Acharya Shree, do you have to be a monk to be enlightened?
First of all, you have to understand what is monk's life. Monk is which renounce the world. And he or she dedicated his life to follow the spirituality and on the spiritual path.
Monk means the person who has taken the steps. That is guaranteed, if they become a monk in the real sense, monk.
In the real sense, whoever becoes monk one time even, one time, so it means it is taken the step. And I always appreciate if someone can do that.
That is sure, that is the shortcut towards enlightenment. It is the very shortcut. If you want to go shortcut, be a monk.
But it is not that you have to be a monk for enlightenment. You want to go, you want to reach enlightenment in the short period of time or you want to have a shortcut towards the enlightenment like maybe 1 life, 2 lives, 3 lives, 7 lives...
...I will suggest to you become a monk. But if you want to wait lives and lives you can practice as a householder, but it depends how much you practice as a householder.
As a householder you can practice even a lot. So, when you are retired you can practice even a lot, but if your practice begins in early age, that counts in your old age too.
So there is no that it is necessary to be a monk for enlightenment. Like in this era where we live in, it is like 24 tirthankaras happen in this era. And the 1st tirthankara, Adinath or Rishabhadeva, his mother was Mauradevi.
She practiced a lot this life in this life in her this life whatever she was presented here, she was and also she was practicing maybe previous life because otherwise that soul cannot be a tirthankara's mother.
To be a tirthankara's mother also you need to collect an abundance of virtues. It means she was already spiritual, but she also practiced continue.
But in the end she kind of opened the door of the enlightenment. Not enlightenment...I am using other word. She opens the door in this era. She opened the door to the mukti, to the liberation.
She was the 1st one to enter. And that's why I teach people that, first of all, for enlightenment male body or female body is not needed. Anybody can reach enlightenment. A male or female.
That's why Digambara sect in Jain sect they are very wrong. They think that only male body can reach enlightenment. I think they need to learn that the 1st, lady, she first entered into the liberation.
Even before the 1st tirthankara. And I don't see any difference between male and female body. Just maybe little structurally is little difference. But they can reach, both, the same level.
Body has nothing to do with it. Whoever practice, whoever. She was sitting, this first lady, she was sitting on the elephant and suddenly something clicked in her heart and she reached to the highest state of consciousness.
She became enlightened. It doesn't require anything. It requires if you are in those moments. If you are in that, you practice a lot and you are now very close to achieve enlightenment.
Then it doesn't require that you have to sit in lotus posture or you have to be sitting in the goduhasaana like Mahavira did or you have to sitting in the bodhi tree, under the bodhi tree.
It doesn't require anything. She was sitting on the elephant and she got enlightenment. Because it is a state of consciousness. It is not a state like where you are sitting, where you're standing.
No. Enlightenment can happen anywhere to anyone if they are on the path. If they are not on the path, no, enlightenment stays away from those people.
Enlightenment is close to us if we are on the path and if we have taken at least step as a householder or as a monk. Monkhood is the shortest path towards enlightenment.
But householder path is a little longer. So it is up to you which train you want. Fastest train or passenger train, slower. You might reach, but you reach maybe after many lives.