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Who Is the I?
Dana: Thank you for the clarification about vasanas versus samskaras, very clear and to the point, and finally, congratulations on disposing of the last of your samskaras.
Sundari: I’m glad it helped, no congrats necessary, I just shared the experience to highlight how tenacious and subtle ignorance is and to explain how the interconnectivity of the causal body conditions the mind.
Dana: I was actually pondering yesterday what it feels like for the jiva to be truly free. It sounds like you’ve realized that.
Sundari: Yes, I have realised that. Being fully free does not feel like anything, but it is quite amazing how different life is for the jiva. When the jiva arises, which of course it does, it is instantly seen and dismissed, even though it is accepted as it is. As I said, you are the self, full stop, not the self and the jiva. Non-dual vision is permanent and unalterable. Nothing affects it. Nididhysana is effectively over when self-actualisation is complete because all conditioning has been transformed into devotion to and for the self, so ignorance/duality no longer conditions the mind at all. The mind does not waver. Karma yoga remains, but it is no longer to negate the doer, because there is no one left to negate. It is just knowledge. The jiva is still part and parcel of Isvara srsti, so it is honoured as such, but it is not confused with self. It is as good as non-existent.
Dana: I find it’s relatively easy to take a stand in awareness when I’m not dealing with people, but as soon as my jiva has to interact with others I can see the jiva program in action. Sometimes I identify, other times I don’t, and am amused by it all.
Sundari: You use the word “when” to qualify what you say above. The implication is that you are not always standing in awareness as awareness, but standing as the jiva, Dana. You have to ask yourself every time you use the word “I” who it is referring to.
Dana: Because awareness doesn’t feel, think, etc., when “I’m” watching the jiva in action, is it awareness watching through the subtle body which allows it to cognize the situation?
Sundari: It is true, awareness does not think or feel, but it makes thinking and feeling possible. Of course ultimately it can only be awareness because the jiva is not sentient other than by virtue of awareness. But the jiva program watching the jiva is very different to awareness watching the jiva. The first is indirect knowledge and the second is direct knowledge, a big difference in discrimination, a big difference in experience.
If the knowledge is not firm or indirect, as in your case, the subtle body, or jiva-identity “filter,” obscures awareness. When triggered, for example, like you say, in its contact with objects (“other” people), it conditions to them (its jiva programs) instead of remaining steady in the self. As I said to you in my last email, when this happened to me recently, it was such a shock to realise that neither karma yoga nor the opposite thought worked, because the mind was taken over by the hidden samskara. Fortunately, being self-realised, I was able to see this very quickly and dissolve this last binding vasana permanently.
Dana: I’m so blessed, as the therapist that Frank and I are working with is actually helping my jiva become aware and release some of its most binding vasanas. She asked us to read a book, Undefended Love, which is very much based on Vedanta. As a matter of fact, the author credits Ramana’s teachings for helping to create the book. Frank didn’t read it, but I did, and it’s all about unconditional, unbinding love, very beautiful.
Sundari: I have not heard of it. Unless the writer has self-knowledge, it is unlikely that they will know what love really is. Still, if it helped you, that’s good. Have you read The Yoga of Love?
Dana: I’m less rajasic. James even noticed when I saw him at Trout Lake. Whatever free time I have, I listen to James or read James. I’m consumed with and crave Vedanta. It’s the only thing that satisfies me. Prior to Trout Lake I always depended on outside events/objects to bring me joy – short-lived joy. But since Trout Lake, I’m not seeking objects, and often have joy/bliss bubble up for no reason. I love it.
Sundari: We are very happy for you. Rajas is such a bitch to balance.
~ Much love, Sundari