What is Enlightenment?

What is Enlightenment?
Perhaps one the most frequent queries that consumes a seeker’s mind are the questions “What is enlightenment? Can spiritual practices enlighten me?” Sadhguru, a yogi and mystic with the experience of three enlightened lifetimes, answers these questions.

Jan 28, 2013

Perhaps one the most frequent queries that consumes a seeker’s mind are the questions “What is enlightenment? Can spiritual practices enlighten me?” Sadhguru, a yogi and mystic with the experience of three enlightened lifetimes, answers these questions.
Sadhguru: In India, enlightened beings have been referred to as Dwijas. Dwija means twice-born. Once, you were born out of your mother’s womb; it happened unconsciously. You did not make it happen – nature did it for you. When you were born, you came with a certain innocence and blissfulness. A child is innocent and blissful by himself. But since this blissfulness did not happen consciously, anybody can corrupt it in no time. In no time, they will take it away… For some of you, it was taken away by the time you were 12 or 13 years of age; for many it was already taken away when they were 5 to 6. Children are becoming tense at 5 to 6 years of age today because their innocence gets corrupted in no time, depending upon the volume of influence that people around have on them.

Now, if you have to be born once again, you must die first. If you are not willing to die, the question of being reborn doesn’t arise. This does not mean dying physically. If you leave this body, some other nonsense will be waiting for you. But if you die the way you are, if you destroy everything that you called “myself,” then you are born once again. This kind of birth happens 100% consciously. Once again you become blissful and innocent, but fully aware. Now, this blissfulness cannot be taken away by anybody. So, what you call “enlightenment” means a conscious self-annihilation.

Right now, most people are not thinking of enlightenment. They are just trying to live a little better. They want to live a little more peacefully, joyfully, more efficiently, more effectively. We can use yoga for that also. It is a poor way of making use of yoga because yoga is capable of delivering you to another dimension of life; but it’s okay. If people are not satisfied with what they are seeking in their lives, they will never seek anything higher. If you talk about enlightenment to somebody who is hungry right now, he only thinks of food. Whatever people feel is missing right now in their life needs to be taken care of to some extent. Otherwise they will not seek anything higher.

Isha Yoga is offered in such a way that all dimensions are included but nothing is compulsive. When we initiate people into the kriya, it is taught in such a way that everything is available. We don’t want to deny anyone enlightenment just because they don’t know it. We want to create a taste of another dimension so that they will seek it. At the same time, nothing is forcing itself upon you; you can use it any way you wish to. If someone were an ascetic and a “fulltime” yogi, I would initiate them in a completely different manner where the way they should go is compulsive. But generally, I will not initiate someone in a compulsive way. I initiate them in such a way that they can make use of it in many different ways and it still stays alive.

Seeking physical wellbeing is one thing. Seeking enlightenment is something else.
Seeking physical wellbeing is one thing. Seeking enlightenment is something else. To enhance physical wellbeing, you need to learn different techniques of self-preservation. Enlightenment means a conscious annihilation of yourself. For most people, it will take a certain amount of time and maturing to understand that whatever you make yourself to be, in the end, it is frustrating and not enough. However wonderful you make yourself, still it is not enough. Only when you disappear, everything becomes wonderful.

So, if right now all someone wants is to be peaceful and happy, and do better in the activities they are doing – let’s have that, it’s okay. That doesn’t mean enlightenment is ruled out, but such a longing has not come yet. Still, the basic longing is to live better. You are not yet finished with life – you want to live well. When you have lived enough and you know that living better is not going to get you anywhere, then you want to go beyond life.

Editor’s Note: “Mystic’s Musings” includes more of Sadhguru’s insights on the nature of human emotions and the power of devotion. Read the free sample [pdf] or purchase the ebook.

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5 years 3 months ago
“If someone were an ascetic and a “fulltime” yogi, I would initiate them
in a completely different manner where the way they should go is
compulsive.” Why should they go compulsive? I don’t understand, isn’t this about being more conscious?

4 years 6 months ago
Yeah OK, but let me ask you this, and please reply YES or NO, don´t beat around the bush. Do you consider yourself enlightened?

5 years 10 months ago
thank u brother.may u too know the bliss of what enlightment is!!!

3 years 8 months ago
I like the suggestion to live completely before and until… In fact, this is along the lines of Gurdjieff’s ‘Harmonious development of Man’, where one loses illusions, imbalances and neuroticism increasingly – and becomes fully human, oneself, fully alive.., and also chimes with what I intuit Maslow’s vision that self-actualisation’s fully-functioning-ness is Gone Beyond finally, and ‘left behind’… as a ‘self-state’… For me, this LEADS directly Toward what is labelled ‘Enlightenment’, and already gives hints of Egoless Being -Consciousness and Bliss..

