1. In Hinduism, it is believed that any being which is free from pain and suffering and happiness attains enlightenment.

  2. A mechanical robot created in the image of man is capable of doing everything a man does physically.

I have been wondering about this for a long time, If the assumption made in statement (1) is true then isn't the robot enlightened in statement (2) as the robot is free from pain and suffering and happiness?

Will our emotional state be like robots (void of all emotions) when we reach enlightenment ?

  • 3
    Why bother with a robot, how about enlightened rock? Moksha requires possession of a soul, and there is more to it than happiness and lack of pain, such as spiritual release.
    – Conifold
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 11:13
  • you could define 'being' i mean are we talking about things like mountains or rivers, or just ones that have or have had sentience?
    – user38026
    Commented Jun 25, 2019 at 12:47
  • 2
    enlightenment is a state of super-consciousness, not non-consciousness. Enlightenment as a state of non-consciousness is more akin to the Theravedic (Hinayana) school of Buddhism. Commented Jun 26, 2019 at 12:18
  • 1
    I think what you are looking for is Vulcans, not robots. Commented Jun 27, 2019 at 18:22
  • 1
    I think all this enlightening phenomena is hogwash, nonsense of gurus to take from others their money... Commented Jun 28, 2019 at 18:55

9 Answers 9


If enlightenment had such a meaning, all the enlightened persons would sit in some corner without doing anything. But enlightened persons realize the truth about this material world. Many enlightened persons work hard even after their enlightenment without caring about their body. They are supposed that they have transcended the limitations of their body level. If they showed empathy towards their fellow beings, it could never be because they were emotionless. If you believe that Swami Vivekananda was an enlightened person... just for an example, read this: https://www.speakingtree.in/allslides/tears-came-from-swami-vivekananda-when-a-poor-confectionery-vendor-served-him-food If enlightenment is for becoming emotionless, I would call it 'endarkenment'.

Read the following extract also (on Goodwin's death):


Goodwin died on 2 June 1898 at the age of 27. was cremated at Ootcamund (ooty) Christian crematory. Soon after Vivekananda, who was in India at that time, was informed about it. Very recently, in the same year, Vivekananda had received the news of Indian yogi Pavhari Baba's death too. According to Vivekananda researcher Pravrajika Vrajaprana after receiving the death news of Goodwin, Vivekananda was "visibly disturbed".

In August 1898 Vivekananda wrote in tribute:

With infinite sorrow I learn the sad news of Mr. Goodwin's departure from this life, the more so as it was terribly sudden and therefore prevented all possibilities of my being at his side at the time of death. The debt of gratitude I owe him can never be repaid, and those who think they have been helped by any thought of mine ought to know that almost every word of it was published through the untiring and most unselfish exertions of Mr. Goodwin. In him I have lost a friend true as steel, a disciple of never-failing devotion, a worker who knew not what tiring was, and the world is less rich by one of those few who are born, as it were, to live only for others.

This link deals higher levels of enlightenment and so it will help you to refute your assumption: http://swamishantanandapurimaharaj.org/publications/Jivanmukti-Liberation-Here-and-Now.pdf


Wikipedia describes spiritual enlightenment as follows:

Enlightenment is the "full comprehension of a situation". The term is commonly used to denote the Age of Enlightenment, but is also used in Western cultures in a religious context. It translates several Buddhist terms and concepts, most notably bodhi, kensho and satori. Related terms from Asian religions are moksha (liberation) in Hinduism, Kevala Jnana in Jainism, and ushta in Zoroastrianism.

They describe Hindu moksha as

In Indian religions moksha...is the final extrication of the soul or consciousness (purusha) from samsara and the bringing to an end of all the suffering involved in being subject to the cycle of repeated death and rebirth (reincarnation).

From one perspective this sounds like a death that no reincarnation interrupts. As the OP suggests this may be like being a robot "free from pain and suffering and happiness".

Their quote from Vivekananda, however, offers another perspective on the goal of enlightenment:

[Y]oga is a meditative exercise of withdrawal from the particular and identification with the universal, leading to contemplation of oneself as the most universal, namely, Consciousness. This approach is different from the classical yoga of complete thought suppression.

Far from being a death, this identification with universal Consciousness suggests that there might be more going on with having an enlightened consciousness. In that case, enlightenment would not be comparable to being a robot.

Wikipedia contributors. (2019, June 20). Enlightenment (spiritual). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 12:55, June 25, 2019, from https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Enlightenment_(spiritual)&oldid=902675042


I would say that both of your assumptions are wrong. An enlightened person is not free from pain or happiness. They are free from suffering. Just as a person with an umbrella is not free from rain but is free from getting wet. A mechanical robot certainly cannot do all that a human can do. Sex would be an obvious example.

Do you see enlightened people behaving like robots? Gurdjieff was fond a pointing out that it is unenlightened people who behave as robots, their behaviour ruled by their ego and past conditioning almost like instructions in their software. The benefit of enlightenment is becoming free of conditioning and automatic behaviour.

To act as a fully realised person is not to act at all. This is wu wei, or 'actionless action'. There would be no actor to act. In a sense robots share this ability since they are never aware of acting, but the comparison falls apart on analysis.

