For a human being to attain enlightenment, there are five requirements that must be fulfilled. If any one of these requirements is not met, then the conditions are not met for insight to happen. What are these five key requirements?
Every person has some natural inclination. Some people equate this with karma from past life. Whatever that might be, some people are more inclined towards self-inquiry than others. In some cases, certain experiences in life provide such a big shock to a person that he has no choice but to turn inward to find out the meaning of life.
This inclination when nurtured builds momentum as the person reads, listens and gets in touch with others on the path of self-inquiry. The condition of suitable inclination is fulfilled when the inclination is pure and not tainted with some ulterior motive. The desire must be to discover the truth for what it is, not to achieve a worldly end. The individual must be willing to walk the extra mile for achieving enlightenment.
If suitable inclination is not there then the person will be distracted by the world around him and will not be able to proceed in a focused manner towards enlightenment.
Enlightenment requires the full energy available to a human being. If energy is divided into multiple things, then enlightenment is not possible. Therefore, a person must be in his peak physical and mental health to go deep into self-inquiry. This is especially important for meditation.
Most people think they can keep spirituality for their old age after they have completed their life’s work. But by that time, most people develop a number of physical ailments which create hindrances. Even the mind through years of conditioning, is not ready to unlearn what has been learnt and learn something new. Every new idea is filtered through biases built over the years. In such a state, the human body does not have the requisite energy to attempt enlightenment.
A man is in his prime during his late twenties and early thirties. The body is at its physical peak and can provide the maximum throughput of energy when called for. The mind is alert, in a learning mode and even though conditioned by the influences of the world, it has the possibility of breaking through that conditioning.
A person desiring enlightenment must depend on his own attitude and approach. Even if there exists an enlightened master to guide him, the person cannot let go of critical evaluation of whatever advice he is given. The right attitude is to experiment, test, try, experience and learn. There must be sincerity in the effort, seriousness in the intention and silence in action.
Enlightenment is something to be experienced individually. It cannot be given by a guru to a disciple. Therefore, the individual must depend on his own understanding at all times.
Many people have the time, have the inclination, and are in their prime, and yet because they depend on another for guidance, they do not reach enlightenment.
A person is born into an environment which comprises of his family, the family’s economic condition, the societal influence, the country and education. The environment is supposed to provide for the basic necessities of life – food, clothing, security. Once these necessities are provided for, a person can give some time and space for the exploration into oneself, which is the starting point for enlightenment.
If a person is born in a country embroiled in a civil war, or if a person is born into utter poverty, then he does not get the time and space which is needed for inquiry because is he too busy running for safety or food.
But if a person is born into reasonable environment where the basic necessities are available, then there is a possibility of devoting some time and space to the inquiry into oneself. However, just having this space and time is not enough. A lot of people have this space and time, but they are busy filling it with more work or more entertainment.
Most people are enticed by the show of the world – the money, the things which money can buy, the women, fame, status in life and so on. Such people’s attention is distracted by everything around them. They will follow their whims and fancies without any reflection or consideration of consequences or learning anything from their past experiences.
Disenchantment is not renunciation. It is simply the realization that more money or more worldly things do not equate to genuine happiness. And this realization has to be based on personal experience not merely a theoretical idea. This does not mean that a person shuns money or gives up material comforts. The individual simply realizes that there is a limit to the effectiveness of such comforts and that there is no end to them.
So these five conditions are key for the attainment of enlightenment. When these five conditions are met, then the possibility of enlightenment arises. There is no guarantee. Just the possibility.