An Introduction to Enlightenment and the Trinity

It’s Mother’s Day today, May 13, 2012 and I’d like to return to a theme that I promised the Divine Mother in my interview with her on May 7, 2012 that I would properly undertake. It may be a dense subject to get through for some but I need to do it at some time. I apologize for its density.

The exchange with the Divine Mother follows. I’d just asked her a question on her identity that employed a bit of jargon and she replied:

Divine Mother: Many who listen do not understand this [relationship that you have described] or these terms [that you have used].

Steve Beckow: Yes, I realize that.

DM: And part of my desire is to make very clear, that people do understand. So, ensure, beloved, that you do make these terms very clear for your readers and listeners.

SB: I will. But if you would just confirm for me that you are speaking about the conditioned Brahman rather than the Transcendental Absolute, I can do the rest.

DM: Yes, that is exactly what I am speaking of. (1)

I’m not an enlightened man (although, like all Starseeds, I presume I’ve been enlightened in other lifetimes and wear the blindfold in this one). I’m not a spiritual teacher and have no desire to be. I’m simply an avid writer on spiritual themes.

What I’d like to do is to provide you with a cross-correspondence of three levels of reality and the enlightenment experiences I believe are associated with them. What are my reasons for doing this?

First, because I wish to fulfill my promise to the Divine Mother.

Second, because I believe that we as human beings have been assigned a task the completion of which constitutes “full enlightenment” and allows us to graduate from the realm of human dimensionality to whatever is next. And that task is the full realization of these three levels of reality.

Third, because it’s useful to see the whole of the human assignment to know where Ascension fits into it.

Fourth, because a full explanation of the self-awareness path requires the knowledge of these three levels of reality and the enlightenment experiences associated with them. They are all aspects or levels of the One Supreme Self.

Fifth, because an understanding of these three levels of reality and the enlightenment experiences associated with them allows one the key, I believe, to understanding the cross-cultural equivalents of all the world’s major religions.

What I’m about to say arises from the vision I had on February 13, 1997 (3) and the many years of research into enlightenment and the Trinity that I did after it to try to unfold its meaning.

The Trinity

It’s my contention that, to graduate from the human experience, we’re tasked with knowing completely the three levels of reality called by Christians the Father, Son and Holy Ghost and by Hindus Brahman, Atman, and Shakti.

I prefer to call these three levels, altering their order somewhat, the Self, the Mother, and the Father.  Another way to refer to them is the Transcendental (the Father), the Phenomenal (the Mother), and the Transcendental in the Phenomenal (the Self).

I’d like to provide cross-cultural descriptions of the three and then review the enlightenment experiences I think are connected to them.

The Self

The Self is the individuated soul, called by Jesus the only begotten Son of God, the Christ, the Savior, the Prince of peace, the treasure buried in a field, the pearl of great price, and the mustard seed; called by Hindus the Atman and Brahman-within-the-individual.

It’s known to other religions as Fire the Son of the Lord, the firebrand plucked from the burning, the lamp always burning on the altar, the God-spark, and the flame in the heart.

I called the Self the Transcendental in the Phenomenal, the Transcendental itself being the Father and the Phenomenal being the Mother. This is equivalent to saying the God-spark within the heart of the individual, the treasure (the Self) buried in the field (the Body), the Father in the Mother’s womb as the Child of God, etc.

No matter what name is used for the Self, the same phenomenon is being pointed at.

The Mother

The Mother was called by Jesus and his disciples the Holy Spirit, the comforter spirit, the spirit of truth, the Logos, the Word of God, and the Amen; by Solomon and the Old-Testament prophets, Wisdom, the Voice of one crying in the wilderness, and the noise of many waters; by Hindus Shakti, Kali, Aum, the Sound-Brahman, Sphota, Prana, primordial energy, the universal creative vibration, Prakriti (Procreatrix), and the creator, preserver and transformer of matter, mater, Mother.

