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How to Be Free of Isvara
Larissa: Dear Sundari, thank you so much for your reply. I’ve read it and the docs you attached carefully, but I will have to go through them a couple of more times. I have some trouble with the gunas: I recognize them fine but the management of them… I think I have some work to do re diet... man, I love my coffee in the mornings!… and I drink it with sweetener… yikes…
Sundari: I am glad to be of help. Understanding the gunas/Isvara (same thing) is the key to moksa and, indeed, managing the gunas is where the rubber meets the road, to use James’ favourite expression. ☺ Addressing lifestyle issues, and diet of course, plays a big part because if we do not take care of the body it does not experience health, so the mind is not peaceful.
I love my coffee in the morning too, but I have only one cup per day and I do so because I enjoy it. My body is totally healthy so I don’t need rajas to kick-start a sluggish constitution, depleting my adrenals in the process (tamas). In moderation coffee should not disturb the mind unless you are hypersensitive to caffeine. Being healthy is, as with all things, a matter of knowledge.
There are many things that impact peace of mind, and lifestyle management is essential. Take a look at your lifestyle and change what you can. If you really want to be free, there is no fine print. Everything about your life has to be addressed as all binding vasanas have to be rendered non-binding. The alternative is to live with them, seeing them as not-self, if you don’t mind the agitation in the body/mind. This does not mean that you need to (or can) get rid of all vasanas, only the ones that disturb the mind and are opposed to dharma must be dissolved.
Larissa: In the meantime though, there are a couple of things I’d like to ask you, if you don’t mind. It has to do with examining Larissa’s vasanas (her reactions, conditioning, etc.) in the light of self-knowledge: you examine the gunas (energy, the “feel” that grabs you and makes you say/do Y or Z) or the thought (belief, e.g. “I’m not being taken into account”) behind it and question it (“Is it true? Am I – pure, non-dual awareness – agitated/angry because I am not being respected?”). It’s not the story within Larissa’s life that led to the belief that has to be examined, right?
Sundari: Well, yes it is. The gunas work both ways. They create and govern the conditioning that runs the mind (vasanas) and the vasanas reinforce the gunas. All the gunas build on themselves and all actions (or lack of them) either reinforce or negate vasanas. So the vasanas create the story/beliefs and the story/beliefs create more vasanas or intensify the ones that already exist.
Awareness is never angry, agitated in denial or dull. It is the non-experiencing witness aware of whatever thoughts and feelings are arising in Larissa. The thoughts and feelings belong to Isvara, not to you as awareness – or to Larissa. However, Larissa has a particular vasana load which she has come here to deal with. Although the vasanas don’t belong to her, they will condition the subtle body until such time as they are seen, understood and negated. There is no escaping this if you want to be free.
Larissa: What usually James talks about, “leaving Mom and Pop and the federal government out of it”: the reason I’m asking is that the story itself is bound to be unconscious, so how are you going to have access to it anyway unless Isvara provides that bit of info (which might or might not happen). Can you please comment on this?
Sundari: What James means by “leaving Mom and Pop and the federal government out of it” is a broad statement that applies to “your” conditioning and story as a whole as it relates to your real identity as awareness. From the perspective of awareness, there is no story and none of it is real. There are no gunas, no conditioning, no jiva and no Isvara/maya (no creation) so there are no likes and dislikes. But as we know, the apparent person does exist and is conditioned by Isvara, the gunas. James means that all our issues are really about identification with our likes and dislikes or vasanas – basically our life story – is about getting what we want, not getting what we want or not wanting what we get. But as we did not give ourselves these tendencies, we cannot blame anyone for anything because no one is really doing anything. A good analogy I use is that the apparent reality is like a computer game. It seems like you do have a choice to play and free will to make moves. But you have no choice but to play and all the moves you could possibly make are already programmed into the game. Only self-knowledge has the power to get you out of the game and without it there is no way to see the programs that are running the game, and therefore the mind.
