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The Difference Between You and God
Mary: What is knowledge?
Ram: Knowledge is what removes ignorance. For example, you don’t know where your keys are. I show you that they are in your purse. The knowledge removes the ignorance.
Mary: Knowledge appears, just as ignorance appears, so it is not the actionless self. It is an appearance in the mind, so what does it have to do with the self?
Ram: A part of the self has apparently forgotten what it is, so the self uses knowledge to remove its ignorance of itself and give the mind peace.
Mary: Every realization happens in the mind, so is there something like an “objective truth” at all?
Ram: There is no objective truth. All truth depends on the one who knows it. Or put it this way: the only objective truth is the self. By this is meant that the ultimate knower is awareness, the self. And this knower will always be the same. All truths in maya are conditional and relative.
Mary: Please don’t throw me out of your heart for all this heresy!
Ram: How can I do this? You are my heart.
Mary: If I am the self, limitless, all-pervasive awareness, independent of anything, why am I only aware of Mary’s body and mind? (I know, this is a confusion between the two “I”s, but I just don’t get that clearly.)
Ram: You are aware of every body and every mind. How? As the self. It is the same awareness in every living being. Mary has unlimited awareness but limited knowledge. God has unlimited awareness and limitless knowledge. Only the object, knowledge, is different. God is the self with reference to the totality of the creation and Mary is the self with reference to a specific individual. God’s knowledge is not superior to an individual’s knowledge. It is just the sum total of all individual knowledges, including all the individual animals and plants. If you add together the knowledge of a bird and the knowledge of a tree and the knowledge of Einstein, is the total of this knowledge superior to any one of these individual knowledges? Whether the knowledge is vast and deep or shallow and limited, it is all the same to the self.
Anyway, you don’t get more happiness by getting more knowledge. So there is no point for an individual to know what God knows. God does not have a potential for greater happiness than any individual. All the fame, knowledge and power that belongs to God does not make God any more satisfied than the knowledge “I am limitless, non-dual, actionless awareness” makes an individual. Self-knowledge for God is the same as self-knowledge for the individual. Knowledge does not complete you, because you are already complete. Knowledge just makes you appreciate what you are.
Mary: Whenever I tell myself that I am everything, the question arises: Why am I not aware of everything? When I am miserable, I sometimes tell myself that all glory is my glory, all the happiness in this world is my happiness, so why fret? But then the mind asks: If that is so, why am I not aware of all this happiness? Why am I just aware of this particular misery here?
Ram: If you look through your reading glasses, will you see ultraviolet and infrared? If you look through Mary, you will only see what is in Mary. You will not see what is in anything else. But if you understand that what you are aware of is you, whether it is the total or some small fraction of the total, you will be happy. Misery is just as good as happiness to the self. Why? Because both are the self. But the self is free of both. The self does not draw its happiness from objects. It is self-satisfied, meaning it is satisfied with itself.
Here is another argument. You say, “Why am I not aware of all this happiness?” But I say, how can you say you are not aware of all this happiness when you say that all this happiness exists? If you are not aware of it, then you will be quite satisfied with your misery. Why? Because you will not know that there is anything else.
Mary: And in the last satsang you said, “It is true that if you know that this is a benign non-dual reality fear does not happen. However, if one’s knowledge of this fact is a bit shaky, then it is possible, when the desire for love arises in a mind that is not pure (the desire for love does not arise in a pure mind, because it experiences love every minute, Mary) for one to allow the mind to fall in love.”
Who is that “one” that allows the mind to fall in love? Who else is there except the mind?
Ram: The self under the spell of apparent ignorance allows the mind to have its way. When this apparent ignorance is removed by apparent knowledge, the self may not allow the mind to have its way, because it knows there is nothing to gain. Alternatively, it may allow the mind to have its way because it knows that whatever karma the mind creates cannot affect it. An impure mind is one that does not know that the self is the source of all true love. It believes that love is only to be had by contact with objects.
Mary: Dear Ramji, maybe this is all mind-fuck. But you say understanding is the only way, and understanding happens in the mind, so we have to “un-fuck” it, right?
Ram: Sure. It’s a pleasure to un-fuck your mind. Please make sure you don’t fall in love with your ignorance. If you do, I am out of a job.
Mary: Underneath or above or behind all these questions there is a certainty, a conviction that it is all true, that I am this One No-thing, that nothing can ever happen either to ME or me, but my mind is just too confused, tamasic, impure, or whatever, to see it clearly and understand it. Lily says, “Loving is the one most precious thing one gets from loving.” How lucky I am to love you!
Ram: Ah, this is music to my ears. How lucky you are to love. Stick with the certainty. That’s you, the self. Work on the mind’s questions patiently but don’t take it too seriously. You can let it be a bit ignorant. It doesn’t matter what it knows. Ignorant or not, you are still you.
~ Love, Ramji
Mary: Dear Ramji! I just got your answer, thank you! Don’t worry, I’m not falling in love with my ignorance; it’s more like a breakout of rash, it itches and I have to scratch, but I don’t love it. What feels good is the conviction, not the doubt. Now I see that the kernel of my confusion was that I forgot that the mind is inert. I had endowed the mind with consciousness. Now I see at least this point clearer. And thank you for the last bit: it doesn’t matter what the mind knows. Ignorant or not, I am still I.
~ Good night and loads of love, Maryji
Ram: Dear Mary, very good. Your mind has zeroed in on the essence. One needs to always distinguish the mind from the self. The mind is the self but the self is free of the mind. Sentient and insentient are good words to indicate the difference. You cannot ascribe sentiency to the mind, only to the self. And the last statement was a statement of pure knowledge: whether the mind is ignorant or not “I am still I.” I really like this statement. It is an Upanishad in itself.
There are not two selves, one limited the other limitless. There is only the “I” with apparent knowledge or apparent ignorance.