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Lynn: Hello, Ramji. I am watching part by part the Berlin 2014 YouTube videos. I have just watched Part 14, “Triguna Yoga.” A question arose as I listened to you about where you were discussing the “I am happy” or “I am hungry” statements which a jiva makes. And then you explained it is was actually the prana I had identified with and saying, “I am hungry,” or whatever is a statement of ignorance. (These feelings, etc. are objects in awareness.)
So my question is, once you know this as awareness, i.e. non-dual, limitless, actionless, etc., do you still, as awareness, looking like James, stop saying such statements? Or do you still say them but do it knowing that you are the knower of the statement-maker?
James: You can do it either way, but it is best to keep speaking normally and know that such statements are ignorance, i.e. that the hunger, etc. belong to the body and not to the I.
Lynn: Is this the same as the statement in your book How to Achieve Enlightenment, in the Ramana interview chapter, “enlightenment does not destroy dualistic experience” which is similar to “you are in the world but not of it”?
James: Yes. When you realize that you are awareness, only your ignorance about your nature is removed. Everything else stays the same because everything – your body, thoughts and feelings, etc. – belong to Isvara/maya.
Lynn: Question: During same talk above, in an explanation on how to purify the rajas and tamas gunas, you say that rajas and tamas are created by action of jiva, i.e. unseen effect. Is that karma?
James: Yes. Anything created by action is karma. Actually, the gunas precede action – they are macrocosmic forces that cause the world to change. But action “creates” them too, in the sense that actions done from a particular guna reinforce the tendency – the vasana – for that guna to express itself again as karma. The vasanas and karma are just two ways of speaking of the same force. Karma is vasanas manifesting and vasanas are the unmanifest results of karma. You can’t separate the vasanas from the karma in reality. You can say that ignorance appears as vasanas and the vasanas grossify to become karma which in turn “subtlizes” back into vasanas.
Lynn: Question: again, from the same talk, you say that your mind is only constantly thinking of the Lord and observing the gap between those thoughts between the mantra which you do. I wondered if that is what Asian Indians do naturally? It is in their demeanour.
James: Contemplating the meaning of the mantra and observing the silence in the gap between the words is called japa. Yes, it is a common practice in Asian religions. The teaching about the gap is just to indicate that thoughts are not continuous – there is a tiny gap between them which implies the existence of awareness as a constant presence in the form of “silence.” Most people who do japa do it to keep the self in mind at all times and don’t think about the “gap.” When you do japa the thought of awareness replaces a worldly thought, which purifies the mind. Eventually there is only one thought – the thought of the self – in the mind. If you contemplate on the meaning of the mantra you may realize that you are awareness, although most people use the mantra only to purify the mind. It is a lovely practice that produces a lot of bliss as the mind purifies.
Lynn: And finally, an observational enquiry: I shared a moment with my husband (you know, the lovey dovey stuff which may occur between people). All very jolly! After which I detected a hint of a vasana but it was so brief I could not tell you what it was about. I saw it and so I suppose I neutralised it!
James: If your mind is subtle you can “see” the vasana before and after a particular experience. It is a very subtle feeling, a tendency, an urge. Very nice experience. If you neutralize a vasana you render it non-binding. Although this kind of vasana is probably non-binding to begin with because the lovey-dovey stuff just happened, I suppose. You probably weren’t craving for a lovely-dovey moment all day long. If you were, then the vasana is binding. If it just happened spontaneously, the vasana created the lovey-dovey moment and then receded back into the causal body to create another lovey-dovey moment later.
Lynn: Anyway, after Mark had gone and I went back into the house, it came into my mind who I was, i.e. awareness, and during the exchange we had shared it was merely an experience but awareness momentarily did not seem to be present. Or I had forgotten?
James: Awareness was present or you could not have had the experience. I think you mean that your subtle body was so engaged in the lovey-dovey moment that it was not aware of awareness. Awareness – you – are always present. You, awareness didn’t forget. You experienced the lovey-dovey moment. But it seemed like you forgot because you identified the subtle body as the I. So if you are the subtle body, you forgot.
Lynn: I might say it was an experience where I was in the world but not of it. Two apparent “bundles” of awareness appearing as jivas, i.e. me and Mark having a laugh.
James: Yes. You – pure awareness – observing two bundles of reflected awareness having a laugh.
Lynn: Also, here I feel I could say that this is about where nothing changes, but I am unable to express it correctly as my knowledge is not firm. What would you say to my reflections above?
James: Yes, it isn’t firm, but you are well on your way to firm knowledge. My analysis of your statements should help to firm up your knowledge.
~ Love, James