The Mother has form and the Father in “his” original nature (“He” is not a he) is formless. When the Mother is coupled with the Father in form, they are often spoken of as the cosmic male and female, Shiva and Shakti, the yin and yang. I have often spoken of the Mother as being the Phenomenal, which means all of matter, the whole of the created world, anything apart from the formless and immaterial Father.

The Mother is created; only the Father is uncreated. She can be realized as the light in all creation, the highest enlightenment short of the Father.

No matter what name is used for the Mother, the same phenomenon is ultimately being pointed at.

The Father

The Father, when manifest or given form by the Mother, is called the Personal God, God in form, or the conditioned Brahman. The Father, when in its original and unmanifest state, is called the Impersonal God, the formless God, or the unconditioned Brahman. It’s also called the Transcendental Absolute when unmanifest or formless. It’s further called Mahashiva, Parabrahman, Paramatman, the Supreme Self, the All, the One without a second, all that is, etc.

It’s spoken of as Sat-Chit-Ananda or infinite wisdom, being and bliss. It’s transcendent, supreme, unchanging, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, with and without form, with and without attributes, and altogether unfathomable.

All of the Father’s manifested states and unmanifest nature share the same attribute: namely, stillness. When movement stops, the manifest dissolves back into the unmanifest. The Father is formless, permanent, but beginningless and endless. And no matter what name is used to point at it and no matter the deficiencies of the pointer, the object pointed at remains the same. Only the names differ.


We know each of these objects or levels of reality in a process of realization or enlightenment. A different level of realization is associated with each of the three levels of reality.

I think we can describe them somewhat, but these descriptions must be accepted as speculative only and not having come from my own personal experience.

Realization of the Self

Realization of the Self occurs for many as seeing a discrete but brilliant light. For some it’s an event in consciousness which occurs when the kundalini reaches the fourth or Anahata chakra. Hindus call it “spiritual awakening” and Buddhists call it “stream entering.” I think of it as the first level of enlightenment.

Sri Ramakrishna describes spiritual awakening this way:

“The Kundalini, when awakened, passes through the lower centres and comes to the Anahata, which is at the heart. It stays there. At that time the mind of the aspirant is withdrawn from the three lower centres. He feels the awakening of Divine Consciousness and sees Light. In mute wonder he sees that radiance and cries out: ‘What is this? What is this?’” (4)

Jan Ruusbroec describes it this way:

“In the abyss of this darkness in which the loving spirit has died to itself, God’s revelation and eternal life have their origin, for in this darkness an incomprehensible light is born and shines forth; this is the Son of God, in whom a person becomes able to see and to contemplate eternal life.” (5)

Please note that both these descriptions of enlightenment take the form of seeing a light. There are other types of enlightenment but to give them all would make this article too long. More examples can be found here. (6)

Realization of the Mother

The most common name for the enlightenment of the Mother that happens when the kundalini reaches the sixth chakra is cosmic consciousness or savikalpa samadhi. Some experience it as a light that lies in all creation. Others experience it as the vision of the personal God, or God with form. I haven’t experienced any of these so I can’t describe it precisely. The enlightenment or realization of the nature of the Mother is the last enlightenment before leaving the world of form and entering the formless.

Let’s provide some examples of this level of enlightenment. Here’s Sri Ramakrishna discussing it:

“The sixth plane is at the forehead. When the mind reaches it, the aspirant sees the form of God day and night. But even then a little trace of ego remains. At the sight of that incomparable beauty of God’s form, one becomes intoxicated and rushes forth to touch and embrace it. But one doesn’t succeed. It is like the light inside a lantern. One feels as if one could touch the light, but one cannot on account of the pane of glass.” (7)

Here’s the poet William Wordsworth.

