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No Before or After Enlightenment
Nicky: Dear Maa, I have read through your website, seen videos of James and very much want to know answer to one question which I have. May I please request you to answer the same?
What is the purpose of the soul after enlightenment, what does it do after merging with the universe, are there any further stages after enlightment?
I could not find an answer to this anywhere, can you please sort this one and only question?
Thank you very much.
Sundari: Dear Nicky, your question indicates that you need to start at the beginning with self-inquiry because you have not grasped the basic teachings on non-duality. I cannot teach you unless you first do some more inquiry yourself. Have you read the recommendations at our website before writing to us? If not, please do and follow the instructions, as it is in your best interest to do so if you are committed to self-inquiry.
Very briefly, the soul is not the same as the self; the soul roughly corresponds to the subtle body, which incorporates the body/mind, ego and intellect. There is no “purpose” to the subtle body, it appears when maya manifests and the creation appears as a result. The subtle body does not merge with the universe upon “enlightenment.” It cannot “get” enlightened, because its essence is and always has been awareness, the self.
When the subtle body (or person) is under the spell of ignorance, it wrongly identifies with objects (the body-mind) and thinks that awareness is something to gain. But you cannot gain something you already have. Vedanta, or self-knowledge, is a means of knowledge to remove the spell of ignorance the mind is under so that it can realise its true nature to be awareness, not the person. Once ignorance is removed by self-knowledge, the person then stops identifying with objects and lives free of the person, as awareness. This is moksa, freedom. This is the end of existential suffering, even though as the person you still experience joy, pain and loss, you know them to be objects appearing in you.
The self is not a doer; you cannot DO anything to “gain” enlightenment, because it is who you are. Maya makes the changeless (awareness) appear to be changing, that is the spell of ignorance, or duality. You need to inquire into the true nature of reality and what it means to BE awareness. There is no “before” or “after” enlightenment. You are already enlightened, but you have a knowledge problem because you don’t know what this means.
Once moksa obtains in the mind, duality still exists, as does the apparent person. A good example is a mirage; once you know what it is you do not try to drink the water, because you know it is not real. Apparently real means not always present and always changing. “Real” is defined by “that which is always present and never changes” – a definition that only fits awareness, nothing else. In essence moksa, or freedom, is the ability to discriminate awareness (what is real – satya) from the objects that appear in it (what is apparently real – mithya) at all times and never to confuse the two again.
I suggest you read James’ books How to Attain Enligtenment and his new one The Essence of Enlightenment. In the first book, read Chapter II very carefully. Start at the beginning, sign on to the logic and slowly work your way through. Please read the e-satsangs at our website; there is a search function to facilitate your inquiry.
~ Namaste, Sundari