Would you please tell me about your experience of getting enlightened by Yeshu.
I set my own creeds and tried to live up to them since I was a teenager. As I grew and become a young man, I realized that I miserably failed in my own creeds and searched the reason and means to overcome the hurdle. In other words, my one constant question was, “Why can’t I live a perfect life even just to my own expectations?”
I began to search for the reason and read few scriptures (in Tamil) and sought the answers from elders and religious teachers (swamijis, sannyasis and acharyas). The overall answers that I received were:
This is Kaliyug and nobody can live a perfect life; or, it is your past karmas or the bad time. So don’t worry about the imperfection and live your life continuously seeking the answer and doing all that you can to overcome it. Perhaps in some future birth you may become perfect overcoming kala (Yuga), karma, and fate (bad time) by your own efforts or by the grace of God.
[This is only a summary of the answers I received; it all came through various times and ways.]
But I was not convinced by this response. When I breach my own creed, I do it consciously and intentionally, but when it comes to accepting the moral/spiritual responsibility, then why do I blame some other thing by postponing the chances to live up to my own creed.
Then I began to search for a guru who could enlightenment me. To make a long story short, finally I ended up finding Muktinath who diagnosed the problem and prescribed the solution. Initially I refused to accept it but wanted to try in those lines. It was a long process and I made many mistakes, but I finally found that He is the guru I was searching for and that is the solution which helps me to live up to my own creed.
He taught me that I have to accept moral/spiritual responsibility for all my failures and I should not and cannot pass the buck. Once I accepted the moral/spiritual responsibility, however it is difficult to implement it with sincere heart.
Then the freedom, or mukti, He promised is not something for me to get in a future birth, but now itself while I live in this human body.
As a digression, allow me to comment on my view on mukti. Since I was a youth, I never believed in mukti that one would get after death. I wanted to experience it while still living in this body. At the same time, it should be practical and down-to-earth and not some esoteric teaching or experience on philosophical level.
To my surprise I got the very same mukti that I was longing for to help me live up to my own creed.
Let me illustrate this with one example that Muktinath based on the Muktiveda which clearly teaches both to accept moral/spiritual responsibility and prescribes the solution and encouragement given to implement.
Suppose I hurt someone, even with good intension to help him, but he feels very bad about it and it brings a bitter taste to others with whom we are related. What the Muktiveda prescribes is: give up your ego and go and seek forgiveness from him, even if you strongly feel that you are not wrong. Then leave it to him whether he accepts your apology or not. The deliverance which you realize in your consciousness/spirit is that ‘mukti’. This is the ‘mukti’ which I strongly believe in as it helps me to lead a normal human life while still living on this earth with this mortal body. For me what Muktiveda teaches is down-to-earth and very practical, not promising some utopian salvation sometime in a future birth.
Love your God and love your neighbour is the basic tenet of Muktiveda.
Of course, also in the Muktiveda, you will find the promise of life after death, or eternal life after death through resurrection. But for me, these are secondary promises. Because once I experience that mukti while on this body, nothing could shake my trust in the Lord and His teaching.
Now the question comes, “Do we not have these solutions in Hindu religious worldviews among various sampradayas?”
A big ‘YES’ is my answer. But the loopholes it gives side by side for us to give some excuse by blaming some other thing (i.e., not accepting personal responsibility) is the problem for me. Also, though karma theory gives a rationalistic explanation for all the lapses in my life (as well as in others), it also gives room for fatalism which is not acceptable to me.
Above all the kind of ‘mukti’ (deliverance, freedom) that I want to have while live in this mortal body is not ‘down-to-earth’ in our Hindu worldview.
But according to Muktiveda, God accepts our weakness but never excuses. He refuses to accept to blame something else for my moral lapses. For example, in this above illustration of seeking reconciliation, I cannot go and tell that person who was offended by me that “It was my past karma; bad time or the influence of kali Yuga which induced me to offend you.” Of course I can give some other excuses like: it was my wrong understanding, miscommunication bad/short temperament which caused me to offend you. But here I accept my personal responsibility. I like this kind of down-to-earth approach for moral and spiritual needs for me to live as a NORMAL HUMAN BEING. For me spirituality is not having some mystic experience or esoteric realization but very tangible approach to my life on this earth as a NORMAL HUMAN BEING.
