I have heard a lot about the idea of enlightenment. What is it really? Is enlightenment really possible in this day and age?
Simply stated, enlightenment is the dissolution of the sense of a fixed, separate self. Once we realize that our concept of the self is an illusion, we become capable of experiencing ourselves as a flow of consciousness that is no longer subject to the limits and conditioning of the mind. And yes, it is possible in this day and age.
Why is that?
It has to do with an evolutionary cycle for humanity and the Earth. We are moving out of a Kali Yuga, an age of darkness and chaos, into a Satya Yuga, an age of awakening into light. This transition began in the year 2003 AD, and will reach a â??critical massâ?? by the end of the year 2012 AD.
How can Bhagavan claim to simply give enlightenment to people?
Many people associate enlightenment with extraordinary effort, struggle, discipline, and asceticism - resulting from a total renunciation of the world and complete dedication to the spiritual path. Nothing can be further from the truth. Enlightenment cannot be achieved through effort, no matter how hard you try. In fact, these efforts themselves can become our greatest obstacle! It is would be like trying to pull yourself out of quicksand by tugging at your own hair. Most Indian traditions teach that enlightenment can only be given as a gift of grace. In this case, the grace is a product of a neurobiological change in the brain.
How does this neurobiological shift happen?
It happens through means of a transfer of energy known as the â??deekshaâ??, which is programmed by Bhagavan and Amma to repattern the structure and physiology of the brain. Once this process completes itself, a person finds himself or herself in a permanent state of enlightenment. This is not necessarily a mystical state, but simply a state of experiencing reality as it is, without the limiting filters and conditioning of the human mind.
Would I have to give up my present lifestyle if I were to become enlightened?
Only if you want to. You do not have to go vegetate in a cave somewhere, unless you feel like it. Bhagavan emphasizes that enlightenment is a very natural state, and that a person would if anything become much more functional, joyful, loving, and efficient in every aspect of life.
Do I have to change my religion in order to come to the GoldenCity?
Religion has nothing to do with enlightenment, nor even spirituality. It is a purely neruobiological phenomenon. Once enlightened, your guiding light will come from within yourself, and you will reconnect with the essence within whatever religion or spiritual tradition you belong to or donâ??t belong to.
I have heard that enlightenment is a gift. Why do you then charge money for this, and why so much?
Yes, enlightenment is a gift, just as money is a gift. The money goes almost entirely towards the upkeep and maintenance of the campuses, and towards the construction of the Oneness Temple and associated buildings. All the members of Oneness University, including Amma and Bhagavan, live an extremely simple lifestyle.
How long will it take to become enlightened?
It depends on many factors, including the state of your chakras and nadis, your childhood conditioning, your fears and resistance to change, your concepts of God, and your karmic destiny. Some people have become enlightened with just one deeksha, others require a much longer period of time. Bhagavan says that everyone, as long as they are in a human body, WILL become enlightened.
What about people who have died?
Once the mass enlightenment takes place, they too will become enlightened, says Bhagavan.
How can you promise enlightenment in such a short time, when so many of us have been struggling for lifetimes without coming an inch closer to this?
It is not so short a time. Humanity has been on the path for a very long time. We have now entered the Golden Age, and new energies are available to humanity that were not available before. Bhagavan says that we have already done our sadhana. Now is the time to complete this journey as a human species.
Is enlightenment the end of our spiritual journey? What comes afterwards?
No, it is like stepping through a doorway into a new world, but the journey is without limits! The journey is just beginning.
How will I know when I become enlightened?
You will know you are enlightened when you are no longer trying to become enlightened. Suffering is essentially the resistance to experiencing reality as it is. Once enlightened you will no longer be forever seeking to change, deny, defend, or deify your experience of reality. You will naturally experience the present moment for what it is.
What does enlightenment look like?
Bhagavan speaks of enlightenment as making a hole in the wall of your mind. For some people it may take a little longer than for others. For some people it may be a tiny crack at first, while for others the entire wall may collapse at once. Regardless of how it happens, once you experience the hole in the wall, you can walk through the hole into a different perception of reality. Our senses become much more acute. Mystical realities begins to interpenetrate the ordinary realities of our daily lives. As we dissolve the sense of separateness that has kept us walled off from the rest of the universe, the entire universe can move and flow through us! But this must be experienced directly!
Will I be able to perform miracles when I become enlightened?
All life will become a miracle when you release the rigid conditioning of the human mind. What you call miracles then become the normal experience of life.
Will I be able to do my ordinary work when I become enlightened?
You will not be plucked out of the world. You will continue to live your life, do your work, engage in your relationships. As you become more present with each moment, each ordinary moment will become an extraordinary experience.
Is mass enlightenment really possible, or is this wishful thinking?
The idea of mass enlightenment is based on natural law. Whether you call it the â??hundredth monkey phenomenonâ?? or the law of â??entrainmentâ??, the idea is that when you have a certain number of people holding a â??higherâ?? state of consciousness, what we call a â??critical massâ??, the mass consciousness automatically comes into resonance with it.
What is a morphogenetic field?
A â??morphogenetic fieldâ?? is a term coined by biologist Rupert Sheldrake to represent a field of consciousness specific to a given species. The more members of a species that exhibit a certain trait, or vibrate to a certain consciousness, the easier it becomes for all the other members of that species to â??entrainâ?? with that trait or consciousness!
Will I be able to heal people when I become enlightened?
