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Q & A: What is Enlightenment

Q : What is Enlight­en­ment?

So the ques­tion is “What is enlight­en­ment?” There seems a lot of mys­tery shroud­ing this term “enlight­en­ment”. Some peo­ple look at it as some light in your head, behind your eyes, glow of the third eye and so on. But in the Indic sci­ences, it has been tech­ni­cal­ly looked at, espe­cial­ly in the darshanas.l The Uni­verse is called Pra­pan­cha which means a com­bi­na­tion of the five. Ie. the five maha tattvas or maha bhutas. The Pan­cha maha tattvas. Now, each of the bhutas is looked at as an evo­lute of the sub­tle prin­ci­ple. The sub­tlest prin­ci­ple is called Brah­man. Or Param porul. The fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ple. That sub­tle prin­ci­ple, gets man­i­fest­ed as purusha and prakri­ti, and they are fur­ther man­i­fest­ed in terms of satt­va, rajas and tamas, the three gunas. Now, the pan­cha maha tattvas, man­i­fest­ed as tamas, become this pra­pan­cha, this objec­tive cre­ation. Now, the pan­cha maha tattvas, man­i­fest­ed as sub­tle­ty or satt­va, becomes the jna­nen­driyas which are the ways by which we cog­nize the objects of the world. The world is cog­nized by the jna­nen­driyas, which feeds it into the man­as, stored in the chit­ta, processed fur­ther by bud­dhi, for deci­sion mak­ing. So we look at the object and the sub­ject as being man­i­fes­ta­tions of the same pan­cha maha tattvas but expressed as tamas and satt­va, respec­tive­ly. The object is the tama­sic expres­sion of the maha tattvas. And the sub­ject is the sattvic expres­sion of the maha tattvas, and hence cog­ni­tion hap­pens through res­o­nance. Res­o­nance of one tatt­va with the same tatt­va, but as a tama­sic expres­sion. So that is how the sub­ject and object is looked at, in the Indic terms. That is why the idea of yoga or spir­i­tu­al attain­ment is in terms of union. Union means the object merges with the sub­ject. Or the sub­ject merges with the object. Either way. So it becomes not objec­tive, but actu­al­ly sub­jec­tive because it merges. That is the whole idea where with merg­ing, you become that, you real­ize your­selves as the sub­tlest prin­ci­ple, of which every­thing else is an expres­sion. Expres­sion either a sattvic expres­sion or a tama­sic expres­sion. So that is how a clear real­iza­tion hap­pens. Now to this real­iza­tion, we call it, we are enlight­ened with this knowl­edge, with this real­iza­tion. This is not a the­o­ret­i­cal knowl­edge or just an intel­lec­tu­al knowl­edge, which is still objec­tive, because still the sub­ject object dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion exists. But this is a high­er intu­itive direct per­cep­tion. That is why it is called pratyak­sha anub­huti or aparok­sha anub­huti. It is a direct per­cep­tion, where you direct­ly cog­nize, you just lit­er­al­ly know, that “Yes, this is so”. Because you are That. You are that divine prin­ci­ple, that fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ple, that param tatt­va. Of which every­thing else is but a man­i­fes­ta­tion, sattvic or tama­sic man­i­fes­ta­tion. And hence enlight­en­ment is looked at in very very tech­ni­cal terms. It is not at all vague. So when this is clear, obvi­ous­ly we rec­og­nize, it is a sys­tem­at­ic pro­ce­dure. Though this real­iza­tion can be instan­ta­neous, but it is sys­tem­at­i­cal­ly approached, so that we resolve the gross­er to the sub­tler, sub­tler to the sub­tle, sub­tle to the sub­tlest. And that is how the res­o­lu­tion goes. By which you get enlight­ened through this process. You clear­ly real­ize, you are That. Aham Brah­mas­mi. Tat­va­masi. Ayam Atman Brah­ma. Pra­j­nanam Brah­ma. All these are expres­sions of that real­iza­tion. And that is the con­cept of enlight­en­ment.


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