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Satya and Mithya 101
KW: Thank you, Isabella, for responding so fast! You said: “The zero-sum game refers to the fact that there is nothing to gain in the world of objects, because objects are value-neutral, but Maya makes them look sexy and juicy.”
Don’t we require food and drink and need to reproduce?
Are these not necessary and sufficient conditions which must be met, in order to maintain the physical form?
Sundari: Yes, these are all natural functions required to maintain the body and keep the human race going, and Isvara takes care of all of them, as it does everything else. Nobody is doing anything. The question is as always, are you your body? Are you asking about satya or mithya? Do you know the difference? It is clear you do not, even though I explained it in our last exchange and James has tried to do so in the past.
Vedanta is not denying the existence of the person and the world, it only reveals that they are only apparently, not actually, real. And as I said in my last email to you:
“Real is defined as ‘that which is always present and never changing,’ which only ever applies to satya, the Self, consciousness. ‘Apparently real’ applies to everything else, i.e. mithya, that which is always changing and not always present. So given these two all-important definitions, which category do you think the body and the world it inhabits is in?”
While the body must be taken care of to survive, to propagate the species and, mainly, to experience peace of mind, it is not real, and it is not you, awareness. You are present with or without the body, and always have been. Understanding what that means, i.e. knowing that your true identity is consciousness and not the finite body, is where all the teaching of Vedanta comes in. Once you do know the difference and never confuse satya with mithya again, moksa has obtained and you are free of dependence on the body and the world for your happiness. While you continue to exist as a body-mind in a world of apparent objects, you are no longer seduced by duality, Maya, and live free as the Self. The body will die but you, being unborn, never do.
KW: You see my problem is that since Isvara has the duty of justice/distribution of all possible resources, there is a large population of beings who are without them.
Sundari: Yes, and Isvara is doing a perfect job of taking care of the Total, without help from anyone or thing, all appearances to the contrary notwithstanding. You think it should be different from the way it is, you know better than Isvara how things should be. The world is working the way it must and there is nothing wrong with any of it unless of course you are convinced it is real.
The whole Creation movie (and it is a movie) is based on duality, a thing can only exist if its opposite also exists, that idea. This is a dreamworld because reality is actually non-dual. Duality is superimposed onto the Self/satya by Maya. It makes the unchanging one principle LOOK like it is changing and more than one thing. It is not, just like a mirage looks real but is not. A trick of light.
KW: I suppose one could say that Maya is interfering with Isvara in this regard!
Sundari: Maya/Isvara produce the Field of Existence, run by the gunas, in which the jiva can work out its karma, the main objective being to realize its true identity as non-dual consciousness. This is very difficult for the mind deluded by duality, Maya, beginningless ignorance, to understand because Maya is very convincing to the senses. If you are identified with the body-mind, you will believe what the senses tell you as truth. But the truth, that you are the Self, is beyond the scope of your mind’s sensory means of knowledge. Consciousness is not something you can objectify. For Self-knowledge, you need a valid means of knowledge that can deconstruct duality and reveal to you why it is a lie.
As I said previously, Maya and Isvara are non-different, neither exist without the other, and their common identity is consciousness. Thus how can they interfere with each other? Neither Isvara nor Maya are ever affected by the gunas. If they were, the show would be over because it would mean that duality is real and there would be no escape from ignorance.
KW: I can see, however, that Maya can be an agency for action and sloth, rajas and tamas respectively, for the sake of sattva.
Sundari: The gunas are Maya, and they are not personal, but impersonal, principles. The only way the duality show can continue is if the gunas have the scope to play out from one end of the spectrum of duality to the other of supposed good and bad. If there was only “good” and no “bad,” only hot and no cold, only up and no down, where would the world be? Over. Good and bad are subjective interpretations based on your likes and dislikes, nothing else.
Isvara is not a big person, pulling the strings, and Maya is not an independent agency. Everything in the mithya world is a result of this impersonal play of the gunas/Maya/Isvara, and as I said above and will repeat, NOBODY is doing anything; not the Self, not Isvara, not Maya, not the gunas. Yet doing apparently happens, the world seems to be there and me here. Moksa is to see action in inaction and inaction in action.
Who is it that knows the world, the jiva and the apparent comings and goings, the good and the bad? Who knows and witnesses the constant change? You, consciousness, the knower of the whole show. If you know something, it cannot be you, can it?
So is the world satya or mithya?
KW: This of course deals with the conventional world, which simply cannot be ignored by a jiva.
Sundari: You think mithya is real, you have a satya-mithya confusion. Yes, the so-called “conventional” world (meaning samsara, the illusion that duality is real) cannot be ignored by the jiva, because the jiva is part and parcel of its environment and run by the same forces, the gunas. If you do not understand what duality is, you are under its spell and in trouble because you will suffer. When Self-knowledge removes ignorance and the illusion of duality is known for what it is, then it is no longer a problem, because the mind no longer conditions to the gunas, even though they apparently still play out. You know the world and the jiva are not real, because they are not you, but they exist, thanks to you as a reflection of you, which is dependent on you, consciousness.
KW: So how does a jiva make rational decisions while under the spell of Maya, under the spell of ignorance? Ignorance can make one a king or a beggar.
Sundari: If the mind is deluded by duality, it can only make decisions based on ignorance, not knowledge. Such decisions are very often irrational and cause suffering. If samsara deludes the mind, everyone is a beggar, no matter what success you think you have in the world because you believe that the joy is in the objects, that you need some experience to complete or validate you, and you have no knowledge of your true identity as the knower, the non-experiencing witness. In other words, you do not know the difference between ignorance – mithya – and knowledge – satya – and you take ignorance to be knowledge.
As I said above, the only way to discriminate between knowledge and ignorance, satya/real and mithya/apparently real, is through Self-inquiry into the true nature of reality, with a valid means of knowledge for consciousness, Vedanta. For this, the mind must be qualified and totally dedicated to moksa, freedom from dependence on objects, the illusion of duality.
~ Om, Sundari