Tantric Advaita

How to find the truth beyond words ?

Jnana Yoga Techniques


Transcript of a class by Peter Marchand - kindly offered by Alicia Hull


Just Stop

Stop right here
Talking about the technique of jnana yoga is not very serious. Because, well, there is no technique. There is no real technique. After hearing the truth, the only thing you can do, is stop. You know whatever you do is untrue. Only by stopping, by shutting up, stop the wondering, stopping to ask questions, stopping to try anything – the inner self can come forward. So to stop is not a verb, it’s something that can’t be done. You have to stop doing. That’s the technique, if you could call it a technique.

Easy to try. Put your attention in the third eye, and stop. That’s simply being. Nothing more, nothing less. Be. To be that which you truly are. The more you do that, the more you will really feel that you are that, the more that you will really act as if you are that, the more you will be that, and the less problems you will have. Just stop as much as you can.

What path can you follow to find yourself? Wherever you go, your self goes with you, because you are it. You can’t even run away from it. So there’s no path. There’s just stop. Stop everything else. Stop even the stopping. It’s hard to explain: there is no path. But truly every path is like walking in a circle around yourself. We all have to take but one step to reach it. It’s not even a step. You have to stop stepping. You have to stop going somewhere. You just have to be silent. Nothing needs to change. Everything is good as it is.

Om Purnamadah Purnamidam
Purnat Purnamudacyate
Purnasya Purnamadaya
Purnameva Vasisyate
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

This is perfect. That is perfect.
Out of the perfect, comes the perfect.
Even if you take away the perfect out of the perfect,
only the perfect remains.
Om Peace Peace Peace

Nothing ever changes. It is always there, just waiting for you, to drop everything else.

So basically, that is what you get with a jnani teacher. Like if you read the books of Nisargadatta Maharaj, the famous jnani that lived in Mumbai in the last century, they describe the talks that he has with students. Almost every talk, ever chapter, goes in the same way. Somebody new, doesn’t yet know how the game is played, comes in with a book-load of questions, and starts asking these questions. And Nisargadatta will always point him back to the self, in more or less the same manner. After some time, he’ll say “Well, you know, I’ve answered your question already. Now, shut up, sit somewhere in the back. I don’t want to hear you anymore. Be silent.” That’ll do the trick. The next day, another one comes, starts asking questions. Other people start smiling, knowing what’s going to happen. Same thing happens. Very good books. Of course, the questions aren’t always the same, so the answers vary a little bit, but always coming to the same point. Shut up. Be what you are. To stop is effortless. Don’t try. Just do it. Just stop.

Jnana Yoga
- Technique
You actually do it everyday. Everyday in the evening. All those thoughts, ideas, those feelings and attachments—they drop. You say goodnight to everybody, and you go in deep sleep, where they are no more. So it’s like going to sleep without going to sleep.

Stop or do Yoga

In the beginning, the silence may just last a few seconds. Not really difficult to have like four seconds of inner silence. Then already you get a lot out of it. You find the self very easily that way, you just shut up. So you get a taste. The more you get a taste, the more you want to taste more, and the four seconds, they may become ten seconds. And more, and more.

Lao-tzu said: progress through failure. This is true in most meditation techniques, and it is certainly true here. You try to stop, or rather, you stop, then the thought comes back, and then you stop. Again the thought comes, you stop. Not so difficult.

But of course for some people, too much, hmm? Like you see that with another famous teacher of the last century, a famous jnani called Ramana Maharishi. He’s maybe the most famous of all. He’s a little more compassionate than Nisargadatta. Nisargadatta is tough, but okay, that’s just the role he chooses to play. But Ramana may be a little more soft-hearted, so people will come back and say “Oh, I can’t do it, Ramana, you have to help me. Thoughts keep coming, they keep coming and I hardly get anything like silence in my head.” And he’ll say “Okay, maybe, you know, repeat the name of the lord. Japa, that makes the mind more quiet. Love god, love the divine. Then at some point, you’ll be able to stop.” Or he will say, “Okay, you have to learn to control your breath, do that more, try to stop breathing for a longer time, and stopping thought will become easier also.” So he will then actually take some techniques from other types of yoga, and allow his visitors to engage in that, and then again turn to simple being.

