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