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Uphadis Make Consciousness Look like It Dumbs Down
Sundari (from previous email): The most subtle “aspect” of this teaching is the irreducible fact that because consciousness implies unconsciousness, it is not, strictly speaking, true to say that awareness is conscious. Awareness is without qualities, it is the non-experiencing witness, and although it gives rise to all objects (who are not conscious) and Isvara who is conscious, awareness is not “conscious” in the same way. Awareness is that which makes consciousness possible in that consciousness is reflected awareness. Like Isvara, awareness is not a person; conscious and unconscious objects (Isvara and jiva respectively) arise when maya (ignorance) appears.
Sarah: Above is exactly what I have been wondering about!!! Maybe this is why Nisargadatta says there is something behind consciousness: awareness. Usually the two words are not separated.
Sundari: Yes, quite possibly this is why he was either misquoted or he did not understand this very subtle point. Words are so important; using and understanding the implied meaning in the correct context is of paramount importance – especially when the teaching gets this subtle. How Nisargadatta worded it is that there is something “beyond” awareness, the “absolute.” It still causes great confusion. There is nothing beyond awareness because it is prior to everything.
Sarah: Ram says consciousness is “dumbed down” when it becomes the world. The paragraph above is saying awareness, which is without qualities, makes consciousness possible, called Isvara. Is that correct? If so, that makes everything much more clear.
Sundari: Yes, that is correct. The words we use here can cause confusion because they all have an implied opposite meaning. Paramatman, “pure” awareness, makes consciousness possible, which is Isvara. Ram uses the termed “dumbed down” tongue-in-cheek because, of course, awareness cannot really dumb down. It is impossible for awareness to be “less” aware. However, maya is the key. When maya appears, then awareness apparently forgets who it is; being deluded by maya, it appears as a subtle body.
I think I have already sent this to you, but here it is again: Maya, (awareness plus the gunas) is said to be eternal because it is a power that exists in awareness and awareness is eternal. This is why maya is beginningless. Personal ignorance (avidya) ends for the jiva when the self is realised to be its true nature, ending its personal cycle of incarnation and suffering; but maya, or macrocosmic ignorance and its effects (mithya), continue unchanged. However, the creation (mithya) is not always manifesting because maya is not always manifest. When ignorance or maya does manifest, Isvara in its capacity as a Creator appears, followed by the apparent creation (Isvara srsti), the world of sentient beings and insentient elements (objects).
A big problem many inquirers run into thanks to all the rubbish that is “out there” in the spiritual arena on enlightenment, is the belief that somehow the person needs to be changed, perfected. Or, when enlightened, they will assume mythic powers, become transcendental, soaring above life and all that is mundane. Well, it is just not like that! This is because the jiva never leaves the apparent reality, thus the jiva is and always will be limited, even though the essence of the jiva is awareness, which is unlimited (meaning not conditioned by anything). Awareness is and always has been limitless. Isvara is limitless with reference to the jiva but not with reference to awareness.
Isvara is always present in awareness but it is either manifest or unmanifest with reference to awareness. Therefore Isvara associated with maya, like the jiva, is not real either, although in terms of the apparent person, Isvara is “relatively” real and eternal. In other words, Isvara associated with maya is eternal or permanent with reference to the jiva and the objects it experiences, but impermanent with reference to awareness.
Sarah: What does the word “reflected” mean exactly, i.e. “consciousness is reflected awareness”?
Sundari: When you look in a mirror and see your reflection, to you take it to be the same as you?
The confusion is what belongs to the person and what belongs to the self, the assumption that what applies to the person must also apply to the self. What belongs to the person does not belong to the self. The person and awareness do not exist in the same order of reality because the self, the subject, is what is real and the object, the person, is what is unreal.
Maya is what causes uphadis. The uphadi for pure awareness appearing as Isvara is maya, and the five sheaths are the uphadi for the self under the spell of ignorance, appearing as the jiva. An uphadi is a limiting adjunct because it makes something look like something else, like the red rose behind a clear crystal makes the crystal look red.
As stated, “pure”awareness is that which is limitless, always present and never changes, i.e. real, and the objects are not always present and always changing, i.e. unreal. All the objects (including Isvara in the role of Creator wielding maya) arise in pure awareness, giving rise to consciousness – the ability to know, to be aware. Awareness is the knowing principle and not really the knower because the ability to know is a subtle doing – and awareness is not a doer. There is nothing for it to know. There is only itself so it is the knower of the knower, Isvara as the experiencing witness and jiva as the experiencing entity.
Awareness plus the gunas or maya (Isvara) as explained above are pratibimba, reflected awareness. Everything “below the line” is Isvara but the difference is that Isvara is not affected by maya (the gunas) or deluded by it because Isvara is conscious but the jiva is not conscious and is modified by maya. The jiva is the lens through which awareness apparently has contact with objects.
When the self is actualised, you are no longer conditioned by the jiva or by Isvara. This does not mean that you are exempt from the universal laws, or dharmas, that run the dharma field. You are not. I hope this helps!
~ Much love, Sundari