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Thread: The Taboo of Enlightenment

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    The Taboo of Enlightenment

    It appears to me that it is almost a taboo for a person to say they are a jivanmukta (self-realised or enlightened).

    Perhaps to label oneself as enlightened would be to infer that individuals do exist (by the fact that we are different) and that an enlightened person should know better than to hint at such a thing.

    It of course can be said that there is no such thing as an individual or enlightenment. It is avidya and Maya that veils. It does not mean that those who believe they are an individual will change on being told this, they may still feel a Guru is required.

    Do we not risk stagnation as we wait for new fresh Gurus with the courage to tell the world they are enlightened to come along?

    However most people refer to their Guru, so there must be people who have stepped up and offered their service.

    I offer this slightly controversial post as I find the topic is one which is not so common and I would like to confirm if it is really a taboo to be a Jivanmukta in your opinion?

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    Re: The Taboo of Enlightenment

    hariḥ oṁ
    ~~~~~

    Namast snip


    Quote Originally Posted by Snip View Post
    It appears to me that it is almost a taboo for a person to say they are a jivanmukta (self-realised or enlightened).

    Perhaps to label oneself as enlightened would be to infer that individuals do exist (by the fact that we are different) and that an enlightened person should know better than to hint at such a thing.
    humility... this is key. When my teacher would be asked, what state of consciousness are you in, he would always say , waking state.

    praṇām
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

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    Re: The Taboo of Enlightenment

    Quote Originally Posted by Snip View Post
    It appears to me that it is almost a taboo for a person to say they are a jivanmukta (self-realised or enlightened).

    Perhaps to label oneself as enlightened would be to infer that individuals do exist (by the fact that we are different) and that an enlightened person should know better than to hint at such a thing.

    It of course can be said that there is no such thing as an individual or enlightenment. It is avidya and Maya that veils. It does not mean that those who believe they are an individual will change on being told this, they may still feel a Guru is required.

    Do we not risk stagnation as we wait for new fresh Gurus with the courage to tell the world they are enlightened to come along?

    However most people refer to their Guru, so there must be people who have stepped up and offered their service.

    I offer this slightly controversial post as I find the topic is one which is not so common and I would like to confirm if it is really a taboo to be a Jivanmukta in your opinion?
    Namaste snip,

    Jivanmukta and the enlightened may not be of the same level. A sadhaka who has experienced samadhi time and again is enlightened, but may come down in the dualistic mode during non-samadhi periods. Jivanmukta, on the other hand has no mind of his own or has a mind that is only sattwik, same as Vishnu and all pervasive.

    This is an interesting point. I do not think that I have heard any known Guru or a Rishi to have claimed "I am Jivanmukta", except in the meditative mode of "Soham" etc. I think, in general, that such statements can only come from the fraudulent, who do not know the Kena teachings, shown to us by Brahman in a post. Jivamukti is unbroken knowledge of Brahman. But Kena Upanishad plainly says that one who says "I know Brahman" does not know Brahman.

    When one is speaking, one is already in dual mode. True Jivanmukta will not lose the abidance in the Turya ever, even while speaking (as if) in a dualistic mode. They cannot utter "I am Jivan mukta", implying "You are not a jivanmukta". It is an impossibilty. Jivan Mukta cannot take disciples either. Jivan mukta cannot see the other. When scripture says "You are that", it means that Vishnu, the indweller, is the full, and is not different from That. Vishnu's highest plane is That only. Vishnu proclaims "I am cipivista" or "I am That". But it is known in scripture that even Vishnu falls on account of pride.

    I think, true jivan mukti is rarest. Videha mukti may be more probable.

    Om Namah Shivaya
    Last edited by atanu; 09 October 2009 at 10:48 PM.
    That which is without letters (parts) is the Fourth, beyond apprehension through ordinary means, the cessation of the phenomenal world, the auspicious and the non-dual. Thus Om is certainly the Self. He who knows thus enters the Self by the Self.

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    Re: The Taboo of Enlightenment

    Vanakkam all:

    Here in this lower level of ignorance we really have no idea whats going on up there in higher chakras.

    I agree with most everything that has been said already but wish to add a bit more from my experience.

    Re: "stepping up and offering their services." Traditionally, this is not how it happens. A teacher needs students first. Its not a proclamation. Students beg to be taught because they feel or see that this person has something they don't have. Because such a realised person doesn't have desires, fortunately for the rest of us, they agree to become teachers in this way.

    Rarely does a teacher state that they are enlightened. The students and devotees just start to gather around and it becomes an assumption, and the students do the labeling. This is not hard and fast. I have seen it come up in biographies especially. Think "Autobiography of a Yogi" . And here the purpose is to tell of the path, and the end, again just to benefit the devotees knowledge of what is coming for them, not as an ego boost.

