Meditation Will Not Give You Enlightenment

By Vinay & Lidija (Samadhi)

It’s important at this point to clear a common misconception about meditation. A common belief nowadays in various spiritual circles is that meditation can lead to enlightenment. People spend years and years meditating of hours a day, and end up being frustrated.

According to Vedanta, meditation will not give you Moksha. Meditation is a tool to aid Self-Inquiry or Jnana Yoga, but it does not equal Self-Inquiry. Unless one has realised that one is not the meditator but the one who knows the meditator.

Meditation can keep one stuck for years trying to have an experience of the Self, which many meditators do have, but the problem is the identification with the experiencer/meditator is still there. Unless the knowledge that meditation is designed to impart is fully assimilated – i.e. “I am the Self” – the experience ends because it was just that, an experience. This is true of any other spiritual experience, such as Samadhis or Kundalini awakenings.

In this way the experience of Self-Realization (Nirvikalpa Samadhi) does not necessarily lead to Moksha. This is why there are so many frustrated meditators and spiritual experiencers around trying to get the experience back. Even if they succeed they will most likely “lose” the Self-Realization once again, because the knowledge that they are that which makes all experience possible, i.e. Awareness, escapes them.

The knowledge that the meditation points to is that meditation is just another object appearing in you, allowing the reflection of the Self to appear in a still mind. However, seeing as no experience can take place without you, Awareness, and because as Awareness you are actionless, no special experience is required to experience the Self.

You are always experiencing the Self whether you are meditating or not, in Samadhi or not, in Kundalini awakening or not, etc. You just don’t know this. And no action the doer takes can produce Self-Knowledge.

Self-Inquiry is the application of knowledge. Self-Inquiry states that Awareness is our true nature and both knowledge and ignorance are objects appearing in you, awareness. Keeping this knowledge in mind and continually contemplating on it is Self-Inquiry.

This is why Self-Inquiry is different from meditation or other spiritual practices, because the knowledge is maintained by an act of will, whereas in meditation/spiritual practice the knowledge appears during a particular experience.

The above from Explore Vedanta

2 thoughts on “Meditation Will Not Give You Enlightenment

  1. Contrary to what the author here assumes, in my experience people who meditate generally accept that there is no causal connection between meditation and enlightenment. Enlightenment is generally seen as a spontaneous happening, or accident. Meditation just makes you more accident prone, that’s all.
    . We all carry within the mind unconscious habits of grasping and attachment, especially in relation to samsaric delights. These mental habits are the main thing that prevent us from directly connecting with the Aware state. Meditation merely makes us aware of these habits, and of their role in blocking the state of Awareness. Without becoming mindful of our blocks to enlightenment, we will never even consider giving them up. And without giving them up, we remain completely buffered against any sort of ‘happy accident’.
    The author also states that ‘. Self-Inquiry states that Awareness is our true nature (and)…… . Keeping this knowledge in mind and continually contemplating on it is Self-Inquiry.’
    Wow! Really? That sounds more like brain washing than self-enquiry. True self-enquiry can only happen without any preconceived notion of what it is you are going to discover. If you already ‘know’ that Awareness is our true nature, then what is the point of any further enquiry? And if you haven’t already experienced it, then why have any a priori assumptions about ‘our true nature’ before you even commence the enquiry.


    • Francis, thank you for taking the time to offer your comments. This website is for those interested in the teachings of Traditional Vedanta and want to learn more. While I am open to responding to your comments, point by point, I am not sure it would do much good as you seem set in your understanding. My intention is not to debate but to share teachings that have had a profound effect on my life. I spent many years (30) exploring many disciplines but none provided a complete teaching, until I found Vedanta. The over arching meaning of the post is that moksha, or freedom from suffering, is revealed through a methodical process which includes Karma Yoga, Upasasa Yoga and Jnana Yoga, along with the grace of Isvara the creator. Vedanta also provides a very detailed list of qualifications that prepare the mind for inquiry and an extensive list of values to consider and apply. In the spiritual world, there is often a belief that enlightenment is an “experience” of oneness, thus the post on meditation, and like you shared there is more to it than that. We do need to prepare the mind for Self knowledge and yes that does include working with our vasasnas (likes and dislikes) from previous lifetimes. Wishing you well, Eaden


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