All yoga’s have the same objective, they only use different techniques, that suit different people. So you can’t say, “This one is the best,” or “That one is the best.” You can’t even say, “This one is the fastest, that one is fastest.” It all depends on who you are. There’s nothing to reach. There’s no where to go. If that were the case, then you could say, “This yoga takes you to that place much faster.” But there’s nowhere to go. You are already God.

The only thing to do is to drop everything else. Now everything else—that’s different for everybody. So some people who are more rational, they may have more with this talk-talk stuff. And other people who are more emotional, they may have more with the yoga of devotion. And others who can’t sit still and who are very active, might see more into physical yoga, karma yoga. But all those yoga’s ultimately come to the same point when you drop everything, even all these yogas, and you can simply be what you already are.

So you could say “All yoga is nonsense.” But that is not really the truth. It all prepares us for that last step, but unless that step is made, nothing is done. Adyashanti calls this putting pearls on a pig. The pig being the ego, so putting pearls on the ego means: you can make yourself more balanced, you can make yourself more healthy, you can make yourself more happy—that’s not really difficult. There are proven techniques for all these things. But that is not it, that is only temporary. You can do some meditation, you feel great, you come out, and someone steps on your toe and suddenly it’s all gone. So until the last step is taken, nothing is done. And the last step is: stop, for as long as you can. And then again.

Self-Enquiry (Vichara)

In part, you could say, that the techniques in yoga are in two stages. The first one is to reach heaven, to reach your inner self, to be there in heaven, experience the peace, experience the bliss, and gain the knowledge that is to be gained there. That’s the easy part. It really is.

The second stage is to be in heaven, put heaven in your pocket, and come back to Earth. Keep heaven inside, keep the bliss inside, keep the peace inside while playing the game. That’s the second stage, and that is more difficult. Because blissful peace is something very subtle, it’s like a tiny flower, so easily it gets crushed under all the violence of the world.

So in jnana yoga also, these two stages are there. And it’s not like first, for many years you practice the first stage, then you practice the second afterwards. But it is something of that, too. But it’s also about going inside, finding the peace, coming out, trying to keep it, losing it, going back inside, finding it back, coming out, trying to keep it, losing it, going back inside, and so on. Until you don’t lose it anymore, until it stays with you always. Whatever happens.

Another important technique that Ramana Maharishi would advocate is called vichara—self enquiry: contemplation of the nature of yourself, contemplating on “Who am I?” Find the I. The I is behind every thought. There’s no thought which doesn’t have the word I in it, explicitly or in-explicitly. So whatever thought comes, find the I, and ask, “Who are you?” This is a very interesting method.

Vichara, in one part, means what we are doing now. We are just talking about it, we are thinking about it. The second stage of it is to sit by yourself, and really watch yourself, really study yourself, really find yourself, by asking “Who wants this, who thinks that, who believes this? Show yourself!” And the efficiency of the technique is that you will find nobody. You will find no clear entity to claim that role. The mind is just having its thoughts. And the one who seems to be there, asking the questions, is an illusion. And by going after it, by asking it to reveal itself, more and more the illusion will drop.

So the I is the most essential problem, but it is also one of the best keys to get out of this problem. Search the I. The unreal I will drop out, the real I will emerge. Mind automatically will become silent, because whatever it says, the root is taken out of the thought. The root is the I. The I is the first thought. Without the I you can’t think. So look for the I, destroy the I, and the real I, you, will come out.

So in that way jnana yoga is what is usually said as the yoga of knowledge, of understanding. You understand the ego so well that it stands no chance, it has to go. It is made completely ridiculous again and again, and again and again. Takes time.

