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Jung Did Not Have a Teaching
Michael: Wow!! That is exactly what I needed to hear. I very much agree with what you say. I have a sense of this reality you speak of but I don’t “feel” it well enough to actually live it. Maybe I don’t trust it enough either.
Sundari: With dedication to self-inquiry the trust will come. One of the qualifications for Vedanta is faith in the scripture, not blind faith but faith pending the outcome of your inquiry. One has to put aside what one thinks one knows and have an open mind. If you try to fit Vedanta into what you presently think or believe, it will not work. Once you have inquired then you look at your thoughts and beliefs in the light of Vedanta, not the other way around.
Vedanta is nothing more than understanding the unexamined logic of your own experience. It is irrefutable because it is just knowledge and is not based on any person’s teaching, beliefs or opinions. It is an independent means of knowledge called a sabda pramana, meaning “oral tradition,” which has been carried down and protected for thousands of years by thousands of rishis. Rishis are wise people who know, or see. This great tradition is called the sampradaya, of which James is a lineage-holder.
Vedanta is not from the mind of man, it is revealed to the mind of man by consciousness so that consciousness can know itself. It is “seen” or “heard.” It can only be this way because the means at our disposal to know anything – perception and inference – are not subtle enough to know consciousness. The object cannot know the subject. The self, awareness, is not an object of perception, because it is that by which everything is known. This is why consciousness “developed” (in a manner of speaking) Vedanta as a means of knowledge, which is why qualifications for understanding are necessary; the mind needs to be prepared and purified or the knowledge simply will not stick. It is utterly useless to preach to anyone. Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, “Let not the wise unsettle the minds of the ignorant.”
Once the mind is qualified and the self reflects in a pure mind, self-knowledge “does the work” of removing ignorance. It is then known to be your true nature. Once this happens suffering is over for the apparent person. Even if there is some ignorance remaining – there most often is, as the effects of ignorance take time to disappear – you see that you are beyond and prior to both ignorance and knowledge. If you see ignorance, meaning if you know what it is, it cannot affect you even if it appears in your mind.
Michael: I have been carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders, and I can even explain to you the reasoning I have had for this… it’s because I have always convinced myself that I am the fortunate one for having this connection to the unconscious… and I have in some way believed that by sharing my good fortune, I am loving those that I care for. I can clearly see my ignorance now but have been trapped by that belief that this is what “love” is, and I am helping by trying to “cure” people of their own ignorance. I have had the feeling for several months that I am wrong… but I have been left with the question, if I am wrong what is then right?
Sundari: Yes, indeed. There is no heavier weight than the weight of doership! And what folly it is. It causes so much suffering and literally wears one out. I know what you mean about having such a finely-tuned access to the unconscious. It is very common for spiritual types, and is often what sets them apart from “other” people who are not so sensitive. It can also cause a lot of suffering as one goes along one’s spiritual path, and it often impedes one from finding freedom. The unconscious is a name for the causal body, which we also call Isvara. Having a more finely-tuned access to it is nothing special; everything we think and feel is due to it.
Carl Jung, who formulated the concept of the unconscious, did not fully understand Isvara, God, the causal body – call it what you will. He got stuck there and did not look beyond. He should have investigated “who” is it that knows and is prior to the gross, subtle and causal bodies. He took the jiva living in the apparent reality to be real. Referring to James’ wonderful chart, the self, awareness, is “above the line” which is like a glass ceiling. There is no real separation between above and below because this is a non-dual reality and there is only awareness, but it is helpful to understand the distinction.
This is what James has to say about Jung:
“The division of the modern psychological world into physical, emotional and cognitive therapies suggest parallels to the paths of action, devotion and knowledge as outlined by Vedanta. Dominated almost exclusively by Freud’s ideas for most of the twentieth century, the therapeutic world might be seen as a secular attempt to compete with religion in the business of cleaning up sinners. Its model of the ego, which sees childhood trauma and libidinal impulses as the cause of suffering, was taken as seriously as church doctrine by a significant segment of the thinking public for the better part of the century.
“Because this model takes the ego as the only self, it has suffered since its inception from the absence of an overarching concept of the self to integrate its diverse psychologies. And because it is saddled with the materialist-scientific model of the universe, it has until recently steadfastly denied the validity of spiritual experience.