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    The distinction of pain and suffering is apt. When Ramana (maharshi) was dying of cancer he was asked if there was pain. He said yes it is as though an elephant is standing on the arm. The questioner was appalled at the description. Ramana responded: there is pain. It is in the body. But I am not the body.
    – Rushi
    Commented Jun 28, 2019 at 16:33
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    @Rusi - Your illustration seems perfect,
    – user20253
    Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 14:28

Does enlightenment mean loss of all emotions?


Enlightenment is man's emergence from his self-incurred immaturity. Immaturity is the inability to use one's own understanding without the guidance of another. This immaturity is self-incurred if its cause is not lack of understanding, but lack of resolution and courage to use it without the guidance of another. The motto of enlightenment is therefore: Sapere aude! [Dare to know!] Have courage to use your own understanding!

Immanuel Kant, Enlightenment (1784). Later, Kant adds:

For enlightenment of this kind, all that is needed is freedom. And the freedom in question is the most innocuous form of all freedom: to make public use of one's reason in all matters.

Such enlightenment is not the abolition of emotion, but rather the permission to express it.


when you are enlightened you feel total satisfaction about everything. All of your questions are answered. And you're filled with peace. So maybe that doesn't feel like feelings exactly because all you feel is enlightenment your feelings are still there and when the enlightenment passes they'll come back.

  • is enlightenment like happiness, it comes and goes ?
    – Ajinkya
    Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 8:36
  • Yes it's the purest form of happiness. It's very difficult to be enlightened it has to happen to you you can't go and find it. It happens very rarely. but once the euphoria stops after about 24 hours you kind of go back to yourself but you still feel enlightened at the same time just not too and extreme extent
    – user40185
    Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 8:38
  • I see, do you think buddha was enlightened only during specific period of time in the day and preached lessons only in this time
    – Ajinkya
    Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 8:46
  • Yes Buddha was enlightened. The enlightenment stays inside of you but it's not at 100% after 24 hours but you're still enlightened you still have all knowledge of things that you can share with other people but it's just not an intense feeling as it was in the beginning
    – user40185
    Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 8:47
  • oh I see that is strange. Have you witnessed enlightenment
    – Ajinkya
    Commented Jun 29, 2019 at 10:06

Theravada seeks to eradicate unwholesome "emotions" like greed and lust, whereas Mahayana Buddhism asks the practitioner to see, in some sense, through the substantial nature these lack.

I've read the claim that actualized theravada monks will die and leave nothing of themselves, but only from Mahayana treatises which also claim that it is an illusion, and that the sage is brought back. More generally, Buddhism, unlike some forms of Indian asceticism, seeks to explicitly deny the reality of enlightenment as annihilation (of the self). Yet they also deny the eternal life of the self.

It's probably best to see Buddhist enlightenment as the termination of suffering and rebirth, and / or awareness of its nature, rather than any element of what makes us up such as "emotion".

Whether, or not, any aspect of what could be called "me" is manifest when that occurs, is it seems up for debate. Usually, though, one's Buddha nature, or propensity for Buddhahood and Buddhist compassion, is said to be in a sense birthless and deathless, so, I would claim, can manifest after the Buddha's final death.


Does knowing that you are not the car but the driver makes you forget how to drive?

The lost of suffering is a consequence of enlightenment not the goal.

In Buddhism emotions such us(craving, desire, repulsion, etc) are ultimately originated by ignorance according to the Buddhist concept of dependent origination or Pratītyasamutpāda video here

Once you remove ignorance by knowing who you really are (enlightenment), space-time(impermanence), suffering and ego are not relevant (3 marks of existence ref here).

According to Samkhya (enumeration) when the spirit (puruṣa) contacts matter (prakṛti) it has 3 qualities or gunas which are: Sattva(harmony), Rajas(action), Tamas(obstruction) this contact creates 24, 25, 36 (depending on the tradition) Tattvas which are principles of reality including all jñānendriyas, karmendriyas which manage all input/output iterations to manas (mind) ref here and therefore responsible for all emotions. Once you detach from the gunas after attaining samadhi you become a Jivanmukta ref here.

Being insensitive to all emotions in vegetative state doesn't mean that you are enlightened. Enlightenment is about knowing the true nature of existence. Only those who have experienced that can trully know what it is


Yes it is something like the ultimate form of enlightenment. The unmanifest Brahman or the ultimate reality has no emotions. UG Krishnmurti addressed it as a machine. He said something in the line of it's a machine and we are all monkey machines.


Enlightenment is liberation, not loss. But from the perspective of someone who is not yet enlightened, liberation and loss look quite similar. Ken Wilber called this the 'pre/trans' fallacy: that someone in a certain state of existence can confuse regression to previous (lower) level with transcendence to a higher level.

Imagine (by analogy) a man in a room, a room which has a door the man cannot open. He's stuck there. That man would have emotions: He'd scream for someone to let him out, pound on the door, pace the room in frustration, make angry plans to break out and seek vengeance on whoever put him in there. Eventually he might give in to despair, and collapse quietly in a corner. Now imagine that the same man suddenly understood the nature of the room and his place in it, and understood how to open the door. The emotions he showed before — desperation, anger, frustration, even the despair — would all fall away, because they wouldn't be needed. He would sit calmly until the time was right for him to open he door and leave.

This doesn't mean he's lost his emotions, it only means that his emotions are no longer being driven by a situation he does not understand. He will still experience whatever emotions arise, but the emotions that arise will not be locked in and fixated by that overwhelming craving to break out of the room.

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