Last time we were talking about the uselessness of concepts, how they all are based on other concepts. But, at first, it is also important to get these concepts right. To find the best concepts, and then once you have those, and have an understanding of who you are in the broader sense, then it’s more easy to drop those concepts. As long as your concepts are unclear, it’s more difficult to drop them, because they are still raising questions. Once they are clear, it’s more easy. So this is an error that you find in some jnanis, that they tell everybody to forget about all concepts. I mean, they do it with good intent, I am sure. But for many people, first, they have to get rid of all the stupid concepts that they have. Which can only raise more and more and more questions, a never-ending story. Get those concepts replaced, by some time-tested, good concepts, of how this world is done, how it is organized, how we are organized, so that this clarity then brings also peace, the concepts can be dropped, and we can understand the truth beyond the words, the pure being.
Like for example, the koshas, the sheaths of consciousness that cover the self, like the layers of an onion. That’s a separate class which I will give, and it’s very interesting to really understand: what is mind, what is the intellect, what is the ego, what is the pranic body, what is the physical body, and what is this universe? What is time, what is space? And all these things.

Often we will find that we are doing something stupid. Stupid as opposed to the knowledge about truth and everything that we are now having. Like you might pass a mirror somewhere, and find yourself seeing if your hair is alright. It just happens. But if you truly understand how mind works, how mind works with association, how mind has so many habits, patterns of thought. Then it’s easy to say, “Okay, stupid mind, not stupid me.” To disidentify from mind and intellect and body and everything is easy, once you get to know them, once you recognize them.

Concepts and/or Happiness

Concepts can be always further refined. It shouldn’t become too academic, too theoretical. If you understand the essence of mind, and you understand the essence of intellect, then that’s enough. No need to go into all the details and try to see, for example, where mind and intellect overlap. Which of course they do, these are just concepts. It’s not like this is a separate thing. So don’t get trapped in all the concepts, but get a good idea of the basic concepts, so that you can easily forget about it, and not have to wonder about them in your meditation. In meditation, you are stopping, and the mind says, “Oh, it’s hard.” But that’s just mind. So if you know that’s not me, that’s just mind, it’s easy to have a little laugh, and then stop, because you are the boss. So you stop mind, “Shhh.” Nothing more.

So we have to a little bit search ourselves, study ourselves. But of course, not in the therapeutic sense. I mean, I’m not saying that what searching is done in therapy of what happened in childhood or later is not valuable. That’s not what I’m saying. But it’s not jnana yoga. That I am saying. The true search for the self in jnana has as little as possible to do with your very individual personality, as little as possible. And as much as possible to do with you, your inner being, your inner self, your inner silence, your inner peace, your inner happiness.

Another technique often found in jnana yoga is questions and answers. Like I said, those books of Nisargadatta and Ramana, or Papaji also, they are full of it. And it’s important to ask questions and get answers, and it’s important to indeed always get the same answer. There is only one truth so there is only one answer. All else may be interesting details, but nothing essential, nothing you actually need to know. So with questions and answers, it is always interesting that the answer is already in the question. Whichever question you ask. Every question is by itself an error. Find the error in the question and you will have the answer.

Let’s take, for example, the question, which comes often, “How can I be more happy?” It’s a stupid question, because you are happy. Only to question it makes you unhappy. That is the error which is there. And if you see the error, then you see that you are happy, and that is a simple answer. Don’t question it. Shut up. These are some jnani games, very entertaining.

There’s a little more technique, you know, jnanis also have to fill the time, so try out different things. One of the things you can easily do is true happiness. As I said we are all happy, nothing wrong. So instead of just saying, “Sit down, shut up, stop,” I’ll say, “Okay, you can stop, while being happy. Smile. Just a little bit. Stick to the happy feeling.” It may feel a little bit forced at first, but it’s our true nature.

The more you try, the more you will see that, “Wow, something responds.” Because happiness comes rather easily if you let it. If you just give it a little start, it’ll be there, and you can do this anywhere, any time. On the train, in traffic, just a little smile, just a little feeling in the heart right here. That’s where it is. It’s always there. Once you start with that, you have to start being a little careful, because people will think you’re crazy, or a drug addict, you know? Because once you start there, you can go around smiling all the time. Very easy. And in a sense, in our society, it’s a taboo. You’re not supposed to be happy just like that, you’re only supposed to be happy if there’s a good reason for it. Now, we can be really happy without reason. But it’s a strong taboo.

