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The World Is Weird Without Self-Knowledge
Paulo: Thanks for taking the time to reply to my questions. I really appreciate it!
Life has been moving fast lately, and I was hoping for some clarity of mind to really process what you said before writing back.
Well, I can’t say that my mind is as clear as I’d like to now, but I don’t wanna be impolite by taking much longer to reply to your message. Alright, clarity or not, I’ll try to be respectful of your time and ask the best questions I can.
So, for example, if you said that the Self is limited, then the limit itself would constitute an object, as anything perceived (including limits) falls into that category. So the Self can know apparent limits, but it is free of any limits. Therefore the Self is limitless.
Also, any change by definition is known, and if it is known, there must be a knower – which cannot be the known. Therefore the Self never changes.
Correct? I think I do understand these things. That said, I definitely haven’t assimilated it yet – most of the thoughts that pop up in my mind still spring from an “I am limited” premise.
Sundari: If the Self was limited it would not be the Self but an object of perception, yes. Limitless does not mean what most understand the word to mean – limited in the way Vedanta uses the word means “does not condition to anything.”
Paulo: I still can’t connect the Self as love! I understand that love is consciousness, but so is any other emotion/subtle object. That said, I definitely don’t hate me. So I guess maybe love is my nature? It’s kinda unclear to me right now.
I suppose I have a prejudice against the word/emotion, as I am not the emotional type (at all). I’ll follow the instructions correctly this time around and take your word for it on faith while I continue to investigate this!
Sundari: As I said to you in our last exchange on this topic, love is not a feeling or thought. Thoughts/feeling are just the reflection of love, they are not actually love, just like your reflection in the mirror is you but is not you. Love as your nature means you are whole and complete and need nothing, it does not involve another, as all others are likewise seen as the love you are, though it is expressed as a feeling to “others.” The object is loved for its own sake, not for how the object makes the subject feel. Real love wants nothing and fears nothing. It is self-satisfied. Desire feels like love because when its needs and conditions are met, the mind is settled and blissful. When its needs and desires are not met, it is a veritable sea of storms.
Worldly love is called kama and its nature is desire. A worldly lover (kami) loves an object with desire and does not worship the object. He or she wants something from the object, which produces limiting feelings caused by the behaviour of the love object. Kama is a high-maintenance kind of love and amounts to a sense of ownership. Owning an object makes the lover feel secure. Kama is called love, but it is actually its antithesis of love, because real love is free and subject-dependent. Kama, desire, is the coin of the realm of samsara.
In the discussion on love it is always difficult to understand the equation between consciousness and love. This is because consciousness is free of feelings, whereas love seems to be a feeling quite separate from consciousness. But there is actually no difference, because reality is non-dual, and feelings are never apart from consciousness; they arise out of consciousness and are made up of consciousness, like the spider’s web is made up of the spider.
Non-dual love, parabhakti, love is known to be you, your true nature – meaning consciousness. It is having all you could ever want and knowing that it will never leave you. It is love loving itself. It is limitless satisfaction – parama sukka is the word used in the texts. The nature of the Self is parama prema svarupa. Parama means “limitless”; svarupa means “nature”; and prema is “the love the makes love possible.” In its presence even spiritual love comes alive. Spiritual love, no matter how pure, is dualistic, a transaction between a subject and an object, a feeling of love, for example. When I know I am awareness, I am prema, limitless love. This love is knowledge because consciousness is intelligent. Prema is only known when the doer has been completely negated by Self-knowledge.
Paulo: How do you not go crazy knowing what you know? Have you seen The Matrix (it’s awesome)? Knowing these things about reality is kinda like you took the red pill, but they forgot to rescue you from those machine pods. Now you’re just sitting there looking dumb.
Kidding! My question is serious though. For instance, how do you relate to other people? If you look at it objectively, another person is just a collection of data/inputs.
Sundari: The only way you don’t go crazy in this world is knowing you are the Self, what this world is, how it functions and how “your” puny little mind relates to the whole of existence. Once you understand that life is just the gunas playing out in endlessly repetitive cycles, you understand everything. I relate to everyone as the Self because I see only the Self, even though I am happy that “others” see me as a person. I will treat them as though they are a person too, knowing that it is not who they really are. And as stated, I understand the essence of all jiva programs because they are all generated by the gunas, in very predictable ways.
Paulo: For instance, I’m writing to you now, and objectively speaking, “Sundari” exists just as a belief in my mind. If I saw you in person tomorrow, it would make no difference. It would change from belief only to belief + sight/sound/form.
That applies to me as well. Except in my case the data set is larger: A bunch of memories, likes/dislikes, body, etc.
Sundari: Everything is just a thought in the mind, it’s the same for everyone. Your mind is made up of the memories and associations it has made over its lifetime, and so is “mine.” The difference is that I know it’s just a story and not real, so I don’t take it seriously, because I am not identified with my mind, which you are. “My” mind is an object known to me, the Self. It has nothing to do with me – it “belongs” to Isvara. Its jiva program is just that, a program and not me.
Paulo: Does that make any sense? It’s just that the world is so weird. If what Vedanta says is true, and it is (I can verify it directly, no need to believe – luckily), then life is absolutely insane. I’m just wondering how you deal with it. Even asking this of “you” is already paradoxical. See what I’m saying?
Sundari: The world is weird when you don’t have firm Self-knowledge. Even though this is a benign, intelligently designed universe that takes care of our every need and runs on natural laws, it is very hard to understand why things play out the way they do from within Maya. The only way to understand it is to step out of Maya with Self-knowledge.
~ Om, Sundari