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The “Why” Question
Julia: Hi. I have been studying Vedanta with James since 2010. Needless to say, I am still studying.
There is one crucial part of this science that seems so difficult for this jiva to get beyond: Why is there even such a thing as ignorance? Why did the Self bring that part into the equation? Simply for the matter of experience? If so, then what for?
Wishing to find an answer has brought no result. It seems she can’t assimilate things to until this part is understood
I am grateful for any pointer you might have.
Sundari: You say you have been a student of James for many years, yet this question is extensively answered in all the teachings on ShiningWorld and the writings that James and I give.
The short answer to why ignorance exists is simply that there is no answer, looking at things from within the dream of Maya. The only answer is in the knowledge the scripture gives us – that ignorance is a power that exists in awareness or it could not be called limitless. Ignorance, or Maya, never affects the Self.
When Maya appears, Isvara in the form of the Creator appears and the Creation apparently manifests, Isvara’s Creation is playing out as it must. “On the subject of karma, even the sages are perplexed,” it says in the Bhagavad Gita. Karma is impossible to understand from the jiva’s perspective because the jiva can only look at what takes place in the apparent reality from within the framework of the apparent reality. This perspective will always be limited. The apparent reality will always be limited.
The only solution is to “step out of Maya” (the hypnosis of duality) and see it from the non-dual point of view of awareness. The first question to be asked then is: What is the Creation?
The point of Vedanta is not to explain the Creation, though it does do that. The purpose is to reveal that the Creation that seems so real and imperfect is neither. It is a mirage, a dream on the screen of the Self, you. The next question you should be asking is, what is your relationship to the Creation? If you are thinking as a jiva identified with the body-mind, you will not find an answer that satisfies you as to why things are the way they are, because, as stated, there is none.
This is a zero-sum reality and there are no solutions to that quandary in mithya, the apparent reality. The apparent reality is defined as “that which is always changing and not always present.” You, the Self, are satya, “that which is always present and unchanging.” The only constant factor, the non-experiencing witness of the experiencing entity called “Julia,” who is asking this question.
So, if you think as the Self, ask yourself: Is there a Creation? If there is, the Creation is only apparently real. And, thinking as the Self, you will see that as this is a non-dual reality there is only the Self, therefore the Creation is the Self because there is no other option. But the Self is ever-free of the Creation. The Creation depends on the Self, but the Self depends on nothing and is unaffected by everything.
What you need to inquire into is who is asking the question and why. The main purpose of Vedanta is to teach discrimination between satya and mithya. If the mind is qualified to assimilate Self-knowledge, it removes all doubts and explains everything in the Field of Existence.
I hope this helps.
~ Love, Sundari