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Robert: Again, much gratitude and love to you both. Thank you ever so much for this!
Yesterday I went fishing, and on the drive out something clicked. It is impossible for me to be a doer! Ha, how ridiculously simple that truth is!
And the jiva is the “apparent” doer created out of the gunas and all that that entails belongs to Isvara, and I am beyond Isvara.
Sundari: Yes, indeed! The truth is so simple and so subtle it is impossible for the mind to understand until the intellect has been purified by self-knowledge.
If you just use common sense and think through how many factors that have to be in play to do anything – like get out of bed in the morning, walk across a room or even smile, it is totally clear that the constituents of action are not up to the jiva. Isvara is doing it all, yet Isvara is not a doer either. Doing happens as a result of the gunas. Without self-knowledge one is totally run by the vasanas/gunas and at the mercy of the ruthless karmic cycle, drowning in the unpredictable and ever-changing ocean of samsara. Knowing this, one can only have compassion for any mind still under the spell of ignorance. From this perspective, which is the perspective of the self and the only sane way to look at life, applying this knowledge to the jiva’s story, forgiveness is not only natural, it is an act of compassion to the jiva. One understands firstly there is only the self, and secondly how much pain everyone is in without self-knowledge and under the whip of their vasanas. Here the doer dissolves, as it is clear that all doing is being done by the gunas.
Well done to you for seeing that as awareness you are beyond Isvara. It is important to remember that although Isvara wields maya/ignorance (gunas) Isvara is never deluded by maya. Isvara is awareness plus maya in the role of Creator and shares the same identity as the jiva, i.e. awareness. However, enlightened or not, the jiva is subject to Isvara’s universal laws and dharmas.
The question is: What is the relationship between jiva and Isvara? Jiva can’t see a world that appears to be “out there” unless it is aware, and Isvara can’t create the whole objective world unless it is aware. We know that Isvara is aware because its creation is intelligently designed: it all hangs together perfectly, all appearances to the contrary notwithstanding when looking at life in general! All unhappiness and suffering is not caused by Isvara but by ignorance of Isvara.
There is essentially no difference between jiva and Isvara except in their capacity to create. Isvara creates the objective world and jiva creates the subjective world. They both appear to be conscious because consciousness is the common denominator. This is why Vedanta says they are “essentially” the same. If this is true, then we can eliminate both jiva and Isvara as real and take ourselves to be consciousness.
We can eliminate them as real because their capacities are different and neither of them is always present. Isvara in the role of Creator is infinite with reference to the jiva, but not with reference to awareness, because Isvara in the role of Creator goes unmanifest at the end of the creation cycle. The same applies to the jiva because although the universal jiva is infinite in that it is really awareness, it only appears as a subtle body (a person) when maya manifests. Isvara is not a person with likes and dislikes (not modified by ignorance or the gunas) and the creator of everything, whereas jiva thinks it’s a person, has likes and dislikes (is modified by the gunas) and cannot create anything. The sun, moon and the stars, the beating of its heart, the ability to walk or smile or do anything is thanks to Isvara. Jiva only creates its subjective reality.
And we can eliminate both Isvara and jiva because neither Isvara’s creation nor jiva’s creation hides consciousness. It is always present prior to the creation and prior to the birth of individuals, or subtle bodies. You can’t have a macrocosmic creation without consciousness. Something had to exist before Isvara could “bang” the creation into existence. That something we call paramatma, pure consciousness, free of both Isvara as Creator and jiva.
Consciousness – me – is never affected by Isvara’s creation or by jiva’s creation. It is the knower of both.