“The story” is often unconscious, especially when it comes to very deep samskaras. Certainly without self-knowledge, for most people, their story remains unconscious for their entire lives. However, you have the good grace to be doing self-inquiry using a valid means of knowledge – Vedanta. And you have found one of the best teachers alive to help you unfold the knowledge – James. I am taught by him, so I teach like he does, as do all the ShiningWorld teachers. If you have burning desire for freedom, rest assured all that you need to see will be revealed in due course. As self-knowledge becomes firmer, all ignorance will be rooted out; it has no choice. As I said in my last email to you, the very deep samskaras cannot be worked on directly as Isvara reveals what we need to see when we are ready. (See more on samskaras further down.)
The unconscious mind or causal body has a drive for wholeness and one’s “issues” definitely will appear sooner or later – and we have no control over when. One usually does not have to wait long because the macrocosmic causal body is always present, even in deep sleep. The microcosmic causal body or our personal subconscious (ignorance or vasana load) is also always present, other than in deep sleep (or coma/anesthesia), when it gets subsumed into the macrocosmic causal body. This is why deep sleep is so blissful and so vital. Dreams are often messages from the causal body talking to us in pictures. When the gross body dies, the subtle body goes into seed form in the causal body and will “take another body” when the unfinished karma fructifies again unless one has negated the doer; then there is no one for the karma to come to for “this” body-mind or the “next.” The microcosmic causal body (avidya or personal ignorance) ends with self-knowledge but maya, the macrocosmic causal body (beginningless ignorance), is eternal. When self-knowledge has cleaned up everything in the personal subconscious, one is free forever. Ignorance is over for the jiva – who is really the self—and knows what that means. The free jiva will still have its tendencies and given nature but will no longer be conditioned by the gunas, although they will still operate as they always do in the apparent reality. Ignorance is only a problem for the mind if you don’t know what it is. The vasanas are still there but they are like burnt ropes – they no longer have the power to bind.
When you come across an apparent contradiction in Vedanta, it is usually because one has unconsciously identified with objects (the body-mind) and is trying to understand awareness from the point of view of the jiva. Self-knowledge reverses that process, producing knowledge of the jiva (mithya) from the point of view of awareness (satya). It is important to understand both perspectives in order to be able to discriminate the self – you – from the objects appearing in you.
From the perspective of the apparent person in the world, the person and their story feel real – but they are not. Identification with the person/story and assigning meaning to it is the cause of existential suffering. To be free of the jiva one needs self-knowledge. The gunas represent Isvara’s psychological order, so understanding them provides the means (the only valid means) of knowledge to remove identification or ignorance. One cannot state this often enough: moksa is all about understanding satya and mithya, the real and the apparently real, and the ability to discriminate permanently between the two.
As much as mithya is not real, it does exist (because you can experience it) and it does impact the jiva, who is also mithya. You cannot impose satya onto mithya, it does not work, meaning one cannot simply deny the jiva’s conditioning because it is not real – unless one truly understands what that means for the jiva as awareness. Many self-realised people have this issue, reasoning that if the jiva and their conditioning is not real, why try to change it? Some enlightened people do not bother managing the gunas and simply accept whatever transpires in the dharma field, knowing it has nothing to do with them. This practice is fine if the underlying motivation is not a refusal to face binding vasanas or a way to camouflage the doer. This is a common trap for spiritual seekers and even for self-realised people, one the ego likes. Often it is not lack of self-knowledge that is the problem. It is just that the “self-realised” person is avoiding doing what it takes to change their behaviour and getting their actions and lifestyle to conform with dharma. Many people try to avoid following dharma by trying to make self-knowledge work using karma yoga in situations (like work, relationships, money, etc.) that are unworkable. But this will not work, because your life has to serve the Truth, not the other way around. Truth is impersonal. Neither awareness nor Isvara care one way or the other, because neither awareness nor Isvara have a problem with duality/ignorance. It is up to the jiva to choose peace of mind. The fact is that unless the binding vasanas are rendered non-binding, there will still be agitation in the mind because the gunas (Isvara) still conditions it. Self-actualisation cannot take place. Freedom is not that free if the mind is still under the tyranny of its likes and dislikes.