Most people who don’t like yoga use this as an argument. They say “All these people are just sitting there, being peaceful and happy.” It’s like we are forcing ourselves to be happy, or just imagining that we are happy. And in a way in this exercise, this is so, just a little bit in the beginning, just to get there. Yes, you make just this little bit of effort, but once it is established, then no more effort needed, because it is only natural. It’s a very good exercise and a very good tool to use whenever you are unhappy. Just sit down, close your eyes, take a little smile, breathe through your heart center, and happiness will come, more and more and more. Like with all techniques, it’s about doing it more and more and more, and it becomes more and more easy.

But don’t overdo it. I mean, you get this tendency to start dancing and laughing, but then it will go, because then you’re using too much energy. That doesn’t work. Also in mediation, this can be a focus, this ananda, this bliss, but it’s a peaceful happiness. When you get too much into it and you say “Oh, oh, wow, fantastic,” then you start thinking, then you again lose it. Nothing wrong, you can always go back. But if you want to stay there, you have to be content. Feel a little bit of happiness on an ocean of peace. Be a happy, peaceful ocean.

Forget the Doer

The main thing is not what you do. The main thing is who is doing it. In jnana you have to give up doership. Often it is said in jnana: there is no doer. So what do they mean by that? Well, of course, first of all, if nothing ever gets done, there is no doer. It is not only that. Just think, if you are doing something, who is doing it? It is not the self; the self is just the self, just very happy by what it is. It can’t change, so what can it do? Neither is it mind, it may be involved, but it is not the doer. Intellect, body, the breath, same.

The only one who thinks he is the doer is the ego. He’s the one who thinks he’s doing things, and he’s the one who doesn’t exist. So there is no doer. To give up doership is very important. Whatever needs to be done, is done. But there should be nobody doing it. The ego should shut up, and not claim any responsibility, and not claim any credit. The ego is the only problem. I mean, of course, in yoga we have to get mind under control, and get breath under control, and get body under control, and get everything under control, and that is true up to a level, but that is only so that the ego can’t make bad use of these tools. Because these tools are only tools. They do what they are set to do. So to give up the doer means to give up the ego.

Like, right now, who is teaching? If I thought Peter Marchand would teach, would be the teacher, my God, I wouldn’t be sitting here. Who am I to sit here and talk about the truth and age old knowledge of a country to which I don’t even belong? So if I thought that this one, Peter Marchand, was doing it, I would never dare to do it. So I am not doing it - it’s just happening. And I just let it happen, and by letting it happen, it happens also in the most perfect way. Whenever something goes wrong, “Okay, I don’t mind taking the credit for that.” It’s like walking, you know, when you walk you’re also not really conscious about it. The moment you start walking consciously, very much in control, and taking every step measured out, you stumble, you fall, it’s impossible.

It’s a bit different when you learn to do something entirely new. There a little doership won’t hurt. When a young baby has to learn to walk, then it needs to focus and think about it, but as little as possible. Because even in his case, it will work best for him to just say, “Okay, let’s just walk.” If he just lets it happen, his legs know what to do, his mind knows what to do, his intellect knows what to do, his breath knows what to do, he’ll walk. But if he thinks, “Oh, I have to walk, let’s not fall. Me, I have to walk, let’s walk, let’s not fall,” then he’ll fall. So it’s the same with everything.

You can exercise that in life all the time. And maybe start with simple things, like washing dishes. We all know that we can wash all these dishes without really being involved, because usually when people wash dishes their mind is elsewhere. So do the same thing, except don’t let your mind go anywhere, just stay focused on the dishes, but don’t do the dishes, let them be done. Try to keep silent, try to be not involved, try to let it happen, and it will happen. And once you can do it with the dishes, you can do it with many other things, even more complicated. Until you’re talking, and you’re not doing it, it also just happens naturally. And that’s the main point, to start behaving naturally.

