Question: I’ve often wondered about this. What is the difference between saints, seers, sadhus and enlightened beings?
Sadhguru: Saint: Class A. Enlightened: Class B. (Laughter) When you say a saint, you mean a being who has attained to a certain level of pleasantness. Saints are good people.
They are very pleasant people. But they are no good as gurus. They can only bless you. It’s from that perspective in Indian culture that you bow down whenever you see a saint. Because he has a certain pleasant energy about himself, he will bless you, which will add to your life in some way. But he can’t take you to your ultimate well-being. He can bless you. Many people’s blessings together offer fuel for you to go on. So wherever you see a holy man or somebody saintly, you bow down to him to receive a little bit of blessing. This has been the tradition, isn’t it? When you bow down to him, you don’t believe he is going to be your guru or anything. You want to receive a little blessing; that’s the whole idea. He’s a kind of pleasant energy. Saints are very pleasant and nice people.
Yogis are a different kind. As I have said before, they are evolved in their technology. A yogi knows all the technicalities – that is, if he is a real yogi who has reached a certain attainment. If he is a practitioner of yoga, he is different. You are a practitioner of yoga right now. But if you become a yogi, that means you have experienced the oneness of existence. That means you know the intricacies of life, you know how to work it. But still a yogi may not yet be enlightened. He might have known moments of yoga or union. So if you have known moments of union in your Bhava Spandana or something, we can say you are a part- time yogi. (Laughter)
If you talk about a ‘seer’, a seer may not be spiritual at all. He is somebody who has vision. You can put him more in the class of occult. But generally, saints and seers may be the same people. At present, I am just talking about the words. If you say ‘a seer’, he is somebody who is able to see things that normally people cannot see. So he has a higher level of perception. How much higher? There is no description. Even if he is one step above you, he is still a seer, yes? He is able to see one thing more than what you can see, so he is still a seer for you, as far as you are concerned.
So to come now to what you call an ‘enlightened being’. The word ‘enlightenment’ in English has become, you know, very weak. But in the context in which we are using the word right now, enlightenment means someone has reached his ultimate point of evolution. Generally, those who reach this cannot retain their body. One cannot retain his body once he has reached his ultimate point of evolution because now keeping the physical becomes difficult. Unless he knows all the technicalities, all the nuts and bolts of how this body is made, and how to hold on to it, he cannot keep it.
So only those who get enlightened on the path of kriya are usually capable of keeping the body. If they get enlightened some other way, then they will have to use just desire – conscious desire – as a way to keep the body. There is no other way.
Question: How does one identify an enlightened being?
Sadhguru: Oh, it’s very easy; lights will be flashing. (Laughter)
Why should you identify one? (Laughter) Where is the need for you to make a judgment that this one is enlightened, this one is not? It’s not necessary for you to make that judgment. If you find that being with the man who is sweeping the street right now is helpful for you, be with him. Whether he is enlightened or not, what’s your problem? It’s the same thing everywhere. If you find it’s nourishing for you, if it is bringing more clarity for you, if it is in some way helping you to grow, be here. If it is not, what does it matter whether I am enlightened or not? If I am enlightened but not useful for you, you should not stay. You should go, isn’t it?
So instead of wasting your time trying to make a judgment about whether somebody is enlightened or not, you just see whether somebody’s presence is truly useful for you or not. When I say truly useful, I mean is someone helping you to become big, or is somebody helping you to become nothing? If someone is helping you to become big, you should not be there. If someone is just making you feel good about everything, you should not be there. If someone is not letting you sit anywhere, if he breaks whatever you hold as sacred, if he never lets you rest, you must be with that one. Someone who lets you rest is not a useful presence. If you want to rest, if you want to be where you are, you can do it to yourself, isn’t it? Yes or no? If you want to enter spaces, to move into dimensions that you cannot do by yourself, that is where you need another, isn’t it? If you want to move into areas that you have not known and you cannot know by yourself, only then a guru is useful for you. If he is going to just offer you solace and keep you in comfort, I think you can do it yourself.
‘No,’ some say, ‘but my guru is very loving...’ If you want somebody very loving, you must get yourself a dog. (Laughter) Yes? Unconditionally loving, he is. If that’s all you’re looking for – and people are always looking for such things – I am just offering you practical solutions. If you want someone who is truly loving towards you all the time, someone who will wag his tail no matter what you do, get yourself a dog, not a guru.
If you want somebody who will never let you sit down, who will somehow – whether you are willing or unwilling – just keep you moving, only then you should seek a guru. Otherwise you will end up in the hands of charlatans who will keep you in comfort. All you need is a loving smile and nice words. I told you, get yourself a dozen dogs; they will lick you all over and make you feel good. (Laughter) Is it not true? For one moment they will not allow you to miss love; they will lick you from head to toe and make you feel wanted. So if you are looking for attention, if you are looking for love, if you are looking for comfort, you should not even think about who is enlightened. These gurus are horrible people. They are alive and they are dead at the same time. (Laughs) So people who are alive and dead at the same time, have no concern for your knees paining because they have no concern for their own knees paining. They have no concern for anybody’s knee pain.
So don’t look for enlightened people. Even if you think somebody is enlightened, in what way does it change your life? You think I am enlightened; in what way does it change your life? It doesn’t, does it? Maybe you can go and tell your friend, ‘I’ve found an enlightened being.’ Another achievement in your life, like ‘I bought a new house.’ It’s of no value to your life – you finding somebody and labeling them as enlightened. Are you moving on? That’s of value. Are you breaking your limitations? From where you are, have you broken at least a few limitations? That’s the question.
Don’t look for enlightened people. Seek discomfort. Not necessarily physical discomfort. See, if you make friends, what kind of people do you make friends with? Somebody with whom you are comfortable, isn’t it? What kind of people are you comfortable with, hmm? Can you get along with someone who is just like you? (Laughter) Is it possible? If someone is just like you, can you get along with them? They must be very different from you, but they must listen to you. (Laughter) This is a very serious problem. They must be very different from you, but they must listen, always. They must be very vibrant, very exciting, wild, but they must take instructions from you. (Laughter) Isn’t it? (Laughs)
One day, Shankaran Pillai told his girlfriend, ‘You remind me of the sea.’ She got very excited. She said, ‘Why? Is it because I am exciting, wild and unlimited?’ He said, ‘No, because you make me sick.’ (Laughter)
So, if you look, you will always look for something that’s convenient for you, comfortable for you. What is convenient for you? Whatever reinforces your ego is always comfortable and convenient for you. Anything that threatens it is not convenient for you, isn’t it? So your friends are people who in many ways reinforce your ego; they always make you feel you are great, you are right. If anybody punctures your ego, he becomes your enemy. He need not necessarily do anything bad to you, but if he punctures your ego, he becomes your enemy.