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The Lament of the Jiva
Sumaya: Beautiful Sundari, how you speak to me when you don't even know it!!
I finally have internet again and a bit of time to read satsangs on Shining World. This past fall was not an easy one and I struggled in my mind with all the questions - what was rattling me soooo much!!?? I was in a vile place - angry and resentful. I could see the jiva so desperate, unsettled, and unrelenting. Quote Sundari: "I had a deeply emotional reaction, which made me realize that I had to requalify for moksa and continue nididhysana." I just read your story in All Vasanas are Eternal Seeds, and I thank you for sharing it. You could not have described my recent state any better.
I have spent the last 2 months towing this vasana - samskaras around with my teeth flinging it in every direction to see it as 'not me' but as you said, Quote Sundari: "I saw that I was not able to take a stand in awareness as awareness when it came up, even though I know who I am. At that moment, karma yoga did not work either, because the issue was still binding. It needed a wrecking ball to crack it so that I could surrender."
I have not had the wrecking ball blow me over, but each day recognize that my unwillingness to surrender is not making life very pleasant. Sumaya can be a real little princess sometimes, but she also works damn hard to take care of her kids and household. I have concluded that there is something large and heavy blocking my view and it is my ego!
Sundari: The ego is not the problem Sumaya, ignorance of your true nature is the problem. In truth, there is no such thing as an ego; it has no existence other than as a thought arising in you, awareness. Have you ever seen an ego—or any thought, for that matter? All egos function in the same predictable way because they are all programmed by the gunas, which all function in predictable ways. In fact, there is only one ego and it can be said that we all share it, unless and until we know our real identity as awareness.
Freedom is freedom from the ego—it does not require that you ‘bust’ it. The ego is the ‘I’ thought that acts out the modifications of the mind. It owns action—and says ‘I did this and I did that’. It identifies with the mind/body sense complex. It thinks it owns things and people. It is little more than the values that cause the self under the spell of ignorance (the jiva) to interpret experience. Moksa is freedom from the interpreter. In truth, the ego cannot own or do anything because it is not conscious.
Sumaya: I have slowly been working my way through Dayananda's BG and have almost completed the first volume. Thank you for sharing this wonderful resource with me last year. I had read something that struck me. Chapter 4 - The Use of Praise and Criticism in the Gita - I was intrigued by the use of Ninda (To stoke this mild enthusiasm into a burning desire to know... p. 694). It is as if Sumaya needs to hear the criticism. Oddly, I have felt that I could use some criticism from James. I have that sense of arrogance that needs correcting. Quote Sundari: "But what I discovered is the downside of doubting can result in a subtle kind of arrogance – a lack of humility, without us realizing it. The ego gets involved…."
Sundari: In Vedanta, criticism is only every used to deconstruct bad ideas, NEVER people. Why would you want to be criticized by either of us? We are not here to criticize, that is not the job of the teacher or teachings. We are here to remind you that your belief that you are ugly, unlovable and in need of criticism is false—it is ignorance, tamas and not knowledge, the self, talking—with the distinct flavor of self-pity. How could we ever criticize your apparent self when we know it is not real—and you did not make yourself the that way? We see only your beauty and truth, your humility and intelligence. Your apparent self is in need of love and acceptance, not flagellation.
Here is a poem I want you to read often, written by Arthur Miller, called ‘After the Fall’…
I dreamed I had a child, and even in the dream, I saw it was my life, and it was an idiot, and I ran away. But it always crept onto my lap again, clutched at my clothes. Until I thought…if I could kiss it, whatever in it was my own, perhaps I could sleep. And I bent to its broken face, and it was horrible...but I kissed it. I think one must finally take one’s life in one’s arms.
Sumaya: This quote from the Dayananda's BG is quite fitting also, 'Prostration implies a certain surrender on one's part. I want to learn and I have found a teacher. I therefore, approach the teacher with an attitude of surrender. I am ready to give up my ahahkara, my ego, because I want to know. This giving up is an important attitude and the dirgha-namaskara is a symbol of this particular disposition.' p. 705 BG (not sure what the dirha-namaskara is?)
Sundari: Dirgha means long lasting and namaskara means salutations. Swami D is talking about an attitude of surrender and devotion the student takes to the guru because they see the guru as the symbol of the one and only guru, the self. It is not about self-abasement to a person. It is an attitude of humility and trust one has that the teacher speaks as the self to the self.
