Enlightenment is the birthright of all human beings. It can be understood, attained or experienced by all those with a sincere wish for it. Every human being must seek it, strive for it and experience it. It gives the basis from which to live life. Enlightenment cannot be given by one to another. It is not to be found in words, phrases, or mantras. It is not to be found in rituals or specific practices like meditation. It does not have a preference for age, gender, designation or wealth of the seeker. Enlightenment has no recipe.
Enlightenment cannot be understood in isolation. Setting the context is important. In our busy lives, we do not get the time, neither do we wish to devote ourselves to knowing more about ourselves and the phenomenon of life and death. There are various influences we are subjected to in our daily lives – family, company, society, media, neighborhood, international affairs, environment, human behavior of all kinds, spirituality, science, religion, books, music and also our own thoughts. In this kichdi, how do you separate the spice from the rice and dal?
If one is naturally inclined towards deeply understanding life and one’s place in the universe then one must create the space and time for the inquiry. The objective is not to adopt any specific line of thinking. It is not about letting go of somethings and forcibly pushing any beliefs down one’s throat. The objective is more to understand the field in which we are playing the game of life.
Hearing and reading about enlightenment is just the starting point. To make any progress, one must be able to grapple with it, turn it over in one’s mind, evaluate one’s own understanding of life, and see the motivations behind one’s actions. When one gives a serious look at his life, at the human condition or at the feasibility of enlightenment, many questions arise in the mind.
How to attain enlightenment, which guru is best, which path is easiest, is it really worth spending the time and effort and so on.
Luckily there are ready answers available from a variety of sources, ancient to modern. But these answers do not help much. It is like eating a full dinner yet feeling hungry at the end. But that is not what is happening. The answers are at best the description of the food items like what nutrients are contained in it. Reading these answers is not going to fill your stomach. You will have to eat the food.
HOW TO INQUIRE?
Inquiry takes place when you raise a serious question but not seek an instant answer. It takes place when you hear answers but do not accept any particular one and close your inquiry. You know that all the answers are not going to satisfy you. So you watch, observe and listen. Watching, observing and listening is the process of eating food. Once food goes in the stomach, it does its work automatically. Similarly once you start observing and listening, understanding will happen.
Some important themes that can be taken up for inquiry are the following. These themes are found to be more conducive in bringing about an insight.
Everything that is needed for enlightenment is available within you. Clues, hints, and explanations have been left by those who have been enlightened in all ages. Read, refer, observe, listen, think, contemplate, chew on it with your mind, evaluate it in your daily life.
Life is short and busy. Death is certain sooner or later. Why die without discovering the great mystery of who you really are? Don’t wait for tomorrow.