Enlightenment is the permanent experience of our supreme Self, Brahman. The supreme Self is changeless and never lost, but can be hidden and forgotten. Enlightenment is complete remembrance, complete realization.
We experience 3 states of consciousness on a regular basis; waking, dreaming and deep sleep. These are changing, relative states of consciousness. There are 4 additional states of consciousness, three of which are states of enlightenment.
Turiya; Transcendental Consciousness
Transcendental consciousness, called turiya, has no vibration because it is beyond even the finest vibration, beyond mantra, beyond breath, beyond mind, beyond what exists in relative creation. It is existence, pure consciousness, impersonal God, pure awareness. In itself, it is not enlightenment but it is the foundation of enlightenment. It is pure Being which is the essential constituent of all that is.
When we bring turiya, transcendental consciousness, into permanent conscious awareness while we are in the waking, deep sleep or dream states, that is cosmic consciousness and that is the first full state of enlightenment. In that state, we witness all thoughts and actions as pure awareness.
When we refine our ability to perceive the light of God in the relative manifested world and directly perceive the personal God, then that is God Consciousness, the second stage of enlightenment. That is the state of experiencing both the impersonal and personal aspects of God.
When we fully integrate and merge the absolute and the relative, Being and action, the un-manifest and manifest, the divine and human together, that is oneness. When we realize God, Self, Guru, mantra and creation as Brahman, as One without a second, that is Brahman consciousness, complete realization, complete enlightenment.
Turiya; Transcendental Consciousness
Transcendental consciousness underlies the three relative states. It is not relative. It is absolute, meaning it is always existing. It transcends the 3 relative states and is called turiya. When we bring our awareness to subtler and subtler states of awareness and transcend thought, what we discover is pure awareness, consciousness alone, Being without thought. That state is turiya, transcendental consciousness.
The state of pure consciousness is pure existence, pure intelligence, un-manifested. It is pure “I”. This is the level of absolute pure Being that underlies all of existence. This is the level of un-manifested reality. It is the transcendent; beyond creation. It is undifferentiated and without attributes yet it remains eternally the essential constituent of all that exists. It is pure silence, eternal, unmoving emptiness, un-manifested existence and intelligence. Pure consciousness is the Source of all matter and energy. It is beyond time, space, causation and vibration. It is our true Self.
When we speak about us being divine, about the kingdom of heaven within, we are speaking about Being; pure awareness, pure existence, pure consciousness, pure intelligence – Turiya. This is the impersonal aspect of God that underlies all of creation. This is our essential nature and we can experience it in the supreme stillness of meditation or as the witness in activity.
God has 2 aspects – impersonal and personal. The impersonal, absolute aspect of God is without attributes and the personal aspect of God is relative, with all attributes and all power. The absolute aspect of God is pure Being. Everything in creation arises from the un-manifested aspect of the impersonal God. Every relative, ever-changing, created appearance of the manifested world arises from the impersonal, unchanging God. This is God as Supreme Being, un-manifested consciousness.
Our true Self is impersonal God. The impersonal God is transcendental consciousness. Transcendental consciousness is the Source of thoughts, the Source of the mind. It is not being aware of something, some object or some idea. It is simply pure “I” awareness. It is the witness, the observer, the watcher.
Pure Being, existence, is abstract, never changing, absolute. That which exists in the relative, created world is concrete and always changing. The transcendental state means it is beyond, it transcends created reality. It is the foundation of all the relative created states of life.
Being is the un-manifested reality that is experienced as bliss consciousness. Being lies beyond relative existence where the experiencer is fully awake, fully aware. When the conscious mind goes beyond relative existence, mind becomes still and in the supreme stillness we are left with the true Self; pure consciousness, the Source of all thinking. This is the existence and intelligence of the impersonal aspect of God, and we are capable of experiencing this state of transcendental consciousness.
Consciousness is the Source of all appearances of creation; light, sound, energy, intuition, feelings, thought, action and matter. It is called absolute because it is everywhere, at every time, in every way, as the only essence of all that is. It is the silent, deep ocean and it is the relative wave that appears as the created universe.