Sumaya: Thank you for your words! Life has certainly been challenging, and I watch and question the jiva’s stand on unfolding circumstances. I question it because it is so angry, resentful and unwilling to compromise. The most recent experience, however challenging they were in terms of our living arrangement and the weather, had more to do with the unspoken word. I am always amazed at the synchronicity of the experiences and the teachings that happen to be revealed shortly after.
Sumaya gets really rattled in the company of certain individuals, however kind and or nice they appear to be. It is not necessarily in their company that the rattling occurs but rather afterwards – a kind of bad taste left to linger. This experience can be so overwhelming that there is a vow to avoid this person as much as possible. This happened to be the ringer on the pin. We chose to live on a friend’s farm in which this experience of bad taste often occurred. The person is a very intelligent woman whom pursues and attains any objective she sets for herself – come hell or high water. She is determined and head strong, yet comes across collected and kindhearted.
Sumaya was high from her return trip to the Wisconsin and the family needed a place to park. It seemed ok to entertain living on this person’s land. They had been friends for several years and have kids the same age as ours. There was nothing wrong said or done, however, this jiva was not happy and quite angry. I think in some ways she was angry because she doesn’t have her own home – jealousy perhaps, but she has lived in many different circumstances with many other people and not had a problem. There was something else going on here and it was dreadful. She knows this because now living away from this person there is a sense of relief – like an abused person’s safe haven. I spoke to Ramji a bit about not being able to be around a lot of people without being overwhelmed when I was in Bend. We spoke of the subtle mind and how it modifies easily to rajasic and tamasic influences. In this situation, it seemed one person caused the disturbance in Sumaya’s little mind.
Sundari: As this is a non-dual reality, there are no others. Everyone we meet is the self, exhibiting slightly different versions of the same influences, the gunas. When we have a reaction to someone else therefore, it is never about them—even if they are a pill, highly rajasic or tamasic. There is no getting away from this, it’s the bottom line. What I realized and shared with others about the wrecking ball that took apart the last of my pratibandikas, was that if there is a reaction to another it is coming from ‘my’ stuff, there is a hook that has not been dissolved. Clearly, Sumaya has some jiva stuff to dissolve, as you well know. It is difficult to do this in trying external circumstances (on top of being a busy and harried householder) as perfect as they may be to bring the things we need to dissolve to the surface. Seeing the less than fabulous parts of ourselves is never easy to swallow, even if we have self-knowledge and know that they do not belong to us. However, if we want to be free, peace of mind will never be permanent until we have transformed all our emotional/psychological disturbances into devotion to the self. I know you are totally committed to doing this, I just hope you are not being too hard on yourself, as you tend to be. It’s tough being divine in human form! I have added the poem I included in the Sept 2016 Newsletter, written by our friend, Collen-Joy Page.
This is what I said about it: “It captures so perfectly what the jiva has to face and endure to win freedom from the clutches of the Causal Body. There being no off button, and Isvara being relentless with the crushing push and pull of the gunas. The unavoidable and painful disintegration of the ego self to integrate the Self as the default standard bearer for the mind. Your writing evokes and reveals the courage it takes the jiva to live, let alone live free, of its conditioning.”
Read it again:
"Take a stand."
A writing on being human and willing to be awake...
The place no one wants to visit. The place no one wants to look. The darkest terror, that threatens to capsize the fragile mind and its theatre kingdom. The terror of insignificance wrapped in becoming nothing.
‘Don’t take my crown’, cries the ego, as
the slaughter of light lays waste the clinging.
Mothers to babes. Rich men to gold. Vanity to her curves, her pleasure trap of sex.
She is not always pretty, enlightenment. She is a ghost maker. A throne taker. A joker laughing in a hall of mirrors. And she will end you.
I say let her. Let her throw back the veils of my heart, and tear the nails from their clinging to the vapors of life’s hollow promise.
You, who threaten me – you thief. You who hijack my nights with your Hollywood productions of hell in my head. Life, do your worst. Crush my heart with your grief-boot. Tear my guts open with your fear-razor. But know this, you cannot touch the real me.
This that knows itself in the eyes of all the beloved eyes, the touch of all skins, this that sings itself awake, for this love is a medicine that I will pay for.
