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I Am the Beautiful Self
Magdolna: Hello, dearest Ram and Sundari, since we last corresponded, I have dedicated a lot of my time to Vedanta. Daily I sit at my kitchen table reading and rereading, watching and listening to the mass of material which you provide. And not forgetting all that juicy Baghavad Gita transcribing which was very good to do. Christian called me a Vedanta geek!
I have re-read all my satsang emails several times especially those from Sundari about Isvara being the key teaching the different orders of reality. I just love the whole process of self-enquiry. I really appreciate it all. And slowly as each piece of knowledge is digested and relished, I am getting to know myself! And I am getting more familiar with the language too and more confident. Slowly, slowly, catchy monkey. I am in it for the long haul.
Questions arise and get answered either from you directly or from the material on your website. I am very practised at the discipline of learning from all my years as a student. But this is the best thing I have ever done because it is about me – ha! ha!
In recent weeks as I felt my knowledge grow and I understood more, I felt drawn to listening to the free audios from Tiru Gita first, and now I am going through piecemeal the Panchadasi Portland audios, both from 2011. First I listened to the audios on the subject of the self, then self-enquiry, then Isavasya Upanishad, then the Atma Darshan recording. The Atma Darshan I liked very much. In it James talked about “wiggly bits” with reference to thoughts, I think! I liked that. Anyway I am now listening to Panchadasi. More scrumptiousness!!
However, after listening to the first of the five Panchadasi audios I thought I would dip into the awareness audio. I felt like a change!!
So there I was last week, listening to glorious James, my old mate it seems like, and 41 minutes into the audio the subject being discussed by the group was basically the difference between knowledge and experience. I listened and I took notes. These I re-read again later. In my notes I wrote the following:
Barbara asked, “Do these enlightened people know by inference or experience?”
And James said it was a trick question because it implies you have to experience awareness before you can know who you are. Then he asked, “What are you experiencing right now? Nobody said anything, so James said, “You are experienceing yourself. That is all. You are never experiencing. There is only yourself. There is nothing else to experience. But when you don’t understand what the self is, you think it is something that is not here and that you have no experience of it.”
Well, guess what? Out of nowhere, that was the moment I realised my self. I am the beautiful self. Hence the quote above of “so mindlessly simple” by James from the Panchadasi audio number 6.
It is described for me so perfectly on pages 288/9 of How to Attain Enlightenment (HTAE) in the Ramana Maharshi interview chapter [“The Teachings of Ramana Maharshi”] where James says: “And then one day something happens. We cannot say when. It just happens, if you stay focused on the beloved. There is an Aha! and at the moment, the you that was looking at the self becomes the self. There is actually no becoming. You were it all along. The becoming is a recognition, a knowing. But the becoming changes your perspective. You are no longer the individual looking in at the self, awareness, you are awareness looking out at the individual. And what do you know? That awareness and the individual are one.”
And I now “get” the beautiful section entitled, “Beyond Enlightenment” in HTAE pages 272/3 [chapter: “After and Beyond Enlightenment”]: “I am awareness. And it is very ordinary.” The royal secret! The grace of God strikes again. If I had to describe it, I would say it was like a lifting of the veil of ignorance.
After I wrote about using your picture, it came to me that I would have a picture of your guru Swami Abhedananda, from your book. So I took a copy and it now sits on my “altar.” He was the first to know of my “moment” and I gave him a big kiss of thanks.
Several years ago, before I came across Vedanta and got HTAE via a friend, I vowed with all my heart that I was not “coming back” to this place, i.e. Earth, again. I was going to sort myself out spiritually once and for all because the material world was not for me!!! You get my gist and this is probably when the flame of desire was ignited for liberation.
By the grace of God I am free and can now just have fun until my “batteries” run out. I can do what I feel drawn to which is helping folk, especially the older generation. And being a happy crofter’s wife.
I intend to carry on with Vedanta teachings. I would like to become more fluent in it. And I have still to finish the Panchadasi audios. I love the Portland satsang of 2011 with you, James. Some of their voices remind me of the old black-and-white film actors from the 1940/’50s. George is so smooth, and David, I think, reminds me of a James Cagney character, and Barbara – she is classy! I feel an affinity with them for some reason. With them and you I had my Aha! moment!
In due course, I could make use of my knowledge. I would like to share it as I am a great believer in sharing knowledge. So now that the “code is cracked” for me, I can just really enjoy the Vedic texts and just be the ordinary beautiful self that I am. It is a lovely realisation. Love abounds! I am awareness. I am whole and complete. Aham Brahmasmi.
Also, I am clear that the mind is me but I am not mind, etc., and James went on to describe how he had neglected his mind since enlightenment, etc. and that he decided to purify it because he liked to be thorough and tidy up loose ends. Well, I like to be thorough too, so would like to try to do that. I’ll just let Isvara take the lead, eh? Just carry on with what I am doing already. For now, as the saying goes, “before enlightenment chop wood and carry water, after enlightenment chop wood and carry water.”
Thank you, thank you, thank you so very, very much, dear teachers and fellow selfs!!!
One enquiry I have had in my list for a while, is that moksha is not a literal freedom but an apparent freedom. Is that correct? Thanks!
It was joyful for you to talk to me via the webinar. And I got to know that you had read my email. I look forward to a reply in due course. I am very aware of your workload so I am in no rush to get a reply. I am thrilled you liked my email. And can I assume I am free from the jiva?? I await confirmation from “HQ”!
Also, with regard to publication of my email, I have no need to be made anonymous as I am not that attached to “Magdolna.”
So that’s me! I await your juicy email, James. Your trip to Trout Lake, when you will do Panchadasi, sounds fabulous. I reckon I might have to purchase it, if it becomes available as an audio, as I am loving the first chapter which you did in Portland in 2011.
Thank you for yesterday’s webinar and for everything. Much love to you and Sundari.
~ Magdolna xxxx
James: Dear Magdolna, I absolutely loved your email. It is so true and juicy and complete that I fear I can’t add anything to it except to say that your idea to keep up your inquiry, now that you know who you are, is very wise indeed. We call it nididyasana. Yes, just let Isvara take the lead. The answer to your second question is that freedom is real insofar as it is your nature, but when you look at it from the jiva’s point of view, it is apparent because bondage is apparent. You were never bound.
And yes, order the Panchadasi videos from Trout Lake. They will be out in a couple of weeks. It was an important spiritual event, and I added a teaching that had a big impact, identifying existence and awareness to remove the sense of separation one feels from material objects. It was a wonderful group that would have been even more wonderful had you attended.
~ Much love, James