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Jnana Karma Sannyas (Renunciation of the Doer by Knowledge)
William: Hi, Sundari. Thank you for a great email with tons of cool advice, and really apt. I’ll reply just at the top here quickly…
I’ve noticed that post-realization I’ve both consciously and subconsciously (I guess) been keeping any bliss experience down. I’m only bringing this up as you mentioned that self-realization is the greatest high. Once I realized I am awareness, I knew I was complete. With nothing to do, I wasn’t able to do anything. This fed into the apparent me. So I did feel that there was nothing to do as far as my experiential stuff goes although I have begun to study Vedanta via ShiningWorld even more seriously. Although there was a feeling of calmness, coolness, etc. I didn’t take much notice of it, as I am awareness. Being awareness, I could not bring myself to mediate either. However, since realization is not moksa and meditation does prepare the mind for moksa, should (or is it) still fine to meditate? It would be interesting to see the reactions to any experience in mediation now, I suppose, since savikalpa samadhi came regularly. However, might it be prudent to take care at this stage in regard to experiential stuff? As far as that kind of spiritual action goes, I get that I can’t escape experience nor should I, since I am in this apparent reality.
~ Warmest wishes, William
Sundari: Hello, William. Great, I am glad to hear that you are taking your sadhana seriously. Stick with it no matter what and you won’t go wrong. There are many apparent contradictions in Vedanta but if one is properly taught they all resolve. One of them is negation of the doer yet one cannot not do. What does it mean to say that the doer is to be negated when it is impossible not to do?
To rid the mind of the notion of doership is the hardest thing. This is why Vedanta’s teaching methodology is carefully designed to take you step by step through a complete reverse-thinking order to set you free. If you are qualified and your desire for moksa is strong enough, it works. Karma yoga is such an effective tool to prepare the mind for self-knowledge. By worshipfully consecrating the result of every thought word and deed to Isvara and taking the results that come as prasad, one automatically negates the doer.
Jnana karma sannyas is the Sanskrit term for “full negation of the doer.” It means that one has fully assimilated the knowledge that the results are not up to you – and one does not surrender action per se but the notion that one is the doer. To fully understand this, you need to understand Isvara and the gunas that make up the field of experience. Experience/action is under the control of Isvara, the macrocosmic vasanas. I highly recommend that you order Ram’s teaching of Panchadasi in Tiruvannamalai this last January; it is a brilliant text on Isvara and the field – and Ram is at his very best. You can order it at the website.
Remember this: you cannot give up doership because the one who decides to give up the doership is the doer of the renunciation. There is only one self and it is free from action. Either you know this or you don’t. This is called vidvat sannyasa.
If you think you are a renunciant, you are not a renunciant, because you still have doership. The self is the only renunciant. Once one has fully understood this, there is nothing to drop or renounce anymore because the one who is doing the dropping/renouncing has been dropped. There is no need to go around talking in the third person or saying that there is nothing to do. You simply get on with your life knowing that Isvara is in charge and is doing your life for you.
A karma yogi becomes a sannyasi by self-knowledge. And that is the way it is. That is the whole point of Vedanta.
Vedanta is not just about realizing who you are, it is about understanding how to use the inquiry tools to work on yourself. This knowledge should be taught or you can be almost certain that the knowledge will be interpreted by the vasanas, leaving the mind agitated. The ego will convince you that you can do it alone, that you have got it. If you go off half-cocked thinking you have got it because you are emotional, impulsive and egocentric, you will be denied moksa and find yourself at a dead-end, back where you started.
There is nothing wrong with meditation, it is a wonderful tool to calm the mind. It is very helpful if it is undertaken with the karma yoga attitude and not seeking moksa or any other result. Then whatever result that does come is good. Remember that in managing the gunas, making satya your goal is very important and meditation is a great aid to that end.
~ Much love to you, Sundari