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Half- or Three-Quarters Self-Realized
Conrad: The knowledge again seems to become firmer. Contemplating on your last emails and further discrimation, “I am not any subtle object/state, appearing and going,” was of help.
Also, I was engaged in Ramana’s life for some weeks, which felt like a mix of bhakti/study.
And there was last weekend with James, around the Narada Bhakti Sutras. I still sense the warmth/light/love/strength that came through.
The understanding feels firm now that Knowledge and Love are synonymous; that this is my Essence, what I ultimately/always am, free Awareness; that the ever-changing states of being as jiva are mere reflections/obscurations of This in this world; that I (although attributes are only pointers) am this Vastness, smaller than the smallest, this Light, the Space in which, and free from it, unborn, beyond dimensions.
Looking back now on a number of earlier epiphany-like experiences of love, objectivity, deep silent joy, in my life is of help here because I now can better understand these all to be pointers to the Self.
Although the free-floating fear is still there at times, it is easier now because of the better understanding that it is not Me, that it is an object, non-self. That this path, which I feel/know is the only one worth “doing” left/given in this life, is not about experiences/becoming a so-and-so human. That it is about removing ignorance; that becoming free, reconnecting to my real nature, can only take place in this way.
Shams: Fine. I guess that you assume that “reconnecting” is just understanding.
Conrad: What I notice these days, more than before, is that although there is at times still a bit sad and disoriented jiva (not really seeing any things really important doing in the rest of this life): that this is okay, even a kind of confirmation in relation to the process/path; simultaneously/deeper, there often is silent light/warmth/witnessing, that “must be,” no, I discover more and more that it really IS, a reflection of my true identity.
Apart from all this, and also connected, it looks to me now that self-realization is both gradual and not gradual. Can you maybe comment on this again (we talked about this point already quite some time ago)?
Shams: The truth is that there is no self-realization at all, because you are awareness and you don’t have to get to know yourself, because you are self-revealing and you are the only reality, so any subject-object relationship is impossible. Self-realization needs the duality fiction to exist, and so Vedanta.
We use Vedantic terms in order to create a map of a territory (the self), but it’s not the best idea to take it as the actual territory. On the other hand, it’s always necessary to perfectly understand the map if you want to traverse the territory. As the territory will always be better than the map, the map will always be better than our personal views. In the case of Vedanta, it works as our eyes when we are blinded by ignorance.
So Vedanta is not very interested in studying the jiva and telling if it’s half- or three-quarters self-realized. If there is something like that, I’m not very clear about why somebody should care. Is the self known? Then, the self is realized. Is the self apparently not known? Then, it’s not realized. Grades only happen in experiential world, and certainly we can look at them, but always through the language of knowledge.
We could make some specifications on it, talk from different levels and layers, maybe introduce some concepts about actualization, etc. but we will always do it in order to remove ignorance of the self, never searching for a different goal. That’s why Vedanta is not philosophy or religion. It’s just a means with only one goal, and while aiming for that goal Vedanta will display its perfect web explaining the universe, to show that the universe is just a tale.
That’s what I can comment for now, as I don’t know what your specific doubt is, so I hope it’s helpful. Anyway, you can tell me more if something is not clear.