When we experience oneness in the transcendent state of turiya it is simply Being, Presence, silent pure consciousness. It, in itself, has no practical value. There is no doing, no knowing of anything. It is pure knowingness, pure existence. Its practical value lies in bringing it into activity. Transcendental consciousness is the Supreme Being, impersonal God. By bringing this state of consciousness into relative life we merge the human and divine.
To live a full, powerful, expanded life it is necessary to consciously experience this level of Being, the level of pure intelligence and existence. It is this pure intelligence that is the Source of the laws of nature at the basis of creation. Being connected to universal intelligence fully supports our thinking and activity.
In transcendental consciousness, the mind is no longer individual mind. It becomes cosmic mind, omnipresent, and gains pure existence. It has no capacity for experience. In turiya, individual mind does not exist because it has become existence. As we repeatedly experience this state of transcendental consciousness, the transcendent becomes infused into the mind.
When this field of pure awareness, transcendental consciousness, is infused into the mind and the mind comes back into relative life, it retains transcendental consciousness while in the waking state of activity, sleeping or dreaming. It is the witness, the observer, the watcher. When this is a permanent state, we experience Cosmic Consciousness, the 5th state of consciousness.
Cosmic Consciousness is the first full state of enlightenment. Cosmic Consciousness is bringing the absolute, pure consciousness of Being – the witness – into full and complete conscious awareness at all times. It is Self-recognition, Self-realization along with waking, dreaming or deep sleep. The witness, which is the pure awareness of Self, is permanent, non-fluctuating. Cosmic Consciousness is bringing absolute, bliss consciousness into conscious recognition while we are in the waking, dreaming, and deep sleep states of consciousness. Our true Self, pure Being, watches and observes all activity and non-activity
Enlightenment dawns when absolute Being and the relative field of life are lived simultaneously, and the Self that is pure awareness is no longer veiled, hidden, forgotten or unrecognized. This does not occur on the level of the emotions or the thinking mind. This occurs on the level of Being, the level of the individual’s existence. It is a separate state of consciousness where the activity of the mind and the feeling activity of the emotions are witnessed by pure awareness, the true Self.
The infusion of the state of transcendental consciousness, Being, into the nature of the mind originates in the transcendental field and so it occurs silently. This is a state of experience. It is not mental or emotional. It can be described as absolute, bliss consciousness or as the expansion of consciousness beyond relative existence. It is impossible for the intellect to comprehend the experience of individual life being expanded to cosmic life. It is only realized on the experiential level of pure consciousness.
In cosmic consciousness the limited mind becomes cosmic mind. Enlightenment is bringing the experience of turiya, transcendental consciousness, into conscious awareness permanently. This is revelation of our true divine Self in the midst of all activity and inactivity. This is remembrance of our impersonal divinity. This is Self-realization. When Self-consciousness is permanently maintained, that is Cosmic Consciousness.
Generally, we are unable to maintain Being while indulging in activity and experience. The state of mind must be cultivated so that the mind, engaged in outer things, does not allow the pure state of Being to be overshadowed. Liberation occurs when the mind can become identified as the object but also the state of Being. The Self is not lost. This is not done by thinking of Being. Only when the nature of the mind is transformed into the nature of Being is there liberation and the mind no longer becomes overshadowed by experience. Then Being always is in conscious experience.
On an individual level, Cosmic Consciousness is complete enlightenment. There is no more karma, no more re-birth, no more separation from Self. When we talk, think or act, the transcendental consciousness is there, shining, awake, witnessing the act. When we are asleep, that cosmic consciousness is there watching deep sleep, fully awake, fully aware. When we are dreaming, universal Consciousness, the impersonal aspect of God that is our true Self, is watching, observing, and witnessing dreaming.