What often happens is that your chakras and nadis become activated upon getting enlightened, which in turn activates the capacity for healing the body as well as emotional patterns from the past. The capacity for healing increases even more once you become God-realized.
Do you find that synchronicities in your life increase once you become enlightened?
Once you become enlightened, you are no longer trying to run your life from your limited perceptions of life and reality. You find that the entire universe moves through you. Synchronicities become a way of life, opportunities come your way with seemingly little effort, and life becomes spontaneous and easy.
It seems that enlightenment is generally an Eastern concept. Is it the same as becoming one with God?
It is a difference in emphasis. You can be enlightened without being God-realized. You can also be God-realized without being enlightened. But when the two go together, then you truly have the grace, power, and splendour of divine consciousness radiating through everything you are and do!
I keep hearing that Amma and Bhagavan are avatars. What is an avatar?
An avatar is a descent of divine consciousness, and can take many forms for many different purposes in order to accelerate the process of human evolution. We are at a time now as we enter the Golden Age when we preparing to transcend our current level of dualistic consciousness. Amma and Bhagavan are here with the specific mission to help humanity along this path.
What happens during the process offered by Oneness University?
You enter a fairly intense process of self-examination called â??samskara shuddhiâ? during which you are offered the opportunity to see yourself from many facets, including the deep, dark and ugly. You see and clear your emotional issues, your negative conditioning and childhood patterns, and let go of the fixed ideas that have held you in suffering for so long. You then move along into a process of emptying, through which you see â??throughâ? the self, and thereby free yourself from the self. From this new state of being, one is prepared for the final phase of the 21-day process, which is the Divine Descent.
I have experienced states of enlightenment before. What makes this so different?
Perhaps it is not so different in some ways. The morphogenetic field of enlightenment is sweeping the planet, and many who have never been exposed to these states are spontaneously beginning to experience them all over the world. What many people experience with the deekshas, however, is not just occasional peak experiences but a neurobiological change in the brain, leading to a permanent state of enlightenment.
What is this dark night of the soul we hear so much about? It feels a bit frightening to me.
When we bring more light into the body, there is a corresponding emotional and biological reaction. Old barriers, physical blocks, and emotional patterns come to the surface in order to be released. The dark night of the soul represents a cleansing of the personal unconscious in preparation for a deeper descent of light, and is usually considered as a prerequisite for the deeper stages of mastery. Jesus experienced this dark night of the soul prior to his public mission as he â??wrestled with Satanâ?? in the wilderness. Buddha also experienced this during his process of enlightenment as he fought the â??temptations of Maraâ??. It is only frightening as long as we are afraid to die. Once we realize that there is no â??selfâ?? left to die, a new dawn can begin.
You are now talking about the descent of divine beings into your body. What does this have to with enlightenment? Is this the same as channeling?
This process of divine descent is being offered here at Golden City as a prelude to God-realization. It is not the same as enlightenment. Enlightenment is the emptying out of the sense of â??selfâ??. The divine descent is the process of becoming a vehicle for divine personalities, such as Christ, Maitreya, Kalki, or Mehdi, whose presence within you gradually increases according to your intent and desire for planetary service. This divine descent can begin as a form of â??channelingâ??, in which â??youâ?? are still separate from the divine beings that come through you, but over time you actually become the embodied manifestation of these primordial energies. Perhaps the most famous example of this is the process through which Jesus received the baptism of John, and received the divine descent of the â??holy spiritâ?? in the form of a dove. From that point on he became Jesus Christ.
How do I know that this â??inductionâ?? is not a form of possession?
Possession is an uninvited and unwanted intrusion of energy, generally detrimental to the personâ??s experiences of life, work, and relationships. The induction is a freely chosen process where the highest aspects of divinity merge with your inner being as an expression of your desire to serve humanity. It brings out the fullness of human potential, and can often reveal a brilliance, power, and potency in a personâ??s life and influence that did not exist before.
You say that mass enlightenment will take place by 2012. Does this have something to do with the Mayan calendar?
The Mayan calendar does refer to 2012 as the ending of linear time, and the beginning of a new phase of experience for all creation. The Hindus also refer to this same time period as a critical moment for our collective transition into the next Golden Age. The two systems coincide, along with the visions of many people throughout the world, who have seen something new and exciting emerge on the planet around this time.
Does karma play a role in becoming enlightened? What happens to karma when you become enlightened?
Your personal karma is certainly a factor in bringing you to the doorway. Once you are at the threshold of enlightenment, however, only grace can take you through the doorway. And once the self is gone, so is your karma. There is still a measure of â??nationalâ?? karma or â??humanâ?? karma that remains, but your â??personalâ?? karma disappears along with self.
I have heard of enlightened beings who did not have a guru. How can you say that a guru must give it to you?
The guru does not have to be in physical form. He could be a divine being or even your own antaryamin. For most people, however, it is easier to trust and relate to someone who is incarnate in a physical body. The fact remains that it is a gift of grace, and must be given to you. It is like trying to escape from the prison of the mind using only the tools of the mind. The key is on the other side!
Can I expect to be enlightened when I come to do an enlightenment process at The Golden City?
Let go of all expectations. You cannot achieve enlightenment through your own efforts no matter how hard you try. And if it is your time, you will be enabled to receive this gift no matter how hard you think you can resist! All you can do is to open your heart and say â??yesâ?? to the experience. Let the deekshas do the rest. The universe will respond in perfect timing!