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Musings of a Jnani
“Jiva, jivatman = experiencing witness in a human form, completely identified with the form, through ignorance. The sense of person, me, thinking ‘I am a separate and distinct individual, an independently existing unit, an autonomously functioning entity. Completely unaware of my true nature of awareness and of connectedness to and dependence on the rest of creation.’ Ignorant.
“Jivanmukta = experiencing witness in a human form, dis-identified, through self-knowledge. A person who knows the truth of himself as awareness. A living and liberated being.
“Atman = non-experiencing witness (pure awareness) appearing to be associated with a living form.
“Brahman = non-experiencing witness (pure awareness), unassociated.”
2. Progression through the Pathless Path
“The maturation of a seeker, ignorant: ‘I am a person. I am this body-mind. This is all I am, nothing more.
“‘As such, I feel limited, small, insecure, insignificant and anxious.
“‘I have so many wants and needs which I cannot always fulfil.
“‘How do I survive and be secure and comfortable? I am always worrying, overtly or subtly.
“‘Life is as it is, often difficult and uncertain, sometimes pleasurable.’
“Seeker, beginning: ‘Is this all there is to life? It is so meaningless to just live and die. Something is missing. There has to be something more to life and to myself but I do not know what it is. I must find out.’
“Seeker, gradually maturing through proper teaching: ‘I am under the influence of ignorance, I am ignorant of who I am.
“‘I need to prepare my mind to be able to grasp and understand the self-knowledge taught.
“‘I contemplate the meaning of form and reflected/pervading awareness. I begin to distinguish between subject and object.
“‘I begin to differentiate between awareness and person.
“‘I begin to realise I am an experiencing witness, identified with my form.
“‘I understand that Isvara creates, maintains, governs and guides all of creation; that includes me.’”
The Breakthrough/Insight/The Finder
“I directly recognise I am the experiencing witness, pure awareness. I understand the nature of my human form and how it functions. As awareness I appear to be associated with the human form but I know clearly I am not this human form, not the person.
“Previously, as a seeker, I appeared to be identified, through the influence of ignorance.
“Now with this ignorance removed, I recognise and am what I really am: non-experiencing witness (pure awareness) associated with but dis-identified from my human form. Jivanmukta.
“With this recognition and while still with my human form I have two platforms to view myself from:
“1. as jivanmukta, the experiencing witness, with the knowledge of my true nature while experiencing the events of life occurring in the form.
“2. as atman, the non-experiencing witness, pure awareness, merely observing those events.
“This dis-identified association in both platforms will continue till the death of the form.
“Not only am I freed from the sense of person but I realise I have always been free.
“I recognise that my mistake was to believe the appearance to be reality.
“Now I know which is an appearance and which is the reality.
“Events and experiences arise and pass away in and through the form, in my presence.
“But I am unaffected. I remain as pure awareness, the witnessing presence. I continue using my sense of person to function in life. I know it is only an appearance, a play, a toy.
“The Knower, firmly established in the Truth of Be-ing. Stithaprajna.
“I am ultimately and really only the non-experiencing witness, pure awareness, ever-unassociated and free. Brahman. This is what I am, without a form. Everything is my projection, an appearance from me as its substrate. It is my play.
“Everything encompasses the whole of creation, including ignorance and this particular human form.
“From my perspective as ultimate reality/pure awareness/non-experiencing witness, nothing really happened, only appeared to happen, arising as an appearing projection from me, like a dream.
“This appearance is so convincing it fools everyone, who take it to be reality and overlook me.
“I am ever the limitless, formless, changeless absolute, the all-pervading, non-dual, ordinary, the actionless. And yet none of these words describe me. They only point to me. I cannot be worded or named. Through direct, immediate, wordless and thought-free recognition I can be realised.
“I am all there is, the nameless, non-experiencing witness, pure presence, unconditioned awareness, absolute satisfaction itself. Brahman.”
3. About Knowledge and Experience
“Knowledge is primary while experience is supportive, i.e. they are complementary and not exclusive of each other. Each uses its own language to express its viewpoint, and clarity is needed to distinguish between them. But they support each other. Both have a role to play in helping a seeker; neither should be criticised or derided.
“Experience is an event, a transaction, between me, the subject, and an object, whether subtle and intangible or gross and tangible. Experience can be negative or positive, and any normal human being wants the positive and avoids the negative. Experience, if experienced correctly(!), should give rise to the knowledge: the joy, intense pleasure, satisfaction, bliss which I am now experiencing is what I am, my own nature. It is not an object to be gained. Neither is it in the object experienced. It is what I always am, with or without experience.
“Experience will arise and pass away but the knowledge gained, the truth realised through the experience, remains. Then experience has served its purpose; it supports and consolidates knowledge. Without the arising of insight or knowledge experience becomes another trap in which the seeker desires to have repeated pleasurable experiences but never garners knowledge from them.
“Knowledge is the realisation or recognition of the truth of being, of what I am, my inherent nature of pure awareness, unconditioned presence, absolute and undiminishing satisfaction and joy. This nature is what I already am. Ignorance hides this knowledge and makes me project incorrect ideas about myself, hence I suffer.
“The only way out of suffering is through knowledge, not experience or action. Such knowledge is gained through proper teaching by a qualified teacher of self-knowledge and can be acquired without experience. These teachings are not esoteric, mystical nor are they rocket science. They are simple and direct but require a prepared mind to understand them. They examine my life experiences and point out the what is temporary and changing versus what is permanent and unchanging. They point to awareness which is always present but overlooked. This awareness is who I am.
“Knowledge in its turn clarifies, modifies and can give direction to experience. It enables me to experience the experience without getting trapped in experience and yet gain the knowledge which the experience offers. Experience can help consolidate knowledge but of itself cannot give knowledge. I need the help of a teacher and teaching.