Knowledge is power. Sadly, many people try to control the gunas without understanding them. This can lead to a painful exercise in what is called “will power.” When we do things we recognize as harmful, but don’t understand the mechanism at work, we make resolutions, manhandling our psyche, so to speak. Sometimes these resolutions are kept; most often they are broken and we suffer accordingly because we believe we have failed. This sets up the cycle of guilt and blame which never resolves the issue and in fact usually perpetuates the negative tendency involved, as you have experienced. It is common that people who have realised the self still struggle with stubborn samskaras and with fears that seem to have no origin, also called the effects of ignorance, or prarabdha karma. The effects of ignorance take as long as they take to subside; it is not up to the jiva or to awareness. It is up to Isvara, as you know. What the jiva can “do about this” is constant and dedicated self-inquiry, trusting the scripture implicitly.
Hang in there, stick to your sadhana, don’t lose heart. If you desire moksa more than anything else, Isvara responds in like kind. Self-knowledge is grace, and grace is earned. Cleaning up the subconscious is the hardest work you will ever do. What price freedom? If the effects of ignorance are playing out and you cannot change it, accept it. Don’t resist. Do what you can to ameliorate the karma with equanimity and through dharmic lifestyle choices. Know that it is not you and it will pass, this is what Isvara is bringing your way as the jiva and you must flow with it. Resistance keeps you tied to the person and is a guarantee of more suffering. The gunas are constantly changing and impersonal, like everything else in the apparent reality; what use is control? Karma yoga is the only solution, as there is no way to fast-forward this process. This is not to say you do not take appropriate action when required. As peace of mind is the main goal if moksa is what you are after, you would naturally make choices that produce peace of mind (sattva) and cause no injury to yourself or “others,” not because you feel guilt or duty-bound to do so, but because this is what following dharma requires if peace of mind is what you desire more than anything else.
As the jiva, whether enlightened or not, you are subject to the gunas even though as a jivanmukta you are free of them (trigunaatita). Eternal vigilance is necessary because rajas and tamas, being the sneaky devils they are, can still cause trouble for the jiva, though not for awareness of course. Sattva can also be problematic in that you can get stuck in the “golden cage” of experiential bliss – or worse, start believing you are superior because you are so “spiritual.” As you know, moksa is not about perfecting the person, it is freedom from the person AND freedom for the person. It is a both/and not an either/or because the jiva never leaves the apparent reality. So on the one hand, one has to accept one’s conditioning with dispassion because it belongs to Isvara and it’s pointless fighting it. On the other hand, the jiva has to take appropriate action for peace of mind, changing what can be changed with the karma yoga attitude at all times. There is no purifier like self-knowledge for the mind, so the most important “action” to take is always self-inquiry. Even though no action taken by a limited being like a jiva will produce a limitless result like moksa, self-inquiry, while also an action, leads to self-knowledge which is limitless. Self-inquiry prepares the mind so that self-knowledge can take place “in” it.
One has to use common sense because obviously there are things about your character (conditioning) that you will not be able to change. As it is all Isvara, as long as you do not identify with it as the doer, observing it with great dispassion, sattva can be maintained as long as dharma is being followed. It is senseless beating yourself up, blaming or censuring yourself for the way Isvara made you. The voices of diminishment are always best ignored. But if agitation (rajas) or dullness/denial (tamas) prevail in the mind, this is a sure sign that either dharma is not being followed or ignorance is still there, usually both.
Dharma is a very tricky issue because it is different for everyone. What is dharmic for one person is adharmic for another because dharma depends on what is right for you. There are three basic types of dharma: (1) samanya dharma is universal values; in other words, the laws that govern the dharma field which apply to everyone – like non-injury, for instance. This is also called Svadharma with a capital “S”; (2) visesa dharma is how the individual interprets these universal laws and applies them to their life; and (3) svadharma with a lower-case “s” which is the individual’s conditioning, or vasana load. The individual jiva needs to act in accordance with his or her inborn nature or they will not be following dharma. But this does not mean that gives one licence to harm oneself or others.