Prana is the nature of the Divine to create. When prana is activated then the un-manifested impersonal God assumes the role of the creator. The un-manifested awareness assumes the role of creative intelligence. Creative intelligence has two main aspects, consciousness and power. There is now a ‘relationship’ within itself and the slightest differentiation occurs within the un-manifested awareness. This is the creation of vibration within absolute, pure consciousness. This is the creation of the finest relative aspect of creation, the personal God, God the creator, sustainer and destroyer. Supreme Being has assumed the role of Almighty God.
The experience of the impersonal God is on the transcendental, absolute level, beyond thought and the senses. The experience of the personal God is on the finest relative level, and is known through the senses, mind and feelings; through perception. To realize the impersonal aspect of God we must transcend all relative experience. To realize the personal aspect of God we must refine our senses and subtle psychic instruments to be able to perceive all strata, all levels, of relative life. As transcendental consciousness becomes fully infused into the mind in cosmic consciousness, the power of consciousness purifies and refines our senses and psychic instruments allowing perception of the finest relative strata of existence.
Bringing attention to something is the way to realize it. Realization of the impersonal aspect of God comes from bringing our attention to the transcendental level of life. Realizing the personal aspect of God comes from having a clear experience of the finest relative strata of manifested life, perceived through refined senses and mind. At the finest relative level of life resides the personal God and this level is perceivable in God Consciousness. In God Consciousness the absolute is fully experienced as the witness and the relative is experienced as the light of God. In God Consciousness, with the senses and psychic instruments so refined, all of relative existence glows with the light of God and we are capable of seeing the blue light of God in everything.
The personal aspect of God has form, qualities, features and likes. It resides at the highest, subtlest, finest strata of relative creation. God is no longer It, impersonal consciousness. God has become He or She – personal. His/Her senses and mind are all powerful. His mind knows everything, throughout all time, at once. His eyes see everything, throughout all time, at once. He is the 5 powers of creation, maintenance, dissolution, concealment and grace. He is Brahma (the creator), Vishnu (the maintainer) and Shiva (the destroyer). He is time and space and mind. He is the powers of perception and action and all the elements. He is relative and at the end of this round of creation merges back into the impersonal aspect of God. The personal God creates all the relative creation out of his intelligence and power. All strata of relative existence appear from his consciousness, made of his consciousness, within his consciousness.
God consciousness is accomplished through the refinement of the senses, intellect, mind and ego to the point where all senses and subtle psychic instruments can perceive all levels of creation, including the finest relative level, the personal God. In the state of God Consciousness all existence, absolute and relative, are perceptible. In that state we have the full experience of absolute existence and relative existence.
As personal God, He can appear in whatever form is pleasing or appropriate to the situation or devotee.
God stands with one foot in the absolute and one foot in the relative as the creator. The “I” of impersonal God has assumed the role of personal God, as “I am”. Then He appears as the relative creation, as “I am That”.
The personal aspect of God is the highest level of creation and evolution. He is the highest intelligence, peace, energy, and bliss. He is all-powerful, all-joyful, all-mighty. He can do, be and understand everything. He has the perfect senses, the perfect mind, perfect intellect, perfect ego and perfect personality. He controls all of creation that appears within Himself.
The impersonal aspect of God is omnipresent Being while the personal aspect of God is relative and appears as time, space and causation. Knowing the impersonal aspect of God happens only on the level of the transcendent while knowing the personal aspect of God happens only on the relative sensory level of creation – the finest relative – in the waking state.
In God Consciousness we experience the formless, absolute appearing in form as personal God and all of creation. Silence has become vibrant and the inexpressible is expressed. Cosmic life is breathed by the individual. We become the love of God expressing because we exist on the level of both the personal and impersonal divine God. We become an impulse, the spanda of eternal life in this realm.
In God Consciousness the formless, absolute, vibrationless transcendent stands side by side with the entire relative, vibrational existence. But they have not merged. There still remains a trace of separation.
At the lowest level of evolution there is the inert level of creation. From there different species evolve and creation develops in intelligence, power and joyfulness. The progressive scale of evolution continues through the different species of plants, animals, humans and angels. At the highest level of evolution is the personal God. In God Consciousness this power, intelligence and bliss have merged into us and operate through us. We hold the ability to know all of relative life if we wish to. We operate on the level of divinity and the will of the divine. We hold the complete state of Being and all strata of relative existence. Our feelings and mind can know the personal and impersonal aspects of God.
