How long should I meditate to get enlightened?

There is no limit. Time will do it. Your job is to keep the window open, but time will bring the sunlight in. You can’t make sunlight come into your home just because you have opened the window. You can’t say, “I opened the window, but the sunlight has not come yet.” If you keep your shutters on, even if the sun has risen, you will remain in darkness. So your effort is needed.

Can married couples also attain enlightenment?

See, the example of Ramakrishna Paramahamsaji. He was married, Sharada Devi was his wife. There are many such examples like this. So even couples can attain enlightenment. Enlightenment is not something that just drops from somewhere. It is present in all of us.

If the purpose of life is to attain liberation, is there any value for all the time we spend on our education, profession and career?

Each one has its own place. You need to do both. To make a living, you need to work, and to grow on the spiritual path, you need to meditate. Both go together, they do not oppose each other.

Often, we think that only when we leave everything will we be able to meditate here, that is not the case. We see many people who have left everything and sit here, but they take up something else to occupy their mind.

If you have taken up some responsibility, fulfill it.

Gurudev, Is enlightenment just a realization?

Yes, that is why it’s called Pratya Bhigya which means Realizing.
See the elephant that is here does not know its power. With great love, he holds your hand with his trunk and pulls you. He doesn’t know that he can break the person’s hand whom he is pulling. For him it’s a play. In the same way, we do not realize our inner potential. We think we are just this body mind complex with a few emotions, some little thoughts, little likes and dislikes. The truth is that we are much beyond these things, and that is why enlightenment is like the peeling of it.

The word enlightenment is used so many times, that is why it is so confusing. Enlightenment is simply the peeling off layers and becoming hollow and empty. Get to that spot where you feel absolute comfort and absolute freedom. That is liberation, that is nirvana, that is self-realization, that is yoga, and that is unity. You can call it by so many names. And too much reading also confuses you about it. That’s why I say be natural, be simple

We are all on the path towards enlightenment. If we do not achieve it this lifetime, do we pick up from where we left off?

Yes, correct.

What is enlightenment? How does a regular person find out if someone is enlightened?

It cannot be said in words, it has to be felt. You cannot describe love. You can’t say that love is endorphins or oxytocin getting produced in your body, it is something that only the heart can know; your existence can feel something different. The funniest thing is that it is in everybody, it is in the original nature of our being and everybody has it, but it has not been uncovered.

Have you seen anyone in The Art of Living get enlightenment?

Yes, there are many who have this experience — they feel something and it starts happening. They have the ability to love everyone and be a nobody.

You don’t have to label yourself that ‘I am enlightened, I am enlightened’, not at all! If you want enlightenment, the first thing you need to remember is total detachment from all that you see, good or bad. Do you still want enlightenment? Are you ready for it? For enlightenment you need to have total detachment because it is your desire which is the only thing that blocks you from enlightenment. The moment you drop all that and say, “I want nothing and I am nothing”, that moment you realize that all the forms and names are nothing, they are all like waves in the ocean; the wave is nothing but the ocean. This conviction is enlightenment. The sea is there, the sun is there, the moon is there and like that I too am here, that is it. Going beyond time is enlightenment. Not being constrained by space is enlightenment. Realizing you are love, everything else is love, that is enlightenment. Being so natural and feeling at home with everyone because there is no other, is enlightenment.