“Such was the Boy — but for the growing Youth
What soul was his, when, from the naked top
Of some bold headland, he beheld the sun
Rise up, and bathe the world in light! He looked —
Ocean and earth, the solid frame of earth
And ocean’s liquid mass, in gladness lay
Beneath him:– Far and wide the clouds were touched,
And in their silent faces could he read
Unutterable love. Sound needed none,
Nor any voice of joy; his spirit drank
The spectacle: sensation, soul, and form,
All melted into him; they swallowed up
His animal being; in them did he live,
And by them did he live; they were his life.” (8)

The enlightenment of the Mother carries many benefits but is not the end of our journey.

Realization of the Father

The enlightenments associated with the Father begin when the kundalini reaches the seventh or crown chakra. This results in Brahmajnana or God-Realization and continues on from there. The point at which we reach liberation from the round of birth and death is, according to Sri Ramana Maharshi, sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi, which brings a permanent heart opening. I’m not sure if that’s the same as the Hindu vijnana or the realization of Parabrahman, the Godhead. I think it is. At Brahmajnana we realize that I am God; at sahaja, that God has become everything.

Here are some examples of Brahmajnana, beginning with Sri Ramakrishna:

“Last of all is the seventh plane, which, according to Tantra, is the centre of the thousand-petalled lotus. When the Kundalini arrives there, the aspirant goes into samadhi. In that lotus dwells Satchidananda Siva, the Absolute. There Kundalini, the awakened Power, unites with Siva. This is known as the union of Siva and Sakti.” (9)

“After passing the six centres the aspirant arrives at the seventh plane. … The individual soul and the Supreme Soul become one. The aspirant goes into samadhi. His consciousness of the body disappears. He loses the knowledge of the outer world. He does not see the manifold any more. His reasoning comes to a stop.” (10)

Brahmanjnana is also described as (kevalya) nirvikalpa samadhi. Here Ramakrishna uses that term:

“In [nirvikalpa] samadhi one attains the Knowledge of Brahman — one realizes Brahman. In that state reasoning stops altogether, and man becomes mute. He has no power to describe the nature of Brahman.

“After I had experienced [nirvikalpa] samadhi, my mind craved intensely to hear only about God.” (11)

And here is Swami Dattatreya announcing his achievement of God-Realization.

“I am indeed that Brahman which is free from diversity. O dear friend, how can I, the Self, salute the Self? … I am uncreated and separate from creation, for I am ever present. … I am Self-luminous, I am Existence-Knowledge-Bliss and boundless as space.” (12)

However, liberation from birth and death or moksha doesn’t occur at seventh-chakra enlightenment, which only results in a temporary heart opening. The permanent heart opening and liberation comes at sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi. Here is Sri Ramana Maharshi making that point:

“[The] Heart is the seat of Jnanam as well as of the granthi (knot of ignorance). It is represented in the physical body by a hole smaller than the smallest pin-point, which is always shut. When the mind drops down in Kevalya Nirvikalpa [samadhi], it opens but shuts again after it. When sahaja [nirvikalpa samadhi] is attained it opens for good.” (13)

Sahaja is also Nirvikalpa. You are probably meaning Kevala Nirvikalpa, which is temporary, while the Samadhi lasts. The Sahaja Nirvikalpa is permanent and in it lies liberation from rebirths.” (14)

“[The state beyond bliss] is the state of unceasing peace of mind which is found in the state of absolute quiescence, jagrat-sushupti (lit. sleep with awareness) which resembles inactive deep sleep. In this state, in spite of the activity of the body and the senses, there is no external awareness, like a child immersed in sleep (who is not conscious of the food given to him by his mother). A yogi who is in this state is inactive even while engaged in activity. This is also called sahaja nirvikalpa samadhi (natural state of absorption in oneself without concepts).” (15)

We can reach full enlightenment in any way we can. As Sri Ramakrishna said, we can walk into the lake, jump into the lake, or dive into the lake. Any entrance effects the same result. (16)

This implies that any sincere path will lead to God. It’s also true, as I understand it, to say that any sincere seeker is bound to find God in one lifetime, some sooner than others.