5 years 2 months ago
Sadhguru Now a days i feel only Nothing ….. Thanks for your inner science to develop us …. No words only Bliss ….

5 years 10 months ago
Sadhguru,I was lured into enlightenment with all propaganda towards it.Being a house wife I pursued it whole heartedly and got enlightened.It amazes me still ,why me…what did I do to deserve this.Yes ,enlightment is liberating…….b..u..t …..the chioce an enlightened person is left with is ….”what in the world….why live anymore in this illusion” ….or “let me do my bit to humanity to make it a better place”.You know when I tell the kids I’m enlightened they simply laugh at me!!!:) when I venture out to do something….seeing people so selfish I wonder why I should alone be selfless.I really wonder if enlightment is bliss or blunder in this world.Being a child seemed better,but I asked for it…..what can I say.

4 years 6 months ago
Shambhoo Mahadeva

5 years 10 months ago
Brother seriously….u have all got me wrong.to tell u the truth….doing something for others gives such a bliss that cannot be said in words.Enlightenment helps us live life in a very beautiful dimension…..but just the one or two selfish people you meet makes you cry for their pathetic state.It’s like u’ve done u’r best but can’t help the person realise the beauty of life.It pains to see them stuck….but I guess sathguru’s other column taught me how to overcome this….Be of good cheer.

3 years 8 months ago
But it is -at all times – our truest, permanent ‘state’… It can be acknowledged -& it does’t really contradict of constructive common sense but pervades everything

5 years 2 months ago
“When you have lived enough and you know that living better is not going to get you anywhere, then you want to go beyond life.” – Sums up everything!! 🙂 Sadhguru…I did not long for something beyond until I became so miserable that I gave up and felt hopeless, helpless and useless..so much pain within that became unbearable…….why cant people realize that it is all futile before having to go through misery and sufferings?? Why does it hit only after so much pain touches us?? or atleast that is what happened to me!!!…Enlightenment is a distant thought..way too big for a little creature like me……Today I know I just need to cling on to you and you will see me ashore…So my only wish is to remain hooked to you, My Master…I only know to just practice what you have asked me to…why should I worry where it will lead me to? Not needed…Shambhavi Mahamudra has brought me rather dragged me out of my stupidity and made me see myself very clearly…and this journey has been very blissful or very peaceful…for I dont even know if this is what is bliss!!! I am on a journey that seems most fulfilling and truly worthwhile in every sense….it seems like an awakening of sorts…that shook me off my own assumptions about myself and the world around me…I had felt lost, but now I feel that I finally have reached to where I actually belong…whether this is the path to enlightenment and all that is not in my thoughts right now…I am only sure I want to pursue on this path unto eternity with your blessings and grace….Once I realized everything is futile, I craved for Mukti, just wanted to be out of this madness….but as I tread this path with your blessings and grace…I feel longing for mukti in itself is a desire why not just give myself totally to the saadhana rather than seeking even Mukti….When it is HIS grace that gets us everything..and HE knows it best what I must get and when…so why worry about realization, enlightenment or mukti!!!!…surrender completely and everything is taken care…Just help me to be with you my MASTER…Namaskarams…

5 years 10 months ago
🙂 Ennaya solringa…! Enlightenment aana ipdiya vera feel pannuvaangala! Narayana! Life is FULL of surprises! 🙂

4 years 1 month ago
So true when i was born I was innocent and blissful…but things changed overtime…Something is happening to me after reading this post…

5 years 10 months ago
go live life responsibly and beautifully………what greater enlightment is there than this.sorry my comment was for sadhguru to know my inmost problem…..didn’t know it would bring somany controversies.

3 years 8 months ago
But maybe you are misreading it. Teachers revere those most who have Devotion… Let us look to the common element that is not taking words at face value

5 years 2 months ago
I agree too!

To Guest
How do you know what you got is Enlightenment ? People who got that state have absolutely no words to describe it, don’t declare it and they don’t complain about others. Maybe its your ego that’s playing with you.

5 years 10 months ago
That sounded very practical.. Imm vijay.. a medical colg student.. i hav always wanted to b humble n selfless but it hardly seems to make a diffrence in the lives of people around me.. wat good is it tobme then!

