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Image of the so-called enlightened one makes one scared of enlightenment || Acharya Prashant (2016)

Author Acharya Prashant

Acharya Prashant

7 min
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Question: I have a confused question. Can I confess that I don’t know if I want to be awakened or not! I am afraid to realise myself. I am curious but I am stepping back from the Truth.

Acharya Prashant: “I am afraid of being awakened!” You must be afraid. All these so-called spiritual people have painted such a horrible picture of awakening that it is normal to be afraid of awakening. When you look at all those who call themselves awakened, it is very normal to say, “I do not want to be awakened, if awakening means this!” If you look at all those who call themselves enlightened, you say, “I do not want to be enlightened, if this is what enlightenment means.”

Walking like zombies, not acting like human beings, talking fancy stuff, not talking any earthly matter at all! Only uttering—Meditation, Consciousness, Awareness, Samadhi, Moksha, Nirvana, Turiya! The vocabulary has a total of fifteen or twenty words; wearing just one color, and often horrible color. Carrying a beard that hardly suits them; either emaciated—all bones or this fat!

If this is what awakening means, who wants to be awakened? Not capable of any one-to-one interaction, not capable of human warmth, not capable of coming close and sitting down at your level, always talking up from there (from a podium) , talking down to you. Always sending a message that they are godly. And they will come down to the earth, just so that you can have some darshan and some touch. Who wants that?

Awakening is really something very-very simple. And since it is so simple, we keep missing it. We have fancy notions about liberation, awakening, enlightenment. We keep looking for that. And we keep missing the obvious. It has been drilled deep down into us that the awakened one is a special person. Or sometimes, not even a person at all. What is he then? Pure consciousness. So it was pure consciousness visiting the loo a while back? Yeah! The saint emerged from there—Eighty-five kilogrammes of pure consciousness! And then you say, “No! I want to remain Sahaj (simple) , and hence I don’t want enlightenment.”

The fact is, enlightenment is your nature. As you are sitting here, not busy with this and that, you are already enlightened . It depends totally on you whether you want to remain enlightened. Your freedom is immense; you may choose to give this up very soon. What you are getting a flavour of, right now, is nothing but pure enlightenment. And since enlightenment is so ordinary, you don’t want to believe that, “This is enlightenment!” Yes, this is enlightenment, nothing else is. But you will want to reach out for the stars and hence miss the earth.

L2: There is so much desire to achieve enlightenment even monks and all these people who are spiritual and practice spirituality as a practical thing.

AP: “Monks and others, practice spirituality so much and they have a great desire for enlightenment.”

A desire for enlightenment never leads to enlightenment. Never! *All that you get out of any kind of desire is— a thickening of a desire— more desire*.

All that you get from desire is a thickening of a desirous one. First of all, why can’t you ask yourself, what makes you feel that you are not enlightened? What makes you feel that there is something special called enlightenment? In other words, what makes you feel that there is something wrong with you?

Surely there is somebody or some forces at work that first of all, succeed in convincing you that you are not alright; that there is something wrong with you. And hence, to correct it, you need enlightenment. Why don’t you ask yourself? Who was it that succeeded in convincing you that there is something wrong with you? You are still carrying that burden; you still can’t get rid of that notion.

Somewhere within, you find yourself guilty. You carry the weight of some imaginary sin in your mind. You act as a sinner, even though you have never really sinned. You are guilty of a crime; you have never really committed. You are trying to fill a hollow that does not exist. What makes you seek enlightenment? What makes you think that anything is wrong with you? Why aren’t you wonderful and beautiful just as you are?

The moment the search for enlightenment is dropped, that is enlightenment. The moment the search for another world is dropped, that is enlightenment. The moment the search for a heavenly future is dropped, that is enlightenment. The dropping of the search is enlightenment. The dropping of ambition is enlightenment.

L2: The search must have started from a sense of dissatisfaction.

AP: From where did it come?

L2: I don’t know.

AP: Figure out! And if you don’t know then see, how the same process is being repeated with kids all around you. That will give you some hint regarding your state. See, how every child is being made to feel incomplete and how in his later years as well that sense of incompletion is being magnified through various means.

Look at what the TV commercials are telling you; look at what the universities are telling you; look at what family and society are telling you. All of them are deepening this sense of dissatisfaction within you. All of them are trying to help you become something and wherever there is a desire to become, ultimately you will want to become enlightened.

L2: But it’s more than that because a small child who has not exposed to all these advertisements cries and for different reasons. Their sense of dissatisfaction, if that’s what is, that I think is inherent and being human.

AP: There are two things is this:

  • One, the dissatisfaction that a small child experiences, is not social, it’s physical. He does not cry that the neighbor’s child has had more milk than him. He cries when he is hungry; you cry when the neighbor is satisfied. The difference between the toddler and you is that the toddler cries only when he is hungry. We cry when the neighbor is satisfied. His suffering is purely physical.
  • Secondly, of course, social conditioning can only sit only over a bed rock of physical conditioning. So, the seeds are already there in the child. We do not deny that. But the society, instead of burning down those seeds, nourishes them. You must figure that out, how it is happening with everybody. The way it is happening with everybody, all around you, is the way it has happened with you as well.

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