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Sahaja is Primordial Naturalness

Roses in Sunlight
Episode No. 98

What does “self-realization” really mean? A podcast from Satsang with Shambhavi

First Words From Podcast

The word for naturalness in Sanskrit is sahaja. I think that sahaja is the best word in our tradition for self-realization or enlightenment. If you want to get down to the absolute core of what we mean when we say self-realization or enlightenment, what we’re really talking about is naturalness.

Now, of course, many of you have encountered people—or maybe you are one of these people!—who on occasion when they do something really cruddy, they say, “I’m just being myself.” It’s usually an excuse for something. That’s not what we mean when we say sahaja. That self when you say “I’m being myself” is your limited self. That self is your self that’s still carrying around all of its karmas, all of its limitations, all of its tensions. So that’s not the self that we’re trying to realize. We’ve already realized that self—we’re very good at that!

When we talk about naturalness, we’re talking about something primordial—something that comes before, or sits behind, or gives rise to these experiences that we’re having right now. It’s something more original, something less encumbered. That Self is the World Self. That Self is totally without any contrivance. Contrived is what our karmas make us. We’re contrived by our emotional tensions. We’re very highly constrained and contrived by our ideas about ourselves, other people, life, and how other things are supposed to be. We really suffer from our ideas about right and wrong, our ideas about good and bad, proper and improper, sinful and holy. We suffer tremendously from all of these ideas about things, and we make other people suffer from them too if we’re in a certain mood.