4 years 1 month ago
ekkaḍi mānuṣa janmaṃ bettina phalamēmunnadi |
nikkamu ninnē nammiti nī cittambikanu ||

maravanu āhārambunu maravanu saṃsāra sukhamu |
maravanu yindriya bhōgamu mādhava nī māya |
maraceda jñānambunu maraceda tattva rahasyamu |
maraceda guruvunu daivamu mādhava nī māya ||

viḍuvanu pāpamu puṇyamu viḍuvanu nā durguṇamulu |
viḍuvanu mikkili yāsalu viṣṇuḍa nīmāya |
viḍiceda ṣaṭkarmambulu viḍiceda vairāgyambunu |
viḍiceda nācārambunu viṣṇuḍa nīmāya ||

tagileda bahu lampaṭamula tagileda bahu bandhamula |
tagulanu mōkṣapu mārgamu talapuna yentainā |
agapaḍi śrī vēṅkaṭēśwara antaryāmivai |
nagi nagi nanu nīvēliti nākā yīmāya ||

I bow down

5 years 10 months ago
sure brother,whatever u say.

3 years 5 months ago
Namaskar, Sadhguruj!! Could you tell me how to ocercome thoughts crossing while meditating.… Can one not get enlightenment except meditating… if we are living in this hectic world where we have many responsbilities and duties, so how can we make an equilibrium in all these thing:*–

I’m waiting for answer.

5 years 2 months ago
Oh.A long way to go Sadguru for me.Please help me

5 years 10 months ago
seriously..? your narration of experiencing enlightenment is not close to what Sadhguru says it is – what do you mean by you’re enlightened?! can you brief your experience

4 years 1 month ago
you said you will cling to Sadhguru, But if you follow Sadhguru really and in Facebook, you’ll not say that. No Enlightened person will ask you to follow him or imitate him. Even Sadhguru says in videos please see. He never asked to Believe just because he is saying it 🙂

5 years 10 months ago
I have yet to find discover more on what enlightenment really is but I admit that for me I long to live a peaceful and better life just like what you have said Sadhguru, perhaps right now I am contented in a life of harmony but time will come I will long for a deeper one such as enlightenment.

3 years 2 months ago
Yes I feel that way too and find the progressive development comforting in the sense that I will first take care of my responsibilities towards family and then seek enlightenment . But life (or god ) has already shown me that this thought may also be just my ego as the creator is anyway going to take care of the others for whom i feel responsible

4 years 11 months ago
May be this article will clarify what you are going t hrough…


5 years 10 months ago
Thank you so very much Sadhguru, for your Blessing I feel so happy, compasionate, peaceful, and full of gratitud.
Silvia Cercado de Greene.

4 years 1 month ago
Der is this compulsion to be absolutely conscious,no excuse!!

5 years 10 months ago
Is’nt it the simplest tool that all that you experience within the limitation of the Body & Mind you alone will know the truth in the entirety of your experience if you are ONE in consciouness with the entire Balance of Life… Till you reach that stage where in You alone know that you Either are identifying yourself with the name that is attached to the limitation of a Body which you call Yourself or You Are Not The Body Nor Its Mind !!! And the Moment In Time when You Discover You Are Not, You Will Simply Be .. Just Be !!!! You want to call that stage Enlightenment, or Highest State of Awareness, Or Pure Knowledge, Or Pure Bliss.. is upto You,, For You are One with all & there will never be a Moment in Time When you will Feel Separate From A Thing or Being !!!!

2 years 11 months ago
I need to talk to him asap. My lifes in danger psychological, emotional, & i guess physical too. What can i do?

4 years 6 months ago
Comments are too funny

5 years 10 months ago
Can spiritual practices enlighten me? – Sadhguru did not answer this question.

4 years 1 month ago

I would like to be an ascetic or a full time yogi.
I cannot wait anymore. my longing is so big.
I dont care about physical wellbeing. Even If I have to leave my body I dont care.

Is it possible that he initiates me in this other way?
pleas help.

5 years 10 months ago
All is well.. Do not mind these comments.

1 year 8 months ago
Anticipate to see many battles waged between these two global tech forces in the years to return. Nevertheless,
if the trends that we’re at present experiencing find yourself
holding true, it seems like Fb will be on top.

4 years 6 months ago
No one is ever too big or too small for enlightenment. It could happen to anybody, anytime and anywhere. As Sadhguru has said, enlightenment is the annihilation of what we take our selves to be. Only when absent of a self, we can realise the bliss of the Self. Therefore, when we think this “I” is too small for enlightenment, we are still holding onto a false sense of self. As Sri Ramana Maharshi has always said, we are always the Self, we only imagine ourselves to be something else. Of course, with devotion, determination and sadhana, our false senses of self dissolve eventually, and the seeker himself dissolve. Don’t ever think you are too small for enlightenment. May you find what you seek as quickly as possible.