And the reason Muktiveda has and promotes such a down-to-earth, human-centric approach is that its approach in analysing human problems and prescribing solutions is God-centered viz. as God has done this; therefore I have to do it. Here, Muktinath through His life and teaching sets an example for me.
Of course a dharmic-centred approach is the most rational for all human problems as well as solutions. And I have no issue with those who feel comfortable in it. If they feel it helps them live up to their own creed, dharma bless them. Though the bhakti tradition in Hinduism also insists on a God-centric approach to everything, it also gives room for other loopholes where even God cannot help.
But this God-centered approach in Muktiveda appeals to me and it never allows any loopholes for me to excuse myself to say why I cannot live up to my own creed. If someone finds all these solutions in another path or deity, I have no issue and I would request that they press forward in it.
But for me, all other teachings about the historicity of Muktinath, His death, resurrection, mukti after death, etc. are merely related to doctrinal understanding. Even if He was not a historical person and all that was told in Muktiveda was mere imagination (like our Purana stories), I still have no problem, because even this ‘imaginary’ approach solves my problem and helps me realize the kind of mukti I want to have and to live as a normal human being. The rest are my own intellectual understandings and further commitment in understanding all other teachings in Muktiveda. Once I clearly understood this, then it is left to my personal conviction to believe in all other teachings in Muktiveda about Muktinath.
I can say it in a different way: as my search for a guru ended in Muktinath, all my attempts to understand the rest of the claims in Muktiveda is a backward step to further understand what Muktiveda tries to teach. I need not understand them all or accept them all. This is not going to change my TRUST in the Lord and my commitment to walk with Him.
So as Muktinath helps me live up to my own creed and live a normal human life enjoying every moment of my life on this earth, I follow Him as a Hindu. For this I need not give up my birthright as a Hindu or compromise in my conviction. This is the beauty of Hinduism. It gives me the freedom to choose the path that best suits my nature (prakruti see Gita 3:331). So why should I give up my birthright and privileges to live as a Hindu in order to be a bhakta of Muktinath? And as Muktiveda also clearly endorses it (as per my understanding) I feel doubly blessed to live as a Hindu and bhakta of Muktinath, which I do not want to exchange for anything else.
To close, I want to share some of the views how Muktiveda helped me realize my mukti here on this very life on earth.
This life is not maya; the material creation is not maya. Everything is given for me not only to enjoy but to preserve for the benefit and enjoyment of fellow human beings (and other parts of creation) and to leave it to the next generation in a better way than how I got it. So it helps me to understand that I have stewardship rather than ownership. This understanding helps me have a healthy attitude towards material needs in life and to avoid materialism and becoming materialistic.
I have to accept others as they are and not discriminate based on anything. I should celebrate human relationship, appreciate the best in every culture and tradition. Those that are not acceptable should be understood first from the point of view of those who practice them rather than outright condemning them, because they are not acceptable to us. Those that are not acceptable according to our view should be reformed from within rather than introducing new changes imposed from outside pressure.
Muktiveda gives a holistic approach to life. I won’t put life in water-tight compartments and think either about the material need or the spiritual need alone. For me, they overlap with each other. So when opportunity comes and the need arises I will serve according to that particular need without neglecting one at the cost of the other. At the same time I won’t insist that one is more important than the other. For me, a proper attitude towards the material need is also part of spirituality. And any pessimistic approach and view about material needs is not a true mark of spirituality.
I need not worry about what happened in past births or what will be my future birth. This even includes mukti after death. If it is there, that is fine, even if it is not there, no problem, as I already realized mukti in this life. Even if there is an eternal life it will be a perfect version and won’t be a different version. Therefore no fear about death.
We can have no fear about unknown forces—if at all they are there. For me all the seven days are good and all 24 hours are good. So I need not worry about auspicious or inauspicious days and times. This helps me overcome several fears about uncertainty in life and to avoid blind faiths and superstitions.
Everything works only for my good. So adversity, suffering and trials, though painful, need not be approached with a pessimistic view.
We can have a positive view about life as life on this earth is also a blessing and never a curse or punishment.
Of course all these values look more ideal than practical. This could be true in one sense, but Muktiveda encourages each individual bhakta to strive to reach the goal, accepting failures, but not giving up.
And to all those who claim they have every means within their religious/spiritual tradition or social setup to follow all these ideals, I have no issues. But my bhakti in the Lord helps me strive for these ideals according to my need and nature (prakruti)
- Even a wise man acts in accordance with his own nature, Beings follow their nature. What can restraint do?