If you have not done so yet, take a fearless moral inventory and see what you value most, where your energy is most invested. I recommend you read The Value of Values by Swami Dayananda, although this is extensively and beautifully covered in James’ new book The Essence of Enlightenment, available on Amazon already, if I am not mistaken.
Larissa: I was listening to the Trout Lake Panchadasi audio, and in Chapter 18 there’s the bit where James talks about the Brits in Spain being miserable for not having faced whatever issues they left unresolved at home. And someone asks the question “Wasn’t it Isvara too that sent them to Spain?” And James says something like, “Yes, in the end it’s all Isvara but as long as you believe you’re a jiva you have to face your lot. Isvara has sent you here with a certain vasana load to be worked out and you have to do the job.” I am confused. I totally understand what he’s saying, but then I see Larissa’s vasanas and her reactions… I see it’s all Isvara, including Larissa’s drive to react in a way that she knows is not dharmic, and Larissa feeling rotten afterward… followed by the need to “be better next time.” Just as it’s Isvara that Larissa’s sitting and writing to you now, trying to have some light shed on this issue.
Sundari: So if you know it is Isvara sitting writing and if you know you are confused, are you really confused? Who is it that knows that Larissa is having a hard time being Larissa because she feels confused, rotten and wants to do better “next time”? You – awareness – the non-experiencing witness. Isvara is awareness in the role of Creator producing the dharma field, Larissa’s environment and field of experience. Isvara, the dharma field, Larissa and her stuff, are ideas appearing in awareness. Maya makes both Larissa (the creation or world of objects) and Isvara appear real. But neither Larissa nor Isvara is real, although Isvara as Creator is relatively real with reference to Larissa, but not with reference to awareness, because Isvara’s role as Creator ends when the cycle of creation ends. Maya does not end though it is not always manifest. Maya is eternal because it exists as a power in awareness and awareness is eternal.
Larissa: But do you see? I don’t find it any easier because I know it’s Isvara. I find it even more frustrating, i.e. Larissa finds it frustrating – Larissa finds Isvara frustrating (sacrilege! ☺). And yet I don’t want to live with this frustration… Does this make any sense? Is it that I don’t trust Isvara to solve it eventually? Larissa’s fear and need to control herself/circumstances just in case Isvara decides to leave her “as is”? So… I’m not taking Larissa’s imperfections and the feelings of frustration as prasad and saying “Thank you, Lord.” Is it a belief that God should be on my side because I think I’m doing the right thing, that God should reward me with being better/conforming with Larissa’s expectations of how to behave in such occasions? I don’t mean any of this disrespectfully; they are sincere questions.
Sundari: I understand you perfectly, and it is frustrating. You are not being disrespectful, and humour is a good alternative to frustration! ☺
Larissa exists in a different order of reality to you, awareness, that of the apparently real because she is always changing and not always present. Awareness, you, are what never changes and is always present. However, Larissa (the mind/subtle body) is made up of and arises from awareness, so Larissa is really awareness identified with the subtle body under the spell of ignorance. You can’t fix her. You can only understand her in the light of self-knowledge, which will “fix” her because she will see that she does not need fixing. This is why you are so frustrated with Larissa – and stuck with her perceived imperfections. Whose “side” should God/Isvara be on if there is only awareness and you are it? Awareness has no sides. Who would reward you for “being a better person” if you are not the person, but awareness, your own reward, limitless, whole and complete?
Larissa has expectations because she is still identified with Larissa, the doer, the one who wants things to be different and for Larissa to be different. Larissa wants Isvara to conform to her likes and dislikes and Isvara does not care. If you are waiting for Isvara to fix Larissa or solve her existential problems, you will wait for all eternity because neither Isvara nor awareness has a problem with Larissa the way she is. Non-duality is not opposed to duality, knowledge is not opposed to ignorance. Duality does not disappear when you know it is a superimposition onto non-duality and not real. Duality just does not bind you anymore, so you are not deluded by it anymore and can enjoy it for what it has to offer: temporary joy. You no longer seek objects to complete you because you know that the joy is you, and not in the objects.
