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Ruminations and Temptations of a Jnani
Simon: Dear Sundari, I have been composing this email for months now watching the words dance on the screen like musical notes sounding out the melodious rhythm of jiva life. I have been reading more deeply into the Mandukya Upanishad. I have found the five capsules of Vedanta quite useful to contemplate:
1. I am of the nature of eternal and all-pervading consciousness.
2. I am the only source of permanent peace, security and happiness.
3. By my mere presence, I give life to the material body, and through the material body I experience the material universe.
4. I am never affected by any event that happens in the material world or in the material body-mind complex.
5. By forgetting my real nature, I convert life into a burden, and by remembering my real nature, I convert life into a blessing.
Sundari: Good for you! That pretty much wraps it up.
Simon: Furthermore, I read The Yoga of Love, and currently I’m just getting my teeth into Inquiry into Existence, and I read Mystic by Default last week for a little breather (great read). The devotion for scripture is as strong as ever, and I still wonder that perhaps a funded PhD could be a nice way to fund a few years of complete immersion and devotion to scripture.
Life has been cycling and recycling as it does. I found myself back in the cabin working away in the gardens, when a little angel showed up. She’d followed me home from Amsterdam. Since she was in the karma stream, I threw the dog a karma yoga bone. It was a lovely time together and a useful gauge for the impact of last year’s sadhana, although I was often pining for solitude and more time with scripture. A good deal of sat was sacrificed with the arrival of this apparent angel, so perhaps she’s a devil after all. I think that’s often the way, in the beginning at least, when old relationship samskaras are at their strongest. It has been some time since she left, thus I have had time to consider things from a sattvic rather than the rajasic perspective. Currently, jiva thinks, in the long run, the relationship life is a good option. It understands life a zero-sum game. However, Isvara has blessed jiva with some frisky vrittis, and if it is a sattvic girl, it is possibly the wisest option, from the point of view of maintaining the most appropriate lifestyle. Then on other occasions jiva thinks this is ridiculous: a girlfriend, possibly a child or two, will be serious distractions. At the same time, moksa, Self-actualization and tripti could reinforce the idea that something special is to be done or needs to happen, when really it’s about owning it and living it, and jiva is a young man after all. Anyway, I will most likely pay her a visit when her life quietens down and see how well our values line up, and if she wants to work on the qualifications.
Sundari: A relationship like everything else in mithya, is a zero-sum game, which you know. As you say, you are young and it’s normal and natural for you to engage in life as it presents itself, while being very mindful how easy it is to get sidetracked by the allure of companionship and pleasures of the flesh. But, as James said in Mystic, if you are going to do a relationship and the love thing, then do it properly. Aside from the obvious discrimination required before getting too entangled in messy karma, assuming she is sattvic, then go into it with your eyes wide open and love 100%. You have nothing to gain, as we have discussed before, but you could have a lot to lose if it turns out to be another hook for the hungry love-whore vasana – which could be disguised as an angel!
Simon: Just before this angel arrived, jiva was having some insight into Isvara, jiva, jagat, which went along the lines of the inquiry below. I would be grateful if you could have a quick look. What causes awareness to identify with the non-eternal jiva as opposed to jivatman is Maya, i.e. the subtle body, predominantly, the ahamkara associated with non-eternal Jiva. This association apparently reinforces avidya, as when one acts in accordance with dharma desired results are obtained, reinforcing the sense of doership.
Sundari: Nothing “causes” awareness to do anything, because awareness is never affected by ignorance in truth and this world is only apparently real. But yes, knowing that Maya is asat sat vilakshanam, neither real nor unreal, and it is a power in awareness or it could not be unlimited, then, yes, Maya apparently deludes awareness into identifying with the subtle body. This identification is avidya, personal ignorance, which is reinforced by the sense of doership.
Simon: However, acting in the karma yoga spirit, the clarity of sattva shines and shows that jiva’s limited ability to act and obtain a desired result is most likely the microcosmic reflection of Isvara’s macrocosmic capability to take care of the needs of the total.
Sundari: It sounds like you are equating sattva with Self-knowledge, and if so, that is not correct. Sattva, like all the gunas, is inert, is mithya. It seems to shine only because of the light of the Self shining on the mind. When sattva predominates and rajas and tamas are suppressed, the mind can think clearly, and so Self-knowledge obtains, which is where the realization arises that everything comes from Isvara, who is the only “doer.” Only Self-knowledge can remove ignorance, not sattva.
Simon: As I relinquish the sense of doership through karma yoga, it becomes easier to understand that non-eternal jivas are all just the one jivatman, each one bound by Maya appearing as its own personal avidya, that is, by means of the ahamkara associating with the gross and subtle bodies as opposed to awareness. This fact is bolstered as I take a stand in awareness as awareness; there is only ever one subtle body appearing in it in any given transaction or moment (an idea supported by schema theory). As awareness is constantly shining between the apparent upadhis of the personal non-eternal jiva and the apparent other non-eternal jivas, both of which are merely the one jivatman, jiva sees it as if there are many jiva individuals. Increased level of sattva shows this to be true as the gap between mithya objects can be more clearly heard.
Sundari: Very good, except again, it is not sattva that shows this truth, it is SATYA – Self-knowledge shining in a sattvic mind.
Simon: In this sense, awareness is only ever speaking and listening to itself in apparent relationships. Personal jiva takes itself to be a real individual simply because it is the observer’s predominant upadhi/samskaras/pratibasika. The frequency of personal jiva appearances makes it appear to be real and thus separate from other jivas. Furthermore, the gift of jiva’s schemas/samskaras such as mind, ego, organs of action, perception and physiological functions, without discrimination, only serve to enhance the illusion of separateness.
Sundari: Yes, Maya is a great deceiver, and therefore Self-knowledge is so counter-intuitive that it goes against all our sensory perception and subjective identifications.
Simon: However, using the intellect correctly to discriminate satya and mithya, it is clear that reality is non-dual, that there is and only always ever has been one awareness anywhere. For example, even when it seems that there are hundreds of people in a street, that is just one thought appearing in awareness, and as we know from inquiry and research, jivas see far less than they believe.
Sundari: Exactamento! Amen.
Simon: On a more melancholic or perhaps humorous note, jiva has recurring thoughts of jiva cancer. At least, the suicidal thoughts have been fully deconstructed due to contemplating the teachings, particularly of doership. And now life is quite sweet; those thoughts don’t come anymore. However, it seems every second person jiva meets has some story about cancer, and who knows what the great trickster Isvara will pull out of the bag next? ☺ It is most likely Isvara offering the opportunity to truly inquire into the fear-of-death samskara, perhaps the ego reorienting itself. It would be nice to watch jiva fully ripen into the fruit of knowledge. But if not, so be it. Isvara knows best. It’s been a good opportunity to practise the opposite thought and see that in reality I don’t die, but rather I witness this infinite symphony of objects, conducted and played flawlessly by Isvara and Maya the great composers.
Sundari: What is death but another sleep? You basically die every time you fall asleep, so what’s the big deal? If you are unborn and undying, death is of no import to you. To the jiva it seems fearful because it ceases to exist as an ego, but so what? You know the ego is not real anyway. You can be assured that death will be the greatest experience of the jiva’s life when the time comes, second only to Self-realization! Die every moment, hold onto nothing.
Much love to you too, Simon, and big hugs.