5 years 10 months ago
Enlightenment kidaichavanga kandippaga unarchigalal alaikazhikka pada mattargal. Yedhilum thannaiye parkira, unargira nilaimaiyil anbu mattume kannukku theriyum. Manam buddhiyin kattupatil irukkum. Guruvin Aasirvadham nammai karai serkkum. Avarin varthai vazhi nadakka muyarchipom. one day we will understand the TRUTH.

3 years 9 months ago
Karthik, try exploring on the nature of mind. Once you start getting some clarity, try finding out how are you ( the ‘I’) separate from the mind. The experience of this interaction of yourself and your own mind is that other dimension. The most effective tool in exploring the mind is the direct enquiry.

5 years 10 months ago
how true ma’am. On a very positive note, you’re not alone! Only hoping that we put all our effort into it and we can make these “non-enlightened people” into a minority sometime. But yes, totally agree with you. In addition, I guess it is not just with enlightenment, but with hard work and merit itself its the same case. I guess we’re just referring to “enlightenment” as a synonym of hard work / merit / deservingness. It happens to every deserving soul I guess. But don’t lose hope – that’s the best advise I can give you – as I mentioned, on a very positive note, you’re not alone – in other words, on a positive note, “you alone are not selfless – its only a matter of time we outdo the undeserving!” Tough, but I guess every great achiever has the same story.

1 year 7 months ago
One day I was in a hospital staring at the ceiling lamp and a strange sharp memory came back to me. I have seen that object before, it was the most significant object once. I didn’t know it was the lamp…. I saw it right after I fell into darkness upon desperately striving to make my wayou through a dark narrow wet space. I tried with all my might yet still wouldn’t fiND an opening… I gave up. I know I was dieing . I fell into darkness…. then suddenly out of many roaming dreams I have separated that object. It was all double-tripple , but as I focused it would become just one example clear image. It all came to focus. An I realised: I am. I am back. I exist again. This was not put I to words of Cuz as I was just born and pulled out of my mother via c section and left to rest. I am was a complete bliss. It feels great to emerge out of death dillusions. They were full of fear. But I feel like I had a goal, a quest to learn to know if I disappear or continue on existing. So much I strived to know that it led me to this intended self inquiry. The awareness of I am, I am ever present was so peaceful I have no words for it. This life time I will not waste. Mine will be a compulsive email way. It is. My precios person is dead.

4 years 6 months ago
_/_ what more can i ask 4

5 years 10 months ago
Mrs Ramya,
Don’t get confused/taken away by your condition…Just be happy and be what you are.. . Please don’t feel an illusionary dreamy world..Enlightenment cannot be expressed that much easily..Every serious spiritual seeker is striving for that (in many different forms as example: see maha kumbha mela).. For your clarity, enlightenment is not about humanity or doing something to the world.. Per Jaggi’s quote “Only when you disappear, everything becomes wonderful. means a conscious annihilation of yourself”

3 years 9 months ago
Namaskaram Sadhguru when I was child my uncle asked me how intelligent was I :-), I felt shy and turned my face and said my mom knows, now sadhguru you are saying enlightenment such words doesn’t came in my life till you knocked the door , shambho

5 years 10 months ago
Namaskaram sadhguru,
Regarding the plethora of comments, as few have mentioned Enlightenment doesnt come like that. People are confusing the meaning of the word Enlightenment.
Enlightenment is not Physical or Psychological, it is metaphysical. In simple, you cant talk about enlightenment, because it doesnt fall under logical realm that which mind understands on articulating or visualizing. Sadhguru had mentioned it so many times, if you are very sincere at yoga may be you get a little toffee from sadhguru which is only to allure you to the BEYOND. Getting the Toffee itself needs enormous dedication and intensity, anywhere above that….please assume in right sense. Great masters have spent life times….we little ones..??????

4 years 6 months ago
I like what you say. But do you have first hand experience?

5 years 10 months ago
“It is a poor way of making use of yoga because yoga is capable of delivering you to another dimension of life”. This should answer your question.

3 years 9 months ago
Namaskaram Sadhguru. Bless me to disappear! !!

5 years 10 months ago
we don’t know what is another dimension of life. its just words for almost all. its like we traveling to an unknown destiny with a path of no mile stone or sign boards.

4 years 6 months ago
I got to know the word “enlightment” from Sadhguru only. So everything is profit and no loss!!!

5 years 10 months ago
Not sure if a person who calls himself enlightened is enlightened. Defeats the whole purpose.

3 years 9 months ago
Thanks for such a nice post & clarification. Always feel blessed reading/listening your posts/speeches

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