    Snip, the whole area of Guru discussion can be controversial. Just like comparative religion can be. The devotees can and do get caught up in the "My Guru is better that your Guru" stupidity, from their own egos. I see it no differently than village mentality. The wise would never criticise any Guru, self-proclaimed or otherwise. There is really no point to it. (I guess there might be exceptions, especially in legal matters, if you were directly involved, in the same way for example it is against the law not to report child abuse, as a school teacher, if you become aware.)

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: The Taboo of Enlightenment

    Snip: After re-reading your post, further thoughts arise. I think (perhaps I'm wrong) you have seen people jump all over others who make this claim. I myself have probably done it. We are both rational and emotional beings. Although at a deeper level it is certainly not wise to jump on such, because we really don't know, and there's no point, a part of us wants to say something.

    The main reason, for me, is that self-realisation begets wisdom. This is the assumption. So when a person comes on here or elsewhere making such claims, and then follows it up with petty argument, name-calling, illogical arguments, etc., our rational minds just come to the rational conclusion that he or she can't be what they say they are. But our emotions are also insulted. Most of us have a certain pride, a certain dignity, regarding the ancient path called Sanatana Dharma, even reflected in the thread 'I am a Hindu". So in a way this person insults all of us, by making such claims, because it makes all of us look like fools, even though they may indeed be speaking the truth.


    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: The Taboo of Enlightenment

    Thank you Yajvan, Atanu and Eastern Mind
    Your posts are filled with depth and brimming with new perspectives that it is difficult to find a place to begin in reply.

    I have offered some thoughts in reply below yours:

    Quote Originally Posted by atanu View Post
    This is an interesting point. I do not think that I have heard any known Guru or a Rishi to have claimed "I am Jivanmukta", except in the meditative mode of "Soham" etc. I think, in general, that such statements can only come from the fraudulent, who do not know the Kena teachings, shown to us by Brahman in a post. Jivamukti is unbroken knowledge of Brahman. But Kena Upanishad plainly says that one who says "I know Brahman" does not know Brahman. .
    “I know Brahman” implies there is an “I” to know. Brahman is known to Brahman. Brahman must be known, otherwise the state of a Jivanmutkta would still be in ignorance, would it not? The difference is that the Jivanmukta no longer sees a separation. I think this too is captured in your following sentence, i.e. “They cannot utter “I am Jivan Mukta”” nor do they see others. You say this below:

    Quote Originally Posted by atanu View Post
    When one is speaking, one is already in dual mode. True Jivanmukta will not lose the abidance in the Turya ever, even while speaking (as if) in a dualistic mode. They cannot utter "I am Jivan mukta", implying "You are not a jivanmukta". It is an impossibility. Jivan Mukta cannot take disciples either. Jivan mukta cannot see the other. When scripture says "You are that", it means that Vishnu, the indweller, is the full, and is not different from That. Vishnu's highest plane is That only. Vishnu proclaims "I am cipivista" or "I am That". But it is known in scripture that even Vishnu falls on account of pride. .
    There is some deep insight you share here. When we agree that they “cannot take disciples” The question arises, why does the Self (Brahman) assist the Self? Why does the Self continue to be interested in its Self? Why doesn't the Self-enlightened man take up gardening and forget his Sanskrit?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eastern Mind View Post
    Rarely does a teacher state that they are enlightened. The students and devotees just start to gather around and it becomes an assumption, and the students do the labelling. This is not hard and fast. I have seen it come up in biographies especially. Think "Autobiography of a Yogi" . And here the purpose is to tell of the path, and the end, again just to benefit the devotees knowledge of what is coming for them, not as an ego boost. .
    I agree, it is true in my observation that devotees gather to listen. None the less the question arises in the mind; “Is this person before me enlightened?”. As you say, this is a controversial topic and is touched upon by Gurus and authors. It is the words and actions which attract those who are searching. There is something of truth in what is being said that distinguishes it from those who don't, perhaps?

    Quote Originally Posted by Eastern Mind View Post
    The main reason, for me, is that self-realisation begets wisdom. This is the assumption. So when a person comes on here or elsewhere making such claims, and then follows it up with petty argument, name-calling, illogical arguments, etc., our rational minds just come to the rational conclusion that he or she can't be what they say they are. But our emotions are also insulted. Most of us have a certain pride, a certain dignity, regarding the ancient path called Sanatana Dharma, even reflected in the thread 'I am a Hindu". So in a way this person insults all of us, by making such claims, because it makes all of us look like fools, even though they may indeed be speaking the truth. .
    I don’t see any logic in why a Self-realised person would need to use name calling and petty arguments; both require duality to be of value. The self-realised person is free from duality. We have already agreed that the Self-realised person has nothing to gain (no desire).

