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Chapter XI: The Vision of Non-Duality: Knowledge Yoga.

Is Awareness Independent or Dependent on Creation?

Relative Knowledge, Absolute Knowledge, Seeking Stops When the Knowledge Is Firm, Self-inquiry , The Real and the Apparently Real,Limitless Does Not Mean Big, It Is Ordinary Awareness, They Exist but They Are Not Real, Non-Duality Does Not Mean Sameness, The Key to Liberation: Understanding Awareness, Jiva and Isvara, Freedom from or Freedom for Jiva?, Limitless Bliss , The Five Sheaths, The Three StatesThe Waker, The Dreamer, The Sleeper, The Opposite Thought, The Three Gunas.

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Is Awareness Independent or Dependent on Creation?

Postby georgschiller » Sun Feb 07, 2016 3:25 am

When I was in Chennai beginning of this year I had the opportunity to meet and talk to Swami Paramarthananda (great person, very accessible!) I asked him a question whether awareness is dependent or independent of creation.
He replied that this question must be analyzed from two perspectives: the first is existence, the second is creation.
In existence awareness is indepedent. Or in other words, in existence Mythia (creation) is depended on awareness for its existence but awareness does not need mythia for its existence.
But for creation and all later things both (awareness and mythia) are mutually co-dependent.

=So for creation there is mutual dependence but for existence there is NO mutual dependence.

When I had the opportunity to talk to other vedanta students during our seminar in Thiruvannamalai I got an interesting reply from Vinay. He told me that Swami Paramarthananda's English might not be 100% accurate. He might not completely understand the meaning of the word co-dependence.
However, from the way Paramarthananda talked I personally assume he knew what he was talking about! But I am curious, is awareness completely independent, even in creation? Or is there some co-dependence between creation and awareness?
One argument in favor of what Paramarthananda said is that mythia does not dissappear even after liberation. Is this a good argument that awareness is not completely free at least in creation?

What do you think?
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Re: Is Awareness Independent or Dependent on Creation?

Postby georgschiller » Sun Feb 07, 2016 3:54 am

Here is a short excerpt from one of James satsangs: "The creation is awareness, but awareness is not the creation. It is important to know this because awareness, the essence of everything, is never enhanced by the good or contaminated by the bad in the creation. It is always free of the pairs of opposites. It is that part of yourself that never changes, that is unaffected by what happens. If awareness was taken away there would be no Fran, no art, etc. "
Satsang: Beautiful Ignorance by James Swartz

In creation - as Paramarthananda said - awareness is not completely free of creation. I assume this means that the power of creation (Maya) is within awareness. From an analytical point of view creation is a power in awareness which makes it look like that awareness is in combination with (or mutually dependent on) creation.
Although from an existence point of view there is just awareness and nothing else...
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Re: Is Awareness Independent or Dependent on Creation?

Postby Mira » Sun Feb 07, 2016 11:59 am

Hi Georg,
How wonderful that you got to meet with Swami Paramarthananda! I have enjoyed reading his commentaries (Tattva Bodha and the Bhakti Sutras). He has a great sense of humor and a very nice style of explaining things! I would love to see the selfie of you with Swamiji if you took one ;)).

In creation - as Paramarthananda said - awareness is not completely free of creation. I assume this means that the power of creation (Maya) is within awareness. From an analytical point of view creation is a power in awareness which makes it look like that awareness is in combination with (or mutually dependent on) creation.


My understanding is that maya is a shakti (power) within awareness that projects creation. So maya is completely dependent on awareness, but awareness is not dependent (or co-dependent) on maya. How could awareness be dependent on anything since it is the fundamental reality or the substrate of everything.

Maybe Swamiji meant that maya and awareness co-exist in creation. This is true. Everything in creation co-exists with awareness. But, remember that maya affects only a small portion of limitless awareness. So when maya is present, then it seems correct to say that maya and awareness co-exist. However, this is quite different from saying that awareness and maya are co-dependent.

Hope it makes sense. And even if it does not--I'm just happy 'talking Vedanta' ;).
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Re: Is Awareness Independent or Dependent on Creation?

Postby georgschiller » Sun Feb 07, 2016 12:36 pm

Thank you Mira for your reply,

"Maybe Swamiji meant that maya and awareness co-exist in creation"
Co-existence, hmmm. Yes, that is interesting too! But language can really be tricky. How is co-existence different from co-depedence?

Well, since Maya is a power in awareness maybe we can even say that not even Maya is dependent. Since it is a power in awareness, it is awareness.

However, for analysis it is correct to say that Maya (Mythia) is dependent on awareness.
Furthermore, since mythia does not disappear we can even say that awareness is not independent from it; that both are in some kind of marriage (for a lack of a better word).

The term co-dependence might indeed be too much or too rigid to explain creation.
Well, co-dependence would imply that awareness would not be here without creation. That creation is required for the existence of awareness. This is indeed inappropriate.

