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Go-Go Juice of Maya
Cal: So the true voices of truth, the lights of revelation itself, my newfound gurus sent by Isvara say…
Don’t be a wanker.
Thanks, James and Isabella.
But seriously, thank you, guys.
With all this heavyweight back-up that seems to have come my way.
Sundari: We are all pathetic, neurotic wankers until Isvara mercifully plucks us out of the ocean of samsara. And you are so welcome, Cal, great to be of service passing on this faultless and timeless knowledge that is who we all are to you, the self, my good self.
Cal: I will realise that I have the courage and strength to realise I am that which I never was not.
Sundari: Yes, Vedanta is like a lightning rod blasting us out of our somnambulistic smallness. But (there’s almost always a “but” and a yes/no in Vedanta, sorry) if you are speaking as the jiva, it sounds a bit like the ego hoping to enlighten the ego here. It is sad that for so many of us it is an act of heroism to love ourselves warts and all, and it is true that it takes courage to face the less-than-fabulous parts of ourselves and clean up the yucky mess in the sewer of the unconscious. That said, even with all the courage in the world and all the qualifications for moksa present, there is one more factor to consider for self-knowledge (moksa) to obtain, and that is devaim – grace. Nothing in the mithya world happens without the grace of Isvara. And anyway, only self-knowledge removes ignorance, not the doer. Hence – karma yoga and more karma yoga!!
Cal: This is really just about constantly reminding yourself of what you truly are until such time as you just don’t need to remind yourself anymore.
Sundari: Here we go again. Yes and no. It’s not that simple for most. I don’t want to rain on your parade, and essentially you are right. For all the layers of the ego to break open so that self-knowledge can peel them away and burn up the ignorance permanently, a burning desire for moksa is necessary, along with all the other qualifications. Make sure you know what they are and track yourself on them from moment to moment. Middling or piddling desire will not bear much fruit, and it won’t last. Without qualifications, the knowledge will not stick. The desire for liberation (freedom from dependence on objects) must be the most important, the only thing, that really matters to you.
Vedanta, the scripture, is not just a bunch of high-powered thoughts you throw into your head and keep repeating like a parrot (not that I think that is what you are doing – clearly you are not). Vedanta is the most powerful teaching; it is the end of the road for the seeker. It is finding the Holy Grail, and, yes, it’s you. Once you have committed the mind to Vedanta, you can in truth no longer call yourself a seeker, because it is the knowledge that ends the quest for knowledge. So there goes another false identity – seeker no more. But to know what that means for the jiva so that you can live free of Cal as the self while still appearing as Cal isn’t quite so easy. You already know this. Lifetimes of ignorance as old as time is not going away without a fight, even if you have realised that you are the timeless self and beyond it all.
As I said in my previous email, self-knowledge must translate into your life, no fine print – and the knowledge must be LIVED and applied, always. Purely cognitive knowledge is useless if moksa is what you want more than anything else. Self-realisation, as we so often say, is where the work of self-inquiry begins. We are here to walk that road (that has no destination, because you already are the destination) with you.
Cal: I’ve been thinking: once we burn up all our jiva’s karma and neutralize the jiva’s vasanas and samskaras we can realise moksa and rest in complete self-knowledge.
Sundari: Again, who is the “we” talking here? Cal does not burn up or neutralize anything, nor does awareness. Nor can Cal realise moksa. Moksa is not an event – and you cannot gain it by ticking off a moksa “to-do” list. If the ego/doer thinks it can enlighten the ego, it will not work, because the ego/doer and its entrenched belief in doership is the problem. The doer must be neutralized. It is only self-knowledge that removes ignorance, nothing else. All we can do as jivas is take the appropriate actions to purify and prepare the mind and faithfully subject it to the scripture – and pray. Read James’ The Yoga of Love for an understanding of bhakti, devotion, and its importance in your spiritual practice.