All of creation is controlled by the personal God. All the laws of nature are controlled by his will. He has arranged the entire creation and the whole process of evolution to operate in complete harmony and conformity with all the laws of nature. It is his will that is destiny.
The almighty nature of the personal God lies in the perfection of His senses, mind, intellect and ego. This means that His eyes can see everything at one time, His nose will be able to smell all things and varieties at one time. His ears will be able to hear all sounds in the cosmos at once. His mind will be aware of anything, on any level, at any time. His intellect will be able to decide everything, at any moment. This is because all that is, is Him.
All the innumerable decisions that are the apparent results of the laws of nature in the process of expansion and evolution are the decisions of the personal God. He governs and maintains the entire field of evolution and the separate lives of innumerable beings in the entire cosmos.
The almighty nature of the personal God lies in the perfect-ness of his senses, mind, intellect and ego. Our entry into God Consciousness also lies in the perfection of our senses, mind, intellect and ego. These are all the relative, manifested parts of the individual expression of God. When all these aspects are purified, our senses function fully, seeing the finest relative. That means seeing the personal God. The personal God will take whatever form is most pleasing to us. It may be Krishna, Jesus, Rama, Mother Divine, or almighty Father. The personal God also appears within us as the blue bindu. He emerges from our eyes, stands before us, interacts with us and merges back into us.
In God Consciousness, we see the light of God glowing from everything in creation because everything in creation is the manifestation of God and so glows with His blue light. The eyes, in their perfection, can see this light emanating from everything. Then the individual’s evolution and alignment with the will and nature of God is complete. This is the height of relative evolution. But this is not the highest state of enlightenment.
Life is Being. Being is the absolute, un-manifested state of pure awareness. It is the Supreme Being, the impersonal God. Being, in turning awareness upon Itself, vibrates and becomes the personal God, the manifested, created, relative reality of life.
In God Consciousness we experience the full absolute nature of life and we experience the full relative nature of life, side by side. We experience the impersonal and the personal aspects of God, side by side. It is like a coin. One side is the absolute, unchanging part of life and the other side is the relative, ever-changing part of life. Brahman is the coin. Brahman is the indivisible whole – one without a second. That is brahman consciousness
Cosmic Consciousness is accomplished by repeated immersion of the mind in transcendental pure awareness. God consciousness is accomplished through refinement of the senses, intellect, mind and ego. Brahman consciousness is accomplished by time and relationship.
When the impersonal God and the entire strata of relative existence stand together, side by side, over time they merge. The subtle nervous system creates a new way of functioning that holds the experience of unity. That which was separate, standing side by side, over time, merges into each other. Then separation ends. Then there is only oneness. Then what was two sides of the coin becomes the one coin. Then the absolute and the relative are realized as One; Brahman. Then unity is achieved. The blinding light of love, the greatness of intelligence and power, and all individual identities are merged into the one love of God. God is left as the devotee, and the devotee is left as God.
There is nothing left to ‘do’. It is simply a function of time and relationship. What was experienced as this and that, absolute and relative, surrenders into oneness. What was experienced as side by side, with ever so slight separate identities of the absolute and relative, as personal and impersonal, melt together. This is on the level of realization. This is a physiologically unique state in the subtle nervous system that allows for this to be experienced.
In Cosmic Consciousness we realize our absolute nature and we witness all activity. We realize the impersonal God. In God Consciousness we realize all of relative life as the expression of the light of God. We realize the personal God. In Brahman Consciousness we realize the merging of the absolute and relative. The impersonal God, the personal God, the Self, the Guru and the universes are experienced as One. There is no sense of difference. The eyes may see appearances of differences, but the mind, while recognizing the appearances on the surface, realizes the fullness of Being, God, Self and appearances of objects as Brahman. Separation ends and complete unity, complete oneness is restored.
