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Mythology and Isvara’s Psychological Order
Nicola: Mostly I prefer silence, except sometimes when I’m housecleaning… a little rajas to transform the tamas helps!
Sundari: I know what you mean! We live almost entirely in silence and find it very difficult to listen to anything, even sattvic music. When the mind is very quiet, it rests in the silence, sipping the nectar of the self, and hates to be distracted from it.
Nicola: I’m well enough. Thanks for asking. I seem to have settled down a bit since I saw you. I would still like a project to sink my teeth into but until that clarifies I trust that Isvara would have me attend to whatever appears before me.
Sundari: You are right, Nicola, the best way to make a contribution is to serve Isvara in the form of life as it presents itself to you, just doing your small duty and giving of your love and attention wherever it is needed, without seeking reward or validation. Who needs the grand gesture anyway? It is all the same in the eyes of Isvara. Just by living with an attitude of gratitude and service you make the most valuable contribution to the whole. True freedom is embracing the profound, the ordinary and the profane impersonally, from the dispassionate, non-dual perspective of the self. See everything that unfolds as the inevitable playing out of the gunas, while still being empathic and helping when you can, with the karma yoga spirit.
Nicola: I have over the years become a support person to a few people in my life and I’ve made it my task to help them when they need it. The last few weeks that has been a lot! My years in Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12-step program helped me hone my skills of “detaching with love.” This isn’t always easy of course, but it feels right… my dharma, I guess… and I’ve learned better self-care in terms of maintaining boundaries. So there’s something in it for everyone, but isn’t that always the case in jiva-world!
Sundari: It’s great that you can share your experience with people in a dispassionate way – especially if you see what you do as serving Isvara. Helping can be a tricky thing without dispassion and healthy boundaries. Ramana did not crusade against injustice, because he understood that the world is the way it is and it will always be that way. “Do-gooders,” as we call them, are not that popular with Isvara. This is because this kind of mind usually believes that it knows better and sets out to “save” the world. This is not a good motivation for doing anything to help, because you are assuming you know more than Isvara does in delivering karma. Vedanta says it is all about motivation. Why not help if everything is perfect? Your helping is also perfect. If it is your nature to help or make a contribution to suffering innocents or people, you will help. If not, not. If it is your nature to sometimes help and sometimes not, then that is the way Isvara created you.
Nicola: Mornings are my favorite time… yoga, meditation and Vedanta reading. I’m working through the guna book again, and since I spend a lot of time alone, it’s conducive to inquiry. I’m questioning my beliefs in a deeper, more persistent way. Wow. Talk about dismantling the structure. I can see where this is going… the big question being what’s left when there’s nothing else for Nicola to hang her hat on?
Sundari: Exactly – there is not even a Nicola, only you, the self, whole and complete, satisfied, unchanging, ever-present, loving the Nicola program as she is. Freedom is freedom from Nicola, not in denying her existence, apparent though it may be.
Nicola: I’ve been investigating the Gnostic myth about the wisdom goddess Sophia.
It is fascinating and a wonderful story, if you don’t know it. John Lash has extrapolated it from his study of the Nag Hammadi texts. I understand that all this mithya resolves in the self, but I nevertheless enjoy making connections and seeing how it hangs with Vedanta.
Sundari: Yes, everything resolves in the self and anything other than the self is mithya. However, our mythologies and archetypes are useful to help us understand mithya, Isvara’s psychological order, and the jiva’s programs. I relate to Sophia in her Greek counterpart, Athena, as one of my jiva’s dominant archetypes. Like Sophia, Athena is the goddess of wisdom and justice. Interestingly, she emerged fully formed from her father’s (Zeus) head, meaning from self-knowledge. Being who she was, her father gave her his shield, the Aegis, (hence the term “under the aegis of”) to protect her – the scripture. If you read up on Sofia and Athena you will find many similarities.
My jiva is a mixture of Athena and Artemis, and both are very accurate in my “not-self” make-up. I think your jiva is a mixture of both too, which is why we relate easily. Here is a brief psychological overview of Artemis; I am sure you will find it applies to you too:
Artemis possesses an introverted and independent temperament; she represents the goddess of nature – concerned with matters of the outdoors, loves living away from people, loves animals, environmental protection, practical, adventurous, athletic and preferring solitude. She symbolizes regenerative earth-power over all living things. Both Artemis and Athena bore arms as protectress goddesses.
Artemis, armed with bow and arrow, possesses the power to inflict plagues and death or to heal. Like her, my jiva tends to not suffer fools gladly and to be too honest – shooting that arrow with precision! She is known as the protectress of little children, baby animals and yet she also loves the hunt. She is one of the “virgin” androgynous goddesses. Due to her well-integrated masculine energy and independence, Artemis does not possess much need for a man to complete her. Her awareness is focused. A predominately Artemis-type woman may enjoy a companion who will work alongside her sharing her practical pursuits – parallel relatedness in shared activities – yet each one retaining their strong and distinct identities in their fairly separate lives. They may come together enjoying a deep, intuitive connection with minimal “chatter.” Artemis, the goddess, was known to shun men.
The important thing is not to make a big deal about this stuff, because as stated above, all archetypes are in mithya and you, the self, are satya – the knower of mithya. Still, it is quite interesting to see how Isvara puts it all down in our mythologies, fascinating to see the programs we come in with as jivas and to understand how the game works because the programs relate to our inborn nature, svadharma. I much prefer mythology (especially Greek) to the other modalities that explain Isvara’s psychological order, like astrology, numerology, the enneagram, etc. It’s more poetic and vivid.
Nicola: That being said, I’m spending quite a bit of time tidying up the gardens, and the other day I harvested honey from the hives. It tasted as rich and creamy as butter. I love my little bee friends.
Sundari: That sounds beautiful and peaceful.
Nicola: Brandon left today on business today for 10 days. Now that he is gone, I will enjoy not having to think about dinner and having more time to read or meditate in the evening!
Sundari: Ah yes, I understand how delicious solitude is – just beingness, the intimacy of the self. As much as I adore James and we love being together, I also love being “alone.” Of course everyone is always alone regardless of who they are with, and being in a non-dual relationship is sublime because there is only the self, yet we so enjoy our jiva selves too.
Nicola: There is an “otherworldly” feel these days in California, what with the smoke in the atmosphere and the ongoing heat. The clouds gather, but there is little rain. It seems as if the world is holding its breath.
Sundari: I agree, it feels kind of portentous and ominous, if you buy into the fear-mongering that is so prevalent in mithya. It helps so much to see that it is all perfect and all Isvara, nobody is doing anything, it’s all Maya. We are in Colorado now, high up in the Rockies, suffering altitude sickness – and there is smoke here too. I am glad we are out of Oregon though because the fires were awful there and still are. No less than 12 forest fires surrounded us. At times, it was really hard to breathe.
~ Much love to you