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Who Is Channelling What?
Camille: Hi, Sundari. I can’t help planting a seed or watering one which has probably already sprouted (and shot way up). Have you thought about giving in-person satsangs yourself? I of course love and am very grateful for Ram and his teachings; he’s actually the only long-term teacher I’ve had over these last 15 years or so (well, I’ve known him maybe nine years) on whom I haven’t burnt out.
Anyway, you’re such a warm and supportive listener via email, probably also in person, plus obviously know the Vedanta really well yourself. I wish we had teacher like that in our area!
Sundari: Thanks for the appreciation, much appreciated!
I have been told since very young that I would teach and I know I have the teacher nature, but I have never been terribly keen to do so. In fact although I had worked most things out by the time I met James, and he closed the deal for me. I am glad I did not teach before now. Even though I knew more than most and had a very strong BS meter, I would most certainly have taught ignorance alongside the knowledge if I had taught because my knowledge was not complete. Now that self-knowledge has removed all ignorance and I can wield the knowledge, teaching is “live” is on the agenda. But seeing as my dear husband is the best Vedanta teacher on the planet (and I am not biased, this is a fact) and he taught me what I now know, it seems a bit silly to teach when he is unequalled – and never will be. There will never be another teacher like him.
I get what you are saying though, there are very few self-realised women qualified teachers. Although as the self gender really has no relevance, many people, especially women, have asked me to teach for the reasons you state. Isvara has given me the kind of mind that has the ability to tune in emotionally and intellectually. James is very keen on me teaching. My attitude has been that if Isvara wants me to teach, it will happen. Things are moving that way. Thanks for your vote of confidence!
Camille: It would be nice additionally to have a woman’s touch! Maybe to tune into us individually, and address satsang via emotional as well as mental inroads. Well, would that make it Neo-Advaita? Answering myself: no, it wouldn’t, Ramana himself said fairly little didactically and did a lot of tuning in to where individual students were stuck/growing.
Sundari: You are correct, the answer is no. Mental/emotional issues are what make up the mind and are the same thing, there is no difference really. All emotions start off as thoughts, as does everything. “Tuning in” to students is the mark of any good teacher; the difference with Vedanta teachers is that we do not see the mind as real. Thoughts and emotions/feelings are just objects known to awareness. We dissolve both by understanding where they originate from, i.e. the causal body, the gunas, or Isvara, which are all different terms for the same thing. Gaining control of the mind through knowledge is the way to develop dispassion, an essential qualification for self-inquiry. When one understands that thoughts and emotions do not belong to anyone but arise from the gunas, one can detach from them and diffuse the effect they have on the mind. This is where “the work” of self-inquiry comes in, understanding the conditioning in the mind and identifying the guna behind each thought/emotion. That is the way to freedom.
Camille: Thank you for the kind words again, especially about my mother’s situation. Actually she and I access each other on the subtle planes pretty darned decently now (I’ve had channeling and mediumship training, I’m not that great at it… but good enough to get Mom when she’s trying from her end too!). Anyway, it’s real exciting to me… and big time helps release fear of death.
Sundari: Channelling is a tricky area and one that is easy to get lost in. From a Vedantic perspective, there is no death, this is a non-dual reality; there is only the self. The only death we need to go through is our attachment to the idea that this body-mind is real. The body is no more than a reflection, and when it dies the vasana load/subtle body goes into seed form in the causal body, Isvara. The vasana load then may or may not “reincarnate” in another body. But it is still not the same person if it does. So who are you channelling really? There is only you, the self – there is no “other” end – there is no end. Any end is in maya. But you, awareness, are infinite, limitless and not bound by space and time.
Anything is possible in maya of course, but it is still maya and not real. The jiva’s projections, or subjective reality, is called jiva srsti, or pratibasika, and without self-knowledge is taken to be as “real,” as vyavaharika – the empirical realm, what people believe to be “reality.” But it is all just a dream. Only you, the self, the knower of both is real. “Your” mother lives “in” you as you, as the love you are and hold for her memory, for the part she played in Camille being here. But you are not Camille. You are awareness, as is your mother. Death may have ended the association to her story as Camille’s mother, but your beloved mother is eternal in nature, as are you. I know it is hard for the jiva who thinks it is a jiva to hear this. It’s hard even when you know you are not the jiva but awareness. As the jiva I would be devastated to lose my daughter or granddaughter. Self-knowledge is not a magic pill for the ego, it still has to grieve and it feels the pain. But self-knowledge makes suffering over the pain end very quickly.
Camille: However, now dad is very ill, well, it’s up and down, his health is horrible, but sometimes he functions halfway decently… that’s the most stressful part, the year or two or whatever it will be beforehand. He has zero interest in spirituality or really in anything I’m interested in… but he’s very loving to me in general. Ongoing big lessons in what love is and isn’t.
Sundari: I am so sorry to hear that you are facing your father’s fading health. I know what this is like, as I nursed both my parents through their dying process, my mother especially. Even with self-knowledge, the tie to one’s parents is a very strong attachment, and losing them is not easy, no matter at what age. By the time I was 20, mine had both departed.
Indeed you are right about love, if you understand what it is. Love is unconditional only if you know who you are, because it is your nature. And it is definitely not emotionality. Love in samsara cannot be unconditional, because it will always be governed by the vasanas and the gunas until self-knowledge renders them non-binding.
Camille: Thanks again for your beautiful words!
~ Appreciation, Camille
Sundari: I hope to see you too – and I am sure that you will face whatever is ahead for you with an open and strong heart in the service of self-knowledge.
Although it will be hard to leave my daughter and granddaughter as the jiva grandma, luckily I do know who I am! Self-knowledge makes everything possible and with the application of dispassion, no suffering ensues.
Look forward to seeing you.
~ Much love, Sundari