There are levels of enlightenment

Answer to your questions

Chapter 69

The seven stages of enlightenment

SWAMIJI: Just before you came in, I was thinking about enlightenment. Enlightenment is like the sunrise that I feel inside of me in the morning when the sun rises, but it doesn't jump straight to the highest point.

Andrew: It's slowly opening.

SWAMIJI: It is pitch dark at night, as if there is no hope of light. This is the state of ignorance.

Andrew: Yeah.

SWAMIJI: When it is pitch dark, like black coal, nobody can imagine such a thing as brightness. But what happens later: The sky takes on a light gray color.

Andrew: It's getting dark.

SWAMIJI: The sky is slowly turning gray. After that it will turn a little pink, then a slightly milky white, and then you can see the sun slowly rise in its full size in the east.

It is the same with enlightenment. I was just thinking about it. In the beginning, as with idiocy, there is complete darkness. There are people who haul their livelihoods on the streets with stones and cut trees in the woods. What are these people thinking about?

ANDREW: You're thinking of survival.

Swamiji: Survival - that is all. As far as enlightenment is concerned, there is complete darkness.

Andrew: That's right.

Swamiji: One day there will come a time in a person's life when he no longer wants to do bad, but only want to do good. In the animalistic living conditions of a human being, the question of right and wrong things does not arise. But the day comes: “After all of this, I have to do something good now”.

Many people leave their homes, their jobs and quit their jobs to come here to the ashram. "Why did you come here?" "I want to do something good". This is the first stage of enlightenment, according to the Yoga Vasishtha, a great Indian scripture. The first stage is called "Subheccha" in Sanskrit. Subha means good; Subheccha means the desire to do good.

The next level concerns the question of how to do good. There is a desire to do good, but how can you do it? You keep thinking about what good actually means. This is the next stage, which, after the actual desire to do good, is known as the "state of inquiry". It is a reflection in which one thinks: “What does good actually mean? What am I really looking for? What do I want? ”This stage is known as Vicharana.

The third stage is called Tanumanasi and involves the thinning of the mind. The mind, which is filled with desires of all kinds, is full of selfishness. In the Yoga Vasishtha there is a verse in Sanskrit with the following wording: Through the accumulation of possessions, through the desire for pleasure and attachment to this body, the ego becomes fat and fat. It is said that the body can be fat; but the ego can also be fat.

There are people with indomitable egos. When your own mind starts with the question, “What is the right activity for me?” It is only focusing on one thing, doing the right thing. The dissatisfaction caused by previous thought movements and going in different directions slowly ceases by focusing on just one thing.

Andrew: Dissatisfaction is sinking.

SWAMIJI: It is sinking. It becomes, so to speak, thin as a thread. The mind is like a film covering the consciousness of self. When this film is thick and dark, the reflection of self-awareness is completely prevented. When it becomes thin and clear, the light itself can be properly reflected, like through a cleaned glass, which is not possible through a thick stone. In this way, under the condition of the “thinned out” mind known as the Tanumanasi state, it is possible to detach oneself from past preoccupations with the sense organs. Until this third stage, enlightenment has not yet begun. It's just a preparatory stage - the kindergarten stage.

In the fourth stage, you feel a flash of lightning, as if a light were lit. Sattva Guna, the Sattvic quality of the mind reveals itself in the fourth level. Provided that these flashes of light are not perceived in the sky but in themselves, they are marked as Brahmavid - like someone who knows Brahman. But he is still at the portal, at the entrance to the Brahman’s palace. He hasn't entered yet. The stage is called Sattvapatti, the attainment of the highest purity.

In the fifth stage the consciousness of externality merges with that of universality. I see the world now. I see people, space-time, sun, moon and stars. I see them because they seem to be outside of me. Suppose the sun, moon and stars and all of humanity are pinned within my body; then I will no longer see anything outside of me. The consciousness of the external existence of things, including space-time, dissolves. At this stage, called Asamsakti, a complete detachment from peculiarities, externalities, causalities etc. takes place.

Then comes the next higher level as the sixth level, - Padarthabhavana, or attachment to "non-material" things. The quantum physicists tell us that the real matter is light. It's not a dull, stone-like substance like the earth here. It is the inner nature that strives for the light. In this sixth stage, matter loses its solidity, hardness, appearance, weight and expansion, and everywhere there is a flood of rays of light, as if the whole universe were one sun.

When a single sun rises in the east, one can see the great flood of light. Here at enlightenment, the whole room becomes the sun. What kind of radiance is that? What kind of brightness may that be? This is sometimes called, as Patanjali calls it in his sutras, savikalpa samadhi - a penultimate stage before union with the Absolute.

In the last stage, called Turiya, there is nothing but rays. The viewer begins to shine himself. The radiant sees the radiant; the sun sees the sun and there is nothing but the sun. The whole space-time complex, which is called existence and the factor of the cause of the universe, is not as a physical light, electric light and even not even as sunlight, but as light of consciousness to the mass of indescribable radiance. There is no one in this last and seventh level who would be there to see IT, since the seer has become the thing he is looking at himself. This is the experience of the Absolute.

Andrew: This means dissolution.

SWAMIJI: Here is the height of enlightenment and no one knows what is happening at this moment. People keep asking the same question, "What happens after enlightenment?" No one there can ask such a question because no one will exist at that time. Yet it is written in the scriptures that the body of such an enlightened one can remain alive for a while. It doesn't mean he will die immediately.

