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Maya Becomes Lila?
Shanti: Dear Ram, in How to Realize the Self you say, as you define maya, “From awareness’s point of view it does not exist, but insofar as it is the cause of existence it does exist.” And then a few pages later you say, “Awareness is what supplies existence to the creation and all the things in it. It is the cause of what is.”
To me both quotes seem very similar. Do you mean there is a difference or distinction between “the cause of existence” and “the cause of what is”? A difference between is-ness and existence? Or is it maybe a language problem?
Ram: It is a language issue. Is-ness is existence is awareness is self is love.
Shanti: To my understanding, maya is somehow the curtain, the apparent. And awareness is the understanding, or seeing, what is behind the curtain, the real reason for everything, not the apparent.
Ram: Awareness is what is behind the curtain even though the curtain does not actually cover it. It is the uncaused cause of everything because you cannot have anything without awareness. But it does not willfully cause things. When maya is operating – and it only operates on a flyspeck of awareness, not the totality of awareness – objects are projected and awareness takes itself to be Shanti, and she believes the world in which she lives is a real world. So you need both awareness and maya for creation.
Shanti: And to see through the curtain one needs to inquire into the stream and nature of consciousness. For example, today I had a lot of beautiful experiences inside and outside (there is in fact no difference). I was happy because of God (Krishna) is inside and outside, communicating with himself.
James: This is correct knowledge. It is indirect knowledge, unless when you say “Krishna” you know that it refers to you. And yes, you are correct when you say that to see through the curtain you need to inquire. The veil is lifted when you inquire.
Shanti: I was thinking about the nature of someone and looked at a wall and saw the word “Nero” and agreed, “Yes, that’s exactly how he is.” Then I was enjoying myself and saw white feathers in a window, found an orange star and a deep blue little glass in a shop for 20 cents for both, and lots of other little nice communications.
Ram: I know what you mean, but you better not tell it to everyone or they will think you have gone “round the bend,” as they say here in England.
Shanti: My question is: When maya becomes lila, when one understand the play behind the curtain, would you say that is awareness?
Ram: No. This is knowledge, if by “play” you mean awareness.
You have the wrong idea of awareness, although you are partially correct. Basically what is hanging you up is language. You have your own language for your understanding and it is confusing you. Maya doesn’t become lila. Maya is a lila, a play. It makes the self seem to be limited. In fact the self is limitless, and when maya is playing her tricks it takes itself to be a silly human being.
The one who is writing to Ram is awareness. It is simple, ordinary awareness, that because of which you exist as Shanti, the apparent person.
The way you ask the question shows that you do not know what awareness is. How can awareness depend on maya becoming lila? I know you are going to hate this suggestion, but I suggest that you throw away all your words – just the words, nothing else – and learn the Vedantic terminology. It is scientific and impersonal. You have personalized your realization. I think you do know who you are – in a vague way – but your intellect is not clear. I think you are the rebellious type, very independent, and think you can sort it out on your own, so you want your own language and like your own style. There is a text at my website called Knowledge of Truth (Tattva Bodh). Read it and get the terminology right. I can’t really teach you unless we are on the same page. I will forever be trying to understand what you are saying and figure out how to confirm or dismiss it in terms of your idiosyncratic language. I don’t mean to tame your exuberance and your wonderful personality, but you seem to be quite willful and perhaps a bit unruly. I don’t know. These are speculations based on observations of your thinking as revealed in your emails so far.
Anyway, once you know who you are you will be sharing it with others in various ways, and it is good to have an impersonal way of communicating, one that is free of error. Your sparkling personality will shine out from behind the words and make them attractive.
~ Love, Ram