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Lesson 260 - The Difference Between Enlightenment and Perfection  (Audio)

From: Yogani
Date: Fri May 6, 2005 5:56pm

New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why This Discussion?"


Q: A question comes up about 'enlightenment' and this particular one is a topic I find interesting.

Some years ago I would have said that certain gurus were not 'enlightened' because they held such a prejudice against the other castes. But I may have being confusing 'enlightened' with 'perfect' and 'always right.' 

My newer approach is not to assume that they were not enlightened, but rather, just to see that they were making a big mistake, discuss the mistake, point it out, and evaluate the level of enlightenment separately for people who would wish to discuss such gurus. 

So much wrong stuff follows from confusing 'enlightened' with 'perfect and always right.' This mistake has an impact on how we see enlightenment, what we are looking for when we look for it, what our expectations are, how we see 'gurus' and how we relate to them, and all the stuff which has gone on with gurus, fallen gurus, cults and all that over the years.

A: You are bringing up a key issue in how we consider our spiritual teachers. The enlightenment/perfection issue is one of several reasons why I choose to remain an anonymous non-guru - to focus attention on the knowledge of practices instead of on the channel of transmission. 

Of course, many popular teachers (and celebrities in general) encourage the expectation of perfection. It is human nature to do so. The guru system is a glaring example of this, and it is ultimately self-defeating in these modern times with the free flow of information, where little can remain hidden for long. We have seen the imperfections of "enlightened" gurus exposed again and again. 

There is a difference between enlightenment (in the light) and perfection (always right). The first is real. The second is an illusion.

Is there a relationship between enlightenment and rightness of vision? Absolutely. But the act of perfect expression of the divine is a process that can involve missteps along the way. If we are following the light, we may not walk in a straight line. Even if the light is bright, we can trip and fall, sometimes because of the light itself. (Ramakrishna was famous for falling down and hurting himself while in his ecstatic reveries. Other gurus have made much bigger mistakes, in some cases limiting spiritual opportunities for millions.) 

Acolytes will defend the imperfections of the guru as being part of the perfect plan, while those prone to judgment will run the other way. Neither is right. In this earth life, everything is a mixture of light and shadow. Recognizing this fact is the key to learning and sustaining effective yoga practices over the long term. Such recognition allows us to draw close to those with knowledge and spiritual energy without being trapped in the illusion of their perfection, which will only hold us back. In the AYP lessons, that is why so much emphasis is placed on the inner guru and developing self-sufficiency in practices. With that, we are constantly reducing the influence of illusion in our lives, including the illusion of a guru's perfection. 

Enlightened gurus make mistakes. As long as we expect perfection from the enlightened, the transmission of knowledge from them will be retarded, and that helps no one. There is a divine paradox here. By recognizing the earthly imperfections of enlightened ones we can gain the most from them, because we are neither defending them or being repelled by them. 

AYP is a direct result of this way of relating to gurus. 

Your inner wisdom is shining through on this one, and that is the perfection. 

The guru is in you.

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