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Watch That Sneaky Dualistic Language
Claude: Thank you for your sharp discrimination. My email was a sloppy response. Vak tapas is possibly the most difficult sadhana, and as you said, our use of language mirrors how we see and relate to the world. There are a few follow-up questions below.
Sundari: Yes, your mind was tamasic.
Claude: The subtle body is tricky, as there can be so many different combinations.
Sundari: The subtle body has a similar relationship to the gross body as consciousness has to mithya (the apparent reality). There is an interdependence from the jiva’s perspective – but not from consciousness’s point of view – because they exist in different orders of reality, that of the real and the apparently real.
Claude: This would seem to suggest that consciousness can be affected by mithya or do you mean that they have a “similar relationship” in the sense the subtle body is subtler than the gross body?
Sundari: If you reread what I said, you will see that I said, “There is an interdependence from the jiva’s perspective – but not from consciousness’s point of view – because they exist in different orders of reality, that of the real and the apparently real.” Nothing affects consciousness: mithya and satya never meet, they cannot. If they did, freedom from ignorance, duality, would not be possible.
Claude: Sunny sattva is burning up those storms and clouds of rajas and tamas more and more quickly and easily every day. As I realign my life to be in harmony with the teachings of Vedanta, there is this adjustment period, which brings clouds and often storms, but I see from the sun’s point of view, and even a storm when viewed from above is a beautiful sight. In such times, I find stilling the body and coming back to silence can take me right out of the clouds; one act of discrimination is all it takes.
Sundari: It is not “sunny sattva” per se burning up the excess rajas and tamas, it is Self-knowledge allowing sattva to shine through. When Self-knowledge is firm, the mind is naturally still (sattvic), even when outside circumstances are in turmoil. It makes no difference to you if the “sun of sattva” is shining, because as the Self you are trigunaatita. You observe sattva, rajas and tamas in all their upsides and downsides, and none of them condition you in the least.
Claude: Polishing the jiva is a tricky business, it’s a fine line between polishing and reinforcing. Those are the jiva’s pain points, which blind it to the ordinary, blissful presence in which it appears. Thank you for pointing out my dualistic use of language. I will take more care to speak Selfishly. :-) In retrospect and truth, it wasn’t really me doing any of that, rather Isvara, and there was the slippery ego trying to own it once again.
Sundari: Vedanta is not about polishing the jiva or improving it. It is only about understanding it in light of the knowledge and in so doing negating the doer and rendering binding vasanas non-binding. The language of experience, ignorance, or duality, is hardwired. As the knowledge firms up and becomes permanent, the language of identity, of Self-knowledge/non-duality, becomes natural and spontaneous. There is no longer a need to work at it, because self-inquiry is over: you are a finder not a seeker. Until then, self-inquiry requires that you use the tools the teachings give you to monitor carefully what you think, feel, say and do.
Claude: The knowledge is slowly working on the ego; it’s difficult even with karma yoga, it blinks on and off, sometimes functioning as the intercom, but often slipping back into doership and owner of action and results. Discrimination and karma yoga is the only medicine. In a sense, the ego is just a deep-rooted samskara, right?
Sundari: Yes, indeed.
Claude: Yes, just letting the fire consume the fly, slowly, slowly. It certainly is a tightrope from the point of view of mithya, sanity and insanity; thankfully, the simple act of discrimination is always there to save the day when lost in the mithya world. It truly is a blessing to be able to choose a sattvic lifestyle, which prioritizes knowledge. Without this lifestyle, I’d have no chance of witnessing the subtle differences between an ego as service and an ego in charge, but it will find its right place, no doubt.
Sundari: So true. There is no other way to be free of the jiva and to live free as the Self if your sadhana is not your priority; it cannot result in moksa. At best it will give you little bits and pieces of freedom which never last.
Claude: It’s a bit of a brain-burner; when psychologists analyze perception, they find that we only perceive a fraction of what’s apparently there. Most of the information is inferential.
Sundari: Yes, we have written extensively about the microcosmic causal body, jiva and macrocosmic Isvara, what we call Isvara 1 and 2. We like the work of experimental psychologist and economist Daniel Kahneman. Have your read his book Thinking, Fast and Slow?
Claude: Have you heard of the binding problem? They can’t figure out what mechanism is responsible for binding all the different qualities of objects, such as colour and shape, together. Currently, the theory is that neurons in different parts of the brain perceiving different properties of objects are bound together momentarily by the frequency at which they fire. But there’s not much further progress in terms of what consciousness is after that for the scientific world.
Sundari: Yes, sciencists understand very little of how the brain functions, because they don’t understand Isvara.
Claude: Your statement: “I always say rajas is like a wild horse that needs training. If you don’t train it, the wild horse is riding you,” reminds me of an analogy my old Gurdjieffian teacher used to use, about the horse and cart, one I imagine Gurdjieff must have adapted from the Gita. An interesting teaching, but again, lacking the satya-mithya teaching. I presume karma yoga is the best way to bring the horse under control? Or do you have any extra tips?
Sundari: Karma yoga certainly, along with jnana yoga (guna teaching/mind management) and a devotional practice, bhakti yoga.
Claude: Ignorance is persistent. Less is more. I must watch that my desire to gain knowledge of the full mithya picture doesn’t interfere with the practical aspect of satya-mithya discrimination.
Sundari: Always keep in mind that although it is hard work for the intellect to be trained to think differently, Self-knowledge is not an object to obtain. When the intellect is refined by Self-knowledge, it is capable of assimilating the teachings, which will transform the life of the jiva, inwardly and outwardly, because it will no longer be seeking outside itself for anything.
Claude: As you said, perhaps the best inquiry into the mortal coil is into who is asking.
Sundari: Is there any other?
Claude: One other thing, the hum is really ripping here lately. I had a dream recently that recommended inquiring into the frequency of the hum. It’s nice.
Sundari: The hum of the mithya world is an object known to you, so enjoy it for what it is. It’s like Isvara humming along as the gunas do their thing.
Claude: And when I asked about the ego above being a deep-rooted samskara, I was referring to the ego under the spell of Maya as a doer/enjoyer of action/results. Thanks!
Sundari: There is no other ego.