Is one who has become enlightened the same as “God?”
Every person you ask shall give a different meaning to what this word “God” means. There are as many meanings to the word as there are people living on this planet. Yet, it makes sense why such a question shall arise. When looking at the vast literature on the subject of spiritual awakening it has been common for those who have reached a state of complete unification with the “Absolute Universal Divine Principle” to be called by certain titles such as, “Bhagavan,” (meaning God) “Lord,” “Master,” etc. Yet, it was not the enlightened being themselves calling themselves by these titles, for a truly realized being has no need for such titles, it was the devotees of these masters who have decided to elevate them and hold them as incarnated deities.
The downfall of such a tradition has been to view such a master as somehow superior to oneself, which has unfortunately created a large following of spiritual aspirant who are simply devoted to following a master, whether still living in a physical body or not, and not dedicated to fully integrated themselves in the understanding of who they really are. Then there are those who are approaching the spiritual path with the hope that by becoming enlightened one will somehow become God. Neither of these position can truly help awaken one to the true nature of who they really are.
The desire to become God is coming from a place of escapism. One simply does not like the situation or incarnation one has found oneself in and is trying to use spirituality as a means to escape it. What most people are actually looking for is a way to escape the reality they currently find themselves in and project themselves into a reality they have created within their minds. For many, seeking enlightenment is seen as a one size fits all medicine for the Human condition. For so many are afraid of experiencing life, for to experience life comes with the condition that not all tactile experiences will be physically pleasurable to the body. And many have interpreted the promise of enlightenment as a means to escape the Human condition. For to become “God-like” is interpreted as being “not human.”
The irony of this mentality is that the Human condition is the God-state. Which is why the teaching is not to become That for that is not what this path is meant for, but to recognize fully that we already are. It is only after we know what we already are that we will be able to fully embody and move throughout life carrying this Divine Fragrance. But, this direct seeing will be blocked if one is seeking to escape from their current situation and run away to an imagined Enlightened paradise.
One cannot fully realize the truth of who one really is by trying to deny an aspect of themselves. To want to become God is the same as saying “I no longer want to be me.” And as long as one is holding onto the attitude that by seeking enlightenment one will no longer have to deal with themselves, is in fact not seeking enlightenment at all. To seek enlightenment is not to discover something, but to actualize what is already present within the heart. Hence, terms like awakening are used. When one is dreaming, awakening from the dream does not give one their true self which has been lying peacefully in bed. Awakening from the dream lets one realize that there was never a point where one’s true self was not already present. One is here to discover truth, not run away from life.