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A Loving God for Saps
Tommy: Hello, James. I’m watching the videos. You say the self is going to liberate us from ignorance through the beauty and compassion of Vedanta. I like the sound of this because I’m sappy, but this seems to imply that compassion is a quality of the self, which you also say has no qualities.
I understand that God is the creator of beautiful, intelligent ignorance, if you like, but sometimes it sounds as if you are saying that God is not different from the self.
I know everything in one lump, but this confuses me a bit. As a sap, I’d like to have God be the self loving the creation, so what gives?
~ Your most loving student, Tommy
James: I love you, Tommy. You are so cool. Okay, let’s sort this “quality” business. You will be happy to know that you get to be a sap and worship a loving God even if you are enlightened. Here’s how.
The word “God,” or Isvara, refers to two things: the pure non-dual self, awareness, and the pure non-dual self associated with intelligent, beautiful ignorance – which we call maya. The pure self is – well – pure, meaning it has no qualities. It is a partless whole that exists by itself alone, revealed to itself by itself without the aid of instruments like a mind. When maya, which is a shakti, or power, that is potential in pure awareness appears it creates the appearance of a universe out of pure consciousness itself.
Since the creation is actually the self but the self in a form, an apparent duality, it is now possible for the self to experience itself though the human mind – which of course is also the self – and because it knows that what it experiences is itself, it “feels” compassionate toward it. Compassion, or love, is the nature of the self. As pure consciousness, it is parama prema svarupa, of the nature of pure experienceless love, but this love becomes experienciable compassion when maya operates. Although reality seems to be dual, it is actually non-dual, so it makes it possible for the self to actively love itself.