To be means to be naturally. That means your attention is on that which you are doing, but not feeling that you are doing it. That is what gives the most credit to the Self. You stay with the Self, let mind and body and everything take care of the rest. They know, they don’t need you. So in that way, everything in life becomes a meditation, and that way you can do whatever needs to be done, whether it’s your dharma, or even what you want to do or like to do, but without doership.

Good sportsmen, they know that. Like a tennis player, he has no time to think when the ball comes that way, he can’t think, “I’ll do a drop-shot, or a backhand.” If he already thinks in advance, it will be very clear to the other player what is coming. He just has to let it come naturally, and suddenly, some drop-shot will come. Maybe in between the games, he might think a little bit, “I’ll give longer or shorter balls,” a little tactic, but during the game there is no time for that. When the player starts thinking too much, then he can’t play anymore, then he’ll make mistake after mistake. And very often when he makes a mistake, just by accident, just one ball over the line, he doubts himself, then he thinks he needs to take more control, and by taking more control, he loses everything. It’s only by playing naturally that he can win the game, and this is true also in life.

You can sing a song that you already know, while at the same time focusing on your inner being and your inner silence. Not focusing on the song, not trying to sing very beautifully or something like that, just letting the song happen, letting your voice and your mind do the job.


A very big part of being as you are in life means that you stay out of this happy and unhappy game. People are continuously shifting from one to the other. By staying focused inside, this stops, then equanimity comes, then you are content with whatever happens, and very happy. That’s a problem which many people have about yoga, because they don’t know much about yoga. They feel, “Well if you stop being happy or unhappy, if you stop being involved, then the plus of happiness, and the minus of unhappiness are brought together, and you have a big zero. This big zero may be peaceful, but that’s it, it’s no fun, it’s not good, it’s not happy, it’s just like a plant or stone.”

But they don’t know what they’re talking about, because if you can do that, if you can take the plus and the minus and bring it into neutrality and bring it into your inner silence, then from there look, then happiness is there in a way you’ve never understood or experienced before. So plus and minus make zero, and then zero becomes plus, or double plus. That’s the truth. You get so happy that you have to hide it. You just wanna scream, or dance, or laugh at everybody or everything. And that’s not very accepted socially, so you have to hide, play a little theater, behave as if nothing really happened. Life is a game, life is a theatre, so sometimes you have to play different roles. So play those roles, keep your happiness inside, don’t make it too ecstatic, there’s no need. Do that in private, or upon occasion, when the occasion is suitable. Have fun.

My Mataji from the Santosh Puri Ashram in Haridwar wrote in her book something very beautiful: "santosh is self-sufficiency". Meaning contentment, which is santosh, makes you self-sufficient, because you don’t need anything else. If you already have contentment, what do you need? So then you are automatically taking care of yourself, you are self-sufficient. The self, for you, is sufficient.

To have a good idea of the difference between needs and desires is not a bad idea. Needs are very few, just some food and water and shelter, company, maybe. Not even that is really a need, but nice. What else? All other desires are not a big deal, not a problem even. If it doesn’t go against your dharma, if it doesn’t go against your karma, if it doesn’t create a lot more trouble than it’s worth, if the opportunity arises to fulfill a certain desire, then fulfill it. Nothing wrong, that’s why this world is here, the whole game, the whole theatre. But don’t invent any new ones, you know. Don’t let go of the happiness, the peace, that is now, which is there, and which needs nothing.

One thing which I’ve always found rather remarkable with jnanis, is the importance that they give to moderate and light food. In many other yoga’s, you will get very detailed descriptions about how to live, what to eat, how to wash, when to wake up, how to wake up, how to meditate, all these things, but in jnana, they let you do pretty much what you want. But still, Nisargadatta, Ramana, they all emphasize the importance of food being moderate, healthy, light, easy to digest, and therefore, usually vegetarian.

So, that’s about life as a jnani. Don’t do anything, just do whatever needs to be done, but don’t do it, just let it happen. Enjoy, have fun, and stay as close as you can to your self.

