A short time ago you said that spring has come and many sannyasins are ready to flower. Do “flowering,” “awakening” and “self-realization” all mean enlightenment, the ultimate truth? Or is there a difference? And can a person, after attaining, fall back into identification with the mind?
There is a difference between flowering, awakening, self-realization, and enlightenment. Enlightenment is the ultimate truth – the seeker disappears but the truth is found. The pilgrim disappears but God is found. It is important to understand the differences….
From enlightenment there is no possibility of falling back, because you are no longer there to fall back. As long as you are, there is a possibility.
Only your absence is the guarantee that you cannot fall back.
Flowering is just the beginning of entering within yourself – just as you enter into a garden. It is immensely important, because without entering you are never going to reach to the center. But in flowering, for the first time you recognize your potential, your possibility. In flowering is the transition period, from human to divine. But one can fall back, because the flowering is so new and so fragile and your past is so old and so strong – it can pull you back; it is still there.
Awakening is getting very close to your center. And as you get closer to the center, falling back becomes more and more difficult because your new experience is gathering power, strength, experience, and the old is losing. But the old is still there; it has not disappeared. Ordinarily people don’t fall from awakening, but the possibility remains: one can fall.
Self-realization is reaching to your center. Many religions have believed that self-realization is the end – for example, Jainism – you have come to your ultimate truth. It is not true. Self-realization is only a dewdrop which has become aware, alert, contented, fulfilled. It is almost impossible to fall back from self-realization – but I am saying almost impossible, not absolutely impossible, because the self can deceive you; it can bring your ego back.
The self and the ego are very similar. The self is the natural thing and the ego is the synthetic, so it happens sometimes that a self-realized man becomes a pious egoist. His egoism is not going to harm anyone, but it certainly prevents him from dropping into the ocean and disappearing completely.
Enlightenment is the dewdrop slipping from the lotus leaf into the vast, infinite ocean. Once the dewdrop has fallen into the ocean, now there is no way even to find it. The question of turning back does not arise.
Enlightenment, hence, is the ultimate truth. What begins as flowering moves on the path of awakening, reaches to self-realization. Then one quantum leap more – disappearing into the eternal, into the infinite.
You are no more, only existence is.
I have told you about Kabir, India’s greatest mystic. When he was young, he became self-realized and he wrote a small couplet: