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Isvara Is the Boss
Harrison: I read Carol Whitfield’s book The Jungian Myth and Advaita Vedanta. She makes an interesting point about the Shadow of the West being different to that of the East, due to cultural and historical differences, thus making the Western mind in need of greater purification in order for Self-knowledge to stick. There was very little said about the archetype of the family though, which is an important cross-cultural myth that gives people a sense of spirituality and glimpses of non-duality through the infinite cycle of death and rebirth.
Sundari: I am no expert on Carol’s stuff, so cannot really comment on her writing. I did read the book you mentioned, but quite frankly found it quite boring. I am spoiled by my dear husband – who to me is the most brilliant teacher. From all accounts, she is a very qualified Vedanta teacher though, very traditional and thorough.
Harrison: Yes, the love whore vasana is certainly a threat.
Sundari: Aye, ain’t she a bitch!
Harrison: When you say “with eyes open and love 100%,” do you mean just completely commit to the relationship? There is some important discrimination to be made yet regarding her and the qualifications; she is naturally quite sattvic and pure; however, for the same reason mumukshutva, viveka, vairagya and the other qualities are possibly not refined enough for Self-knowledge to stick. Furthermore, she seems a bit obsessed with children, the virtue of having children and family is possibly the greatest lore for the ego. It’s so apparent with friends and family, as it so often breeds a superiority complex.
Sundari: Yes, if you are going to go for the relationship, go for it knowing it’s a zero-sum game but commit to loving 100%, with karma yoga, obviously. It does not sound like you are that sure of it though, and with good reason. You had better have your eyes wide open to what karma you are inviting in. Apart from taking into consideration her desire for a family (you sure you want that?), is the desire for relationship disguised as nididhyasana?
People don’t go into relationships for freedom, remember that. They go into them for emotional satisfaction, which is not necessarily the kiss of death spiritually, but may well be because they are samsaric preoccupations. However, unless you are a proper karma yogi, intimate relationships create bondage. And even then, they are only permitted in the first stage of karma yoga (sakama karma). In the second stage of karma yoga (nishkama karma) they are not permitted. In the second stage, you are presumably mature enough to stand up to your desires and dismiss them with reference to your love of Isvara. Maybe you don’t realize that when you commit yourself to Vedanta, you are locked into a predetermined sadhana. You are no longer the boss. You must follow the steps.
The whole point is to bring that wilful, self-centred ego into line with scripture, which is Isvara’s words. The guru drives the Vedanta bus until the jiva is mature and completely free of the jiva, not the jiva. Are your vasanas for love truly dead? Only you will know. In our tradition, the guru does not tell you what to do. He or she informs you, based on the level of maturity, of the options and lets you make the decisions. In the final chapter of the Gita Krishna teaches exhaustively and leaves the decision about what to do to Arjuna because Arjuna has been properly educated about the big picture. So have you.
Harrison: Yes, of course awareness is completely free of everything. And yes, sometimes I equate sattva with Self-knowledge, still clearing up this beautiful, intelligent ignorance. I understand that the Self/satya is not objectifiable, although its reflection is, they are the same but different, bheda-abheda sambanda. In Atma Bodh the Self experience is likened to a light shining on an object or something to that effect, while sattva is the clear bucket of water in which such an experience can be witnessed.
Sundari: Yes, it’s like the reflection in the mirror is the same as the reflector, but not the same, because it is inert. It cannot reach out and touch the reflector and does not exist without it, but the reflector is ever-free of the reflection. Experience takes place through the mechanical process of reflected awareness shining on or bouncing off a conscious or sentient being. But the reflection is not conscious, and neither is experience. All experience takes place in mithya and can be witnessed in a sattvic mind, hence the clear bucket of water.
Non-attachment to experience is the firm conviction of the futility of chasing any desire or result. If non-attachment and withdrawal of the senses is imperfect, even though Self-knowledge is firm, visible suffering will not immediately end owing to fructifying karma. BUT, even if visible suffering does not end due to fructifying karma, the jiva is still inwardly free as the Self. There is nothing wrong with pursuing the relationship, but nothing right with it either.
Harrison: Ha ha, still, jiva went to have bloods checked, just in case. Although what you’re saying is true, objects die a thousand times a day or more, discrimination with every fleeting experience proves only I always have and always will remain.
I am loving Inquiry into Existence. Nididhyasana is in full swing. Much thanks to you and Ramji and all that have made it possible.
Sundari: Glad to hear that, Harrison!