What was hidden is revealed, what was in darkness is enlightened, what was forgotten is remembered.
On the path of love, the multiplicity of creation and the purpose of creation find fulfillment in unity. In the highest love, God is found in the world and the world is found in God as they merge into oneness.
At the point of merging into Brahman consciousness the devotee has the option of completely merging into oneness or allowing for a trace of separation. This is a choice of the will of God’s compassion. This trace of separation, called leshya avidya (leshya means trace and avidya means ignorance), is an invisible film of ego allowing the subtlest sense of separation that permits the individual to remain actively worshiping God and Guru and being a bodhisattva that enlightens the world. Leshya avidya allows the individual to maintain a functioning trace of ego in order to be the divine in form, for the will of God to manifest and to bring liberation to the world.
In that oneness, the individual sees the illusion of separation and the appearance of suffering within creation and there is the desire to remove that separation and suffering. It is the compassion of God that appears as the bodhisattva. It is the act of the compassion of God that is the expression of grace, manifesting as a bodhisattva. In Brahman consciousness this is choice because there is no longer the individual as we normally think of it. There is God knowing himself as God. There is God seeing the illusion of suffering within himself and becoming grace to end separation.
At the highest level everything is one consciousness. There is one reality; God. God is both the absolute and the relative. God is the absolute pure Being in its impersonal nature and is all creation and vibration in his personal nature.
In brahman consciousness the two aspects of God merge; the absolute is fully experienced as the witness and the relative is also fully experienced in its true nature as the consciousness of God. In Brahman consciousness the relative creation is seen as outwardly differentiated but in addition we see the true revelation that it is the light of God, pure awareness, the absolute appearing manifest. Brahman consciousness holds the experience of the full absolute transcendental consciousness and the full relative existence as that same reality, as the Self.
In unity the absolute is the Self and the relative is the Self. There exists no difference on the level of knowing. The senses can perceive surface differences in the appearance of form but substance remains undifferentiated Being.
When one is ready to enter the state of Brahman consciousness, one receives the final permission to enter oneness from the guru through mahavakya. Mahavakya is the great saying. It is the direct transmission from the teacher to the student of the final realization in word form, as sutra, as mantra. It is the final transmission of grace.
There are four main mahavakyas:
Tat Tvam Asi – Thou art That
Aham Brahmasmi- I am Brahman
Ayam Atma Brahma- The Self is Brahman
Prajnanam Brahma- Consciousness is Brahman
This transmission allows the student to merge into the realization that there is only Brahman – the impersonal God, the personal God, the Self, the Guru and all appearances as one consciousness.
As a person experiences this unification in this time and space and causation, his realization is complete but the fullness is not. There exists a point where the realization expands to include the realization of all time, all space and all causation. Time, space and causation are relative, created, vibrational, relational aspects of reality. They lie at the cusp of the absolute and relative, the same place as the laws of nature. Because they are relational, that implies ‘this and that’ and separation. As God Consciousness expands into unity, awareness engulfs the relativity of time, space and causation and also merges them into oneness. It is at this point where God Consciousness becomes Brahman consciousness.
In this state a person has access to all knowledge, when required, throughout all time, space and causation because the person has now realized fullness, has now become one with all that is, was and will be. In reality, in Brahman consciousness, there is only now.
When one is That, one has control, as the divine will, of all that is. But in this state, one with God and all creation, one sees all that God sees because there is now no difference between Self and God and appearances. One sees all as Self; one divinity. One also sees the perfection in its play.
In Brahman consciousness, on the level of knowing and sensory observation, all that is created and uncreated, all that is manifest and un-manifest, is always consciousness. It moves and is unmoving. It is the wave and the ocean as one consciousness. It is the knower, the process of knowing and that which is known, all as one consciousness. God is all there is. Being is all there is. Consciousness is all there is. Self is all there is.
Within the consciousness of God there is one ocean, never separate, no other. There is only God’s being, God’s existence, God’s understanding, God’s appearance within God.