Larissa has a problem with Larissa, and as long as she thinks this way, she will find a growing dissatisfaction with Larissa and her life. It sounds like Larissa is under the influence of some deep seated samskaras (conglomeration of vasanas) which have not been fully negated, causing great agitation in the mind. There is still ignorance (fear/worry/blame) in the mind so peace of mind (sattva) is not permanent. As stated several times, to be free of Larissa so that Larissa can have peace of mind living as the self and not the person, she needs to understand Isvara, “her” conditioning, and to follow dharma. Following dharma means taking the appropriate action in every situation without fail with the karma yoga attitude – consecrating your every thought word and deed before you think, speak or act to Isvara, knowing the results are not up to you. Keep applying the knowledge to every situation for as long as it takes if freedom is what you are after.
Samskaras take time to go away – they will fade more quickly when they are fully seen and understood. Deep-seated samskaras will keep reappearing until they are fully negated. Isvara has no qualms about dredging up from the depths our deepest, darkest and least fabulous tendencies and is sure to do so when we like it least. Anxiety is a constant companion when we have work to do to clean up the mind and we are very likely to forget the knowledge and contravene dharma when these destructive patterns arise in the mind. One has to catch the pattern very quickly and apply the opposite thought, which works because it objectifies the anxiety – if one can remember to think it when one is stressed and in the grip of a samskara.
Karma yoga is perfectly designed to destroy samskaras and works when worry/stress/fear/blame is there – if applied. However, the nature of rajas is such that the tamas (denial, blindness) that accompanies it causes one to feel that one does not have “time” to deconstruct the desire/fear/blame on the spot! Rajas is synonymous with time, as time is another word for desire.
When in the control of rajas and tamas, the doer forgets that it is now an inquirer and that it is supposed to free the mind of worry through self-knowledge, not to get the object in the world, whatever it is – like improving Larissa, for instance. It thinks that the results of the actions it takes will free the mind – which they will temporarily – leaving the samskara carefully concealed and intact, however. When rajas is strong, the mind cannot observe itself. It is caught up in the future, the thought that things need to be different, so the mind acts to correct the situation, usually in negative ways. The mind does not act to correct itself because sattva is covered by rajas and tamas.
When tamas predominates, the mind is too dull to discriminate; it is prone to denial and avoidance. Rajas and tamas always work together. Where you find projection (rajas) you will find denial (tamas). When satya (the true nature of the mind) predominates, the mind becomes clear and one is able to see the natural order of creation. Then every action taken will be with the right attitude.
The key to most samskaras is the word “time.” Time represents the pressure of the samskara. The ego either wants what it wants the way it wants immediately – or it believes that it needs “time” to resolve issues and get what it wants. Either way, it employs distraction because what it is really after is maintaining the status quo. When ignorance is operating, the thought/word “time” is meant to refer to something real, something substantial. But all it refers to is “I want.” We know what is behind that – “I am small, I am insecure, I am afraid, I am unworthy, I am incomplete,” – etc.
If one is vigilant and can identify the rajas/tamas cycle in time, one can ameliorate the effect of a samskara very effectively by dismissing the present thought by taking the line of the reasoning it represents to its logical conclusion, thus defusing the power of the samskara in the moment.
But then the doer/ego will immediately try to prevent this alternative because doing is the key to the maintenance of its identity as someone in control of his or her destiny – see the fear – again, rajas. This is the problem in relationships too. If one really surrenders to the relationship, you lose control.
Renunciation of karma and the results causes another problem for the doer. It presents the scenario it was trying to avoid in the first place: no control, which is fear-based too. If the doer actually analyzed the root thought in the light of self-knowledge – which is “I need this result because I am incomplete, small and afraid” – the whole problem would go away instantly.
