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Can’t Ignore Isvara
Seeker: Dearest Ramji, I hear you say over and over again how important it is to understand Isvara, that without this knowledge the apparent individual will not be able to “bridge” his/her way out of maya. You also emphasized that most Neo teachings bypass it, therefore producing as a result the denial of our apparent world and experience: “I don’t exist, you don’t exist, nothing exists” and so on. And since the jivas, the field of action and Isvara are but only apparently real, the denial of Isvara cannot be of much help because it implies the denial of jiva’s own existence, which is absurd since everyone knows that she/he exists as a conscious being. Moreover, by leaving the knowledge of Isvara out of the picture we reinforce the sense of reality of the apparent jiva. The jiva’s ego assumes the position of a subjective individual and it takes on the mission of becoming the ultimate super-jiva, i.e. Isvara. Only the knowledge of Isvara can produce the humbling effect to bring jiva to its devotional proportion, a place from which he/she can truly pursue self-inquiry.
I guess the purpose of this message is to express how fascinated I am with the knowledge of Isvara as well to say hi to you again. But I also wish to ask you a question that has been with me since my early days. It is simple and probably a common question.
I understand you (Vedanta) say that Isvara is the “beginning” of ignorance, the initial vritti or modification, which is pure sattva. Within sattva, two other modifications take place: tamas and rajas. Once the three energies begin dancing, the whole creation comes into existence all the way to the most conscious reflective apparatus we call the jivas.
Now everything in maya is said to be the three energies, the “beautiful, intelligent, ignorant” creation with all its precise laws in total harmony with the dharma field…
My doubt arises when sometimes I hear you say that Isvara is the dharma field which includes the three gunas, the five elements and all objects projected in it, but some other times I hear you say that Isvara is pure sattva only and by taking it to be so we keep Isvara off the hook once we are asked to explain the cause for the suffering we find in the adharmic societies we have always experienced in this world. All suffering experienced here is to be blamed on rajas and tamas.
Getting to my question… reality is non-dual but it appears as the worlds when maya is in operation. Isvara is the intelligence creating, propelling, maintaining and destroying.
The question is, would it be correct to say that Isvara is also the manifest world with all its apparent evil (the unbalanced dancing of the three gunas that causes self-ignorance) but the apparent world is not Isvara?
Isvara being pure sattva in its essence is subtler than rajas and tamas and it pervades both. Isvara pervades all the gross and subtle objects in the same way awareness pervades Isvara and all other grosser energies, therefore it may be correct to say that Isvara is also the world but the world is not Isvara.
In other words, Isvara appears as the world but it is not really the world, and the world is not Isvara but an effect of the three gunas once in operation. Exactly in the same way, awareness appears to be Isvara once maya is in operation but Isvara is not awareness.
Dear teacher, your comments and clarifications would be very much appreciated.
Ramji: No comments or clarifications are necessary. I could not have expressed it more clearly myself. Good for you, Manuel! Your inquiry is perfect.
~ Love, Ramji