarity as to what enlightenment is. Some people think it happens in the mind, but it is not an activity of the mind, it means transcending the mind and experiencing that which is beyond the mind.
The very word “Enlightenment” speaks to moving “From darkness to light”. And what is that great darkness? 1) seeing the body as the self; 2) seeing this world as my home; 3) thinking that the stimulation of the body’s senses is actual happiness. There is more but these are fundamental to enlightenment. I have done another series on this topic – “From Darkness to Light” available here.
Another talk I reference about the nature of illusion can be watched here.
The Vedic/yogic texts I quoted are as follows:
…. I, the infinitesimal spirit soul, on the other hand, have embraced this mind, which is the mirror reflecting the image of the material world. Thus I have become engaged in enjoying objects of desire and am entangled due to contact with the modes of nature. – Bhāgavata Purāṇa 11.23.44
The path of avidyā, or advancement of material knowledge for sense gratification, is the path of repeated birth and death. As he exists spiritually, the living entity has no birth or death. Birth and death apply to the outward covering of the spirit soul, the body. Death is compared to the taking off and birth to the putting on of outward garments. Foolish human beings who are grossly absorbed in the culture of avidyā, nescience, do not mind this cruel process. Enamored with the beauty of the illusory energy, they undergo the same miseries repeatedly and do not learn any lessons from the laws of nature. – AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
When, however, one is enlightened with the knowledge by which nescience is destroyed, then his knowledge reveals everything, as the sun lights up everything in the daytime. – Bhagavata-gītā 5.16
One who is enlightened in self-realization, although living within the material body, sees himself as transcendental to the body, just as one who has arisen from a dream gives up identification with the dream body. A foolish person, however, although not identical with his material body but transcendental to it, thinks himself to be situated in the body, just as one who is dreaming sees himself as situated in an imaginary body. – Bhāgavata Purāṇa 11.11.8
If the illusory energy subsides and the living entity becomes fully enriched with knowledge by the grace of the Lord, then he becomes at once enlightened with self-realization and thus becomes situated in his own glory. – Bhāgavata Purāṇa 1.3.34
I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the self-effulgent Supreme Soul, who is the witness in everyone’s heart, who enlightens the individual soul and who cannot be reached by exercises of the mind, words or consciousness. – Bhāgavata Purāṇa 8.3.10
The influence of material nature cannot harm an enlightened soul, even though he engages in material activities, because he knows the truth of the Absolute, and his mind is fixed on the Supreme Personality of Godhead. – Bhāgavata Purāṇa 3.27.26
For this reason the enlightened person should endeavor only for the minimum necessities of life while in the world of names. He should be intelligently fixed and never endeavor for unwanted things, being competent to perceive practically that all such endeavors are merely hard labor for nothing. – Bhāgavata Purāṇa 2.2.3
For him who constantly meditates upon My presence within all persons, the bad tendencies of rivalry, envy and abusiveness, along with false ego, are very quickly destroyed.
Disregarding the ridicule of one’s companions, one should give up the bodily conception and its accompanying embarrassment. One should offer obeisances before all—even the dogs, outcastes, cows and asses—falling flat upon the ground like a rod.
Until one has fully developed the ability to see Me within all living beings, one must continue to worship Me by this process with the activities of his speech, mind and body.
By such transcendental knowledge of the all-pervading Personality of Godhead, one is able to see the Absolute Truth everywhere. Freed thus from all doubts, one gives up fruitive activities.
Indeed, I consider this process—using one’s mind, words and bodily functions for realizing Me within all living beings—to be the best possible method of spiritual enlightenment. – Bhāgavata Purāṇa 11.29.15-19
Aum Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya
So, we are going to speak on the subject of understanding enlightenment. And of course, given the very little time that we have to speak on the subject, it’s incredibly difficult to actually present clearly for everybody’s understanding what enlightenment means. We find—I mean, I get quite a few questions from different people about it; and what is incredibly evident is the lack of actual clarity on what enlightenment actually is. People have different ideas and ways that they think they understand what is enlightenment.
I always remember when one time, in one of the groups I was dealing with in the prison, we had a guy that was particularly interested in mysticism and yoga; and he had purchased a book of paintings by a person that does all of these really cosmic kind of paintings and mandalas and stuff, all of the so-called cool things. And one of—the pictures were all pretty similar in many ways, not in all respects, but in many ways, to this one that I’ll show you now. I’m not sure how clearly you can see this, but you’ve got a yogi kind of dude sitting in a meditative pose with his arms up in a mudra. Then you’ve got all of the cosmos around him and all of the swirly light lines and everything, indicating the, I guess, the kundalini and stuff. And so people want to try to equate that with what enlightenment means or what the experience is like.