Throw open these doors and let the storms rage on.
Take all you want from this little life, from the little child who lives in the echoes of this story.
I am willing. I am willing to bleed, to cry my eyes dry. To hurt. To live. I am willing to live. To live as this truth. To be both untouchable and crushable. To be mortal and boundless eternal truth. Your price is steep. I am willing to pay.
Sumaya: I read your satsang on the Communication Mechanism. In my experience, I think the ‘rattling’ is due to the unspoken word, however, when I inquire deeper in to it, I find that it is all my insecurities presenting themselves.
Sundari: What else can it be but our ‘own’ insecurities? There is only one jiva and although it seems like we all have unique stories and are damaged in a unique way, that is not true, when you peel it all back. We are basically the same because the gunas are all basically the same, we all experience more or less the same emotions. And I agree, very often what is most damaging and disturbing to our human relationships is the unspoken word. It hangs heavier than lead, the worst of it being that it is so hard to fight back, to respond correctly to the inherent denials and seemingly innocuous (but lethal) manipulations in the silence. Again though, we are only disturbed if there is an emotional hook in our mind. Satya is never affected by mithya, so if there is an effect, there is ignorance.
Sumaya: Oddly, I see a pattern as I write. I spent time with my mom before leaving Ontario and the visit ended unpleasantly. Coincidentally, mom is also a very intelligent person who goes after what she wants and gets it, however when things don’t happen according to her ‘plan’ she is very spiteful and condescending. Unfortunately, as she ages, these ugly notions have become her. Her manipulative and devious behaviour has caused a ripple with all three of her children and many close friends, however in her eyes it is all of us that don’t ‘get it’. I could not hold my tongue so we ended up having words. I was unmoved by the confrontation, understanding it to be what it was – thank you self-knowledge. I still love her for who she is but I am unwilling to tolerate her behavior anymore. She is motivated by the fear of not being perfect, doing just the right thing and the desperate grasp for acceptance, even when it is staring her right in the face. It is so powerfully motivating and extremely destructive at the same time.
Sundari: Classis raja and tamas, Sumaya. Rajas projects and tamas is always there to deny. It works the same way for everyone. If she could be different she would be. But she cannot and will die a miserable, poor woman. Make peace with who she is and have compassion for her pain, but keep healthy boundaries and stay away. There is never a good reason to take abuse from anyone.
Sumaya: I see so clearly, people’s motives, and if I am subject to them, by living on their land or in their homes, I am affected. Rajas or tamas operating in others is WAY to much for this jiva to handle when in close proximity. I think this is why she holds so much security in a home that she can make sacred. But boy oh boy does she kick up a fuss and cause a stir. There is a deep resentment that I hope has been resolved, by the knowledge that I am not the ignorance.
Sundari: Rajas and tamas do not have the power to modify the self because it is trigunaatita, beyond the gunas. When all ignorance is gone and you can truly love Sumaya warts and all, you will be able to dismiss her whenever she shows up, which she will. Isvara made her a certain way and that’s that. But do you need to take her seriously, really?! So, she prefers being on her own to being with people, totally understandable. Who was it that said, ‘hell is other people’? I think it was Sartre. Well. As true as it may be that there are no others, that does not mean that we should not be true to our nature. I also prefer being on my own, or with Ramji and my daughter and granddaughter, to being with anyone else. I know this stems from childhood programming (little girl sitting under her desk) and has become the nature of this jiva. It no longer bothers me to be with anyone and I can relate perfectly in any situation, regardless of how the gunas are playing out—they no longer disturb me because I manage them, not the other way around. But that does not mean that I still don’t prefer being alone or with the few people I feel most comfortable. I can love everyone as the self, does not mean I must like them or spend time with them, if I can avoid it.
Sumaya: I do not wish to berate the jiva, as much as I need a good jolt out of this mithya realm. I can’t help but look back and see this is a yearly blindsiding combined with a situation this jiva just will not tolerate!
