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Enlightened version

How Is An Enlightened Person Different From A Non-enlightened Person?

Reading Time: 4 minutes

या निशा सर्वभूतानां तस्यां जागर्ति संयमी |

यस्यां जाग्रति भूतानि सा निशा पश्यतो मुने: || 2.69 ||

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 Verse 69 (In Sanskrit)

What is night for all beings, in that, the restrained one is awake. That in which beings are awake is night for a discerning wise person. || 2.69 ||

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 Verse 69 (English Translation)

An enlightened person is awake in the darkness of ordinary life. In contrast, they are in the dark in the lightness of ordinary life.

The night represents the dream of ignorance. Due to this dream, unenlightened people think that the true source of happiness is outside in the world. And they live in that delusion. On the other hand, the enlightened person has awoken from that dream of ignorance. The enlightened person is awake to the truth of one’s inner nature, while unenlightened people are asleep to this reality.

For example, a crow can see during the day, but cannot see at night. In comparison, owls can see well at night but not well during the day. The owl is attuned to seeing through the darkness when the crow is not. The owl represents the enlightened person.

Does an Enlightened Person’s Inner State Ever Change?


समुद्रमाप: प्रविशन्ति यद्वत् |

तद्वत्कामा यं प्रविशन्ति सर्वे

स शान्तिमाप्नोति न कामकामी || 2.70 ||

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 Verse 70 (In Sanskrit)

Being constantly filled yet remaining unchanged, like waters entering the sea, so too, all desires enter him. He attains peace, not the desirer of pleasures. || 2.70 ||

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 Verse 70 (English Translation)

A vast reservoir of peace and contentment lies within you. This reservoir is your divine nature. If you have a vast body of water like an ocean, all the world’s rivers are entering their waters into that vast body. But the sea does not rise higher. Simultaneously, water evaporates from the surface, yet the water levels never lower. Therefore, the water levels never rise nor decrease. This is the infinity of your innate fullness.

In the same way, all objects of desire enter an enlightened person, but this person remains the same. When an enlightened person gains some pleasurable experience in the world, they remain unchanged. The number of worldly joy experiences is limited for everyone, including an enlightened person. For example, the joy of a beautiful morning does not make the enlightened person more complete. This person is already infinitely pure and full.

The enlightened person remains unchanged when they experience gains or losses in life. Their state cannot change. They do not become more or less complete. 

The one who seeks peace through worldly pleasures will never achieve perfect uninterrupted contentment. The one who achieves peace is the one who turns within.

How Do We Outgrow Emotional Dependence?

विहाय कामान्य: सर्वान्पुमांश्चरति नि:स्पृह: |

निर्ममो निरहङ्कार: स शान्तिमधिगच्छति || 2.71||

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 Verse 71 (In Sanskrit)

Giving up all desires, a person living without longing, free from possessiveness and ego, attains peace. || 2.71 ||

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 Verse 71 (English Translation)

We outgrow many things in life. Once we discern that it is not a source of happiness, we outgrow such an object. You don’t give up desires—you outgrow desires. And you outgrow desires by discerning that it is not a true source of contentment. This person lives free from longing and attachment. 

You can have many things in life, but you are emotionally dependent on having them, you form bondage. Many people have raised children whom we love. There is also attachment or emotional dependence on the children for most parents. It’s a kind of bondage that makes a parent suffer when the child suffers. That is attachment.

The enlightened person goes on living without this attachment and this longing. 

For example, children are not the possession of parents. They are independent beings with their own lives and own karma. Instead of having children, you are the caretaker of your children. Similarly, instead of owning a home, you are a caretaker of the home. Using the word caretaker shifts the orientation away from possessiveness and emotional dependence. If you are just the caretaker, you do not have that sense of possession or pride.

The person free from possessiveness and ego reaches a state of peace.

Desire is a label given to an inner sense of incompleteness. When you feel inadequate or incomplete, you have desires. But desire is not necessary for achievement. The one who has outgrown desires does what needs to be done because it’s dharma. Ordinary people are driven by raga and dvesha, while an enlightened person is naturally motivated to follow dharma.

Do I Have to Immerse Myself in a State of Bliss to Become Enlightened?

एषा ब्राह्मी स्थिति: पार्थ नैनां प्राप्य विमुह्यति |

स्थित्वास्यामन्तकालेऽपि ब्रह्मनिर्वाणमृच्छति || 2.72 ||

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 Verse 72 (In Sanskrit)

O Arjuna, this is the state of reality. Having attained it, one is free from delusion. Remaining in it at the end of life, one attains brahma-nirvana. || 2.72 ||

Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2 Verse 72 (English Translation)

Enlightenment is not immersion in a temporary state of bliss. It is being established in wisdom. Having achieved this state of enlightenment, one is never again diluted. Once you outgrow a desire, you never again look upon it as a true source of contentment. Having gained this state of being permanently established in wisdom, one is never subject to delusion, confusion, or ignorance again. 

Permanently abiding in this wisdom that nothing in the world is necessary for your fullness and completeness already exists within you. One gains nirvana at the time of death. It does not mean the end, but rather merging into brahman.

What the Gita Teaches Us

When you recognize that no object or person in the world is the source of contentment and peace and that contentment truly lies within, this understanding leads to a reversal of orientation. Rather than looking for contentment externally, you begin to look inwards. An enlightened person’s inner state then remains unchanged when experiencing situations of turmoil or pleasure. To reach this state does not mean that one becomes immersed in temporary bliss. Instead, a person lives every day knowing their inner truth. This wisdom then frees them from attachment and guides their actions.