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Origin of Desire
Inquirer: Hi, Daniel.
What is the origin of desire?
Daniel: In short, ignorance/maya is the origin of desire.
Maya is a power (shakti) that exists in you, awareness, and is the principle that gives rise to duality, ignorance. Awareness, under the spell of maya, identified with the subtle body, is called jiva. The jiva is nothing but a bundle of vibrating desires.
Desire is what makes up this apparent reality – the field of transaction – which allows the actionless self to apparently engage in a game of self-tag. Desire is not bad. Without desire, there would not be an apparent reality to enjoy.
Inquirer: To carry on this conversation a little further, I have just been laid down contemplating this. Desire would appear to be a key component.
So where does desire actually reside? I assume it’s the gunas that drive desire. Does desire therefore reside in the causal body, since it needs to be more subtle than the mind, so it can operate on the mind?
Daniel: Correct, desires/vasanas reside in the causal body, the causal body just being another term used to describe Isvara.
Inquirer: Therefore do we come to self-inquiry through fleeting epiphanies brought about by the fleeting still mind that creates a seed of desire that grows in the mind?
Daniel: I’m not really sure of your question. But when the self is ready to wake up to itself, then the jiva will receive desires/vasanas to support this need (i.e. come to self-inquiry or receive certain epiphanies). All jivas are driven by desire/vasanas. But the quality of desire/vasanas is “individually customized” and determined by the karmic needs of the Total.
Inquirer: We really are not in control, Isvara being the puppeteer. Awareness is actionless and limitless.
Daniel: Correct, Isvara is the master puppeteer of the jiva, and is the driving force behind it all. But it’s only because of awareness (you) that this is made possible.
Inquirer: Hence as ignorance is shed, the gunas are adjusted to create a positive desire for self-inquiry.
Daniel: Yes, as ignorance is shed, desire to support one’s sadhana (spiritual practice) comes to fruition.
Inquirer: Once again, many thanks, Daniel, carry on inquiring. I think we are getting there if there is anywhere to go.
Inquirer: Sorry to trouble you again. I am just firming up.
Brahman + maya = Isvara. Okay, Isvara then becomes the manifestation/creation, which appears in awareness, at this point is the manifestation a formless substrate, thus it is not until we include mithya that we get name and form, e.g. clay and pots.
If this is the case, where, when and how, etc. does mithya get involved, how is it derived? Can I assume mithya is an aspect of maya?
So is it the case Brahman and maya create the substance of Isvara, then in this Substance of Isvara maya causes name and form, hence causal body?
I’m doing a bit of head-scratching at the moment.
Daniel: Mithya and maya are the same. Maya is a power (shakti) that exists in you, awareness, and is the principle that gives rise to duality (ignorance). Awareness appears as the creation (jagat) when ignorance (maya) is operating.
The “operating” of maya can be called “mithya,” the apparent reality. Mithya includes all the gross and subtle objects in existence, the objective empirical world and the subjective psychological world.
But why not keep it simple? There are only two things to consider – only two things to discriminate between: (1) satya (pure awareness) and (2) mithya (apparent reality).
Maya, Isvara, gunas and mithya are all really the same thing, i.e the apparent reality.
What’s important to meditate on is this:
1a. Pure awareness is the substance of the apparent reality.
1b. Yet pure awareness always remains free from the apparent reality.
2a. A power (shakti) called maya appears in pure awareness and is responsible for the projection of duality.
2b. Isvara (i.e. casual body) is the wielder of this power called maya.
2c. In other words, Isvara is the dispenser of all action/results.
3a. The apparent reality is an object known to pure awareness (you).
3b. Whatever “happens” within the apparent reality never effects you (pure awareness).
3c. Everything that is subject to change (i.e. maya, Isvara, gunas and mithya) is classified as “apparent.”
3d. Pure awareness is defined as “reality” because it’s the only thing that never changes.
4a. Moksa (enlightenment) is when the mind is firmly identified with and as pure awareness and understands that, “Though everything is made up of me (i.e. pure awareness), I simultaneously remain free from what I see (i.e. the apparent reality).”
4b. This understanding requires a sattvic and qualified mind.
4c. Karma yoga and continuous application of self-inquiry will eventually bring together this knowledge.
4d. Patience and faith in the teaching are required whilst the mind gets qualified.
You’re right on track. Take it easy and keep it simple.
I know your jiva is by nature inquisitive and enjoys more technical explanations, so I’ve added the below.
“Consciousness – Isvara – is conscious. Therefore it can wield maya. Wielding implies a doer, a conscious agent. So in association with maya Isvara becomes the Creator (jagat karanam) and the dispenser of the results of actions (karma phala datta). But it is not a doer like jiva is a doer. It “does” by its association with maya. Its presence causes things to happen. It is like fire. It does not burn, in the sense that it does not reach out and grab you and burn you. You get close to it and you get burned. So you can say it burns – but it doesn’t burn.
“Maya is not conscious. It is neither consciousness nor not-consciousness. It is something altogether different. Maya is ignorance, the apparent non-apprehension (avaranna, or veiling) of Isvara of itself brought about by macrocosmic tamas. Isvara ignorant of its nature is called jiva. Maya has another power called projection (vikeshepa). When it is operating, Isvara as jiva under the spell of its own tamas, takes the objects reflected the subtle body to be real and because it feels incomplete owing to the veiling power of maya it chases objects and suffers.’’ ~ Ramji
Here’s the link to the full satsang: Maya or Isvara Comes First?
Isvara (aka God)
Once maya is operating awareness “assumes” the role of Creator and apparently identifies with maya. Awareness in association with maya (ignorance) is then referred to as Isvara, or “God,” the creator, preserver and destroyer of the objects in the dharma field. As such it is also known as the macrosmic mind, the causal body or the deep sleep state. Isvara or maya is a “limiting adjunct” for awareness in that it causes awareness to appear as the limited world.
Awareness appears as the creation (jagat) when ignorance (maya) is operating. It is an effect and is called the apparent (mithya) reality. It includes all the gross and subtle objects in existence, the objective empirical world and the subjective psychological world.
The Causal Body
Ignorance is the cause of the causual body. It has no beginning. The causual body determines the nature of the individual’s experiences and the quality of those experiences – hence the word “causal.” All objects (thoughts, dreams, ideas, desire, emotions, memory, etc.) appearing in the subtle body is sprouted from a causal seed.
Here’s the link if you wish to further explore the above topics.