“Human beings are experiencing beings, ie. we are experience-oriented. Experiencing comes naturally to us and we learn from our experiences. Because awareness is already present we can directly realise or recognise the awareness we are. Experience helps, and such experiences are called epiphanies. But epiphanies are not essential; knowledge is.
“Knowledge and experience are complementary and supportive. Of the two it is knowledge alone which frees me from suffering, which liberates me, here and now. Through knowledge I realise who I am. For liberation, knowledge is essential and primary.”
4. About Reflection/Pratibimba
“The word ‘reflection’ has an exoteric, literal, or obvious, meaning and an esoteric, hidden, subtle, or metaphorical, meaning.
“Exoteric meaning: bounce off an object, coming off the surface, e.g. the reflection of sunlight from the surface of a lake blinds the eyes. Moonlight is sunlight reflected off the surface of the moon.
“A mirror reflects back anything in front of it.
“Esoteric meaning: a representation, an impression, an indicator of, an aspect or image of, e.g. he is a reflection of his family.
“The dissonant orchestral compositions of the early 20th century are a reflection of that era.
“Today’s lifestyles reflect the attitudes in contemporary society.
“Application to jiva: How does the concept of reflection apply to jiva?
“The jiva is an appearance in awareness. The jiva is inert but appears to be alive because of the presence of awareness. This awareness in jiva can be considered to be a reflection off or a permeating through the human form by pure awareness, brahman. This is the exoteric meaning.
“The awareness in jiva can also be considered to be a representation or aspect of, a pointer to pure awareness in that form. This is the esoteric meaning.
“Caveat: the difference with the examples given above of the esoteric meaning is that the pointer, representation or aspect of pure awareness in a human form is actually pure awareness itself. There is no separation, fragmenting or reflecting of pure awareness because reality is non-dual.
“This difference highlights the limitation of words used in ordinary language from the world of duality. When applied to the non-dual reality such words are inadequate and can even be inaccurate and misleading. But they can act as a leading error, i.e. even though inaccurate, like a faulty road sign, they can still point to the non-dual reality.
“So both the exoteric and esoteric meanings of the word ‘reflection’ can be applied to jiva. A human being reflects pure awareness or is a reflection of pure awareness.”
“Reflection is a concept, a temporary mental tool, used at the beginning to help me understand how my human form and all forms function. Reflection is a throwaway idea, a concept to be dropped when I realise the truth of myself as pure, actionless, all-pervading, non-dual awareness.
“In reality there is no reflection happening. The form appears from me, pure awareness, and exists in me, i.e. it is an apparent existence arising from me and pervaded by me. So as awareness I am already in and as the form and also am more than, other than, the form. It can also be said that the form is in me but I am not in the form. As awareness I am the conscious principle vivifying the form by my presence. There is no reflection off the form or representing actually happening. There is only an ‘is-ness’ or ‘am-ness’ or ‘be-ingness.’ This conclusion applies to both the exoteric and esoteric meanings of ‘reflection.’”
5. An Apparent Reality or an Appearing-Reality?
“There is a difference in nuance between ‘apparent’ and ‘appearing.’
“‘Apparent’ can have the connotation of illusion, not really there, something illusory and imagined, not existing at all, an absence, absent.
“For example, ‘His apparent cleverness led to his downfall’ means that he was not clever at all.
“An apparent contradiction is an argument where there is really no contradiction at all.
“‘Appearing’ has the connotation of manifesting, coming into being, a presence albeit a dependent and temporary one, mithya.
“For example, a ring is gold appearing as a circular object, i.e. a ring is the appearing-reality of gold. A cloud is water appearing as a white puff in the sky, i.e. a cloud is the appearing-reality of water.
“My human form is not non-existent. It does exist, arising as a manifestation from pure awareness, the absolute reality, me. My human form is awareness appearing as this form. So it is an appearing-reality.
“So too is the whole of creation: it is the macrocosmic appearing-reality of pure awareness. The substrate for any appearing-reality, macrocosmic or microcosmic, is pure awareness, me.”
6. About Vedanta
“Vedanta can be summarised into two words: awareness and appearance (satya and mithya).
“The appearance is just that, a mere appearance, a manifestation, an arising, an appearing-reality. It does exist; it is present but is a dependent, temporary, changing, secondary and appearing reality, bound by space and time.
“Pure awareness is the ultimate reality. It is unconditioned presence, absolute and undiminishing satisfaction/joy. As pure awareness I am the primary reality, self-existent, self-luminous, self-reliant, self-revealing, self-evident, self-satisfying, completely free and independent, the substrate of everything manifested.
“Which do I take to be myself? Vedanta warns that taking the appearing-reality to be ultimate reality leads to suffering. But ‘be-ing’ the absolute reality while living as an appearing-reality is peace, happiness and undiluted satisfaction, here and now, whatever the external circumstances. So how do I live my life? ‘Be’ the absolute reality and enjoy the appearing-reality. Simple.
“With the death of my human form, I continue as I always am, even now: pure presence-awareness-satisfaction, the non-experiencing witness, the absolute and only reality. Brahman.
“This is it and it is this.”
7. Differentiating Subject and Object: “I Am Always the Subject, but Which Subject?”
“A. subject, I _______ object (person, jiva) identified with (experiencing witness, identified)
“B. subject, I _______ object (jivanmukta) witnesses, aware of (experiencing witness, dis-identified)
“C. subject, I _______ object and (atman) witnesses (person as object) objects known to person (non-experiencing witness apparently associated)
“D. subject, I (brahman) (non-experiencing witness, unassociated, free)
“Shanti. Shanti. Shantih. Peace. Peace. Peace.”