Now I fear that if I were to go on further, I would cause people’s heads to spin, so I may end the discussion of the stages of enlightenment beyond God-Realization at this point. It can be pursued in greater depth here. (17)

On the awareness path, or on any path for that matter, the goal is always the same. It matters not by what name we call it – the Transcendental Absolute, the unconditioned Brahman, the Godhead, the Void – it is the goal of all human life by any name.

It may be that to graduate from the human dimension, we have to know something beyond the Transcendental Absolute but such is not my understanding at the moment. My understanding is that what will vary is the depth of the knowledge of the Transcendental Absolute. Of course I’m willing to be corrected and it’s most likely I will be.

The Mother the other day said that “full enlightenment” was much higher than Ascension. Here’s the relevant passage from the interview:

Steve Beckow: Why is it that not many enlightened teachers, like Adyashanti or Mata Amritanandamayi, seem to be referring to Ascension?

Divine Mother: That is not where they have chosen to focus their energies. And they have always, in their journey, wanted to bring their devotees, their students, their family, directly home to full enlightenment. So, it is a difference in the fulfillment of their unique journey. It does not mean that they are not aware of it, but to them they feel that if they can bring their devotees directly home, then why bother with the human Gaia process of this Ascension to the fifth, to the seventh? (18)

I assume that she means by “full enlightenment” the enlightenment that would have us graduate from the human dimension rather than the enlightenment which ends the cycle of birth and death – a much lower level of enlightenment. The latter is a fifth-dimensional experience, I think, and the former a twelfth-dimensional experience.

I don’t know anything about the level of enlightenment that would have us leave the twelfth dimension and with it the human realm. I assume it’s an even deeper knowing of the Father but that is mere speculation.

Spiritual masters don’t necessarily use the same terms to mean the same thing. What Saul calls “full consciousness” is not what the Mother would call “full enlightenment.” Saul means fifth-dimensional Ascension whereas the Mother means twelfth-dimensional completion of the human cycle of evolution. Here are some references from Saul:

“Humanity is preparing to rise into the state of full consciousness…

“It [brings] joyful confidence that God exists eternally, and you with Him, in the glory of His magnificent creation where ecstatic bliss is the ever-present ongoing experience.” (19)

“Those who are ready to make the change will move quickly and effortlessly into full consciousness. However, many who have not yet awakened will need a period of time, after they come to an awareness of what is happening, to adjust to this stunning realization; then when they are ready they, too, will embrace full consciousness.” (20)

“In the brilliant daylight of full consciousness there are no problems; there are only creative ideas and endeavors that work perfectly and transparently, and which are understood by all. This is of course why you need to awaken, so that you can enjoy that wondrous state.” (21)

SaLuSa also uses the same phrase of “full consciousness” and associates it with our upcoming Ascension.

“For some time now whether or not you have personally realized it, your consciousness levels have grown and that process is speeding up until you acquire full consciousness.” (22)

“As time progresses you will change from one of limited knowledge to a Galactic Being of full consciousness. Then you will be the Master that you really are, and release your full potential. There will be little or no comparison to the Being you are now of limited consciousness.” (23)

He compares this to leaving kindergarten and seeing the world outside for the first time. (24) But that’s not the same as the graduation from the school of human experience itself which occurs after the Twelfth Dimension.

In saying that the twelfth is the dimension that provides the outer limit of the human experience, I’m relying on what Ashtar said in an interview I had with him on April 23, 2012. Here’s that exchange:

Steve Beckow: You mentioned that you operate on the fifth dimension, and I presume that a lot of Galactic Federation personnel do as well. But that’s not to say that your own preferred plane is the fifth dimension, is it?

Ashtar: Oh, no, that is not what I am saying. I am saying that what we have done is we have brought our vibrations to the fifth dimension in order to be at a place where we can meet you. If you are to think of the human realm and what is available currently to you, if you were looking for me, I would be out of the realm of human experience. So, let us make that clear as well.

