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The Jiva and the Karma Kit
Tim: James, the day’s events unfold each day with a detached blessed energy. How beautiful that the creation has been resolved. Since you shared Vedanta with me I have been at peace. Some days are more peaceful than others, but no comparison with how free I feel now compared to before Vedanta. It has not gone away. It has been enough to know awareness. I am not up to working it out to 17 decimal places, but I am still confused about how the jiva finds its way through various lives.
There is only awareness, and still we appropriately accept the apparent awareness of the jiva, the duality in the non-dual world. I recall you said there is no jiva and no karma; however, there is a lot of talk about a world that indulges the apparent jiva and his apparent karma, and all the issues that arise from the view of the jiva in awareness.
I inquire into the underlying belief by the vast majority of people that the jiva is unique, that it has a special “spiritual DNA code,” what I call the “karma kit,” that allows it to continue in this grand creation as a definitive separate ball of energy. You say there is no jiva and logically no karma, and I can get my head around that. I observe my jiva-ness in a blessed experiential bubble. I am detached as awareness and experientially happy as a jiva. I love the balancing of the two awarenesses… awareness and an apparent awareness, the best of both worlds.
I have had to accept I am not a very special drop in the ocean. If there is no karma for the jiva then the only advantage I see in living dharmically is to have the sweetest jiva experiences and to actively align my jiva with the creation. This makes beautiful sense. I once asked you what is the take away from Vedanta… what’s in it for the jiva. I think you were a little off balance when you said, “Brush Isvara’s teeth.” Still, that is as good an answer as any other, upon reflection. I started out just wanting to say hello, but have indulged my thoughts. I am happy with the peace you gave me when I first met you and heard Vedanta Thanks for being in my life, James.
James: I am sorry it has taken me so long to reply, but I picked up a nasty sinus, throat, lung, ear infection that just will not go away. It still lingers as I write, but Isvara woke me up with the thought of you and I knew it was time to write. When I said to brush Isvara’s teeth I meant that nothing actually changes for the jiva on the karma level when it knows it is awareness, just the jiva’s relationship to itself. “Before enlightenment I chopped wood and carried water. After enlightenment I chopped wood and carried water.”
In any case, understanding the confusion between the reflected self – the one that reincarnates – and pure original awareness, which you know you are and which does not incarnate, is the essence of Vedanta.
I think you can’t understand why, if there is no karma and no separate self, we speak of karma and a separate self. As you know, the one reality – awareness, which you are and which you appreciate yourself as – appears as an apparent duality. On the one hand is pure awareness and on the other maya. Maya creates an image of awareness in the subtle body that causes awareness to appear as an apparently separate entity, a jiva, an individual. If you know you are awareness – as awareness – there is no jiva, or if there is it is known to be only a dream jiva, an apparent person, like a mirage.
If you don’t know you are awareness, you are still awareness, but you think you are a jiva, an apparent person, in your case Tim. Not everyone who is seeking freedom understands that they are awareness like you do. Most understand it intellectually, but do not enjoy the freedom, the happiness, the gratitude like you do. They believe it is possible to be free, they strive for it, but they just don’t get what it means when we say they are awareness. They are only jivas in their understanding, they think they are real and that the world they live in is real. For these people life and death is a big deal.
We can’t throw them out of the Vedanta world and we need not, because we have a gradual way to get them out of it. But to do so we have to pretend that they are real and that time is real and the world is real, etc. We know we are talking to a pretend person, but they don’t. So we explain the apparent reality in their terms. Once they see the terribly conscious, logical and beautiful way the creation is structured, they start to relax and believe in Isvara and trust in Isvara. At the same time, we are educating them about the nature of the apparent reality, we present the idea that they are awareness, the one and only self that is always free of the dream reality and the dream self. Both teachings – that there is no separate self and that there is a separate self – go on simultaneously and we switch between the two to help the seeker discriminate one from the other. It takes time – if you are not qualified to get this distinction, to know the difference between you and Tim. So you should not get irritated with me either, since I often explain reincarnation as if it were a fact when the situation requires. It is like a parent telling a fairy tale to his children, as if it was real. They are in one world and the parent is in another. There is no contradiction between the non-dual and the dual perspective, because they are in different orders of the one reality, like dream and waking. When you are asleep and dreaming and your wife is sitting in bed next to you reading a book, you have two different events happening in the same place at the same time. The waking state is true for her and the dream state is true for you; there is no contradiction. Her reality has no effect on yours and yours has no effect on hers.
A lot of people think that when you know you are awareness and that there is only awareness there should be no jiva at all. Well, there is, but there isn’t. There is because the dream is real for you and the waking is real for her, but your dream does not condition her waking. So your dream is as good as non-existent for her even though it is real for you. So the Tim-guy and his karma kit exists, but it is not real for you, awareness. Problem solved.
I think of you fondly and often, Tim, and I am happy for your happiness.
~ Love, James