Meditation in Jnana Yoga

When it comes to meditation, as I said, in jnana, this is very simple. Just stop, and if we then compare this to the eight steps of ashtanga yoga, we will find that while they are not emphasized at all in jnana, they are also included. Yama and niyama - if you live from your innermost self, these things come very naturally. Asana - there’s less need to sit very long, to meditate a very long time. It is just necessary to sit in the Self very long, but a good sitting posture for meditation is good. Pranayama - nothing wrong, but not very much needed. If you stop thinking, then automatically breath will become slow and deep, and eventually it will stop, which is the end objective of pranayama. Then pratyahara and dharana, dhyana and samadhi, they are all included in stopping. Stopping means there is little interest in what the senses are telling you, focusing on one thing. Then that focus becomes stronger, until it really is established, and then you stay there, and then samadhi.

Normally, in most yogas, the object of the meditation is very important, in dharana, and dhyana, and sometimes even in samadhi. This object can be a mantra, or a painting, or something, but in jnana, this is a little different. The subject becomes the object of the meditation. We are looking for the I, we are looking for the one who is meditating, and we are not interested in any external object. We just stop everything else and focus on what we are. That is the meditation. To feel the witness, without caring for what it witnesses, to feel yourself.

A few methods are there for beginners, which ask you to focus on something which either does not exist, or at least where we can say the existence of it is a little tricky. Like, for example, listening to the sound of silence. Silence obviously makes no sound, so if you listen to the silence, which anyhow is there, so to speak, behind all the sound, as the background of all the sound, then we direct our full attention to something which is not giving us any feedback. So the subject is turned towards an object which is not existing, and in that way, the subject, the witness, is brought back to itself.

If you are listening to the silence, you can do it anywhere, anytime, very efficient. Personally, for a long time it was the fastest way to find the self. Just listen, there it is. Takes a bit of exercise, but quite efficient. You can do the same thing with all the senses, with space. You can imagine unending, unlimited space. When you are sitting somewhere in nature, where you can see very far, and its beautiful, and then you just focus on the light, and don’t try to see any difference between this light or that light. You just look at the light, and of course when you look at the light, then there’s only light, and light is the only thing you can see, then you’re really not seeing anything anymore. But since you are looking, you are focused, and this focus towards something which is not giving you any particular feedback, it never changes, has the effect that in the end you are brought back to yourself.

You can watch the passing of time. Like with the river, the water flowing, always changing form, apparently, but always remaining the same river, like the Buddha. There’s always something around which can help you to stay focused on what is truly important, and that is you. To be only here and now, like this famous book, The Power of Now. In the now, you can’t think. Thinking is only about the past and the future, but you just stay here and now, and just follow this now all the time. Sure, you are catapulted back to yourself. So all these things will teach you how to stop.

Enlightenment - the Concept

The last thing to say about these techniques in jnana is that surprisingly Ramana Maharishi even comes up, dares to come up, with certain stages of jnana. I’m sure at other points he laughs at it, or surely Nisargadatta Maharaj would laugh at it, but it’s still interesting to think about it. So Ramana says it all starts with the desire for enlightenment or for everlasting happiness. That’s where it starts. As long as that is not there, you’re just not getting involved in something like this. This is where it starts. And then the second step is vichara, self-inquiry, both through contact with the teacher and through self-contemplation.

That then leads to the third step, which means to make the mind go quiet, one way or another. Vichara already brings that about if it is properly done. Other methods can also be used. Stopping mind, making mind transparent, you could also say. Making it again your tool and putting the tool aside. Then the fourth step which comes is called sattvapati, which literally means: the ruler of sattva. Sattva is the most pure, most harmonious form of energy. It basically means that you are able to easily, or even instantly, reach the inner peace and bliss of the Self, and this bliss, this ananda, is sattva. Ramana translates this as self-realization. So this is, for him, not the same thing as enlightenment. This is just the fourth step, and there are a total of seven steps. It means you have such a close contact with the self by using these techniques, that you always have the choice to be happy, to be at peace.

While enlightenment may not be something that everybody can reach in this life (I have no idea, it’s none of my business) but one thing I can say for sure: everybody who’s willing to give it a try can reach sattvapati. You can have such good contact with the inside, that when you want you can go there and recharge yourself with peace, and happiness, and then again come out, and as I was explaining before, try to keep it. And that’s something new, that’s something quite valuable. Most people really don’t have a choice whether they are happy or not, it’s quite dependent on what happens to them. To really have this self-confidence, this mastery, to be happy whenever you want is sattvapati. It makes life much more agreeable.

