There’s always an other answer but for some reason with a decent conviction I feel the image of God should reach a decent end with this answer. Not being overconfident but just with strong conviction, here’s my answer.
Firstly, we must understand that as humans we are part of a larger system and in this system God is probably far superior or the ultimatum.
So for eg: Can your mobile phone tell about other mobile phones or tell about other electronic devices. Your mobile phone, yes can your mobile phone no matter however smart and with artificial intelligence in the near future, it will never be able to do more than what it was designed to do by a creator.
Similarly, we as humans, no matter however smart and with abundance of self intelligence and consciousness will never be able to judge something superior to us.
Yet again I reiterate that humans are also part of a system, so for me to tell about the system or God or the entire creation or make sense of the creation I have to be out of the system and not inside it.
Your desktop computer cannot think, help or work beyond a certain capacity. Only if the so called feature is given it will start to do that.
So only if the humans are given the so called features to realize the creator we will be..or from an atheist perspective only if we find the missing feature, we will be able tell about God oops..or the Omnipower, Quasar or nature or whatever name one would like to give.
However yet one must come to the fact that not everything can be comphrended or made meaning of by the human mind. It has its own limits and there will be always things which we cannot explain. This is a fact we have to come to terms with and offcourse a fair bit of personal experience is also required on both to agree on this topic or not to agree as well.
You have asked a very sensible and intelligent question, so keep that in mind.
You will find the answer to your question when you listen or read the below transcript with some sense and intelligence as well and offcourse, with the grace of God. Without his grace, you will not have the chance to realize God as well…..
Here’s the short cut answer –
These words were used and said by Swami Vivekananda during his visit to Chicago on 15th September, 1893.
Here’s the easier answer, read below for the transcript:
Opening Address – Chicago, Sept 11, 1893
Sisters and Brothers of America,
It fills my heart with joy unspeakable to rise in response to the warm and cordial welcome which you have given us. I thank you in the name of the most ancient order of monks in the world; I thank you in the name of the mother of religions, and I thank you in the name of millions and millions of Hindu people of all classes and sects.
My thanks, also, to some of the speakers on this platform who, referring to the delegates from the Orient, have told you that these men from far-off nations may well claim the honor of bearing to different lands the idea of toleration. I am proud to belong to a religion which has taught the world both tolerance and universal acceptance.
We believe not only in universal toleration, but we accept all religions as true. I am proud to belong to a nation which has sheltered the persecuted and the refugees of all religions and all nations of the earth. I am proud to tell you that we have gathered in our bosom the purest remnant of the Israelites, who came to Southern India and took refuge with us in the very year in which their holy temple was shattered to pieces by Roman tyranny. I am proud to belong to the religion which has sheltered and is still fostering the remnant of the grand Zoroastrian nation. I will quote to you, brethren, a few lines from a hymn which I remember to have repeated from my earliest boyhood, which is every day repeated by millions of human beings: “As the different streams having their sources in different paths which men take through different tendencies, various though they appear, crooked or straight, all lead to Thee.”
The present convention, which is one of the most august assemblies ever held, is in itself a vindication, a declaration to the world of the wonderful doctrine preached in the Gita: “Whosoever comes to Me, through whatsoever form, I reach him; all men are struggling through paths which in the end lead to me.” Sectarianism, bigotry, and its horrible descendant, fanaticism, have long possessed this beautiful earth.
They have filled the earth with violence, drenched it often and often with human blood, destroyed civilization and sent whole nations to despair. Had it not been for these horrible demons, human society would be far more advanced than it is now. But their time is come; and I fervently hope that the bell that tolled this morning in honor of this convention may be the death-knell of all fanaticism, of all persecutions with the sword or with the pen, and of all uncharitable feelings between persons wending their way to the same goal.
Concluding Address — Chicago, September 27, 1893
The World’s Parliament of Religions has become an accomplished fact, and the merciful Father has helped those who labored to bring it into existence, and crowned with success their most unselfishthanks to those noble souls whose large hearts and love of truth first dreamed this wonderful dream and then realized it. My thanks to the shower of liberal sentiments that has overflowed this platform. My thanks to this enlightened audience for their uniform kindness to me and for their appreciation of every thought that tends to smooth the friction of religions. A few jarring notes were heard from time to time in this harmony. My special thanks to them, for they have, by their striking contrast, made general harmony the sweeter.
Much has been said of the common ground of religious unity. I am not going just now to venture my own theory. But if any one here hopes that this unity will come by the triumph of any one of the religions and the destruction of the others, to him I say, “Brother, yours is an impossible hope.” Do I wish that the Christian would become Hindu? God forbid. Do I wish that the Hindu or Buddhist would become Christian? God forbid.
The seed is put in the ground, and earth and air and water are placed around it. Does the seed become the earth, or the air, or the water? No. It becomes a plant. It develops after the law of its own growth, assimilates the air, the earth, and the water, converts them into plant substance, and grows into a plant.
Similar is the case with religion. The Christian is not to become a Hindu or a Buddhist, nor a Hindu or a Buddhist to become a Christian. But each must assimilate the spirit of the others and yet preserve his individuality and grow according to his own law of growth.
If the Parliament of Religions has shown anything to the world, it is this: It has proved to the world that holiness, purity and charity are not the exclusive possessions of any church in the world, and that every system has produced men and women of the most exalted character.
In the face of this evidence, if anybody dreams of the exclusive survival of his own religion and the destruction of the others, I pity him from the bottom of my heart, and point out to him that upon the banner of every religion will soon be written in spite of resistance: “Help and not fight,” “Assimilation and not Destruction,” “Harmony and Peace and not Dissension.”
hmm..sorry to be blunt but the reason you might be asking this question is either just out of curiosity or you also want to be enlightened. You could have come to the point directly.
Anyway, atleast you have the seeking for the ultimate. Good.
Enlightment as Jayesh Kumar put it is a mindset (again varies from person to person or say soul to soul).
It is not the end. And as Shreyansh Dubey also points out there are many who are and who teach you, guide you through the path to enlightenment, they dont make business out of it, they do it for free.
It does not mean once you are enlightened you will always remain there. You will have to always be conscious and strive to be in that state. For example: Ambani might be the richest man but trust me he has problems of his own. Even he will have sleepless nights atleast once. Similarly, when you reach enlightened stage doesn’t mean you have conquered everything and can never go wrong henceforth.
Eg: Even Buddha was tested for his mental purity. He had to face temptations of every sort. He had to face Mara. It was only then, and not till then, that he had illumination under the Bodhi tree in Gaya.
Even Visvamitra and Parasara who were living on leaves, air and water who were enlightened were victims of lust, what should be the fate of worldly people?
There are many saintly persons indeed, but they are interested only in their own deliverance. Not caring for the big cities and towns, they go to the Himalayas or the forest to meditate with vows of silence [mauna-vrata]. They are not interested in delivering others. These people are also enlightened because based on their previous karma they will not like to give big lectures, start ashrams, satsangs etc. They also know that this is what is wanted of them.
Then there those who do not wish to be liberated alone, leaving aside all the poor fools and rascals. They wish to bring them back to shelter. They have real compassion and social service towards society.They are not selfish in enjoying their spiritual successes, unlike any materialistic person. They cannot tolerate the sufferings of humanity which is due to IGNORANCE of the self. Again this is based on their life experience, previous karmas.
But we must be cautious and ALERT ,should not get carried and cheated away from BOGUS and UNAUTHORISED ” gurus and sadhus”.
So, even if you get a list of the enlightened people now, it will be of not much help.
So, in your case start searching and you will find the enligtened. Because the person enligtened to me might not be enlightened to you.