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The Jiva Is You but You Are Not the Jiva
Serena: Dear Sundari and Ramji, I read an article today by Sundari, where she helped a lady to interpret a dream, and I just thought I would ask a similar favour! Usually, I can get an answer myself because when I recall a dream, I can usually work it out myself, as it is usually about stuff that occurred in the previous days events and actions, e.g. a family member or a character on telly, nothing out of the ordinary.
Anyway, this dream I had preceded the enquiry I made with Christian Leeby (that email is below this email). In his reply, he said that I had “identified myself”(!) and explained the “two-person” feeling I seem to be having.
I can only recall the main event of the dream, which involved two men fighting on a balcony, though I can’t recall reason why. People appeared in order to break up the fight. However, just as they appeared, one of the men fell off the balcony. Oh, dear! Dead, possibly.
I just wondered if it was symbolic of my current state of enquiry?
Is the person who fell off the balcony “my” jiva and “my” self is the one left standing above on the balcony? There was no sense of victory, just something that had to be done. It was like a non-violent event despite the violence!
Thank you very much.
~ Love, Serena
Sundari: Hello, Serena. Lovely to hear from you again, and apologies for the slight delay in reply as I have been busy packing up our house in Spain, and James is teaching in Berlin.
I am happy that you are writing to Christian; he has his own very unique, contemporary and succinct way of presenting self-knowledge. I read his reply to your inquiry about the “two-self” feeling and it is excellent. It is a common experience and one not to be too concerned about as it is only an apparent two self, not a real one. As he says, self-knowledge gives the answer to everything, especially when you have knowledge of the field of existence, meaning Isvara or the gunas, and how the field conditions the jiva, until it doesn’t anymore.
The only thing I would add to Christian’s reply is that one can only fully actualise self-knowledge when one has understood the identity between awareness, Isvara and the jiva. This is where most people get stuck in their self-inquiry and it is why many self-realised people do not self-actualise. Understanding Isvara is the key. If you need help with this, ask Christian, or you are welcome to write to me. There are several writings on this on Shining World, some in articles, some in the e-satsangs and, of course, in How to Achieve Enlightenment. James and I are busy with books on the gunas/Isvara as this is probably one of the most important teachings in Vedanta.
Also very helpful is to remember this: There are three jivas:
1. The jiva who thinks it is a person with a name, a history and an address. This jiva is called the doer or the human being, the one identified with objects.
2. There is the jiva who knows about awareness, but it does not know what it means to be awareness. This jiva has indirect knowledge and is often called a self-realised jiva. This jiva has had an experience of being awareness but has not actualised self-knowledge, so the knowledge is not firm and ignorance is still present. This is the one who re-identifies with objects because the vasanas are still binding and doership has not been fully dissolved.
3. And finally, there is the jiva who has permanent, direct knowledge because he/she knows that their true identity IS awareness and they know what it means to be awareness – while still apparently manifesting as a jiva or individual. This means that self-knowledge translates fully into ALL aspects of the person’s life. This is the jivanmukta, the self no longer under the spell of ignorance or the self-actualised jiva or person.
Asking yourself at any point “Which jiva is speaking here?” is a very helpful practice. And don’t worry about Serena, she is fine the way she is. No need to change her; love her unconditionally. When you understand all “her” conditioning in the light of self-knowledge, it dissolves because it belongs to Isvara and not to Serena, and certainly not to you as awareness. In order to understand her conditioning, you need to understand how the gunas function. When you do understand, duality does not disappear even though you know it to be an illusion, like the mirage on the desert floor.
You get to enjoy it for it is: Only apparently real. Objects or experience (same thing) do offer a kind of joy, just not the lasting kind. So when you know who you are, that you are whole and complete and the joy is you, you no longer look to objects to give you what they are incapable of giving you (and you no longer need) because you know you are the fullness. This is when duality can be a lot of fun. How would you enjoy a lovely meal, going for a walk, making love to your husband, feeling the touch of grass on your skin, watching a sunrise – without it? Isvara has created a beautiful world for us to experience, and it exists is so that as awareness you can have contact with objects. It only hurts when you don’t know that the objects are not real. I have a saying: “Duality is cool when you know what it is and cruel when you don’t!”
So enjoy your jiva, take good care of her. She is you, only you are not her. As for your dream, it seems pretty straightforward. As you know, all aspects of any dream represent you, or rather Serena’s vasana-identity given to her by Isvara. A dream is Isvara highlighting this in pictures; sometimes the message is pretty banal and unimportant, sometimes it isn’t. Either way it is Isvara.
My interpretation of your dream is this: The fight is the ever-present duel between knowledge and ignorance (duality) in the mind. The one who stops the fight is you, awareness. The one who remains standing is you, awareness appearing as “your” jiva, Serena, no longer under the spell of ignorance. The one who falls over the balcony (hopefully dead!) is ignorance, because self-knowledge has won. Ignorance is tenacious but it is not stronger than self-knowledge.
So yes, you are correct; the dream is an apt representation of where you are in your self-inquiry. Well done to you! May self-knowledge continue to unfold every detail of life for you and may you have many blissful smiles about it all!
~ With love, Sundari