Some people talk about it–and even in India, it’s kind of quite common to hear people that are reputed as being well-known gurus who want to, or who have at different times, presented ideas of what is enlightenment. There is one well-known person, or relatively well-known, who talked about, when he approached his guru one time to beg the mercy of enlightenment from him. He approached in great humility, and his guru touched him with his foot, and then there was just like this blinding light, and he was momentarily knocked unconscious. And then when he came to he was enlightened, and his guru was shedding tears. And he reportedly, or supposedly, said, when he asked his guru, “Why are you crying?” says, “Because now I’ve given you my enlightenment.” And it’s just like, I’m doing a massive eye roll here, because this is just folk stories. And I’m sorry, it’s misleading to promote these type of ideas as authentic self-realization and God realization.
When I speak about these things in this way sometimes people get a little bit upset, and they even get angry with me. It’s like, “Well, what do you know?” Like, “We all have our opinion. What makes your opinion right?” And my response to such things is, number one, it’s not my opinion.
And when you say, “You have your opinion, and I have my opinion,” who are you speaking about when you say you and me? Quite often people have not even come to appreciate the foundation of all spiritual enlightenment, the recognition that I am not this body, that I am an eternal spiritual being, but I am also covered, not only by this gross physical body, but by a subtle body. This is called the linga sarira, the subtle body, and it is comprised of, principally, the mind, the perverted intelligence, and the false ego, the false concepts of self. When I say false concepts I’m not just talking about a wrong idea. I’m talking about a very profound layer of consciousness altering influence. This ahankara, the false ego, completely distorts how we see the world, how we see ourself, how we see each other.
And so the process of enlightenment really has to do with gaining freedom from these subtle influences that we may not even be aware that these influences exist and what they’re doing to us. So understanding—we have to understand that enlightenment is not an activity of the mind. Like when I showed that picture a little while ago, when people think of all this cosmic stuff and rays of light and universal things—I mean, I dabbled, when I was young and foolish, I dabbled with hallucinogenics, powerful hallucinogenics. I’m very much aware of the experiences that one has with them; and I just want to point out that a material substance cannot deliver a spiritual experience.
But having said that, in my observation, and my talking with others, it is possible that when one takes some of these substances, the effect that it has on the mind is that one becomes hyper-sensitive to things, and can become increasingly made aware of the idea, at least, that I exist separately from this body, although this is not by any means full spiritual realization. But the idea of rushing light, the idea of changing of colours and all of these kind of things, these are in reality activities of the mind. And what people often aspire to experience through practicing or attempting to practice kundalini yoga or more mystical practices, while they may be more subtle and in some ways more powerful than conventional material experience, what most people experience, that doesn’t make them spiritual.
So enlightenment is not an activity of the mind, but it does very much have to do with becoming free from the effect and influence of the mind. So I’d like to share a verse with you. This is from the Bhagavat Purana, and I’m just going to take it up a little way into the verse. And it says:
“…I, the infinitesimal spirit soul, on the other hand, have embraced this mind, which is the mirror reflecting the image of the material world. Thus I have become engaged in enjoying objects of desire and am entangled due to contact with the modes of nature.”
So this is a pretty powerful statement, because the foundation for the statement is the understanding and appreciation that I am different and separate from my mind. But when the spirit soul loses the plot (I’ll put it that way), then one becomes overwhelmed by and entangled in the mind, which has been described here as a “mirror reflecting the image of the material world.” That’s what’s going on with the mind: it’s a mirror which reflects the image of the material world and all worldly experience.
The actual term “enlightenment,” when you look at it and analyse the meaning, it literally means to shine a light on something, to become enlightened, but it also has this connotation of removing darkness, or ignorance. So it really speaks to the moving away from darkness into light.
A little while ago I’ve done a series on one of the Upanisadic mantras, the asato ma mantra, asato mā sad gamaya, and that was a three part series (and I’ll put a link, when I post the video, in case anybody wants to go there and take a look at it.) It’s quite an in-depth look at that particular mantra, which is really very much focused on moving from untruth to truth, to move from darkness into the light, to move from the realm of death to the realm of immortality. And so when we consider that enlightenment always addresses this subject of this great darkness, then I have to contemplate and consider, what is this great darkness?
