Getting Back To Innocence

During a lecture in Los Angeles, someone asked Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar to describe enlightenment. The following was his reply:

Enlightenment is like a joke! It's like a fish searching for the ocean. Once upon a time, there was a congregation of fish who got together to discuss who had seen the ocean. None of them could actually say they had seen the ocean. Then, one fish said, "I think my great-grandfather had seen the ocean!" A second fish said, "Yes, yes. I also heard about this." A third fish said, "Yes, certainly, his great-grandfather had seen the ocean." So they built a huge temple and made a statue of the great-grandfather of that particular fish. They said, "He had seen the ocean. He had been connected with the ocean."

Enlightenment is the very core of our being; going into the core of our self and living our life from there. We all came into this world gifted with innocence, but gradually, as we became more intelligent, we lost our innocence. We were born with silence, and as we grew up, we lost the silence and were filled with words. We lived in our hearts, and as time passed, we moved into our heads. Now the reversal of this journey is enlightenment. It is the journey from head back to the heart, from words, back to silence; getting back to our innocence in spite of our intelligence. Although very simple, this is a great achievement. Knowledge should lead you to that beautiful point of "I don't know." The purpose of knowledge is ignorance. The completion of knowledge will lead you to amazement and wonder. It makes you aware of this existence. Mysteries are to be lived, not understood. One can live life so fully in its completeness, in its totality. Enlightenment is that state of being so mature and unshakable by any circumstance. Come what may, nothing can rob the smile from your heart. Not identifying with limited boundaries and feeling "all that exists in this universe belongs to me," this is enlightenment.

Enlightenment is that state of being so mature and unshakable by any circumstance. Come what may, nothing can rob the smile from your heart. Unenlightenment is easy to define. It is limiting yourself by saying, "I belong to this particular place," or "I am from that culture." It's like children saying, "My dad is better than your dad," or "My toy is better than your toy." I think most people around the world are stuck in that mental age group. Just the toys have changed. Adults say, "My country is better than your country." A Christian will say, "The Bible is truth," and a Hindu will say, "The Vedas are truth. They are very ancient." Muslims will say, "The Koran is the last word of God." We attribute glory to something just because we are from that culture, not for what it is. If one could take credit for all that exists throughout the ages and feel as though "It belongs to me," then that is maturity. "This is my wealth because I belong to the Divine."

The Divine, according to time and space, gave different knowledge in different places. One becomes the knower of the whole universe and sees that, "all the beautiful flowers are all from my garden." The whole evolution of man is from being somebody to being nobody, and from being nobody to being everybody. Have you observed that young children have that sense of belonging, that oneness, that innocence? As we grew up we lost that innocence and became more cunning. The innocence of an ignorant man has no value, and the cunningness of an intelligent man also has no value. Enlightenment is a rare combination of innocence and intelligence. Words to express and, at the same time, being very silent. In that state, the mind is fully in the present moment. Whatever is necessary is revealed to you in such a natural and spontaneous way. You just sit and the song flows through you.