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Don: Ramji, thank you for the extraordinary weekend. I am filled with gratitude. You have a clear and strong voice, and I feel blessed to have been given the chance to hear it. It’s an offer I cannot refuse… until I wake up.
Ramji: Appreciation is always much appreciated, Don. It was a real pleasure to meet you. I am writing this with Sundari. It is a great email and we enjoyed reading it and writing a response.
Ramji/Sundari: You, awareness, cannot wake up, because you never slept. You, Don, the individual, never slept either, because sleeping/waking imply consciousness and the subtle body is not conscious. So what do you mean when you say “wake up”? Waking up is just an experience that may or may not happen, but it has nothing to do with you, awareness. What is required is self-knowledge. I think by waking up you mean “when I have total confidence in the knowledge that I am awareness.”
Don: This email is a conscious attempt on my part to keep the flame strong until liberation.
Ramji/Sundari: Good. Keep persevering! Write when you have a question you can’t resolve. But contemplate this: you are already free. It is not wise to think of liberation as an event that will happen one day. Say, “I am free,” every minute and live it in your daily life. It is not a lie. It is the truth.
Don: I am asking for your blessing, with the attitude that me, consciousness, asks me (Ramji), consciousness, for the time has come for this form’s ignorance to be removed.
Ramji: You have my complete support and encouragement, Don.
Don: Any particular questions I had were responded to during the weekend, while reading your book or while reading the new Experience and Knowledge book.
What I took was the importance of the karma yoga attitude, with the reasoning behind it, that is, alignment with the totality, the absurdity of expecting results, since they are only dependent on the totality, and the fact that when applied this way karma yoga is practically equivalent with self-inquiry. Or put another way, since self-inquiry is an action, karma yoga applies to it too; and karma yoga is applied as efficiently as the knowledge coming from self-inquiry enables. So without making too fine a point for it, they’re interdependent.
Ramji/Sundari: Yes, indeed you understand perfectly. Karma yoga and jnana yoga are the same thing. Both are just knowledge. How you act depends on what you know.
Don: I also understood what probably keeps me in ignorance (it’s vasanas… turtles all the way down ☺), but more precisely, what follows: I know who I am, and if I feel I’m still bound. I trace this to some subtle doubt, which in turn I trace to be of the nature of the experience-versus-knowledge misunderstanding. That is, I expect experience to confirm the knowledge – without seeing that it already does! What better definition of ignorance than this?
Ramji/Sundari: Yes, the knowledge-versus-experience confusion is the biggest impediment to moksa, and you understand it completely and have stated it perfectly. The importance of this realization by you cannot be sufficiently praised. There is nothing inherently wrong with experience. Experience and knowledge are one, but need to be distinguished for moksa because experience can deliver and confirm the knowledge. The problem arises when the knowledge that the experience is meant to deliver is not assimilated and one continues to seek for an enlightenment experience. As you have so correctly stated, “I expect experience to confirm the knowledge… without seeing that it already does!”
Experience alone cannot set you free. Experience or knowledge is not required for you to be who you are. However, you have to get the knowledge, “I am awareness,” to get rid of the ignorance. Once the knowledge is firm, you will see that the self is pure experience/knowledge, which means that the subject-object distinction required for an individual to experience or know themselves or objects is not necessary. In other words, the self is an experienceless experiencer. It is self-knowing, self-aware, self-illuminating.
Don: I’ll remain immersed in all the material you so lovingly made available, with no expectations (karma yoga applied to itself!) – this, aligning with reality, in whichever way presented, is the true duty of any sane being, and we all do this as we can, moment by moment.
~ With unbounded gratitude, Don
Ramji/Sundari: You build up the confidence in the knowledge one brick at a time, surrendered to the knowledge (karma yoga and jnana yoga.) This is the only way to maintain sanity!
Don: To conclude, I exposed all the above to you, the mirror, knowing that blind spots are what they are: blind.
Ramji: Good. This is the function of the guru, to hold up the mirror of Vedanta to an inquiring mind.
Don: PS: I’ll add that, talking about what seems to keep me bound, it’s also an issue of mind stability because, for example, while writing this email I know I am free. I just seem to forget from time to time. And I just now see that the phrase I just wrote confirms the experience/understanding problem for me – since I don’t need the mind even to be stable; I am beyond it. It’s like impersonal patterns of thought creating the illusion are getting exposed by impersonal knowledge, liberating. A river of thoughts of limitation, washed out by knowledge; little islands reappear due to karmic laws, just to be weakened by the same knowledge, which, once activated, remains; and the knowledge, the islands, and all this process, are all impersonal.
Sundari: This is a beautiful and descriptive way to describe how the knowledge itself does the work; there is no doer as such. The process of liberation is impersonal, as the ignorance does not belong to Don, it is all Isvara. You, awareness, simply watch the process of liberation taking place, unconcerned and unchanged. Nothing ever happened.
~ Om and prem, Ramji/Sundari