SB: That means above the twelfth dimension, is that correct?

A: That is correct.

SB: Thank you.

A: But if you were to seek me in the realm that is available to you in the human realm right now, then you would find me in the twelfth. But our vibration right now, of the entire fleet, is brought to the fifth. The fifth, with a great deal of fluctuation to the seventh, because there are many human beings who are ready for the seventh as well. (25)

These then are the three levels of reality that we must know to graduate from the human realm of experience and a little bit about the enlightenment experiences, as far as I understand them, that we must have to complete that knowledge. How we get to that knowledge and how long we take are left up to us.

We can see from this that the human journey continues on well past Ascension to the Fifth Dimension. It may not be as clear to see that the journey of enlightenment carries on far past the human realm itself and any realm that we can conceive of.

We can see as well that although sources like Saul and SaLuSa say this Ascension to the Fifth Dimension is full consciousness, it’s in no way full consciousness as I’d prefer to use the term, which I’d imagine lies well beyond the Twelfth Dimension of the human realm and would see us merge utterly with the Transcendental Absolute and disappear as individuals.

I now feel that I’ve satisfied my promise to the Divine Mother on this Mother’s Day. I’ve also set out the goal of the path of self-awareness and how we get to that goal. I’ve discussed the entire gamut of the assignment given us as humans in the Father’s lila or divine drama of enlightenment. And I’ve provided a key which I hope, when amplified, will unlock the puzzle of the cross-cultural equivalents of all religions.


(1) “Transcript of the Divine Mother on An Hour with an Angel,” May 7, 2011 at

(2) Archangel Michael in a reading through Linda Dillon some time last year.

(3) “Chapter 13. Epilogue,” at

(4) Paramahansa Ramakrishna in Swami Nikhilananda, trans., The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1978; c1942, 499. [Hereafter GSR.]

(5) John Ruusbroec in James A. Wiseman, John Ruusbroec. The Spiritual Espousals and Other Works. New York, etc.: Paulist Press, 1985, 147. Here is St. Augustine’s experience of it.

“When a deep consideration had from the secret bottom of my soul drawn together and heaped up all my misery in the sight of my heart; there arose a mighty storm, bringing a mighty shower of tears. … I cast myself down I know not how, under a certain fig tree, giving full vent to my tears; and the floods of mine eyes gushed out, an acceptable sacrifice to Thee. And … I spake much unto Thee: And Thou, O Lord, how long? how long, Lord, wilt Thou be angry, for ever? … Why not is there an hour to end my uncleanness? …

“I seized [the Bible], opened, and in silence read that section, on which my eyes first fell: Not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in spite and envying, but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh in concupiscence. No further would I read; nor needed I: for instantly at the end of this sentence, by a light as it were of serenity infused into my heart, all the darkness of doubt vanished away.” (St. Augustine in E.B. Pusey, trans., The Confessions of St. Augustine. London: Dent, 1934; c1909, 170-1.)

And finally J. Krishnamurti’s.

“I sat crosslegged in the meditation posture. When I had sat thus for some time, I felt myself going out of my body, I saw myself sitting down with the delicate tender leaves of the tree over me. I was facing the east. In front of me was my body and over my head I saw the Star, bright and clear. … There was such profound calmness both in the air and within myself, the calmness of the bottom of a deep and unfathomable lake. Like the lake, I felt my physical body, with its mind and emotions, could be ruffled on the surface but nothing, nay nothing, could disturb the calmness of my soul. …

“I was supremely happy, for I had seen. Nothing could ever be the same. I have drunk at the clear and pure waters at the source of the fountain of life and my thirst was appeased. Never more could I be thirsty, never more could I be in utter darkness; I have seen the Light. I have touched compassion which heals all sorrow and suffering…. Love in all its glory has intoxicated my heart; my heart can never be closed. I have drunk at the fountain of Joy and eternal Beauty. I am God-intoxicated.” (Krishnamurti in Mary Lutyens, Krishnamurti: The Years of Awakening. New York: Avon, 1975, 171-2.)