If I am new to the path of yoga and genuine spirituality and mysticism, I may already have so many ideas of what I think enlightenment might be, and it’s often connected with these sometimes out of body experiences that actually deal with subtle dimensions, that are also material in nature, not spiritual. Often these experiences of rushing energy and light, which are often connected to kundalini practices, but are in and of themselves material sensations, sensations of the body and of the mind, and not a genuine experience of the soul itself. And so when we talk about enlightenment the need for this clarity: What is it we’re being enlightened from? What is it we’re being enlightened about? What is the darkness that’s being addressed?
This darkness is fundamentally based upon three ideas: one is seeing the body as being the self, identifying with the body, that because your body is male or female, of a particular racial extraction and a particular age and a particular size, you think that’s you, when in reality that is so far from the truth. It’s not like a little bit wrong. It is utterly ignorant. And it ignores the reality of your actual spiritual identity.
Another part of this darkness is seeing this world as my home, as being a desirable place, when in reality it is considered in all yogic texts and Vedic texts as being like the experience of being in a prison. That’s a big subject. I won’t go any further on it.
And then the third thing, having this wrong idea that the body is me, thinking that the stimulation of my bodily senses is actually happiness. And if we think about the pursuit of happiness in this world, it is most often and almost always tied to the idea of stimulating some of the senses and having an experience that I think is—it may be pleasurable, but the nature of that pleasure is that it is both temporary: it has a beginning and an end, that it does not last; it is not fulfilling: it does not actually satisfy the need of the soul itself for true happiness, spiritual happiness.
So in addressing that point Srila Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, he, in his commentary on the Sri Isopanisad, on the 11th mantra, he made the following statements, and I think it’s really important. I’ll read it to you. This will be the second quote that we’re going to read. And there’s going to be a word in the beginning called avidya. This word avidya means ignorance. Ignorance means oblivious to that which is actually truth. So reading:
“The path of avidya [ignorance], or advancement of material knowledge for sense gratification, is the path of repeated birth and death. As he exists spiritually the living entity has no birth or death. Birth and death apply to the outward covering of the spirit soul, the body. Death is compared to the taking off, and birth to the putting on, of outward garments. Foolish human beings who are grossly absorbed in the culture of avidya, or nescience, do not mind this cruel process. Enamored with the beauty of the illusory energy they undergo the same miseries repeatedly and do not learn any lessons from the laws of nature.”
So it’s like, wow! Some people would think, “Wow, that’s a little bit harsh,” and the answer is, no, it’s extremely kind, extremely merciful. I’ll just go over a couple of things. They talk of the path of repeated birth and death. This is an understanding that is permeates all of the dharmic traditions, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, Hinduism in all its forms, they all have this awareness that the living being, when we become absorbed in material consciousness and are just constantly chasing this “pleasures of the flesh” as it’s stated in the Bible, meaning just seeking worldly pleasures, then we become bound to this, what’s described here as cruel, a cruel process, the process of repeated birth and then death, and then birth again, then death, this never ending cycle. And the illusion that the living being is caught up in is called maya, this blindness to the reality of our spiritual being and the total 100 percent absorption in the bodily concept of life.
So what was presented, what he summarized here, is the summary of the great darkness that enlightenment is meant to free us from or remove us from. So enlightenment therefore means that we begin to see, or it is about seeing with tremendous clarity, seeing things without being influenced by this veil of illusion.
A few weeks back I did a talk on The Great Illusion – Maya, and if this is a subject that is somewhat new to you, or you want to explore it a little further I suggest you take a look for that. It’s pretty easy to find. It’s just a few weeks ago, and you would benefit from some of the wonderful quotes, and the great spiritual knowledge that I’ve attempted to share in that.
So speaking to this seeing things with great clarity, I’m going to read a third quote to you. It’s from the Bhagavad Gita, from the fifth chapter. It’s the 16th sloka, or verse, in the Bhagavad-gita, and it states:
“When, however, one is enlightened with the knowledge by which nescience is destroyed, then his knowledge reveals everything, as the sun lights up everything in the daytime.”
So, very beautiful description of what is the effect of enlightenment, this clarity of seeing things.
I did mention about this cycle of birth and death, and what I’m going to attempt to share with you tonight deals with the broader and deeper appreciation of what is enlightenment. It is true that in different traditions they may speak about enlightenment somewhat differently–and I’m talking about authentic traditions, not some so-called guru (and when I say so-called, I mean a person who is not actually qualified and not actually enlightened proposing ideas that are fundamentally incompatible with the ancient Vedic or yogic teachings.)
