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Scientology: Malicious Spirits Have No Reality
Simon: Thank you for your thoughtful reply, Sundari.
Sundari: You are most welcome, Simon.
Simon: On Scientology: I regard it as an aid in calming my mind (which it is spectacularly not doing right now!), not as a means to ultimate knowledge. Vedanta is senior.
The practice I am doing (with a practitioner who is not in the Church of Scientology) is the “highest” practice, the infamous one that asserts we all have spirits hanging out with us. My experiences have validated this theory. The problem is that, in dealing with them, one gets their emotions – which are usually tamasic indeed (actually, I have found malicious spirits are a small minority) – until the dialogue is completed and they depart.
Sundari: There is no teaching that is superior to Vedanta if freedom from limitation is what you are after. Scientology, along with many other teachings, only address the person – and take it to be real. They have no means of knowledge to discriminate between the real and the apparently real, i.e. between awareness and the objects that arise in it. Scientology is a particularly cult-like, dualistic teaching and definitely not one we would recommend in any way. The “malicious spirits” they refer to are the mind’s subjective reality – pratibasika. They are based on emotions and thoughts arising from the causal body, or the unconscious. They are toxic unconscious content that the ego does not want to face, projecting it onto the idea of an “external” entity. The whole concept is dualistic and contrary to self-inquiry.
Simon: I am not very tamasic (maybe 50% rajasic, 30% sattvic, 20% tamasic), so it has been a surprise to me to experience these inappropriate emotions, and difficult to live with. They are not my karma, it’s more like I have neighbours with really tough karma.
Sundari: Who is tamasic/sattvic/rajasic? Certainly you are not, as awareness. The gunas are impersonal forces giving rise to the conditioning in the mind – which the mind experiences as thoughts and feelings, separate from it. But all thoughts, feelings and the gunas they arise from are objects known to you, awareness. They have NO reality at all other than as a subjective experience which the ego takes to be real. On the other hand, you say that you know these difficult thoughts (the suicidal ones, I presume) are “not my karma, more like difficult neighbours’ karma.” This implies objectivity – or it could also mean that the ego does not want to identify deeply buried and painful blockages that gave rise to the negative thoughts.
Simon: The reason I have continued thus far is that it seems likely to me that some of my difficult vasanas come from this source, and I see the potential to be free of them (some have already gone). My rationale is that when you start to clean up a super messy room, things look worse for a while.
Sundari: This reasoning is valid because “your” vasanas arise ONLY from the unconscious, or causal body, i.e. the gunas – so they do not belong to you as the person nor you as awareness. But they will drive the person relentlessly until they are seen, understood and dissolved in the light of self-knowledge. Deeply buried unconscious content will eventually express itself – usually in seemingly inappropriate ways – to get our attention. The mind has a built-in drive for wholeness, as it knows it is the self. And, yes, it’s true, when one starts to clean up the toxic waste in the unconscious, it takes courage because it is messy and foul. But whose mess is it? You never put it there, either as awareness or as the person. It all “belongs” to the causal body, Isvara. To be free of the mess one has first to have the guts to look at it in the face – without identifying with it. Seeing it as “malicious spirits” externalizes the problem and gives it a reality (and power over you) it does not have.
Simon: That being said, it has been very difficult, and I want to consider the Vedantic approach to vasanas – which I understand as being: allow them to exist without resisting them, but do not do the actions they tend towards, and after a while they fall away. Is there more?
Sundari: As explained above, the first step is to identify the patterns or programs that run the mind. See the gunas behind the patterns with the predictable thoughts, feelings and actions they generate. Know that if you know something, it can’t be you. The known, the knower and the knowing principle are all awareness – but awareness is not what it knows. Awareness gives rise to everything in existence but exists independently of it all. Once one has identified and understood the conditioning that runs the mind and what gives rise to it, one dis-identifies with it as awareness. It stands to reason here that unless one makes a concerted effort to change self-insulting behaviour, knowledge of how it arises will not be of much help to the person to relieve suffering.
The most important teaching here is the identity between Isvara (the field of existence), jiva (the person) and the gunas. I have just completed a book on this subject, which will soon be available – but James has explained these teachings in all his books and satsangs, available at the website. You could use the search function in the satsang section of the website, as all the ShiningWorld teachers have answered many questions about this. The jiva/Isvara/guna teaching is the most important teaching in Vedanta, as without it self-knowledge cannot obtain, and the person will not be free of identification with objects.
~ Much love, Sundari