One of the greatest issues I have had with the various “paths” of enlightenment is that they posit enlightenment as a “destination”. As something that someone has to “reach”. Which obviously assumes that one is “not there”. Strangely, this has been the preoccupation of every Saint, Master and the Prophet. And this is what baffles me – specially when it comes along with the message of “One Consciousness’ which is ostensibly “Infinite”.
The property of Infinity means that there is nothing but it. So what could be “other” than it. And if the “consciousness” is everywhere, then where do want to go from where??
The truth is that consciousness is FOREVER and EVERYWHERE “enlightened”. Whether it is the rock or the person or the tree. The underlying sub atomic energy has the exact same dynamism and property.
Then, the obvious question arises – “What is the difference between the Enlightened and the Normal Mortals?” Spiritually speaking I would suggest NOTHING! From a mind standpoint, its only that “we” have not REALIZED that “we” are that enlightened state.
Tonight I was going through Yoga Vasistha – the English Translation by Swami Venkatesananda – and the way he puts it is even more profound and beautiful:
Differentiated consciousness is bondage: liberation is its absense. Whatever pleases you affirm that and be firm in that. There is no difference between the two, for awareness is the same in both. Who will bemoan the loss of what exists only in ignorance? That which is gained by “being still”, that exists already and has therefore already been gained.
The Saints have preached at two levels – Consciousness or Spiritual level and the Mind or Worldly level. The problem in the message has always come because it is not possible to fit the “Infinite” into the “Finite”. Many have tried. And failed. As much as we can call the Saints and masters as successes and enlightened, in my eyes they have failed. And miserably.
Whenever I read Yoga Vasistha, I always feel that Vasistha was relentless in being clear on not obfuscating the central core of Infinite that he was trying to “fit” in the Finite. That is why this scripture does not have the stature of Bhagwad Gita in the wider Hindu panteon and even amongst the Vedantists. People find it “confusing”. It is confusing because Vasistha does not give even AN INCH in his explanation to any notion that could strengthen the Mind-stuff or the Worldly level discussion.
That is also one of the reason why many find his enunciations so tough to handle that they term this book as “not worthy” at all. But this comes the closest to the best attempt perhaps ever made by anyone to describe the Infinite in the Finite.