What Can I Practice To Become Enlightened?
Acceptance is one of the most important virtues of an enlightened being. We have heard stories of great ones who have shown tremendous amount of acceptance. Be it Lord Mahavir whose ears were painfully pierced, or Lord Rama who readily accepted going to exile to honour his father’s promise, or the little Prahlad who did not even once object to the tortures his father put him through, or Meera Bai who happily drank a bowl of poison.
We have seen some extraordinary examples of the virtue of acceptance. And not just external circumstances, a truly enlightened being has complete acceptance towards internal circumstances too, that is towards one’s thoughts, feelings, pain, anxiety and suffering.
So how do we cultivate this virtue? What practices can we adopt to not only become more accepting, but also, eventually to become enlightened? Let us explore!
To begin with, let us try to study the very phenomenon of acceptance. What is it that makes it possible for us to accept anything?
Common experience would show that we are better able to accept those things which are not in our control. Let us take a simple example. The moon waxes and wanes every month. Now, whatever inconvenience it may cause, there is really nothing we can do about it and so instead of resisting it, we find ways to work around it.
Now, suppose something is not entirely beyond our circle of influence but is still very difficult to control. Let us say we want to make vegetable curry. We can decide how much quantity to make and how to prepare the dish. But we cannot influence what vegetables are available in the market during a particular season, nor can we control the size, colour, flavour, etc. of the vegetables. We simply have to work with whatever we get.
We see that as long as we have a reasonable explanation for something to be the way it is, we find it easy to accept it. It is understandable if a particular vegetable is not in season, and it is understandable that the cucumbers will taste different in winter than in summer. So, inability to control something and/or having a satisfying explanation are the two things that make it easy for anyone to accept any situation.
Let us now look at our self. Most of the times, our inner mechanism is responding to an outside stimulus. We feel nervous doing something we haven’t done before or experience pain if we lose something we love. And facing a situation whose outcome is highly uncertain can cause great anxiety. Its suffering is often the outcome of deep wounds (physical, mental or emotional) that have not had the chance to heal properly.
If we observe carefully, we can figure out the stimulus and either change it if we can or make other adjustments to accommodate it if we can’t. For example, if we feel anxious or nervous every time we have to speak in public, we can either try to avoid such situations, or, when we have no choice, we can employ number of confidence- boosting techniques that will help reduce our fear. But none of this can happen unless we identify the stimulus. But sometimes the practice of identifying and adjusting to the stimulus is not enough.
Now, there are feelings which persist no matter what we do, and which cannot be traced back to an outside stimulus. What is it that will help us accept them?
The answer is non-identification. Our inner thoughts, feelings, etc. cannot bother us if we do not identify with them. Just like a song that plays on the radio or a film that runs on the screen of our television, our thoughts are also like pre-recorded messages that play in our mind. And just as the radio or the television equipment remains essentially non-involved with whatever is playing, similarly, we can remain detached from what goes on in our minds. But how?
Through Self-Realization! The knowledge and understanding that one is a Pure Soul can bring about this type of detachment. Complete non-identification with the body complex, including the thoughts, feelings, pain, anxiety and suffering is the result of Self-Realization, which leads us to enlightenment, and eventually moksha (ultimate liberation from the cycle of life and death).
Only a Gnani, someone who is enlightened, can help us attain Self-Realization. With complete surrender to the Gnani and with the Gnani’s blessings, we can become always accepting towards all circumstances, internal or external. It is very rare to find such Gnanis in this day and age, but fortunately, the path of Akram Vignan, brought to us by Param Pujya Dada Bhagwan, provides a direct, living link to Gnani, who will lead us to Moksha!
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