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Lesson 260 - The Difference Between Enlightenment and
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
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
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
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 guru is in you.
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