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Free Will Is Mithya
Bobby: Hi, Sundari.
If you have the time, I would appreciate if you could respond, please, to my inquiry. I’m unclear whether James Swartz, from watching his YouTube clip, he believes in free will and a separate God, i.e. Isvara.
Sundari: James does not have beliefs. As the Self and a qualified teacher of Vedanta, he teaches the scripture according to the scripture, not according to James. How could he therefore believe in a “separate God” when non-duality means there is no separation between the Self, Isvara and the objects that appear in it?
Bobby: To my understanding, I = awareness = Isvara. Isvara and I are the same, not Bobby and Isvara are the same, as Bobby is just an object in awareness.
Sundari: If this is a non-dual reality, which it is, then awareness = Isvara = Bobby. The common identity between Isvara and Bobby is awareness, which means that Bobby is non-different from awareness, or Isvara. But as awareness, you are free of both Isvara (awareness in the role of Creator, wielding Maya) and Bobby, the jiva, because both are reflected awareness. The reflection depends on you, awareness, but awareness does not depend on the reflection, just like your image in the mirror depends on you but you do not depend on it. The idea or belief that Bobby is a separate entity from awareness/Isvara is due to the deluding power of Maya.
Bobby: Bobby has no free will, as Bobby is just a name given to certain experiences, but awareness could, I guess, be said to have free will, though it isn’t clear to me how that works. Would you agree or disagree with my understanding, and did I misunderstand James or not?
Sundari: Awareness does not have a will. Free will is purely mithya because it implies that there is something to choose from. How can awareness choose anything if reality is non-dual and there is nothing but awareness?
Bobby-jiva has relative free will in that he is free to choose one thing over another in mithya, the apparent reality. But this freedom is relative in that mithya is not real; it is a product of Maya, the gunas. As such, everything originates from the gunas and not from the jiva, including the jiva’s likes and dislikes.
I have attached a satsang on free will.
Bobby: Thanks for taking your time to answer my questions. It has been very kind of you. One thing I’m still unclear is there seems to be a tendency to push in some free will for us. However, what I observe is thoughts, sensations and images appear to me (awareness), and then other thoughts, images and sensations arise in relation to those, and on it goes. For example, someone asks me for a cup of tea, a thought arises in me, yes, and then an action occurs to say yes, but I cannot say that I decided that in any way. To me, it feels like I’m watching a movie, where there is a feeling I’m choosing what happens in the movie, but that is just a sensation identified with.
Sundari: Yes, you are watching a movie, but who is watching a movie? Did you read the satsang I sent you? Please make sure you do. If you are asking this question as a jiva, there is apparent free will for you to choose one thing over another. If this were not the case, success at anything would be impossible in mithya. If you look at it from Isvara’s point of view, apparent free will is not free, because it is a result of the gunas/vasanas. Everything we do or don’t do is the result of our vasanas, which are governed by the gunas. And if you ask the question as the Self, there is no free will for you, because there is nothing to choose from, everything is you.
Bobby: Whether I recognize my nature or not is not in my (Bobby’s) choice.
Sundari: Yes, it is true that to recognize the truth that your true identity is not Bobby, but awareness is not up to Bobby but the grace of Isvara. But if Bobby does not develop the requisite qualifications for self-inquiry and apply his mind with single-pointed attention to the teachings as well as apply them to his life, moksa cannot obtain. Awareness/Isvara does not care if Bobby is enlightened or not, because you are already the Self. But if Bobby does not know what this means, he will never be free of Bobby/mithya. Knowledge that you are the Self will remain indirect knowledge, not ACTUALIZED knowledge. There is a world of a difference between direct and indirect knowledge. Self-realization is where the work of self-inquiry begins.
Bobby: Perception of Bobby as this and this is just an idea in awareness that constantly needs to be fed to be maintained.
Sundari: Perception of objects, whether ideas or any other experience, is determined by Self-knowledge or lack of it. See above. Are you looking at ideas as a jiva, as Isvara or as the Self? Awareness does not feed the “Bobby” idea, ignorance does that. The gunas are impersonal principles (beginningless ignorance) that play out endlessly in very predictable ways in mithya. The only way to step out of Maya – the influence of the gunas/duality – is with Self-knowledge.
Bobby: Even the resistance to what is happening, which makes us suffer, is meant to be, as, I guess, that’s how awareness wants it. From awareness’s perspective, there is no suffering, it’s just a thought that is clung to, that doesn’t want things to be this way. However, what is doing the clinging? Awareness just wanting to experience different experiences?
Sundari: Awareness has no wants or needs, Bobby, nor does Isvara. Awareness is the non-experiencing witness of the experiencing entity, Bobby. It clings to nothing, because it is all there is. Any clinging is done solely the ego stuck in duality, the small-self/personality/ego, or jiva, clinging to ignorance. As I said above, beginningless ignorance, or Maya, projects the world, the gunas keep it going. Nothing removes macrocosmic ignorance, because it is simply a power that exists in awareness or it could not be unlimited. But awareness/Isvara is never affected by Maya/the gunas. Nothing affects awareness, because the world of objects is only apparently real. I explained already the difference between apparently and actually real. When the jiva’s personal ignorance (AVIDYA) is removed by Self-knowledge, there is no more Maya for you. You then have non-dual vision and see everything as non-different from you, and duality no longer bothers you at all.
Bobby: What do you think of my thinking? Do you see any confusion going on?
Sundari: Yes, there is a satya-mithya confusion, as explained above. It is very difficult and subtle to think as the Self; the ego is incapable of doing it. Only Self-knowledge can remove ignorance, you cannot think your way out of it. Keep doing inquiry, stick to the methodology as laid out by James in his books. Take time to think things through carefully, read e-satsangs and keep watching videos. Don’t write back too soon; the manana stage of self-inquiry you are in requires deep contemplation of the teachings.
~ Om, Sundari