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A Few Niggling Doubts
George: Hi, Daniel. I would like to ask you a question concerning awareness, if you would. I am non-dual awareness, whole and complete?
Daniel: Spot on, George. You are non-dual, unborn, whole and complete awareness, the self-lit light which reveals/knows all objects and remains free of George reading these very words.
George: Awareness cannot be the person, because the person is known to awareness, as is every other object in existence.
Daniel: Correct. George is an object appearing to you, awareness. The person is awareness, yet awareness is not a person.
George: But it is said that awareness isn’t aware of anything but itself.
Daniel: Correct again. Awareness isn’t aware of anything but itself. If this is a non-dual reality and if awareness is everything that is, then this would mean that whatever is known to awareness is only just awareness. So when the apparent person “wakes up” to his/her nature, in actual fact it’s only awareness “waking up” to itself. The apparent person is merely the equipment piece that awareness uses to rediscover itself.
George: James has said that enlightenment is simply knowledge.
Daniel: Yes, enlightenment is simply self-knowledge. A self-realised person is one who knows without a doubt that he/she is limitless awareness, and knows what this means. Enlightenment is the hard and fast knowledge that “I am awareness,” assuming that it renders your binding fears and desires non-binding and cancels your sense of doership. Understanding what it means to be unborn, ever-present, non-dual, ordinary, unconcerned awareness is freedom.
Being enlightened means that you do not depend on any object for your happiness, that you know that nothing can be added to you or subtracted from you, so you do not pursue things in the world thinking they will complete you.
A self-realised person has complete knowledge, meaning he/she understands both satya (i.e. the self, what it real) and mithya (i.e. the “not-self,” what is only apparent, or dependently existent, i.e. personhood). Vedanta is really just discriminating satya from mithya.
George: So can a self-realised person be both aware of his apparent personhood as well as being aware of awareness at the same “time”?
Daniel: Keep in mind that if the person says, “I am aware of awareness,” then he/she has objectified awareness and that there is still some work to be done. In this case we want to convert the knowledge from indirect (i.e. “I know I am awareness”) to direct knowledge (i.e. “I am awareness”). See the subtle yet profound difference?
This will occur as you continue to apply and reflect on the teachings.
George: Does this mean to say that the only difference between an ignorant person and a free one is simply what he/she knows, and not what they experience?
Daniel: A person’s experience is shaped according to what he/she knows. So a person who is ignorant of his/her limitless nature attempts to complete this sense of existential lack through obtaining objects in samsara. This is a painful pursuit and does not work. A person who is equipped with self-knowledge understands that he/she is already whole and complete and therefore does his/her duty happily, not for happiness.
Even though enlightenment is simply knowledge and not an experience, one could see how the knowledge will naturally have a positive impact in shaping the jiva’s experience.
I will say one last thing: freedom is not for the seeker, freedom is FROM the seeker. Contemplate this sentence.
Here is a super link written by James on Isvara-jiva-jagat and the gunas. I think you would appreciate it: link.
George: I know who I am, yet sometimes I like to get clarification on a few niggling doubts that aren’t really doubts, as I don’t know anybody who is into Vedanta where I am. Thank you again, Daniel.
Daniel: Continue to contemplate the teachings. Though niggling doubts may arise and niggle about – they’ll eventually wiggle right out (sounds like Dr. Seuss!). ☺
And even if doubts do arise, no problem, use them in your inquiry. Who is the knower of the doubts and doubter? Simply “come back” to the conviction that that you’re the knower of the doubts and doubter.
George: Thank you very much for your swift reply, Daniel. I’m sure you are very happy to be teaching Vedanta and to have found Ramji, Sundari and ShiningWorld.
Daniel: Only a pleasure, George. Yes, we are most fortunate is to be part of the ShiningWorld family.
You’re welcome to write to me anytime.