|Vedanta Spiritual Library|
Module - E
Unit - E05
Lesson - E0526: Before and After Knowing the Answers
By Raja Subramaniyan
It is essential that everyone goes through the different steps in order to reach the destination of enlightenment. This takes several births.
The life style of the person will change drastically if the person has already gone through most of the stages in the previous birth.
Example: Buddha left the kingdom at the age of 24 and become a monk. This is so because he had completed most of the steps before taking the current birth. His accumulated results of good actions lead him to be born in a kingdom. He was ignorant of his potential and the destination because he was not exposed to the realities of the world. In his previous birth, he would have desired to live joyfully. Since he earned a princely life, he was born to a king. In addition, as desired he lived a joyful life, which was artificially created by his father by shielding him from the miseries of the world. When he was exposed to them, he realized that he was also destined to become old and suffer death. Therefore, he abandoned his royal life and become a monk in search of the truth.
After attaining the true knowledge, he could have returned to the kingdom if he had thought that it was a better way to spread his message. He continued to be a monk because he did not want to dirges his efforts into governing the country. He wanted to spend all his time and energy into directly helping people to reach enlightenment.
Thus, his life style is completely different before and after enlightenment
On the other hand, King Dasaradha attained enlightenment while continuing his duties as king. Therefore, he did not feel the need to abandon his royal life in order to serve the people. He chose to serve the people according to their level of maturity, which did not warrant him to become a monk.
Thus, his life style did not change at all before and after enlightenment
These two were extreme cases. Most of the people who are currently in hot pursuit of money are capable of gaining enlightenment within this lifetime. Attainment of enlightenment is much faster in the present day compared to olden times. Therefore it is expected that the life style is briefly changed while one slows down in material pursuit and turns his attention towards spirituality. One has to spend a considerable length of time in spirituality before reaching enlightenment. Once enlightened, one has the option to choose the life style.
However, the only 'duty' of an enlightened person is to help others to progress in their pursuit of true knowledge. However, one has the freedom to do this task according to one's own preferences and there are no restrictions on the method/ life style.
Therefore it may not be possible to determine if a person is enlightened or not by observing the life style.
A typical event/ situation in a day-to-day life may be same for an ignorant and the enlightened person belonging to the same life style.