Search & Read
Understanding Isvara Is the Doorway to Moksa
Sarah: You are remarkable. Isvara is conscious and objects (such as jivas) are not conscious.
That is why a jiva is an inert counter over which Isvara apparently transacts business. That is why a jiva is Isvara, and the jiva, appearing to be conscious, is a superimposition. Thinking from this angle makes it possible to see oneself as Isvara. This is good news… is this correct?
Sundari: Thanks, Sarah. Yes, you are correct. From “this” point of view you are speaking as the self “seeing” with non-dual vision.
The jiva is inert, no more real than your shadow or reflection in the mirror. It remains limited purely as the jiva “enlightened” or not, even though the essence of the jiva is awareness, which is unlimited.
To self-actualise, one must understand one’s conditioning (vasanas/likes and dislikes) in the light of the gunas to render the binding vasanas non-binding and to negate the doer. In order to understand what “non-dual” means, one has to understand the identity between maya-Isvara-jiva both from the perspective of their common denominator, awareness, and from the perspective of the jiva who remains in the apparent reality. There is NO getting around this.
Understanding that you are a person and what it means to be a person is pretty simple. Understanding that your true identity is awareness and not the person with a name and a story is also not that hard; after all, it is pretty obvious, provided the mind is qualified. Where most people get stuck is understanding what that means for the person.
The Neo-Advaitins and many others have tried to skip this part by simply saying that the person and the objects do not exist. But they do exist. You experience them. Without knowledge of the gunas/Isvara one will never understand the field of existence, the environment, or dharma field, and how the jiva relates to it, so there is no way to be free of it.
So, what does existence mean? What does “apparently real” really mean? It is the contention of Vedanta (and the logic of one’s own experience when examined in the light of self-knowledge) that only awareness is real, meaning that which is always present and never changes. All objects subtle or gross are only apparently real, meaning not always present and always changing. Self-knowledge/self-realisation means knowing that all objects arise from you, awareness, are made up out of awareness but you are always free of the objects. Moksa, or freedom, for the jiva is the discrimination of the objects from you, awareness, and to never confuse the (apparent) two again. As said many times, freedom means liberation from the idea of being a person in order that as a person you live as the self, free of suffering. The person never leaves the apparent reality. The self is already free.
The buffer, what stands in between (so to speak, because there really is nothing “in between” from awareness’s point of view) is Isvara, the causal body. Even though as awareness you share a common identity with Isvara and the jiva but are always free of and “beyond” both Isvara and the jiva, the jiva lives in the apparent reality, and in order to live free of it, as stated many times now, it has to understand what it is in the light of self-knowledge. No other knowledge will do the trick.
This is why we say there is no escaping Isvara. Yes, you can say you are Isvara and beyond Isvara until you are blue in the face, but unless you know what this means you will not be free. Isvara srsti, or the creation – the environment, from which the jiva cannot be separated – is a lawful universe, run by Isvara’s psychological and material order (the gunas), this is Svadharma – with a big “S” – and enlightened or not, the jiva is subject to these laws.
This is why we promote a devotional attitude towards Isvara because in doing so one acknowledges the logic of karma yoga at all times, rendering the binding vasanas non-binding and negating the doer. Isvara (the gunas) is the only “doer.”