So in these authentic traditions, they all speak about enlightenment, and may present a slightly different understanding of enlightenment or a depth of enlightenment according to their fundamental philosophical view, for instance, within Buddhism. Within Buddhism you have (and I’m talking about really authentic older Buddhism) there is a proposal that there is no such thing as a spirit soul or a self, the atma. They say, the atma, you don’t actually exist. But they do recognize that in a state of illusion one can be caught up in a perpetual cycle of birth and death.
I mean the story of Gautama Buddha, when he went—raised as a prince in a very privileged life, and when he went out of the palace the first time and he saw an old person, like bent over, somewhat crippled by old age, and had never seen that before and was shocked. He saw a funeral procession where they were carrying a dead body, and they carry it openly on a litter to a place where there would be a funeral pyre, a cremation ground. And he had never seen or heard about death before, and that shocked him. And he saw people with leprosy and other kinds of debilitating disease, and he had never witnessed this before.
And so he became deeply shocked by this, and became moved to look for a way to transcend, or to become free from, the material experience, the material nature. And so the enlightenment that Buddhism speaks of is the freedom from material entanglement, but it does not go to the point of recognizing the existence of the eternal spiritual being.
So similarly, you will have also understandings of, within the Vedic teachings, of people that experience the impersonal feature of God. It is sometimes called this ocean of spiritual light and energy called the Brahmajyoti. And in that state people are often intensely—they come to recognize their existence, their spiritual existence.
So there are different types of enlightenment. But all genuine enlightenment at least deals with this fundamental reality, that this material body is not you, and the material world is not your eternal home.
So addressing this I’ll quote again from the Bhagavat Purana. This is the fourth quote I’ll share with you. There’s quite a few quotes tonight, and I hope you enjoy these quotes as much as I do, because I think that they’re extraordinary, and it’s exhilarating and enlightening to read and to hear and to contemplate. I have had some people tell me, or share with me, that they are a little bit dyslexic, and so when I put a verse up on the screen it kind of—they become a little disoriented and they struggle. And what I would like to say is, “Don’t worry.” This is not something that will inhibit or deter you from the path of self-realization; and if that experience is something that you struggle with, just simply look away, or close your eyes, and listen to the words that are being spoken.
So this verse I will read:
“One who is enlightened in self-realization, although living within the material body, sees himself as transcendental to the body, just as one who has arisen from a dream gives up identification with the dream body. A foolish person, however, although not identical with his material body but transcendental to it, thinks himself to be situated in the body, just as one who is dreaming sees himself as situated in an imaginary body.”
So this example is frequently used in different yogic and Vedic texts. When you’re in a situation where you’re having a dream at night, and you may take on a particular form and be engaged in certain activities and experiences, and the tendency is while in that dream state you intensely identify with that. For example, when a person has a nightmare that they’re, for instance, falling, or somebody is chasing them, or they’re being attacked by a wild animal, or they’re being attacked with weapons, and there’s absolute panic in that situation. And if you look at the actual external body of the person who’s dreaming, and while asleep they sometimes start muttering, “No, no, no, no, no” and they go through all kinds of really frightening things, and you see it, and you want to give them a bit of a shake to wake them up, to save them from that predicament. And the instant that they’re awakened—your body has experienced physiological change, your heart is beating faster, the breathing is shallow, and there’s this, sometimes, even sweating, can occur when a person is having a particularly bad nightmare. And they have been intensely identifying with a dream body and a dream situation, but as soon as they are awakened they give up that identification with that body in the dream, and they realize that it’s not really truly happening to them.
And so this verse speaking about enlightenment uses this example, and asks us to please consider this in relation to your current experience, not dreaming, but walking around and doing things in this world, that in reality almost everything that you’re doing and thinking and experiencing is something that is connected with the mind and the body and this world, and it is not the experience of the soul itself. It is not a transcendental, it is a material experience.
So also supporting this reality, another verse from the Bhagavat Purana. This will be the fifth quote that I’ll read:
“If the illusory energy subsides and the living entity becomes fully enriched with knowledge by the grace of the Lord, then he becomes at once enlightened with self-realization and thus becomes situated in his own glory.”
