Arguing about enlightenment (?!)


Hi Mukunda,

I have been practicing yoga for about 7 years, have been a mantra disciple for 5 years and a yoga teacher for 3 years. I recently started corresponding with a guy (who is not really a disciple of any guru as far as I can tell) and after awhile we got into a “heated discussion” over enlightenment. If it sounds pitiful, then that’s because it is - who ever heard of arguing over enlightenment?! Yet there I was, arguing. His position was that he is enlightened, but that his enlightenment is qualified. That there are stages to enlightenment and that you can grow in it. He says he knows this from his own experience and insight. I tried to tell him that experiences and siddhis are not enlightenment, but he would have nothing of it.

Now this whole exchange had a profound effect on me, and it is on this that I’m focusing. What I’ve begun to realize is that I’m very attached to ideas about yoga and spirituality. When someone disagrees and refuses to pay attention to my attempted explanations, I get angry.

At first I thought if I only could “give up my ideas” then everything would be OK. The problem is, these are not “my” ideas. I have them on the authority of my Guru. If I remember correctly, Patanjali in one of the Yoga Sutras says that statements made by persons of authority (e.g. scriptural authority or the Guru) qualify as knowledge in that you can trust them just as much (if not more) as you can trust your own senses. In other words, you do not have to be a Jnani yourself to know something, provided you heard it from an authoritative source.

So, when someone says or does something that seems to fly in the face of everything I’ve ever heard from my Guru and other masters, how to stop getting angry about it? Would you suggest that I try to press on and go “through” the anger (i.e. keep talking with the person while innerly observing my anger) or avoid this type of situation.

Thank you


I’m sorry I didn’t research my question adequately. The sutras I’m referring to are, of course, I.5-7.

My understanding at this point is that:
(1) what I’m dealing with are vrittis
(2) the vrittis coming from my correspondent friend’s description of his experience are klista-vrittis (klista-agama-pramana)
(3) the vrittis coming from my Guru are aklista-vrittis (aklista-agama-pramana)
(4) the klista/aklista distinction is individual - it cannot be applied to all ideas of all people at all times - in other words, what is bad for me might be very good for someone else
(5) the true nature of enlightenment can only be known, not described in vrittis, yet:
(6) the aklista-vrittis are part of the road one walks toward enlightenment. But still, even they must be abandoned at some point.

Am I on the right track?


in that situation why would you not exit the conversation once you sense the anger growing? If you have found enlightenment and at times know this, it does not mean you will be able to pass that on to every person in every conversation. To make him/her find themself is not your duty, to assist those who are ready for help, well that might be something you should assist in. I dont think inner enlightenment is something you should have to prove to someone, or something they should have to prove to you.

a question comes to mind, with your guru and other masters is there anything you disagree with about anything they have told or taught you


nice stuff . well i think everything is this world is realted to our mind ( our soul) if we can mater our soul then we can be masters of the universe. but unfortunately we all are trapped inside our physical boy , so we have limitations, yoga and meditation will give us some power , but teh power we get is only 1 in the billion …


Yes. Since I wrote the original question my understanding has become a little clearer.

The true nature of enlightenment is beyond the mind and whatever my Teacher has to say about it is not exempt; it is designed to bring me closer to It. There is no problem in the teachings, only in my understanding.

In my case, there is deep-seated conditioning related to ideas of “right” and “wrong”, especially concerning things spiritual. The experiences of the past months have helped me to realize this. This conditioned idea of “right” and “wrong” (usually in the form of me being “right” and others being “wrong”) is the source of the fear and anger (bondage).

No big deal. Having become aware of it, step over it and continue on the path.

My respect and thanks to all.


Might seem a little off topic, but maybe it relates. I love golf and have been trying to help out a kid on a high school golf team, well he has turned to someone else and mine and his advice differs. well I got frustrated because I know the kid will not learn doing it this way, but what I realized after is that I was upset because my ego was bruised. Whether or not I was right or wrong, It is my ego that is the real issue. I need to work on that.


NP -

Your progression is clear. Seek a sattvic state of mind as that is the only true descritpion of illumination. It is a naturally arising state free from tamasic - lethargy non engagement; and free from rajasic - anger criticism and judgement. In my experience the best text defining this process of gradual and full illumination is Vasistha’s Yoga as translated by Swami Venkatesananda, SUNY Press. Reading it has transforming qualities as one receives the sages insights directly by just reading and reflecting. Sadhana for illumination is Patanjalis 4th chapter but how to know this sadhana is clarified in the later text of Vasistha. blessings. mukunda