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No Low-Level Jerkdom
Deon: Dear Sundari, my name is Deon and I’m living in South Australia. I was fortunate enough to attend the Berlin retreat – 6th to the 13th of June – this focused on the Bhagavad Gita although it was in some ways “out of my league,” I still felt a profound sense of peace and happiness when in the company of James/Ramji. This has been a very rare thing for me – although the website and videos are great – seeing James “in the flesh,” so to speak, would be real good…
Sundari: Hello, Deon. Yes, we remember you. James says to say hello.
Deon: I have at times strongly regretted not having known or accessed the slightly earlier Westerwald retreat. This has been a particularly helpful insight into “setting up the learning of Vedanta/inquiry.” A teaching near the end which looks at triguna yoga still amazes me in its clarity and lucidity – as delivered by Ramji. Vedanta to me is a little like quantum physics on LSD… anyway…
Sundari: Vedanta is pretty far out, it’s true – if you are not qualified to hear it. You are very blessed to have found James as he is one of the very few teachers who can make Vedanta totally accessible and simple.
Deon: If things had happened in this order I might have avoided asking a couple of cringingly dumb questions. This all came about because I’d cracked a couple of ribs on my apartment bathtub (Isvara at work??) and because it hurt a real lot I was heavily identified with the pain in my body at the time… Anyway, one learns, although in my case, kinda slowly…
Sundari: Don’t take ignorance personally because we certainly do not! It is amazing once self-knowledge starts to lift the ignorance that something as powerful and axiomatic as awareness could be unknown, but there it is. Maya is pretty tenacious and pernicious when you don’t know what it is. We all have to start somewhere when we are fortunate enough to come across Vedanta – and all ignorance is the same, even though it seems to play out differently for everyone. It sounds like you are making great progress, which is wonderful.
Deon: A main point of this letter (sorry I write so much!) is unfortunately I don’t think I’ll be able to make it to India, so I’ll leave it to you or whoever you delegate… to give someone the reserved seat I had… maybe “musical chairs” or God knows what… a Cosmic Lottery, perhaps??
Sundari: Thank you, Deon, we will leave the lottery up to Isvara who is the Big Cheese in the apparent reality. ☺
Deon: Be well, Sundari, and love to James (although he might have relegated me to some kind of low-level “jerkdom” considering my 1.5 minutes of seriously confused bitching, or dumb questioning. I really just didn’t “get it” as well as I do now…). And yeah, it takes me a good while to attune and absorb what can be essentially antithetical notions which one has learned throughout life and identified with, regarding the body and mind, etc…
Sundari: No, we do not assign levels because we teach the self, not the ego. We see only the self talking in self-ignorance or self-knowledge. Ignorance may be beginningless but it is not endless because self-knowledge removes it. Vedanta is totally counterintuitive which is why the mind has to be prepared and qualified. No way to get around that.
Deon: Ramji, finally, was very right when he noticed (with graciousness and discretion) that my childhood was essentially very bad (really shitty, in fact!). The main thing is now I’m pretty much here and don’t feel such an obsession with past suffering or, for that matter, doing much at all anymore – maybe it’s middle-age apathy – but I’m not really bored, rather the idea of not needing/wanting any more big “experiences” seems to have settled into my life. Then again, I’m just great at deluding myself, Sundari. Anyway, I’ll shut up now and let you two get on with whatever non-dual, blissful and normal things you’re both doing out there…
Sundari: Our conditioning is given to us by Isvara which is why the teaching on the gunas is so important. The jiva may not be real and will always be limited, but to be free of it one has to understand the person in the light of self-knowledge in order for the conditioning to be rendered non-binding. It does not sound like you are deluded, quite the opposite in fact. It takes quite a while for the ego to get on board with the idea of freedom and transcendental boredom/apathy is a stage many go through on the way to moksa. If you no longer feel the agitation of desire or attachment to “the story” in the mind, then detachment and discrimination are becoming firm. This is the essence and the bottom line for moksa: discriminating yourself from the objects that appear in you, while understanding that everything is made up of you and arises from you, though you are always free of all objects.
Deon: With much gratitude, Deon. (Oh yeah, I cut off my long hair but am very glad I’d done it before I read James’ kinda pertinent comments on “long hair after 20,” or something rather appropriate and funny involving hair…)
Sundari: I am sure James will be impressed. ☺
Deon: I’ve now got the Panchadasi talks from India. I gather that’s the subject Ramji’s going to look at in January – and they make intense sense! It all does really, which can be pretty challenging at times!!
Sundari: Well done, Deon, and much love to you from both of us.