Why did the enlightened Ravana slip and commit an error in lust? An enlightened person knows for sure that he is not the body nor the mind. But, there is still the possibility of lust taking charge. Why so? Is the enlightenment not firm enough? Secondly, any error can only happen in a non-enlightened state. Isn’t this right?
To understand this better, we need to understand the following:
What is not Enlightenment?
Enlightenment is not a skylight shining on you or wings sprouting or a halo developing around the head. It is not the ability to walk on water or fire. It is not the ability to produce miraculous gems out of pigeons.
What is Enlightenment?
It is just a simple recognition of the state of ‘who you already are’. The Self has just got confounded because of the Maaya of People/Situations/Things around it. It has identified with them. This identification is false. This false identification is called ‘Ego’. This false identification is what the Self was addressing as ‘I’ all along.
When the ‘Self’ steps into Spiritual knowledge, it starts becoming more and more aware. The confusion starts breaking away. Clarity starts dawning that the identification with the people/situations/things is just an illusion. Gradually, it becomes aware of itself… it remembers itself… the false identifications start crumbling and finally, the Self abides in itself.
This maturity happens gradually and unveils the Truth petal by petal. A point comes when you become a fully blossomed flower… fully enlightened!
So are there stages in Enlightenment?
Yes, there are 7 stages. You will learn this in Yoga Vasishtha.
At any stage before the full blossom, one can go back into the Maaya. After all, it’s one’s free will at work here.
E.g. After you take a shower and are completely clean, you keep away from dirt to maintain the cleanliness as much as possible. But if you start playing with charcoal again, you will dirty yourself again, correct? Just because you took a shower, it does not mean that dirt and charcoal will cease to exist around you. It will all be there, you will have to make an attempt to dodge the dirt to keep clean, correct?
Similarly, just because one is enlightened, it does not mean he cannot get tainted by the Maaya around. He definitely can get his hands dirty again. It is ONLY up to his sincerity and commitment to stay established in the Self, that can keep him from getting tainted again.
A warning is always given to all disciples when they complete their Vedic studies and leave Gurukul with the story of Jada Bharata who slipped from his Enlightenment because of his attachment to a deer.
So remember, the practice of being aware does not stop even at Enlightenment.