If you regularly read my blogs, you probably have an interest in spirituality and its supposed end-point, enlightenment. But what do you imagine enlightenment to be like: a state of permanent bliss and serenity, perhaps?
I’ve been reading Sankara’s Crest Jewel of Discrimination – one of the cornerstone works of the Hindu faith – and I was reminded of an interesting story about the great sage.As you may know, Sankara is considered the greatest exponent of Advaita, the philosophy that there is only consciousness.
One story has it that he was walking along a road when he was approached by a tramp, who looked grotesque. Sankara recoiled and tried to walk away. “Hey great Sankara,” said the tramp, “is your philosophy just theory? Can’t you see we are one?”
Similar stories are told of other ‘enlightened masters’. When Jesus saw the money-lenders in the temple, he flew into a rage and overturned their tables. And when we turn to the lives of the modern masters, we hear a litany of stories of alcoholism, womanising, cheating, gambling, misogyny, and so on.
Does this mean they weren’t enlightened? Not at all. According to Time-Light, you are enlightened right now – of course, you are – but it is masked by your past, and that is more dominant than the Potential center, as I call it, which is pure consciousness.
Enlightenment is not a state that you attain after years of hard work and spiritual practices, it is apparent when everything else is stripped away. But because we are always three selves while we have a body, we are open to other influences. This is why Jesus became angry and why Sankara recoiled.