(6) “E,” at

(7) Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 151. Here is a second example of it from Sri Ramakrishna, not as light but as waves of consciousness.

“’I felt as if my heart were being squeezed like a wet towel. I was overpowered with a great restlessness and a fear that it might not be my lot to realize Her in this life. I could not bear the separation from Her any longer. Life seemed to be not worth living. Suddenly my glance fell on the sword that was kept in the Mother’s temple. I determined to put an end to my life. When I jumped up like a madman and seized it, suddenly the blessed Mother revealed Herself.

“The buildings with their different parts, the temple, and everything else vanished from my sight, leaving no trace whatsoever, and in their stead I saw a limitless, infinite, effulgent Ocean of Consciousness. As far as the eye could see, the shining billows were madly rushing at me from all sides with a terrific noise, to swallow me up! I was panting for breath. I was caught in the rush and collapsed, unconscious. What was happening in the outside world I did not know; but within me there was a steady flow of undiluted bliss, altogether new, and I felt the presence of the Divine Mother.’ On his lips when he regained consciousness of the world was the word ‘Mother’.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 14.)

(8) William Wordsworth in Marghanita Laski, Ecstacy in Secular and Religious Experiences. Los Angeles: Tarcher, 1961 399.

It may be hard to discern why this next experience of it is also an example, but what Paramahansa Yogananda is describing is an experience of the Mother, whom he calls the Holy Ghost and Aum, the Word of God:

“In John 3:5-6, Christ says: ‘Except a man be born of water (the oceanic vibration of Aum or Amen, the Holy Ghost, the Invisible Force that upholds all creation; God in his immanent aspect of the Creator) and of the Spirit, he cannot enter the Kingdom of God.’” (Paramahansa Yogananda, The Science of Religion. Los Angeles: Self-Realization Fellowship, 1982, 51-2.)

(9) Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 499.

(10) Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 245.

(11) Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 117.

(12) Dattatreya in Swami Chetanananda, Avadhuta Gita. The Song of the Ever-Free. Calcutta: Advaita Ashram, 1988, 56.

(13) Ramana Maharshi in S.S. Cohen, Guru Ramana. Memories and Notes. 6th edition. Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanasramam, 1993, 96. [Hereafter GR.]

(14) Ramana Maharshi, GR, 88.

(15) Sri Ramana Maharshi, Spiritual Instruction of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi.Eighth Edition. Tiruvannamalai: Sri Ramanasramam, 1974, Chapter 3, Question 4.

(16) “You see, the thing is somehow or other to get into the Lake of the Nectar of Immortality. Suppose one person gets into It by propitiating the Deity with hymns and worship, and you are pushed into It. The result will be the same. Both of you will certainly become immortal.” (Paramahansa Ramakrishna in GSR, 217.)

(17) “E,” at

(18) “Transcript of the Divine Mother on An Hour with an Angel,” May 7, 2011, ibid.

(19) Saul, Jan. 22, 2011, at

(20) Saul, June 17, 2009.

(21) Saul, Oct 31, 2010.

(22) SaLuSa, Feb. 24, 2012, at

(23) SaLuSa, May 24, 2010.

(24) Loc. cit. “After thousands of years slowly finding your way back through enlightenment, you are about to launch yourselves on a journey of immense meaning and opportunity. It is as though you have only just left the kindergarten, and are seeing for the first time the world outside.”

(25) “Transcript of Ashtar on An Hour with an Angel, April 23, 2012,” April 25, 2012, at Notice that Ashtar says that he would be out of the human realm past the twelfth but he still appears to us in his human or Adam Kadmon template form. Whether that involves temporary assumption of that form or not, he didn’t say and I didn’t ask.

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