Enlightenment is Not a Thought or a Feeling

Hello Sundaresh

I am replying on behalf of James Swartz, he has read it and given it Vedanta Clearance.

Om and Prem, Sundari Namaste Shri Ram Ji

Sundaresh: I heard one teacher ( Swami Paramarthananda ofChennai ) say this : Realization= Enlightenment=Knowledge.

This is correct, but it is more accurate to say: Without self knowledge, there will be no realization that enlightenment (awareness/Brahman) is your true nature. Enlightenment is not something to be gained, it can only be revealed by the removal of ignorance. How can you gain what you already have? Your true nature is whole and complete, non dual, actionless,unchanging, ordinary awareness and is always present. It is the only thing that never changes, therefore it is the only thing that is real.

Knowledge is an object and the Self or Awareness is free of all objects. All objects have a dependent reality on awareness but awareness depends on nothing to exist, like the wave in the ocean. The wave cannot exist without the ocean but the ocean exists without the wave. Self knowledge (Vedanta) is a means to an end. When self knowledge has removed the ignorance of your true nature, you no longer need the knowledge, it is a throw away.

Sundaresh: Knowledge means I am the Brahman – the famous saying ( Tat Twam Asi etc) .

Sundari: Self knowledge removes ignorance and in so doing, reveals that your true nature as Awareness or Brahman. Hence the saying: Tat Tvam Asi. Self knowledge has to come first in order to have the realisation that you are Brahman. You can say the words until you are blue in the face, but you need self knowledge to make them stick. Reality is non dual and all objects arise from Awareness; knowledge being an object, arises from Awareness, which makes awareness the knower of the knowledge. An object is defined as anything that is known to you, awareness. However, without self knowledge,(Vedanta) ignorance of your true nature cannot be revealed to the jiva, (Sundaresh) which is the self under the spell of ignorance. This is because as a subtle body or jiva, the organs of perception and inference are not subtle enough to gain knowledge of the self. It is the light of the self, awareness, shining on them that enables them to do so.

This is why awareness ‘gave’ us Vedanta. It is the self revealing itself to itself. It seems to be a contradiction and impossible, but it is only apparently so because when Maya is operating, anything is possible. This is why in Vedanta we say it is only self knowledge that is capable of removing ignorance, nothing else can do it because there is no ‘doer’ involved.

After reading a lot I know this by now. However, I do not feel or think I am fully enlightened yet.

Sundari: Enlightenment is not a thought or a feeling, these are both objects known to you, awareness. Awareness is free of all objects. It is one thing knowing intellectually the meaning of these words, it is another matter knowing what being “fully enlightened” means to Sundaresh , the subtle body and how this translates in the apparent reality or ‘the world’.

First of all, who is speaking here, which I is asking this question? There are not really two “I”s, there is only one, as reality is non dual and there is only awareness. Nonetheless, Sundaresh or the subtle body/individual jiva, is the self under the spell of ignorance, the reflected self, sometimes referred to as the “small” I. This is the one asking this question. It is this reflected I that needs to have the ignorance of its true nature removed by self knowledge. There is no other way to do this than with self inquiry, using a teaching that provides a valid means of knowledge and applies irrefutable logic, Vedanta being such a means.

Self inquiry means beginning the work of discriminating between what is the self and what is not self, (sattya and mithya) and negating the one who thinks it is a doer, i.e. Sundaresh.
This requires that you expose your mind to Vedanta, diligently commit to your sadhana and all your self knowledge to purify the mind.


What is missing or what should I do so that I feel I am enlightened ! Do I have to do anything in particular or does it take place on its own slowly and slowly ?


What is missing is the knowledge that you, Awareness are the one who is the knower of Sundaresh
asking this question. Again the doer, ego or jiva( Sundaresh), is asking this question. The doer wants enlightenment to be a feel good experience. This is one of the great impediments to realisation as no experience will ever free you. It is not capable of doing that because experience is an object in awareness and therefore limited. All experiences change and end and are therefore not real. Vedanta defines what is real as that which does not change. What you need to gain is self knowledge. In order for Sundaresh to free himself, he needs to undertake self inquiry, which requires the practice of all the yogas: jnana yoga, karma yoga and triguna vibhava yoga. Make sure what are your motivations.

~ shiningworld.com

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