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Awareness and God
Terry: James, you said, “There is one self, consciousness. When it identifies with maya the world comes into being. The pure self is brahman, meaning ‘limitless.’ Brahman is not a doer, but it responds to prayer because it is conscious. It responds as Isvara.”
Based on what you have told me and what I have read in the satsangs, this is what I think is being said (please correct me if I am wrong):
So brahman is not just a mute witness. When you pray to it it can only respond as Isvara because brahman is not a doer. But it does respond. So praying to Isvara is the same as praying to brahman (because they are both awareness). And by praying you become aligned with the will of Isvara. Now, does the will of Isvara mean being aligned with what will lead to knowledge of the self? Is that what Isvara wants?
James: Yes, because limitlessness, i.e. freedom, is its nature. It is apparently constrained by ignorance. Self-knowledge is required to remove self-ignorance.
Terry: So when praying to Isvara (for getting Isvara, meaning the self, right?) you said if your intentions are pure then it will provide conditions to facilitate this (like a teacher). When asking for Isvara for Isvara only (and not Isvara’s stuff), does the response of Isvara facilitating this transcend the jiva’s karma?
James: Yes, assuming the jiva is qualified to understand the teaching and it realizes its identity with Isvara. It neutralizes the jiva’s karma because the karma stands in the account of the doer of the karma, but self-knowledge has negated the doer and established awareness as jiva’s identity, so there is no place for karma to go.
Terry: I only ask this because it almost sounds like the intelligence of Isvara is weighing the sincerity of your request and then based on that granting that conditions be rearranged to respond to that request.
James: It is rather like that insofar as to whether you hear, reflect and assimilate the teachings depends on your qualifications. However, if you want moksa badly enough Isvara will give you the circumstances and the understanding necessary to develop them.
Terry: Or is it an impersonal matter of sincere cause and sincere effect?
James: To see it that way is equally valid.
Terry: I just wonder because it seems like in the satsangs that you are saying asking God for God itself stays right there with God (your self) and other requests for God’s stuff get diverted to another route: the impersonal karma machine. I know I keep picking on this issue, but I am really trying to deconstruct many years of conditioning to think of God in anthropomorphic ways.
James: Isvara just gives you what you want based on your actions and the appropriateness and timeliness of said actions as they impact on life, which is Isvara. If you want big muscles and you pump iron Isvara will give you big muscles. If you want moksa and you expose your mind to the teaching, always assuming that you are qualified, you will get moksa. If you want to be qualified Isvara will provide the circumstances and the understanding necessary to interpret the circumstances that will cause a particular qualification, like dispassion, to develop. Isvara is karma phala data, giver of the results of action. In the case of moksa commitment to inquiry is an action that leads to self-knowledge which is the result of inquiry.
Terry: I read the Symbols of the Self article, and it was very helpful. I have heard a lot of those stories before but not had them explained, so they were completely lost on me. Also, the description of the deities will be of good use when I go to the temple. I thought I had read the What Is Advaita Vedanta? article, but I had only read half of it. I am going back through it now.
Again, I am not trying to flatter you, because I doubt you are seeking that, but I really appreciate your consideration and time. Many other teachers have not done the same.
James: You are welcome, Terry.