    Yes, we do feel the pangs of our emotions and pride when another person claims outright that they have something that another is finding so hard to grasp after so much searching. It is an interesting paradox in that the Self-Realised will need to face the barrier of the aspirants ego more so than someone who says they are a searcher. I would go as far as to say that a fellow searcher would be welcomed into the club, whilst a person claiming to be enlightened will need to past a test first.

    Additionally I see no logic for a Self-realised person to refuse help or be offended if they are met with hostility. The Self-realised person no longer has anything to defend and abudance to give. The aspirant’s hostility that is testing the claimant as genuine. Deep down we seem to know how a true guru should act, perhaps? At the absolute level it is the Self (Self veiled by ignorance) testing the Self (Brahman) in its ability to show Its true Self.

    Again, thank you for your input. Feel free to comment or debate the above.

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    Re: The Taboo of Enlightenment

    namaste Snip.

    • There is a proverb in Tamil that echoes the words of the kena upanishad that atanu pointed out: 'kaNDavar viNDilar, viNDavar kaNdilar'--'one who has seen it won't talk about it; one who talks about has not seen it." A Reader's Digest article said this about lighning: "If you have seen it, you have missed it."

    • Your question about a jIvanmukta expressing itself as such, points to the fundamental question: why should Brahman/Atman/Self create the world at all? Vedas say that It/Brahman 'willed' to 'live and multiply' instead of 'just be', so Creation happened. Since sRShTi--creation is Brahman's 'breathing out', there will be a corresponding praLaya--dissolution, its 'breathing in'.

    • You have provided a good answer to your own question in your last post:
    "At the absolute level it is the Self (Self veiled by ignorance) testing the Self (Brahman) in its ability to show Its true Self."

    Perhaps I can slighly modify this answer as below:

    At the absolute level, it is not that the Ignorant self testing the Self (that remains always enlightened). The cloud that veils the Sun cannot and does not test the light of the Sun because the cloud itself is the making--or rather lIlA--sport of the Sun; it has no independent chaitanya--consciousness to exist as a separate entity. The cloud eventually dissipates in the tApana--burning up and chaitanya--light/intelligence/consciousness of the Sun.

    • The answer is perhaps in the nature of the Light: to shine out and through. A jivanmukta loses his jIvAtma as it merges in the paramAtman, and in the process it becomes a source of light and acquires the tendency to shine out and through the surrounding scum of jivAtmas: they are lightened/enlightened/delighted to the extent they can absorb and retain the light--or rather purify their own scum to let the inner light shine through. Since the jIvAtma is always conditioned by the ego--smaller self--which is essentially its own identity, they treat themselves as discrete entities in the darkness of advidyaA--ignorance, even doubt, compare and contrast the light of what they perceive as one guru with another.

    • And finally, there is the 'lIlA' of the jIvanmukta as it needs to move with the surrounding jIvAtmas--or rather express its light through them. So even if an acclaimed jIvanmukta declares itself to be as such, or has disciples and devotees surrounding it, it is not a deficiency, only a sportive jesture.
    रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
    ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

    To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.

    --viShNu purANam

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    Re: The Taboo of Enlightenment

    Basically I don't trust anyone who claims to be enlightened or is said to be enlightened. I don't think that gurus are really supposed to have publicity, fame and thousands of followers. Even lesser known ones can't be trusted.
    In the old days a sadhaka would take 12 years to find a guru. Nowadays there are gurus everywhere willing to take anyone on. There are too many narcissistic gurus out there who a conmen, frauds, and madmen.

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    Re: The Taboo of Enlightenment

    Namaste Rainycity and Saidevo. Thanks for your answers, I am going to reiterate them in context with feedback:

    Quote Originally Posted by rainycity View Post
    Basically I don't trust anyone who claims to be enlightened or is said to be enlightened. I don't think that gurus are really supposed to have publicity, fame and thousands of followers. Even lesser known ones can't be trusted.
    Quote Originally Posted by rainycity View Post
    In the old days a sadhaka would take 12 years to find a guru. Nowadays there are gurus everywhere willing to take anyone on. There are too many narcissistic gurus out there who a conmen, frauds, and madmen.
    Rainycity, I feel you capture well the sensation and concerns for the serious searcher. The person announcing themselves to be enlightened will be doubted by the searcher.

    The enlightened person will be no different in understanding this, having once been a searcher. Having reached the state of sat-chit-ananda there is no desire to help others from an individual point of view, no desire for money, fame or thanks.

