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I’m Enlightened but I Still Have Vasanas
James: Hi, Marvin. Sundari is traveling, so I will reply to your letter. Your question is: How can you know who you are and still have vasanas? The answer is that who you are is in one dimension of reality and the vasanas are in another. So knowing who you are does not remove vasanas unless you apply the knowledge to the vasanas as they arise. Applying the knowledge means that you know that they are unreal, that acting them out will only perpetuate them. So you renounce them as they arise. In this way they can’t cause karma.
However, since you realized who you are when you still have vasana load, as it seems you do, then you cannot expect them to disappear overnight. If you are hunting and see something moving in the bushes, and it seems to be a deer and you shoot at the very moment that you discover it is a human being, you cannot get back the arrow even though you want to. So some vasanas – particularly fear – keep on causing karma once you know who you are. It is quite natural. Just knowing who you are is not moksa. It is the fifth stage of enlightenment. The sixth stage is the disappearance of the doer.
Many people realize who they are and then ask me, “What am I supposed to do now?” If you know what it means to be the self you will not ask this question, because the self is not a doer. If you want to be free of doership, then you need to requalify for moksa, which means live a simple dharmic life of karma yoga and self-inquiry. If you are qualified when you realize who you are, then doership dissolves and you get the fruit of moksa. Moksa is one thing, the fruit of moksa is perfect satisfaction, the seventh and final stage.
Sundari has been reading your letters to me, and I am familiar with your situation. Yes, prison is a good place to contemplate short-term, but you can contemplate just as well walking in the woods, so when they finally let you out, you will have to change your environment. When you go back to an environment where negative vasanas were formed, they get reactivated. When I went to visit my parents after my India trips, I always experienced myself as as I was before I left home. It was okay because I knew it was all mithya and I had a lifestyle that did not allow vasanas to build up. It is more difficult for someone who has criminal tendencies, but you can do it.
~ Much love, James