After I’d written this post about a discussion that had come up in my Gita class in the Aurobindo Ashram, my teacher called me on the phone a few days later (he’s just so amazing).
“You must know that your questions in class were very important. Very important,” he began. “Not everyone knows that they do not actually wish for enlightenment and liberation from the cycles of life and death. At least you know that now.”
“I want you to ask yourself two questions,” he went on without beating around the bush. “First, if you do not want enlightenment, then why do you attend Gita classes? Why do you strive for spiritual evolution?” I was silent in response.
“Second,” he went on without a pause, “ask yourself, what is the difference between those who have achieved spiritual liberation and yourself… Buddha, or your Krishna. What makes them enlightened and you not?” He added a few words of encouragement and left me to my pondering.
I really couldn’t answer his questions, either of them. So like a coward, I began avoiding his classes and finally stopped going there altogether.
It’s been over two months.
I’m still hiding.
I’m not just afraid of the answer. I’m afraid of the change it will bring into my life. Just when I’d become comfortable.
3 thoughts on “Giving up on enlightenment”
Those are intimidating questions he asked of you! I wouldn’t know how to respond either. You’ll make the change when you’re ready… enlightenment is a beautiful thing, nothing to be afraid of, but I can understand with it comes responsibility, and then there’s the whole, end of the cycle thing and that idea is a little sad. Namaste!
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Well, it is sad if you look at it from the point of view of Buddha’s wife and child, whom he left behind when he went on his search for enlightenment. But it is happy and wondrous when you see how Krishna could love a hundred women with equal purity and devotion, and a whole lot of sauciness. I guess the idea is to love without expectations, and to enjoy the bounty of life without clinging to it.
My teacher also told me: “Don’t fret so much. The Gita says it is very possible to live in this world and enjoy the ‘maya’ — as long as you do it with a sense of detachment and devotion to God. Offer every act, every thought and word as an offering to God, do it in His name. Cling to nothing, expect nothing in return. That is karma yoga.” Sounds easy when it comes to certain things like your job but is mighty hard when it comes to intimate relations — how do I hug my husband or children and say, “I hug them for You, Krishna. They do not belong to me.” Oh, so hard!