'Be' with Swami Venkatesananda

Enlightenment

Those people who would like a shortcut to enlightenment are looking for trouble. When we look for a method or a practice which will firmly establish us in this enlightenment, so that we do not hereafter fall into error, that is trouble already. If, in this fast-moving, eternally dynamic, ever-changing universe, you want to be rooted, firm and unmoving, you might as well be a statue – at least to human vision. There is nothing unmoving in this universe. If you are part of this cosmic stream, you must expect to be met by an unexpected tum of events at every stage. You do not know what is coming.

The purpose of enlightenment is to enable you to flow along with every challenge as it comes, meet the most unexpected events, and then not lose your head. When, in the light of your own enlightenment, you are able to see, it is not a problem; because, when you are able to see, there is no fear or confusion anymore. Day after day the light is still shining, and when a new problem crops up, you will look at it and see the solution – because the problem carries its solution on its own shoulders!

Enlightenment enables us to flow along this stream of consciousness without experiencing grief, confusion, doubt, because the light removes only the grief confusion and doubt. Life goes on exactly as it has been. Your most prosaic actions become yoga, and they create no problem at all.

The enlightened person is one who is never shocked. He has reached this stage of not being shocked by being constantly alert, vigilant, awake, and therefore constantly illumined, not because he is supposed to be rooted in some form of psychic power. That is what yoga demands of us. That is what yoga promises us.

So, enlightenment is set up as the goal, and this goal has to be realised, not thought about. You cannot sit here and hypnotise yourself by repeatedly observing, ‘I am the immortal Consciousness.’ That is only thought! It was thought that created all this nuisance, and thinking about it only brings in one more thought!

When you take things for granted, you act and react mechanically, instinctively. When you understand its nature and truth, then the tree remains the tree and you remain you. In the meantime, a tremendous radical change has taken place. The husband remains a husband, the wife a wife. Suddenly there is no longer that guardedness, possessiveness and jealousy – the haunting problem-makers.

A man entered a house, something touched his foot and he jumped up, shouting, ‘Snake!’ When the light was switched on, he saw it was only some rubber. When the lights were switched off, he saw the snake again, exactly as he saw it the first time; but this time he was not afraid. That is the whole thing in a nut shell. It is not as if, once you become a yogi, some kind of light will come out of you.

So, enlightenment is an inner awareness that suddenly transforms and transmutes your whole being, without interfering with the appearance. You still play your role in life and everything goes on normally. Perhaps only then it is normal. Before it was sub-normal! All this is within reach of all of us at all times. But, unfortunately, we have never really been aware of the beautiful mystery of which we are made.