Sundari: You may not wish to berate this jiva but you are doing a good job of it, from what I hear. What possible good does it do? The jiva never leave mithya. But as Satya, you are never in mithya, so you do not need to be ‘jolted out of it’. Mithya is not opposed to satya because they exist in different orders of reality, that of the apparently real and the real. Duality is only a problem if you take it seriously—it’s not real, remember? The fact that the jiva regularly goes through the same drama means the same pratibandika is still operating. I also said in the satsangs you quote, that when I identified the samskara (it had to do with shame, related to childhood, my family, and my divorce—jiva story, what else) I saw with 20/20 vision how it influenced every aspect of my jiva life. It was never isolated to one area. Samskaras may seem like they are singular but they are connected to a vast underground network of other vasanas, like mycorrhizal fungi. The pratibandika thus colors every experience. Our deeply buried stuff exacts a high price, as unreal as it may be, until we see it and dissolve it all in self-knowledge. If you want to be free, you cannot be the jiva and the self. The jiva, while accepted and loved with all its faults, must be dismissed with all its stuff, or freedom will never obtain.
Read this, from the same article I wrote for the Newsletter article you quote:
Non-dual love does not come easy. One of my favourite sayings regarding self-inquiry is "the steps to get 'there' are the qualities of being there." What this means is that the means of knowledge (Vedanta) that takes us to the placeless place where we know we are the knowledge and no longer need the means, is one and the same thing. We will not be different when we ‘get there’. We will simply have the ability to discriminate between satya and mithya, permanently.
Taking a stand in awareness as awareness means taking a stand in our fullness, not in smallness. As long as I try to turn the ‘other’ into ‘my’ husband/wife/son/daughter etc., and try to work things out with him or her on that level, I am keeping the concept of duality, smallness, limitation, alive. The jiva can never compete with the self, obviously. So, the jiva overcomes its smallness by living as the self and consciously doing battle with the 'voices of diminishment' as they arise. It does not try to defend them. To do so only gives them life. And arise they do! It is difficult at first, because you feel like a fraud, that you are trying to be something you are not. However, if we are hooked by the turbulent thoughts and emotional patterns inherent in being a jiva, even in seemingly small day-to-day issues, we will never be free of them. The ever-changing and limited idea of whom you are trying to keep alive as the person is just a memory, a guilt-inspired thought. For the most part, it is a toxic program. I say: ‘Get rid of it; pay it no heed!’
Dismiss the Jiva!
Even though I had realized the self, my problem for a long while was thinking that as the jiva never disappeared, it had to be catered to, as it is. This may be true—the jiva will remain as Isvara made it, for the most part—even with moksa, and we must love it unconditionally. Nevertheless, satya & mithya is duality if you think the jiva is as real as the self. Taking a stand as the self, means the jiva is as good as non-existent. You are Self. You are not The Self and the jiva. So when jiva appears, dismiss it. This final realization only fully sank in recently, and what a tremendous relief it is. It really is true that nididhysana never ends for the jiva. Self-actualization is not for the faint of heart, that is for sure! Facing the small, less than fabulous part of the psyche Isvara equipped us with is not easy. It requires a great deal of courage to face the world as the jiva, and it takes even more courage to face the demons that awaits us in the Causal body, so as to free ourselves of the jiva. When we do, we see the demons for what they are, just paper dragons. Not real at all.
Sumaya: I see the conditioning but have absolutely zero control over it. Aha! Wanting to control it is what has led me down the rabbit hole once again. I became sensitive, withdrawn, vulnerable and exposed and the jiva performed. ‘I’ attached myself to the drama and voila – suffering endured.
Sundari: Why bother going through all the trouble to control the jiva when you can dismiss it as not-self? Of course you will engage and strengthen it if you try to control it. Give it to Isvara, to whom it belongs.
Sumaya: The simplicity is astounding yet so incredibly difficult.
Thanks for listening. JNididhysana is in full swing. A beginners mind.Surrender, surrender, surrender……Enjoy your time in India. I would so love to be there.Let my beloved teacher know that I love him dearly and I am very much enjoying his Facebook posts - very timely and a wonderful way to tap in to that brilliant spark of enthusiasm that James exudes for the teachings. You are both in my thoughts and dreams - my living counsel. God bless you both.
Sundari: Living as the self is the hardest and simplest thing possible. Ignorance is ingeniously intelligent and tenacious. Thank you for the wishes, I have passed them on to Ramji and he sends love back.
Sumaya: The curtain hangs heavy, long and dark.
The shadow casts the darkness beyond.
Blinded and unsupported I trudge wearily, begrudged.