It is believed that a person who dissolves in the light of consciousness cannot survive longer than two or three weeks. This body is then given up.

There was someone in Maharashtra who had reached this state. Nobody knew his name. People called him Akalhot Swami because he lived in a place of that name. He didn't say a word, but the people around him knew that he was a great master. He couldn't utter a word; he asked for nothing. Day and night in this state he was alone with himself.

One day a poor man who knew he was a great Master came to him and asked for his blessing. He usually didn't bless anyone; he wouldn't speak to anyone at all. The poor man had to marry off his daughter, but he had no dowry. So he went to the Master, who was in the seventh stage of enlightenment that I described earlier, and threw himself on the ground in front of him and asked for his blessing.

The swami pointed to the skull of a dead man. Is this for a wedding that is surely a sacred ordinance, isn't this skull that the Master wanted to give him a somewhat unfortunate gift? The poor man felt disgusted, but trusting the great master, he wrapped his skull in a rag, went home, and tossed the bundle in the back of the porch. He borrowed money and hosted the wedding. A month or so after, when the woman was sweeping the porch, she hit the bundle with the broom and the skull shattered into small shining pieces.

There was no longer a skull to be seen because it had broken into many small, shining stones. He took a stone to a shop in the market and asked, "Is this stone of any value?"

“Where does this stone come from?” Asked the shopkeeper, “this piece costs one hundred thousand rupees”.

The poor man's heart broke. He went back to the old saint and prostrated himself before him. "The skull turned into a heap of precious stones!" He said, but the great master did not speak a single word.

This is an example of how great masters behave in the seventh degree. Nobody can understand the behavior of these masters. Many years ago, in the time of Swami Shivananda, there lived such a crazy looking Swami who was not wearing clothes on the other side of the corridor. If he went to the market and saw baskets of candy there, he would pick up those baskets, throw them in the street, go to another store, and do the same thing again. People said that after that, shopkeepers' sales increased a hundredfold. Then the people ran to him and asked: "Please throw our baskets over, please do it!" He did not listen to them, but walked away uninvolved.

The great masters like Shirdi Sai Baba, Shri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, this Akalhot Swami and many others of this kind were not like normal people. It is said, as I have mentioned, that the body is kept alive by prarabdha (sum of karma in present life) but has become exhausted from the work done and eventually there is nothing left to do. The consciousness has spread in the body, and if this consciousness breaks further, the body has nothing more to oppose it.

In the Yoga Vasishtha it is written that the number of these people can be counted on the fingers. There are only a few of these people. You don't find them so easily on the streets everywhere. In a humorous way, it means that the earth could not take the weight of these people. The earth cannot suffer from the weight of these kinds of people. This is a humorous way of putting it. There are very few people like this.

A little boy of sixteen, Vyasa’s big son Shuka Maharishi was ONE with all the trees, mountains and everything in general. He walked naked through the world without consciousness of his body. When Vyasa called out to his son Shuka: “Shuka, my son! Where are you? "The woods began to vibrate everywhere:" I'm here. "

There is another story about Shuka. Once upon a time there was a king named Yudhisthira, known from the Mahabharata - he was a very virtuous and benevolent man. He won the Mahabharata battle. Do you know the history of the Mahabharata?

Andrew: A little.

SWAMIJI: Oh, it is worth reading. If one has not read the Mahabharata, one cannot know the culture of India either.

ANDREW: This is the second time you've talked to me about it.

Swamiji: To demonstrate his greatness as a ruler, after he was crowned king, he gave food to millions of people. However, he wanted to know how many people had attended the meal, so he asked Vyasa, “Can you devise a method to determine how many people have attended the meal?” Speaking his mantra, Vyasa hung a bell. Then he said: “The bell rings once for every thousand participants in the meal. You can count the number of times the bell has struck and find out how many people have attended the meal ”.

After the people had eaten and left, the bell began to ring incessantly; she rang continuously. "What kind of bell is that ringing? Is there something wrong with the bell? ”Asked Yudhisthira.

Vyasa said, “My bell makes no mistake. There must be some extraordinary mystery behind it. It usually rings only once for every thousand dinner participants. You have to find out whether anyone else is attending the meal. "

He looked around and found Shuka, the little unkempt boy who was eating a seed with a dog licking the remains of people's food from the leaves. When Shuka ate a seed, the bell began to ring.

The king ran to Vyasa: “There is a poor boy back there and when he eats a seed the bell starts to ring, as if thousands of people were eating. Who is this boy? "

Vyasa said, “He is my son. He is himself like the whole universe. When he swallows a seed, it's like millions of people have eaten it.

Yudhisthira cried: “I am ashamed. I didn't know such a person existed, and I boast that I fed millions of people. ”He prostrated himself in front of the boy, but Shuka was unaffected.

These are stories of enlightened ones who have penetrated the cosmos and made it their own, - not only made it their own, but also became the cosmos themselves. In the Upanishads it is written that the universe belongs to him - rather, that he himself is the universe. What more can we say about enlightenment? Well worth thinking about it deeply.

Andrew: Thank you very much.

SWAMIJI: It is worth thinking about, one day we will get there and then ring the bell.