Enlightenment is that state of awareness in which one sees the true nature of things, which enables one to understand why things are the way they are and respond appropriately. Now, perhaps more than at any other time, the world is in need of enlightened decisions to deal with the myriad problems confronting humankind.
A lot of information is easily available to most people through communication technology. But, as the Bhagwad Gita says, mere intellectual knowledge does not lead to enlightenment. It cannot grant one supreme peace and freedom. It is only when one has achieved complete self-mastery and has intense faith and devotion, does true knowledge dawn within and one attains liberation and freedom from weaknesses and the suffering they cause.
Intelligence, unless it is guided by spiritual insight, can create problems instead of solving them because intelligence is not necessarily accompanied by virtues that constitute wisdom. Hence, intelligent decisions can be short-sighted or guided by selfish motives.
Because of the lack of enlightenment, human activity is slowly taking the planet towards an environmental catastrophe. Poverty, inequality and wars are results of lack of enlightened thinking.
An enlightened soul guides by example, demonstrating how to think, speak and act in ways that benefit all, so that one’s actions promote peace and happiness. Such a soul inspires others to rise above selfish attitudes and see the entire human family and nature as one’s own.
The love, kindness and generosity of an enlightened soul spread the light of hope to those who are in sorrow, giving them the courage to bring about change within to help them overcome their suffering.
The enlightened soul does not discriminate or judge, going into who is right and who is wrong. It unconditionally gives its good wishes and pure feelings to all, helping to heal wounded souls and resolve situations.
Such a soul keeps giving its cooperation and support even when no acknowledgement is received. It does not hanker for praise or applause: it does what needs to be done and moves on, happy to have been of help and ready to go where its services are needed next.
But a handful of such souls cannot change the world all by themselves. Enlightenment is not only an attainment; it is also a choice. We can all choose to be more empathetic and less selfish. This change in attitude is the first step towards rising above ordinariness and living an elevated life.
Many enlightened souls have come from time to time to change the world, in ways big and small. But their messages have been diluted over time, perhaps by those lacking the will and strength to attain the same spiritual heights.
But enlightened living need not be difficult. All it requires is genuine spiritual effort. When there is honest introspection, a realisation that one needs to change, and where there is the will to effect that change, one is already on the way to success.
There is also a time for enlightenment, when, as mentioned in the Gita, God comes to this world to uplift the righteous, destroy evil and re-establish dharma. All those who heed the spiritual knowledge given by God and live by it, become enlightened. It is this that changes the world from hell to heaven.
(The writer is chief spokesperson of the Brahma Kumaris) Email: email@example.com Courtesy – Speaking Tree in TOI Edit Page