But if the samskara is doing the thinking (which is usually the case for the doer), that is the worst alternative: “What if…?” – and off it goes worrying. Fear is meant to be very smart. At some point in the life of the doer, worry is self-validating. It equals love for the doer. It means “I care about myself.” But it is a purely samsaric value. If one encounters a terrible fear of any kind, dismiss it immediately. Reaffirm the opposite thought: “No bad result, I am awareness.”
Fear is hard to love.
are never about what they purport to be about. An unnamed fear lurks
behind them all. No matter what you do or don’t do, it is there
attaching itself to an action. One needs to be sick and tired of the
mind it creates. Yes, one can walk away from various situations
relatively easily, but one cannot walk away from one’s conditioning
other than through self-knowledge; it follows you wherever you go,
just like your shadow does.
Walking away from the belief that worldly results are necessary for peace of mind is the real (and only) renunciation because it amounts to renunciation of the doer itself.
The best mantra is “Nothing can go wrong.” Nothing ever went “wrong” because life is not about me getting what I think I want. It is about the me that does not want. The only cure for a bad attitude is a good attitude.
There so many good thoughts available to remove the stress in any situation but attachment to the doer make them all unpalatable. Negative thoughts then rush in taking over the mind, making it impossible to see clearly. The renunciation thought is particularly difficult for the doer because it indicates a failure to get what it wants the way it wants it when it wants it. It can’t stand that thought because the “I am the self” thought does not actually sustain it when it is faced with various everyday situations that involve loss or the fear of loss, as you have found. This is indeed very frustrating!
Again, what is needed is to understand the relationship between Isvara and the jiva – the most subtle teaching – and why so many sincere and dedicated seekers like you get stuck at this point. I have sent you quite a bit on this very important teaching, and it might have been a bit too much for you at this stage. What you need to remember is when the mind becomes agitated, as you describe in the last paragraph of this email, and you feel stuck, it is always the doer involved, the one who wants a particular result. Karma yoga is always the answer, as is applying the knowledge on the gunas. And taking a stand in awareness as awareness, practice the opposite thought. Ask yourself who is really having the issue. It will never be you, awareness.
A short teaching on Isvara: with the appearance of maya the impossible becomes possible. Satya, indivisible awareness, appears as a subtle body identified with objects, believing that awareness is something to gain. This is called the apparent reality, mithya.
The apparent reality (mithya) is a union of paraprakiti or higher reality (meaning Isvara as pure awareness) and aparaprakiti (jiva or the world of objects), lower reality. Their common identity is uparaprakriti, awareness. Isvara in the role of Creator (awareness plus maya) is the both the intelligent cause, that which shapes the materials into form (without ever losing or modifying its own nature), and the material substance, meaning the effect from which the forms are created, like the spider’s web emerges from the spider and is made up of the spider but is not the spider. All objects are thus awareness but awareness is not the objects.
Isvara is not a big person; it constitutes the impersonal forces that govern the creation – and created it. As consciousness is non-dual, there is no “real” world. When maya appears, awareness plus the gunas “becomes” Isvara, the Creator. Isvara or brahman is the name for all forms, not for a particular form. Isvara is not a doer or a samsari. From the jiva’s point of view, Isvara is unlimited and the jiva is limited. From awareness’ point of view, both Isvara and jiva are limited. Even though Isvara is omniscient relative to the jiva (because only Isvara has knowledge of all objects), Isvara, like the jiva, depends on awareness to exist. Although Isvara is not conditioned by maya and is conscious, and the jiva is conditioned by maya and is not conscious, both Isvara and the jiva are reflected awareness, and make up the apparent reality. Therefore neither Isvara nor the jiva is real, “real” being defined as “that which is permanent.”
Maya, the power to delude (ignorance), is a power that exists in awareness, so although its appearance gives rise to the apparent reality, maya is neither real nor unreal. Maya creates the categories of real and unreal. Without maya there is no creation, no jiva and no Isvara. It is very important to remember that maya only “covers” a very small portion of awareness (we are constrained by words because awareness has no parts) because awareness cannot be covered. Awareness is that which knows maya, the apparent covering. Awareness does not create, but maya creates the apparent duality with apparent doers, jivas being the “small” doers and Isvara being the “big” doer. The emphasis here is on “apparent” because actually, no doer exists. Once maya is transcended, i.e. non-duality and duality understood, ignorance falls away and only awareness remains.
