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Isvara 1 and Isvara 2 Revisited
Note: This email is part of a much longer ongoing satsang that will be posted presently, which evolved when an inquirer experienced problems with her teacher.
Karen: Hi, James.
You wrote that I do not appreciate Isvara. And I deeply thought about it. And unless I have a wrong notion of Isvara, it is not true. I do appreciate Isvara in the sense of a higher power. I love that Isvara. I feel totally protected by that Isvara – many situations in my life have proven me how this force takes care of me and that I do not have to worry about not being taken care of. I trust in that Isvara unconditionally.
James: I explained before that there are two Isvaras: pure existence/awareness and pure existence/awareness plus Maya, which acts as an upadhi.
Karen: Yet I still have problems in implementing that I am that Isvara. Maybe here is the misunderstanding. Since I left my teacher my outer circumstances are perfect with every step I take – so many blessings showering upon me in the last three weeks (as I said HE always takes care of me, even if I am in total despair and not able to think straight, he provides me the best circumstances I could ever wish for; when I was asked to describe where I would love to be now and how this circumstances should look, like they would look EXACTLY like they look now. And this happened now three weeks in a row in three different locations).
So but now I shall be that Isvara? How could I create these circumstances? So many different factors play together every single minute, how can I be that Isvara who creates any of this? This doesn’t make sense to me, I cannot understand that. When you say I do not appreciate Isvara, what do you mean? This higher power, my conditioning, my Self? I get confused when I try to merge these into One.
James: Yes, you are confusing the two. There is nothing to “implement,” only something to understand. You are Isvara 1, pure awareness. You are not Isvara 2. Isvara 2 is the material principle that creates the world in which your body and mind function. It creates your life circumstances. It is a myriad of factors (karakas) that Isvara 1 does not control and that jiva, Karen, does not control. As long as you identify with Karen, your life is controlled by Isvara 2, although you have certain influence over it.
If you identify with the Self, Isvara 1, you are not controlled by circumstances, because the Self is unaffected by the world. Understanding the difference between Isvara 1 and Isvara 2 is moksa because you will not identify with Karen, because you will understand that she is not real. And you will be happy to turn over your body-mind-sense complex because it is completely taken care of by Isvara 2. Speaking as Isvara 2, Krishna says, “I take care of your getting and keeping,” meaning you needn’t worry about it, just treat it as Isvara’s instrument.
Karen: Let us say my teacher was not projecting a thought to me but my vasana/ conditioning projecting itself on the screen of consciousness and it appeared to be his voice, his look, his choice of words and instruction as he would normally say it, so the perfect magic show, basically.
James: Yes, this is the correct understanding. Maya, Isvara 2, is a wonderful magician.
Karen: What I try to understand is HOW this is working and I know no one ever found an answer to this, so it seems futile to investigate into HOW Maya works. Yet somehow every morning I wake up and I seem to be obsessed by that question.
James: The answer is simple. Isvara’s mind is limitless, and jiva’s mind is very limited. How is any jiva’s mind going to understand and control the whole cosmos?
Karen: I do not accept that you say I am not ready for a proper Vedanta teacher, because without arrogance I can say I know it is not true. And I stay and stand with that.
James: Well, I’m a proper Vedanta teacher, so I guess you are ready – until you run afoul of me. ☺ He’s famous and doesn’t have time to teach each person separately, so he expects you to hang in the for a long time and pick up the understanding in class.
Karen: I am thorough in my examinations and enquiries and question everything, and I do not hesitate to also doubt the teacher. I have a philosophic temperament and not a religious one. Trust or faith only leads up to a point for me. There are people who are missing the neurological pathways for something called trust; I am one of them. It is formed in our life, age 0 to age 1 specifically, and when due to circumstances this wiring is not taking place or disrupted, these people cannot trust. They are missing something. It is like asking a blind person to see. The ability is just not existent.
So the whole issue I am facing here and my mistrust in whether he is projecting or harming me which is related to a vasana, or conditioning, that was formed before my first birthday, a rather hard nut. Most people cannot even remember anything before age four. This got revealed to me. I never did any psychotherapy or spiritual regression or whatever. I saw these situations, I could remember them during my first awakening. And later I asked my older brother, and he gave me information which confirmed it.
So I am confronted here with a very deep conditioning. This doesn’t have anything to do with not being ready. If I am able to crack the code here, I will be catapulted into the arms of God/full liberation. I have no doubt about that! This is why I am not letting go of this topic and what happened.
James: It does have something to do with not being ready. That’s why Vedanta has a sadhana. It gets you ready. Anyway, I will explain the qualifications issue in a minute.
Karen: Psychotherapy has no solution for this, because it is uncorrectable. Yesterday I listened to one of my teacher’s lectures, and he says, “When you just see/observe a vasana, then it will not do anything to you. It comes and goes.” But this one, it comes again and again and again. It does go temporarily, but I want it to go forever.
James: I agree about your temperament and your desire for moksa. The point of understanding the difference between the Self and this pesky vasana is that the vasana is mithya. If it is mithya it doesn’t need to go anywhere, because it is as good as non-existent. It is as good as non-existent if it comes up a million times. That is what mithya (apparent) means. So now you intellectually understand the difference between the Self and this vasana that is giving you so much trouble, but it doesn’t solve the problem, because the Karen that is trying to understand is mithya too. If you were the Self it wouldn’t be a problem. Vedanta says you are the Self.
If you still think you are Karen, the Gita tells you how to deal with this vasana. Krishna gives three examples: smoke and fire, dust on a mirror and a fetus in a womb. Certain vasanas disappear on their own without you doing anything about them. Smoke enveloping a fire disappears with the first wind.
Others you have to clean up with Vedanta sadhana. It takes effort – karma yoga, upasana yoga and jnana yoga – but you can scrub them away every day. For instance, you said you had a big sex vasana at one time, but you implied that it isn’t an issue today. Why? You thought about it, realized its downside and perhaps came to appreciate it as a proxy for your desire for freedom and love, and let it go.
The third kind you don’t have control over. Just as you can’t pluck a three-month-old fetus out of the womb and expect it to live but have to wait until it comes out on its own, you have to wait for this kind of primitive samskara to work out in the fullness of time. However, if you do Vedanta sadhana consistently it creates conditions that affect the length of time it takes for the vasana to work out.
Karen: When I truly want to realize that ALL IS NON-DUAL LOVE, mistrust is pretty much in the way and just rendering it non-binding doesn’t seem to be enough.
James: Yes, fear is the opposite of love. You were attached to your teacher, and when he denied you his company, you got angry. Anger, desire, fear all drive out love.
Karen: Thank you for your patience with me, James. I know I am a hard nut. But I hope you can see my sincerity and urge to liberation. This is why I opened up now even more because I truly do not have anything to hide. And one thing is certain: there is no moving on from Vedanta. This is it. Also, I do see the situation as a blessing, but somehow I am not able to fully understand it. It is like God reaching out with both hands to me, and like a blind man, I seem to miss him.
James: You are welcome, Karen. You are getting more and more qualified as you go. Isvara sent you to me to help you, and I can see that you are committed. As I said before, you are mostly qualified. But just wanting moksa is not enough. You need dispassion and discrimination, faith, etc. If you can understand mithya, you will be happy. Gaudapada’s chapter on mithya is the most important chapter in the Karika. My commentaries and the video on it are available on ShiningWorld.com. But you need better guna management. There is still quite a bit of rajas and tamas.
Karen: From the feet of holy Arunachala, I am sending you tons of Love.