At that point, enlightenment can wait, you’re no longer in a hurry. It’s not like a big flash - one day you are not and the next you are sattvapati, it’s not like that. It comes gradually, until gradually you just never lose this sattvic feeling. That is the true sattvapati, of course, then you never lose it, whatever happens. And you don’t need to go back and get it. Then it is there always.

Then the fifth stage is non-attachment. I’m not saying detachment, I’m saying non-attachment. By being in sattva for a really long time, then the attachment to everything else just drops away. You understand the game so well, that you just don’t get caught in it anymore. Even nice things. Then the sixth is called non-perception. There is no more perception. The eyes still see. The ears still hear. Your mind is getting all that information, but you are no longer having this information. You are no longer perceiving, you are completely centered inside. That’s why many jnanis will say, “Yes, I know that all of this happens, but I barely notice, it is not in my world, I am not here, I may appear to be here, but I am not really here.”

Then the next and final step is called turiya, enlightenment, moksha. It’s a very tough concept, because you can ask, “Who is then enlightened?” The self obviously is not getting enlightened because he of course already is. This body will also not become enlightened. And mind will not be enlightened, it is just a monkey. The intellect will not become enlightened, it is just an encyclopedia. Then who gets enlightened? The ego? No, no, you can say that enlightenment means that the ego disappears. But then there’s nobody there anymore to claim to be enlightened. So that is why if a person says, “I am enlightened,” it is always a little doubtful because, who is he talking about? Someone else can say, “that person is enlightened,” but then what are they talking about? What do they know about it?  So it’s a funny concept.

I’ve asked so many saints whether enlightenment is a permanent state or not. If you are enlightened, can you again fall? And this may come now as a surprise, but all of them said, “Yes, of course, it is possible that an enlightened person again loses it.” And if you look in the scriptures, like in the Yoga Vasishtha, which is very interesting also if you want to know about jnana yoga, then many stories are told about enlightened beings who, somehow or other, again get attached to something, and again lose it.

So that is an important bit of information there. We are already all enlightened, and becoming enlightened is not a very clear concept, and it’s not even permanent, and that teaches you something. That teaches us that enlightenment is a choice that we can make here and always, and if needed, again and again. We are free.


Leela is the ancient vedic name for the theater of life. Life in all its forms is an illusion behind which we can find the ultimate truth of pure Being. Yet life is also a divine theater, a spiritual game played by us, the actors. Yoga allows us to hold on to the bliss of truth while playing the game. And also this yoga is a game, which we can only take seriously if we do not take ourselves and this game too seriously. That is the meaning of Leela Yoga, nothing more, nothing less. So, Leela Yoga is a vision on yoga and also a name for a simple organisation that allows me to bring this vision into practice... more about Leela Yoga & Peter Marchand

Peter Marchand Facebook page

International Leela Yoga Facebook Group

Leela Yoga Newsletter

Belgium : www.leela-yoga.be

New book : www.tantricadvaita.org

Harish Johari students sangha : www.sanatansociety.org

  in sweet memory
of Harish Johari


As the destination is the same for all, it is easy to make the error of assuming that the path must be just as universal.

The attachment that happens in the pursuit of happiness is the main source of unhappiness.

Don't think of going somewhere, because this somewhere will come along with you wherever you go, as you are already there.

Yoga requires unity between enjoyment and suffering, between bhoga and yoga, even between attachment and detachment.

How can anyone be "good" without a choice between good and bad?

While the mind creates the illusion of the universe through the senses, the intellect creates the illusion of understanding it.

When our day has been entirely ego-centered, then our meditation will probably have similar poor quality.

When the focus on the self is held strongly enough, the flow of kundalini energy happens on its own, naturally.

Tiptoe inside, don't make a sound, don't scare away that which cannot be found.

Enlightenment is nothing more or less than the final level of the game of life.