“The corruption began almost immediately with the schism between Freud and Jung. Unlike Freud, Jung could not deny spiritual experience and developed the idea of the collective unconscious, a quirky Western blend of the causal body and the self. Jung’s work set the stage for the transpersonal model that sprang up as a result of the influx of Vedic and Buddhist ideas in the sixties and seventies.
“The increasingly popular transpersonal model, which has established itself as a legitimate branch of therapy in the last thirty years, is closer to the original spirit of the Vedas in that is acknowledges one of the most sought-after experiences, transcendence. It is therefore not antagonistic to meditation and spiritual experience.
“Transcendence is not world-denying or ego-destroying but ego- and world-inclusive. Fundamentally, it is just a shift from a particular to a universal view of oneself and the world. The transpersonal model, which is a reasonable compromise between enlightenment as a blissful daily experience and the myopic life of a neurotic materialistic ego, is a rudimentary purification therapy insofar as it addresses the larger issues of values and purpose. When we consciously know that lasting happiness is the purpose of life, we make a giant step spiritually, because we free ourselves of the frustrating view that activities, experiences and objects will relieve our sense of limitation.
“Because Jung did not realize the self beyond his idea of the macrocosmic causal body, he located his idea of the self as an 'archetype,' or samskara, in the causal body. He was unable to see that the self transcended the causal body because his official means of knowledge was inferential – the interpretation of dreams. His direct personal experience of the self, even had he been able to contextualize and interpret it correctly, would never have been accepted by the scientific community, so it was professionally useless. He was incapable of understanding the full import of his self-research because it occurred in a spiritual vacuum, the Western scientific intellectual world. Had he been brought up in Vedic culture where both the unconscious and the self have been accepted knowledge for at least three thousand years – and figure prominently in both yoga and Vedanta – his research would have undoubtedly met with considerable support and led him quickly to a clear understanding of the relationship between the self and the causal body.”
As I said to you in my first email to you, there is only awareness, all objects appear in awareness and have a dependent existence on awareness, but awareness is free of all objects. Awareness and the objects in it exist in different orders of reality: the real and the apparent. What makes this possible is maya. Maya, or ignorance, exists because awareness is unlimited, so it has to have the potential for ignorance or it would not be unlimited. With the emergence of maya the self apparently “forgets” its true nature and becomes identified with the objects, thinking it is a doer. This is why Vedanta defines freedom as the discrimination of the self/awareness from the objects appearing in it and the negation of doership. Jung thought the doer was the self.
Michael: I would love to buy this book you mentioned; do you have a link you can send me where I can purchase it? I do not want to enter into a real significant dialogue with you until I have a better understanding of what you say. I did the same with Freud and Jung… I studied Freud with great passion until the path he led me on was exhausted, which led me to Jung… I have since followed his thought but have once again hit the proverbial wall. I think you offer me a new level… the level I seek.
Sundari: I am here to assist your inquiry should you need it but Vedanta is not my teaching. Vedanta is about you. It is the self talking to itself. This is why Vedanta has come to you: you have done the work and must be ready to make the walls built by ignorance come crumbling down. I have no doubt that you will break free, as your desire for freedom is so strong. I am glad you have found James’ book; it is the most important book you will ever read.
Michael: I wasn’t going to mention this… but it seems to tie in. I watched a movie passed along to me from a friend last night. It’s called The Black Whole. Have you heard of it? If so, what is your opinion? It seems very much on the same path of the things you speak of… perhaps I am wrong though, as I do not have a clear understanding of this yet. But I do feel a sense of excitement for the first time in a while, and I thank you for this… I genuinely appreciate you taking the time to respond to me with such great care and genuine intention to help me with this problem.
Sundari: I have heard of the movie but have not seen it. I am not on a path, I am the path. Vedanta is not a spiritual path. It is the knowledge that underpins all paths, and it will put an end to your quest for knowledge. It is like finding the Holy Grail, which is another way of saying that you have found yourself. You are that which you seek. You are most welcome and your appreciation is appreciated.
~ Om shanti, Sundari