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Mark: Dear James and Sundari, I was contemplating and enjoying the statement by Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita: “By my maya, I delude all beings.” I understood it as, “By my maya, I appear to delude all beings.” I amended it to read, “By my maya, I appear to delude myself.”!!!!! Changes things somewhat!!! The joke’s on me, awareness!!!
James: Yes, the joke is awareness and the joke’s on awareness. There is only awareness appearing as a kind of sad joke called jiva.
Mark: I realised that at the beginning of the search the emphasis was on breaking the identification with the body by recognising the awareness I am. Initially, I thought I was reflected awareness. This gave freedom from the reflection, the individual.
As I progressed, the emphasis in the search changed, thanks to your guidance, into an enquiry into the real (satya) and the apparent (mithya). I had to see life as an appearance, as an “as though.” This was challenging and took serious enquiry to grasp. It reversed what I took as real and destroyed the belief in duality as reality, even though the process occurred within the ambit of “awareness.” Understanding maya, the “projection,” helped establish me solidly as pure awareness and made it possible to see and accept the projection of duality as it is. Yes, it is true: “Stand in awareness, as awareness” is a beautiful and crisp summation of Vedanta.
James: A good summation, Mark. I remember your struggles with satya and mithya well. I recall getting quite fed up with them at one point.
Mark: The image that came to mind of the relationship between the real (satya) and the apparent (mithya) is that of a parent with a child on a leash: the parent is pure awareness and the child on the leash is the apparent person. The child can get up to any activity, even a temper tantrum, but it is not separate from the parent.
James: Yes, the parent is free, the child is bound.
Mark: But helpful as the image is to distinguish between pure awareness and the apparent person, it is still insufficient and incomplete as a metaphor. When considering reality, the child is only an appearance, not a solid reality. The projected (by maya) person only appears to be real (mithya) but is not really real (satya). Only pure, non-experiencing awareness, me, is real (satyam). End of story. Full stop.
James: Another metaphor is the person (self) and his or her shadow (reflected self). In any case, the point of it all is contained in the next four words. You finally understood the essence of Vedanta as encapsulated in Shankara’s famous statement, “Brahma satyam, jagan mithya. Jivo brahmaiva na parah.” Awareness is the reality, the truth, the world is apparently real. The individual (jiva) and awareness (brahma) are not different.
Mark: Now, to enjoy life.
~ Much love, Mark
James: It couldn’t have happened to a better person, Mark. You worked hard for thirty years on this and now the code has been cracked. Good on you.