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Do Jnanis Think Differently?
Frank: Really? Thousands of hours of scripture and sitting staring at a wall just to know.
I’m okay. I am eternally okay. It’s my nature.
What a “limitless” patience with ignorance this Vedanta sampradaya shows.
Thank you to a long, wonderful line of teachers and a glorious teaching currently residing with you guys.
Sundari: Well, it makes no difference what you stare at, once the “starer” has been negated and you know you are the all-seeing eye of the Self, that all you see is you.
Frank: With Self-knowledge, does the tendency for the I-thought to arise as conditional (e.g. identifying with attributes, “I am fat, I am hungry, I am confused, unhappy, happy,” etc.) stop or lessen or is it the case that as soon as it arises it is countered by discrimination and negated?
Do jnanis literally stop experiencing those kinds of thoughts or does the discrimination become an automatic response and they are just unbothered by them?
Sundari: All thoughts and feelings belong to the gunas, to Isvara. When the mind is purified and Self-knowledge has permanently obtained, the quality of thoughts and feelings change dramatically. Mind management is hardly ever required, because Self-knowledge has overhauled the mind and it is no longer seduced by Maya, or sensory input. It spontaneously thinks like the Self, not the jiva anymore. It no longer must discriminate between satya and mithya, because discrimination is natural, automatic.
So it is very rare that very negative states of mind will appear, but not impossible. Illness, injury, jetlag, lack of sleep, among other things, can dull the mind regardless of whether you are firm in the Self. But a jnani sees all thoughts as not-Self, and never takes any state of mind seriously, even positive states of mind, because you are the knower of all states.
Legitimate emotions in line with our svadharma are honoured. Even though as the Self you know all thoughts and feelings have no reality, the jiva is made a certain way and must honour its svadharma, without getting too hung up on it either of course. There are times to fight back, to speak up, to stand up for yourself, as there are to shut up and take a backseat. There is never a time that we should take the jiva too seriously!
As a true jivanmukta, fear is gone, so is the debilitating free-floating anxiety/fear that sucks the jiva into the dream and the dark underbelly of the gunas, crushing it on the rocks of samsara. The mind may feel it because it is part of the macrocosmic mind, but does not condition to it. Fear and anger are usually the same thing, unless Self-knowledge has obtained. When it has, anger can be there without fear, and you simply allow it to be or express it appropriately, without causing injury to yourself (jiva) or others. It is known to belong to Isvara, not to you.
Here is an excerpt from the fabulous speech Nelson Mandela made at his presidential inauguration that speaks to svadharma and living as the Self:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Isn’t this beautiful and so true? We serve nobody by being timid, small and afraid. Have the courage to stand tall as the magnificent being you are in the Self, especially when life conspires to makes things tough for poor jivaji!
Frank: That is a powerful piece of oration, and oh, so true.
It’s very hard for a mind conditioned by 30 or so years of thinking I’m a piece of shit, I’m worthless, I’m such a worm, to suddenly face the Truth.
It doesn’t like the Truth, because in the light of that there are no more excuses. And this mind loves its excuses, excuse vasanas, I suppose.
Erase the old program (because it really sucks) and rewrite with the Vedanta operating system (it works wonders, better than Windows).
Sundari: So true, Frank! Such a shame that ignorance is so darn convincing and Self-knowledge so subtle! But now you know, you cannot un-know, so best give in and accept the fact that believing you are a piece of shit is the ULTIMATE VANITY!
~ Big hugs!