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: If you would like to delve further into this topic, check out Sadhguru’s latest ebook, “Enlightenment: What it is”, available on Amazon. Please note that Amazon ebooks can be read directly on your web browser, PCs, tablets and smartphones. Click here for details.

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POSTED IN:Yoga & Meditation, Demystifying Yoga
TAGS: Enlightenment
  • ram ya

    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.

    • Vj vendra

      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!

    • yuv

      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”

      • Guest

        thank u brother.may u too know the bliss of what enlightment is!!!

  • Silvia Greene

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

  • Rajesh

    Can spiritual practices enlighten me? – Sadhguru did not answer this question.

    • Krishna Raman

      “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.

      • karthik

        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.

  • ram ya

    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.

    • Vijayaragavan Chakrapani

      All is well.. Do not mind these comments.

  • ram ya

    sure brother,whatever u say.

  • Nikole

    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.

  • kskumaran

    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..??????

  • Surya Isha

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

  • Ranjani

    “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 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…

    • madhav prasad

      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 :)

  • Satchitanand

    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.

  • Ravi

    Oh.A long way to go Sadguru for me.Please help me

  • Satchitanand

    May be this article will clarify what you are going t hrough…

  • Jaya

    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