So a couple of things I’d just like to mention. It speaks about this illusory energy, which I referenced a little earlier in a talk that I’ve actually really focused on dealing with this illusory energy. This illusion that the body is the self is so profound and so overwhelming, we cannot even begin to estimate how problematic this is for us. Then the idea, that in self-realization one “becomes situated in their own glory,” and this is like—when I think of the effect that social media has on all of these, particularly young women, caught up with all this body image stuff and wanting to gain, to feel that they are lovable, that they’re acceptable, that they’re desirable, all just based on the appearance of of some meat. This is just flesh and blood and skin and hair, and it’s on the basis of how that stuff is looking you want to try to find your glory. Whereas in reality, as stated here, that it is in discovering my actual spiritual identity that I will become situated in my actual glory.
So this idea of the discovery that you are not the body, that you’re an eternal spiritual being, this is the foundation of enlightenment. This is the real foundation of true enlightenment. But it doesn’t stop there.
I mentioned earlier that this experience of merging into this ocean of light, this impersonal feature of God, sometimes referred to the Brahmajyoti, this spiritual light, is an authentic spiritual experience and is a form of enlightenment. But the Vedas teach us that this is not the highest experience of enlightenment, that true enlightenment means coming to realize my (meaning the eternal spiritual being, the spirit soul) my essence; my position: where I fit in relation to everyone and everything else; and what is my natural function as an eternal spiritual being free from ignorance, from nescience, acting on the spiritual platform. This experience of Brahman realization only delivers the realization of my essence, but not my position, and not my natural function.
Another thing that we need to appreciate is that the attainment of true enlightenment occurs by divine mercy. It is not something that I can impose upon myself, that I can achieve or attain just on my own, by my own efforts and endeavours. It is actually a form of grace. It is considered a great spiritual gift that is given to us, and it is given to us by the Supreme Soul. This truth and reality is found throughout the Vedic teachings and in the more elevated yogic teachings.
I will read on the subject, another quote, this sixth quote that I will share with you:
“I offer my respectful obeisances unto the Supreme Personality of Godhead, the self-effulgent Supreme Soul, who is the witness in everyone’s heart, who enlightens the individual soul and who cannot be reached by exercises of the mind, the words or consciousness.”
So this is a really powerful revelation and statement, and it speaks to this reality which I’ve mentioned many times before, that within my heart of hearts, as an eternal spiritual being, I am actually accompanied by my eternal soul mate and friend, my transcendental friend who is addressed as the Lord of the heart, the Paramatma, the Supreme Self. It is not you. It is someone else who is uniquely different than all other living beings, and it is by His grace that one attains enlightenment. And that enlightenment, and Him, it cannot be approached through exercises of the mind, words or consciousness. Consciousness here refers to the different states of consciousness that in the mystical yoga system people aspire to attain, that even when one attains some of these states it does not necessarily grant full enlightenment.
A person who is an elevated mystic yogi, who has acquired all of the eight mystical opulences, or siddhis, or powers, can still be covered, and not have the actual realization of their position and natural function. And so this verse that we read speaks to the need of this grace.
In the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali there is one famous verse,
After speaking about the highest form of samadhi, this spiritual experience, he reveals that this experience is certainly gained by complete surrender to Isvara. Isvara means the supreme controller of everything. And then Patanjali goes on to describe the nature of Isvara. So in authentic and elevated yogic and Vedic texts it speaks about this process of how one gains this enlightenment. But there is this focus which many people either ignore or don’t know anything about; and it is the gradual awakening of our relationship with our eternal friend the Supreme Soul, as being an essential component of full enlightenment, enlightenment of one’s essence, position and natural function.
So speaking to this I will read another quote, the seventh quote:
“The influence of material nature cannot harm an enlightened soul, even though he engages in material activities, because he knows the truth of the Absolute, and his mind is fixed on the Supreme Personality of Godhead.”
So in this verse it addresses the reality that when one has actually attained enlightenment, in the eyes of common people such a person may also appear to be an ordinary person. They may appear to be going about things in the same way that everybody else does, but the reality is, a person that is situated on this transcendental platform is untouched, just like a lotus in a dirty large pond, it has risen above that dirty water and is blooming in all its glory. And so an actual transcendentalist is untouched by this world and the activities that they may still engage in while being within this world.
So how does an enlightened soul live while still within this world?
