Q: What are the symptoms of enlightenment? Does every enlightened person become a master? Are only Rishis, Sadhus and Swamis enlightened?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: You come up with the answer to this. What do you think is enlightenment?
The first step is, you feel that you are so lucky! And then you stop feeling that you are so lucky; that is enlightenment.
Did you hear the story I said a few days ago?
Once, a student came to a Master and said, ‘I failed my exam.’
The Master said, ‘Oh, you are so lucky.’
Then, another gentleman came to the Master and said, ‘I lost my job.’
The Master replied, ‘Oh, you are so lucky’.
A third gentleman came and said, ‘My wife left me.’
The Master replied, ‘Oh, you are so lucky.’
So, when anyone would come and say something, the Master would say, ‘Oh, you are so lucky’; and somehow they would all get the message.
An onlooker found this very puzzling. He asked the Master, ‘How can you say to the boy that he is so lucky when he failed in his exam?’
The Master explained, ‘Yes, a person who has failed in an exam will study the same subject again and again, and he will become so thorough in that subject that he will become an expert.’
Once a Swamiji had come here, and he said a very interesting thing. He said that in 1942 there was only one surgeon in Bangalore and this surgeon had failed his MBBS seven times!
In those days, whenever people had appendicitis operation, the doctors would cut a particular vein because of which some of the patients would die. They did not know which vein they were cutting. So this gentleman (who failed seven times) discovered that and became very well known and very respected. Later on he also got an international honor. But he had failed seven times in MBBS!
So if someone has failed in an exam, they study more. That is why the Master said that people who fail, not all though; some who fail, can become very lucky, because they can study the same subject again and again, and become so thorough.
To the person whose wife ran away and left him, the Master said, ‘Now you know what mistakes you did. Till now you were so engrossed in your own thing. Now you know how to treat a woman, and what mistakes you should not do.’
To the person who lost his job, the Master said, ‘Day and night you were engrossed in your job. You didn’t have time to even reflect on yourself; ask yourself questions like, ‘What is life? Who am I? What do I want? Now you have time for that'.
Finally, another gentleman came and said to the Master, ‘I am so lucky, I have everything. I am so grateful.’
The Master gave him one slap, and the person started dancing. He became very happy.
The Master explained to the onlooker that when you say, ‘I am grateful’, you are surrounding the ‘I’. The ‘I’ is important, ‘I’ am so lucky, ‘I’ am grateful. When this ‘I’ dissolves, you become like a child, and become one with everybody. Existing and not living, is ignorance. Living as though you don’t exist, is enlightenment. Simple and natural!