The apparent reality is like a dream. In this dream state (whether the jiva is awake or asleep) vasanas influence how reality is interpreted by the jiva. Isvara provides the raw material for the interpretation but not the interpretation itself. Ultimately, it is all Isvara, but to get to that understanding – which is tantamount to moksa – the jiva has to understand what it is responsible for and Isvara’s role in jiva’s creations, i.e. projections, so that the jiva can be free of the belief that it is a person – and therefore free of Isvara too.
That said, as we know, the jiva as a jiva never leaves the apparent reality. The individual jivas and what they experience is called the dharma field (Isvara), and it is a field of laws. This field is not under the jiva’s control, it is under Isvara’s control. Only Isvara takes care of the total. But understanding the nature of the field (which includes the nature of the jiva because it is part of the field) leads to self-knowledge and freedom because it clarifies the relative responsibilities of the jiva and Isvara. A jiva that faces Isvara without fear and with total transparency (jivanmukta) is liberated here and “hereafter.”
The jivanmukta understands that although its nature is awareness, the subtle body belongs to Isvara, which means the jiva’s conditioning belongs to Isvara because the gunas are Isvara. Therefore it cannot be the doer – hence the importance of karma yoga. You will not negate the doer without karma yoga and you will not fully understand the importance of karma yoga or render the binding vasanas non-binding unless you surrender to Isvara.
A jivanmukta worships Isvara even though it knows that as awareness the jiva and Isvara both have a dependent reality on awareness. The jivanmukta is totally relaxed, having understood that Isvara is awareness in the role of Creator taking care of the total. Non-dual vision means that you see everything as non-different from you, even though you know that you are not what you see. The dharma field means jiva’s “personal” creation or “story” (jiva srsti) and Isvara’s impersonal creation, maya. Isvara creates, sustains and destroys the whole universe. The world we see with our senses and the senses with which we see it are Isvara’s creation. Within Isvara’s creation are innumerable jivas, individuals: plants, animals, humans, insects, etc. Jivas are living beings with gross, subtle and causal bodies. Human jivas have intellect which makes them self-aware, self-reflective. This means that they can interpret their experiences. The way that a jiva’s subtle body interprets its experience is its “world.” Its interpretation is its “creation,” jiva srsti or subjective reality.
When we say the world would not be there without the mind (subtle body), we mean the jiva’s interpretation, its projection, would not be there. It does not mean that the material world, the senses, subtle body and the vasanas (Isvara srsti, or creation) would not be here.
We call the jiva’s creation “pratibhasika satyam,” the subjective reality. The jiva sees things a certain way owing to his or her conditioning. Isvara’s creation is called “vyavaharika satyam,” the objective world. This is the world of science, the objects and the laws which are not under the control of any jiva.
We need this teaching so the jiva does not confuse its creation with Isvara’s. The jiva is in Isvara’s creation and is required to respond to it. This is called dharma, appropriate response. If the individual responds properly to what Isvara wants, it will be in harmony with Isvara, the creation, meaning its environment. But if the jiva is living in its own world, gets a request from Isvara and responds according to its fears and desires, likes and dislikes, it is quite possible and very likely that it will run afoul of Isvara, meaning its circumstances – and therefore suffer.
This teaching makes the jiva aware of the difference between the subjective and the objective realities, the real and the apparently real. If it is clear which is which, it can choose to follow dharma, not its own desires – in case they are different. There is no problem with jiva’s desires per se as long as they conform to dharma.
When one’s true nature is known to be awareness, the jiva no longer projects its interpretation of objects onto “others” even though he/she may still experience the interpretation of so-called others as thoughts appearing in the mind. The interpretation is an object known to you.
~ Om and prem, Sundari