I feel kind of like this has already been quite long and some people might be sort of losing the plot a little bit, and this is the struggle when you are trying to speak about something that’s so important and it’s so deep, but it’s hard for us particularly in this time. Some studies have said that modern person’s attention span is about the same as a goldfish floating around in an aquarium, and it’s sort of like wow, that’s really bad. But this is important. So addressing that point of how an enlightened soul lives within the world I’m going to read from the Bhagavat Purana:
“For this reason the enlightened person should endeavor only for the minimum necessities of life while in the world of names. He should be intelligently fixed and never endeavor for unwanted things, being competent to perceive practically that all such endeavors are merely hard labor for nothing.”
When I first read this verse, probably about 50 years ago, I was really astonished and intrigued. What do you mean by the world of names? And it boils down to this—it’s not just a perception, it’s seeing with clarity this truth: the way the yogis looked at things and understood things there are only two energies within the material world, the material energy and the spiritual energy. The spiritual energy is the spiritual beings. It’s you and I, the eternal spiritual beings. And everything else that you perceive and see, smell, touch, taste, hear, whatever, is the material energy.
And if we look at breaking down the material energy to its most fundamental components, within the understanding of material science, you’ve got atomic particles, protons, neutrons and electrons that make up an atom. And the astonishing thing is that the neutrons, protons and electrons that make up the elements that comprise a bar of chocolate are exactly the same as the neutrons, protons and electrons that make up dog doodoo, dog poo. And it’s just like, oh my gods! And the vision of the great sages were that this material energy is just combining together in different forms, and we give it different names, and consider it desirable or undesirable.
And this speaks about this enlightened person “should endeavor only for the minimum necessities of life while in this world of names.” So, was it last week? the week before? I spoke—I’ve done a couple of talks on Simple Living and High Thinking, and where we really look at this need to change the way that we live. An enlightened person is not seeking happiness from the material energy. He recognizes that it’s there, it comes and goes, it’s material, it’s limited, it does not fulfill us; and rather, they are intelligently fixed on another endeavour, the endeavour of spiritual undertaking, living a spiritual life, engaging in spiritual activity.
So in concluding I was going to read a couple of verses, and I might just read them rather quickly and not actually speak about them very much, and you can just on your own maybe go back and look at these and contemplate upon them.
So this is a series of verses from the Bhagavat Purana. The first two that I will read are as follows:
“For him who constantly meditates upon My presence within all persons the bad tendencies of rivalry, envy and abusiveness, along with false ego, are very quickly destroyed.
Disregarding the ridicule of one’s companions, one should give up the bodily conception and its accompanying embarrassment. [And] one should offer obeisances before all—even the dogs, outcasts, cows and asses—falling flat on the ground like a rod.”
I mean it’s just like oh my God! what an amazing statement. And it speaks about when one constantly meditates upon this form of the Lord who sits within his own heart, and endeavours to see the presence of this supremely lovable person within the hearts of all living beings, not just human beings, all living beings, then one will automatically give up all sense of false ego, rivalry with others, envy of others, and will in fact feel this profound humility, and would offer, if not externally, even within their own mind, the most humble and prostate obeisances to this Lord sitting within the heart of all.
Now reading the next three verses:
“Until one has fully developed the ability to see Me [meaning the Supreme Soul] within all living beings, one must continue to worship Me by this process, with the activities of his speech, mind and body.
By such transcendental knowledge of the all-pervading personality of Godhead, one is able to see the absolute truth everywhere. Freed thus from all doubts, one gives up fruitive activities. [Fruitive activities meaning activities that I seek to get some gain from]
Indeed I consider this process — using one’s mind, words and bodily functions for realizing Me within all living beings to be the best possible method of spiritual enlightenment.”
So this is what is described as the process of bhakti, the path of devotion, where one develops this profound experience of love in connection with their eternal friend, and dedicates their life to simply serving Him, and that automatically overflows to all other beings within this world.
The experience of enlightenment I often compare to like a dimmer switch. When you’ve got lights, and you come into a room, and you turn the dimmer switch, when it just clicks on, no light is visible, but it is on, and there is some small current there. And then as one turns the knob, the light becomes increasingly brighter. The process of enlightenment is a gradual process.
The foundation of it is understanding that you’re not the body or the mind, and to have that understanding, even if it’s not a full realization already means that you are established in enlightenment. Maybe it is the very beginning of what is actual enlightenment, but you are established in enlightenment, and that will grow while you continuously cultivate this spiritual process.
And of course, we know that the thing that brings the greatest change is the process of chanting these spiritual sounds that we use. This meditation upon these holy names, these divine names, it dissipates the fog, and brings us eventually to the highest platform of enlightenment.
With that thank you very, very much, and I invite you to join me. We will chant Aum Hari Aum.