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The Journey to Enlightenment

Many seekers have posed the question – what is enlightenment? Enlightenment is like the ocean in the parable
about a congregation of ocean fish, who once got together to discuss who had seen the ocean.
None of them could actually say they had seen the ocean. Then one fish said, “I think my great grandfather had
seen the ocean!” A second fish said, “Yes, yes. I have heard about this.” A third fish spoke up, “Yes, certainly, his
great-grandfather had seen the ocean.” So the fish built a huge temple and made a statue of the great-
grandfather of the first fish. They said, “He had seen the ocean. He had been connected with the ocean.”
Enlightenment cannot be talked about or understood at second-hand. It is the very core of our being; it implies
the experience of going into the core of our self and living our life from there.
We all come into this world gifted with innocence, but gradually, as we became more intelligent, we lost our
innocence. We are born with silence, but as we grow up, we lose that silence and are filled with words. We live
in our hearts, to begin with, but as time passes, we move into our heads.
The reversal of this journey is enlightenment. It is the journey from the head back to the heart, from words back
to silence; it is the act of recovering our innocence despite the intelligence we have developed. Although it
seems very simple, this is a great achievement. Knowledge should lead us to that beautiful point of being able to
say ‘I don’t know’. The purpose of knowledge is ignorance. The completion of knowledge will lead us to
amazement and wonder. It makes us fully aware of this existence. Mysteries are to be lived, not understood.
One can live life so fully in its completeness, in its totality.
Enlightenment is that state of maturity, in which our self is unshakable by any circumstance. Come what may,
nothing can rob of our smile. It is when we do not identify our self with limited boundaries; we feel that ‘all that
exists in this universe belongs to me’.
It is easy to define what not enlightenment is. It appears when we limit our self by saying, ‘I belong to this
particular place’, or ‘I am from that culture’. It is rather like children saying, ‘My dad is better than your dad’ or
‘My toy is better than your toy’. Many people around the world are stuck in that mental age group, only the toys
have changed. Adults say, ‘My country is better than your country’.
We attribute glory to our ethnic group, religion or culture just because we belong to it, not because we see it for
what it is. If one could take credit for all that exists throughout the ages and feels that ‘all this belongs to me’,
then that is a sign of maturity.
We should be able to say, ‘All this is my wealth, because I belong to the Divine’. The Divine has manifested itself
in the form of various kinds of knowledge, depending upon the circumstances of space and time. One becomes
the knower of the whole universe and sees that ‘all the beautiful flowers are from my garden’. In such a state,
the mind is fully in the present moment. Whatever is necessary is revealed to us in a natural and spontaneous
way. We simply have to sit and the song flows through us.
The whole evolution of man is from being somebody to being nobody – and so, from being nobody to being
everybody. As young children, we have that sense of belongingness with other beings. But as we grow up, we
lose that innocence and become more cunning. Like the innocence of an ignorant person, the cunningness of an
intelligent person has no value.
Enlightenment is that rare combination of innocence and intelligence, a state that is reached after ignorance
and cunning have been renounced. We must have the words to express our inner being; and at the same time,
we must know the value of remaining silent.