    I feel it is the jIvanmuktas lack of desire plus the knowing that they will only cause more superstition for the genuine searcher which stops them from speaking out loud about their liberation. This understanding has lead to the Tamil proverb which is shared by Saidevo, here below:

    Quote Originally Posted by saidevo View Post

    There is a proverb in Tamil that echoes the words of the kena upanishad that atanu pointed out: 'kaNDavar viNDilar, viNDavar kaNdilar'--'one who has seen it won't talk about it; one who talks about has not seen it." A Reader's Digest article said this about lighning: "If you have seen it, you have missed it."
    Clearly it is spoken about or we would never have known the Gurus and Saints such as Sri Shankaracharya. However the proverb explains that there is a hesitation and that hestiation comes when one truly knows. (I expect some comments to be raised on this )

    So why does the Enlightened person extend their support? Saidevos answer satisfies me. It is the behaviour of the jIvanmukta is the microcosm of the macrocosm (my embellishment) i.e. the will to be, to create and improve on itself:

    Quote Originally Posted by saidevo View Post
    Your question about a jIvanmukta expressing itself as such, points to the fundamental question: why should Brahman/Atman/Self create the world at all? Vedas say that It/Brahman 'willed' to 'live and multiply' instead of 'just be', so Creation happened. Since sRShTi--creation is Brahman's 'breathing out', there will be a corresponding praLaya--dissolution, its 'breathing in'.
    The jIvanmukta acts as the Self wills also.

    We move on to better understand the nature of the search from the position of the Absolute, thanks to Saidevos analysis below:

    Quote Originally Posted by saidevo View Post
    At the absolute level, it is not that the Ignorant self testing the Self (that remains always enlightened). The cloud that veils the Sun cannot and does not test the light of the Sun because the cloud itself is the making--or rather lIlA--sport of the Sun; it has no independent chaitanya--consciousness to exist as a separate entity. The cloud eventually dissipates in the tApana--burning up and chaitanya--light/intelligence/consciousness of the Sun.
    This is much better than the example I provide, as it shows that the only thing obscuring the light is a) just a temporary unreal factor and b) it is a factor created by the Self which is surpassed when the Self (our true nature) shows Itself. This explanation helps the searcher as it implies there is hope in realistation that which veils is not real and none other than the Self i.e. Maya/avidyA.

    Quote Originally Posted by saidevo View Post
    The answer is perhaps in the nature of the Light: to shine out and through. A jivanmukta loses his jIvAtma as it merges in the paramAtman, and in the process it becomes a source of light and acquires the tendency to shine out and through the surrounding scum of jivAtmas: they are lightened/enlightened/delighted to the extent they can absorb and retain the light--or rather purify their own scum to let the inner light shine through. Since the jIvAtma is always conditioned by the ego--smaller self--which is essentially its own identity, they treat themselves as discrete entities in the darkness of advidyaA--ignorance, even doubt, compare and contrast the light of what they perceive as one guru with another.
    Excellent! So it is the Ego (mind) which causes the Taboo of Enlightenment as it is the Ego which raises the question I doubt how this person before me can be a true Guru? It is the Ego which adds to the illusion of individuality and hence causes the me and mine giving the sensation that there is something to obtain from the Guru which they themselves do not have.

    Quote Originally Posted by saidevo View Post
    And finally, there is the 'lIlA' of the jIvanmukta as it needs to move with the surrounding jIvAtmas--or rather express its light through them. So even if an acclaimed jIvanmukta declares itself to be as such, or has disciples and devotees surrounding it, it is not a deficiency, only a sportive jesture.
    When the above is known the individual is well on the path to understanding that all that happens is because it arises in the Self. Can we also say that in the first steps the aspirant has little more than faith (trial and error) in the Guru in hope that the light of the Self starts to break through the mist of ignorance.

    To conclude:
    We are now much further on that my original post. The questions are being answered (very well in fact) and I will attempt to summarise that we can say that the nature of the jIvanmukta is such that it is beyond the problems I raised in the original post. So it is not a Taboo except for the searcher who is still in a dual world of me versus you(Guru) and the doubt which comes with dualism.

    Thank you!

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    Re: The Taboo of Enlightenment

    Namaste Snip,

    Quote Originally Posted by Snip View Post
    However the proverb explains that there is a hesitation and that hestiation comes when one truly knows. (I expect some comments to be raised on this )
    No, I don't think it is because of hesitation. Hesitation means attaching with the entity which may hesitate. So, this can't be.

    This may be for a different reason :

    a) The individual self, a false identification, must fall on enlightenment. So, if someone says that "he has seen" ... who is "he" who saw & "what" was it which was seen ? There is no difference between the seer & seen at that stage. "Thou are that" ====> That & Thou are not different ! The SELF alone exists ... then who is seeing & what is being seen ?? Any knowledge or seeing means duality.
    b) Again the Self in its pure state i.e. the fourth state is beyond all descriptions. It cannot be formulated in words. It is described only through negation - "Neti-Neti". So, how can it be described when it it is beyond all descriptions ?


    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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