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Isvara 1 and Isvara 2
Uma: Good morning, Arlindo. Aren’t awareness and Isvara the same? Because awareness is consciousness! Please throw some light on this.
Arlindo: Good afternoon, Uma. Fundamentally, maya, Isvara, jiva and jagatha are all awareness. Scripture sometimes makes an effort to differentiate the “non-manifested” principle we call awareness (free of attributes) as “pure awareness,” which may be misleading because it implies that awareness may be also “impure” if manifested, which is not the case. Language often falls short when trying to describe the non-dual (one without an other) nature of awareness through the use of dualistic language, hence the importance of a teacher.
The Hindu religious trinity presents Isvara, the Creator, as “Brahma” in association with Vishnu, the maintainer (the laws governing the field of creation), and Shiva, Isvara’s power/knowledge or ability to break down and recycle all objects (the elements) of creation into new objects. But as you probably have noticed, scriptures often refer to awareness (the unmanifested principle) as “Brahman.”
They sometimes use the word Isvara to refer to Brahman, and other times refer to Brahma (the Creator.) I don’t know if it was James’ idea or not, but sometimes he brings in the concepts of Isvara 1 (the unmanifested principle, or awareness) and Isvara 2 (pure awareness in association with maya to produce Isvara, jivas and the world). We need to keep in mind that Isvara 1 pervades Isvara 2, meaning that Isvara 1 always and ever exists, and Isvara 2 always “includes” Isvara 1 because it is dependent on it.
Awareness is attributeless, but in order to facilitate jiva’s understanding of the non-dual nature of reality, scriptures say that awareness can be experienced and known “as oneself” by the observation and acknowledgement of jiva’s own self-evident, self-existing and self-conscious ordinary experience of the attributes called sat chit ananda. “Sat” refers to one’s own existence; “chit” one’s self-luminous consciousness; and “ananda” the limitlessness of one’s own nature as awareness. You are awareness, the substratum pervading and vivifying all jivas and the entire creation.