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The Most Difficult Teaching
Rupert: Dear Ramji, how can we say that Isvara is awareness plus ignorance, but at the same time claim that awareness has nothing to do with projecting Creation? Do we give all the credit to ignorance? How do we get an intelligent projection with all its complexity out of ignorance? And if it takes both awareness and ignorance to get Maya, then awareness IS involved.
Ramji: Good thinking, but logic only takes you so far. The answer is yes, you need both awareness and Maya to get an intelligent Creation. But to posit a relationship between awareness and the world puts awareness into a chain of infinite causal regress.
Rupert: It seems like we are really bending over backward to let awareness off the hook. Why? Is there a point where we are supposed to just accept the contradiction and move on as an unconfirmble belief?
Ramji: No, because it is not a contradiction. It’s an apparent contradiction. If we can’t get awareness off the hook, freedom is impossible. So how do we get awareness off the hook and still account for an intelligent Creation?
Satya-mithya. The Creation is not real. It is purely a projection. If a person mistakes a rope for a snake, does the snake have anything to do with the rope? Seemingly, yes. But if the rope had anything to do with it, the snake would remain when the person discovered that he was projecting it. But it doesn’t. It vanishes. If it vanishes, was it actually there when it was being experienced?
Look at your own experience. Has anything that has happened to Rupert had any impact on you, awareness? The answer is no. You remain an unsullied witness before, during and after every experience. Life leaves no trace. You think you have changed because you identify with your reflection in the mirror of the mind, which seemingly changes. So there is connection between Maya and awareness, but it is as good as a non-existent connection. We call it an apparent (mithya) connection.
Rupert: Or do we need experiences like nirvikalpa samadhi in order to fully comprehend?
Ramji: Definitely not. No experience can verify the relationless relationship between awareness and the world. It is purely a matter of inquiry. The person who entered that samadhi leaves it at some point and that person is not there in the samadhi to draw any conclusions when the samadhi was happening. The samadhi itself is an inert projection of Maya. If awareness was involved, then you could create the samadhi at will. But even if you could, the samadhi would be dependent on an unreal doer, which is also a projection. Awareness is nirvikalpa, which means that it is without thought, i.e. desire and experience. It is samadhi, meaning it is unaffected by what happens in the world, like a movie screen is unaffected by the drama projected on it.
You’re right that you cannot have a Creation without awareness, but awareness didn’t create it. If it did, where would it get the material to create? It would have to come from awareness itself. But awareness is unchanging. You cannot get it to produce something, nor is there is a parallel universe from which it can requisition material to use for its Creation. At the same time, Maya can’t create without awareness, because it is inert, so we have a unique situation: two factors, neither of which can create producing a Creation! How real is that Creation going to be? At best it is seemingly real.
The relationship between awareness and Maya is like parallel lines that seem to converge in the distance. They never converge. A trick of perception makes them seem to be joined at some point far away. The universe did not begin at some point in time. It never began, because it is not real. And if it was real, it couldn’t begin – or end. Plus, we can dismiss every projection, i.e. experience, by reducing it to awareness, but we cannot reduce awareness to anything. The negation of experience to awareness does not, however, imply that experience is due to awareness, except indirectly insofar as you can’t have a Creation with knowledge of the Creation and you can’t have knowledge without awareness. So there is no causal link. Is there a causal link between the waking-state entity and the dream-state entity? On the surface it seems there is, but there actually isn’t, because the waker has to cease to exist to experience the dreamworld. A different experiencing entity is generated by Isvara/Maya, along with the dream state. Yes, Isvara is the connection, but Isvara itself is negated by inquiry insofar as Isvara is dependent on awareness to create, but awareness doesn’t require a Creation to exist. Anything that depends on something else isn’t real. It is borrowing whatever reality it seemingly enjoys from awareness.
Maya/Isvara is the most difficult teaching and it is the key to freedom. It is difficult because it requires the intellect to think outside the bipolar box. It is an “is and is not,” a “both/and.” Awareness and the world do not make a duality, because duality is not a fact. It is simply a belief created by Maya, ignorance.
~ Love, James