I am not sure how well you understand karma yoga, but it seems that this could be the problem with your sadhana. Karma yoga, when practised properly, is dharma yoga because every action you take is dedicated to Isvara; it is a consecration. It is understood that peace of mind only comes with the realisation that you are not in control of the dharma field, yet in taking the appropriate steps to act in accordance with dharma and then relinquishing the results, peace of mind is produced. If you are not experiencing peace of mind by relinquishing results you are not relinquishing results. It’s that simple – the doer is still there, afraid and small, still wanting a particular result because of its likes and dislikes, frustrated and afraid because it believes it needs the result to be safe, good enough or whole.
Karma yoga is not to destroy the doer (ego). Karma yoga is simply to destroy the notion of “doership,” that we are doers. Karma yoga is meant to clear the mind of enough likes and dislikes until it becomes composed enough to do sustained inquiry. Only inquiry removes the problem of doership because it shows that you, the self, cannot be the ego (doer) that is known to you. When that is clear, the doer can appear in you, but you do not identify with it.
Cal: Within the space of infinite aeons (no time at all to awareness, as it is eternal) as seen from a samsaric perspective, all jivas will eventually achieve moksa, as we seem to be here in this apparentness solely for this purpose.
Sundari: All jivas are the self, and ultimately there is only one eternal jiva. The jiva is already free because it is awareness, but if it does not know this, no amount of time is going to be enough to free the mind from ignorance, ignorance being what it is – eternal. When the show ends, which it will one day, everything will end as it is and maya will be withdrawn into awareness, becoming unmanifest. When the show starts up again, the story will carry on as and “where” it was when it ended. But it does not matter anyhow, seeing as the creation is mithya, not real. Who cares?
It is true that the only reason this apparent reality exists is for jivas to work out their karma and realise their oneness with the self.
Cal: Then there would be no duality and the whole of creation would be back to its state of non-being/un-being, just resting as awareness. Chill out… have a glass of wine, then boom, rinse, repeat with the whole creation thingy of Isvara, sattva, rajas and tamas.
Sundari: See above. As awareness, you are chilled out with or without the creation – although duality exists as a potential in awareness eternally. Like I said above, what does it matter? When we know who we are, that we are unborn and undying and the witness to the show, we get to enjoy the creation knowing it is not real – how cool is that? We don’t expect it to give us something it cannot deliver, which is happiness, because we know we are the source of all happiness. Duality is not opposed to non-duality, because they are in different orders of the same reality, so do not contradict each other. I have a saying I like: duality is cool if you know what it is and it’s cruel if you don’t. Once we get the shit out of our eyes and see for the first time as awareness sees – that is all beautiful and it’s all me – heck, it’s fantastic to be here. I love duality because I get to love so many objects that are all me. I get to enjoy a great cup of coffee, good meals, good wine, the love of my life, a daughter I adore and granddaughter who has stolen my jiva heart. I love it here, even with Trump as the new U.S. president (tough one, but even he is the self). However, if you don’t know what duality or ignorance is, it bites and rips you to pieces, chews you up and spits you out like a sucked-out mango pip.
Cal: So in effect karma and the vasanas are like the petrol/electricity go-go juice of this maya. Without them it all stops and there is only Paramatma. Isvara just sets it up, lets it play out whilst awareness is aware of it(self), then when it’s all neutralized it does it again.
Is this even close to truth or have I just done too much LSD in my youth, read too much Wei Wu Wei and fried my mind?
Sundari: This is a far-out way to describe the maya/Isvara/awareness creation process, no doubt – but not that bad, given the possibility that you may have fried brain cells and lost a few assemblage points in your misspent youth. ☺
Just one thing: by “when it’s all neutralized” you are saying that there will come a time (here’s the time metaphor again) in the apparent reality when there will be no ignorance, which won’t happen, because the creation is a projection, remember? To repeat: it’s not REAL. Macrocosmic ignorance, or maya, is eternal and cannot be removed, although it is withdrawn at the end of the creation cycle and goes unmanifest until the whole shebang gets projected out again. Only personal ignorance can be permanently removed by self-knowledge for the (seemingly) individual jiva in human form, freeing that particular vasana bundle from the karmic wheel.
~ Love, Sundari