An unwanted presence, begotten by a conglomerate of memories, worn, and wrinkled, stand stiff, like concrete, heavy and immovable.
I know it is there, I am aware of its presence, the sharp pains of the past.
The body remembers, acting the script, portraying an anguished, annoyed, disturbed, and judgmental character, unwilling to compromise its state of mind.
The costume is drab, yet sharp and creased.
‘Above it all’, it moves and performs as if it were the only character with sorrow and hardship.
A shield of silence protects it from those that triggered the effect.
The ongoing drama of light flickers on a screen in the mind
Incessantly producing, casting, and retaking
When will it cease, stop, end?
I know I am not the presence, the darkness
I know I exist in the silent space, separate, yet a part
I am a part of the unfolding, the thoughts, emotions, actions, and results.
I exist in the flesh with a script to fill.
But I am that which exists to know this creation, the flesh and mind.
I know this and surrender, trusting it to pass, erase and possibly never return.
Sundari: This is a sad and heavy poem, the jiva’s lament, the voice of suffering and despair. I truly hope that in subjecting the mind continuously to the teachings, the grip of ignorance will lessen the pain and release the mind from the tyranny of its conditioning. I pray that this will be so for you, dear friend. Don’t give up and take heart, you are the light, you are the beauty that makes beauty beautiful, you are the self.
Sumaya: Ishwara is taking good care of me. My inner guru has set me on track and I am doing wonderfully with a renewed devotion to Ishwara and the Self. :)
I have learned much this time about this wonderfully, passionate, rajasic jiva! In simply writing to you with a plea for help, the arrogance used to prop up and posture this jiva's life has dissolved. I am far from an actualized jiva, however this jnani has rekindled the fire and it is hot! I want only freedom.
Old habits are hard to die but the knowledge is strong and my doubts I need to resolve by devoting myself to my teacher and the teachings. The ego resurrected itself in a tamasic state (after dealing with too much 'stuff') and Sumaya fell in to a deep hole that she has not experienced for several years. Wow. What a ride.
I love you with all my heart my amazing heart sister. I know that you are always there.
Sundari: I am relieved to hear this Sumaya, and I am always here for you. It was painful to listen to the wailing and suffering of the jiva and I truly pray that you manage to dissolve the shame pratibandika once and for all, so that suffering will cease for you.
Here is an excerpt on shame from my Guna book:
Shame about anything and its handmaiden, guilt, is tamas at its worst. It could be shame about something we have done or not done, shame about habits we keep hidden from others, shame about our background (for example if we were poor or came from a disadvantaged, dysfunctional background), shame about life karma—like sexual abuse, alcoholic parents, adoption, neglect, or lack of love etc., or shame caused by low self-esteem. There are many reasons why we feel ashamed and all of them are destructive to peace of mind. Religion plays a big part in using shame to manipulate and control—that we are born ‘flawed’ and unworthy. Even if we were never indoctrinated by religion, shame finds its way into the psyche of most people, it seems to be part of the human condition. Many parents use shame and blame (blame is rajas—projection) to control their children. It causes an ugly, dark, and thoroughly negative psychological condition because shame attaches itself like a parasite to everything good about life or about who we think we are. Unknown to us it becomes the filter through which we experience life. It whispers constantly in our ear with the ‘voices of diminishment’, sucking us dry of confidence, of trust in ourselves and life, of goodness, of joy, like a leech. It so often goes undetected because it is very good at masking itself, either through self-aggrandizement or its opposite, self debasement. When shame is the root cause of a samskara it is very difficult to eradicate by transforming it into devotion for the self, but it can be done with self-knowledge. Because shame is such an ugly hidden secret, self-knowledge will not work until we see it for what it is and love ourselves anyway.
Shame will play out in resentment, moodiness, depression, anger, lack of trust and unwillingness to compromise, defensiveness and reactivity. Shame creates a mind that is always suspicious that others are judging it and fears criticism, but is also seeks criticism because it believes it deserves punishment. It very often plays out as criticism, judgement, or rejection of others, projecting and defending its fear of ‘being discovered’ as unworthy, useless, having no value to anyone. When shame is hidden in the unconscious, the mind often over-compensates by creating an identity as the ‘coper’, the self-righteous one who fixes everything and takes care of everyone, the efficient one, the one who never gets looked after but looks after everyone else, secretly resenting it.
Much love to you from both of us