For mythia however the understanding of co-depedence is very liberating and joyful. Knowing that this Jiva with all its knowledge and ignorance is dependent on all the elements, on all the other Jivas, the society, plants and animals makes one appreciate all the "good" and "bad" stuff in this apparent world.
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Re: Is Awareness Independent or Dependent on Creation?

Postby Mira » Sun Feb 07, 2016 1:27 pm

Hi Georg,

How is co-existence different from co-depedence?

Co-existence means to exist together. So awareness and maya do co-exist. Co-dependent suggests that the existence of one is contingent or dependent on the other. In this case, maya is dependent on awareness but not the other way around.

Also, there are times when creation is not present: e.g., during pralaya (cosmic dissolution) or in the aspect of limitless awareness where maya shakti is not present/projecting. In these cases even when creation is not there, there is still awareness. So I would say that awareness is indeed independent of creation.

Again, it's so cool that you got to meet Swami Paramarthanada. Did you get to see a satsang of his?
Last edited by Mira on Tue Feb 09, 2016 7:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is Awareness Independent or Dependent on Creation?

Postby Vinay » Mon Feb 08, 2016 5:12 am

One argument in favor of what Paramarthananda said is that mythia does not dissappear even after liberation. Is this a good argument that awareness is not completely free at least in creation?


Furthermore, since mythia does not disappear we can even say that awareness is not independent from it; that both are in some kind of marriage (for a lack of a better word).


Mithya does not disappear for whom? For the Jiva. Awareness is always free of Mithya because it is Satya.

It is always tricky when talking about Awareness from the dualistic point of view. Co-Exist is a better word in my opinion than co-dependent, but Awareness exists independently. The "co" itself is Mithya. So we have to remove the "co", and only existence remains.
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Re: Is Awareness Independent or Dependent on Creation?

Postby georgschiller » Wed Feb 10, 2016 5:28 am

Vinay wrote:
It is always tricky when talking about Awareness from the dualistic point of view. Co-Exist is a better word in my opinion than co-dependent, but Awareness exists independently. The "co" itself is Mithya. So we have to remove the "co", and only existence remains.


Yes, I agree.
1.) Mythia is a power in awareness, so mythia cannot be something different than awareness. So everything is awareness.
2.) But for analysis we must say that mythia is dependent on awareness. That mythia is not real, it is an object in me. By this form of discrimination we see that our true nature is awareness.
3.) Then we return to 1. and can accept that everything is awareness.
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Re: Is Awareness Independent or Dependent on Creation?

Postby georgschiller » Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:30 am

I just got this response from James Swartz:

"[...] the Swami is correct. The self stands alone. It is independent and free (
*satya*). It is self existent. It exists prior to the creation. There was
a time when there was no creation and there will be a time when there is no
creation. The self is existence. It is not created. The world is created
out of existence. So it is dependent (*mithya*). But when you look at
reality from the point of view of the creation, the self and the creation
are mutually interdependent. You cannot have a creation without
consciousness and you can't have a creation with [I think what is meant is "without" G.S.] *Maya*, i.e. Matter.

*Maya*, the creation, is a very difficult concept to understand because,
although reality is non-dual consciousness, consciousness and matter are
not the same. Non-duality does not mean sameness. Matter (*prakriti*) is
the self but the self is not it (*sat-asat vilakshanam*). They are in
different orders or dimensions of the one reality. So they are the same
but they are different! It is a logical impossibility. How can there be
one reality with two (or more) dimensions? Yet, this is the way it is. If
it weren't this way, there would be no suffering and no liberation.
Liberation (*moksa*) is understanding in which way they are the same and in
which way they are not the same. Once this is clear you will never confuse
the subject...you, consciousness...with the objects (not-you, the
body/mind/world) and you will be free of attachment to objects.

The problem is that the intellect exists in duality, the *mithya* dimension
of reality. It thinks in either/or not in both/and. The teaching on *satya*
and *mithya *explains the relationship clearly. All that is required, once
you know what is *satya* and what is *mithya,* is to observe this
paradoxical relationship in your own experience. I just got an email from
a woman who said "*Isvara* is one sick bastard" because It created Donald
Trump. I agree. Then a woman in another email said that *Isvara* is pure
love. Which is it? Both...and neither. The negative and the positive
exist 'in existence' but existence is neither negative or positive. It
seems to be positive when you look at it from one point of view and
negative from another.

Much Love,

*James *"
Last edited by georgschiller on Wed Feb 24, 2016 6:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is Awareness Independent or Dependent on Creation?

Postby georgschiller » Wed Feb 24, 2016 6:12 am

If anybody wants to listen to what Paramarthananda said, you can listen to this one-minute recording I took on the 2.1.2016 in Chennai, Mylapore.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/lho8t9bsb0gcz ... 6.mp3?dl=0
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