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Reincarnation: The Final Word
The Ego Wants a Guarantee
Sundari (from previous email): The “next” person who has Manolo’s vasanas will not have anything to do with who Manolo was in his “last” life, but it will still be the same perceiver/awareness looking out of its eyes at the apparent reality, seeing only itself – awareness – no matter what the circumstances of that life may be.
Manolo: There is my confusion; just concentrate on that part.
We both are the self, but perceiving in different bodies. So I need to talk about different perceptions even if is the same perception, really. Now this perception perceives Manolo-body and that perception perceives Isabella-body. When I die, this perception will perceive another body with the same vasanas. When you die, that perception will perceive another body with your own vasanas.
Then if I, perceiving Manolo-body right now, have not the experience of being Isabella-body. So even being the self, the experiences are separated.
It is as if the self is the material of the screens, but there are a lot of screens perceiving their own movies (different lives according to vasana progress), and they never perceive the same movie (I’m not perceiving being Isabella, for example).
Thanks!! You are amazing!!
Sundari: Hello, Manolo. I have not included the whole of this last email you sent me, as it is too confusing – I am answering much the same as before to the same questions – we keep going around in circles. I read all your correspondence to Ram and he says that the problem is that you have not been taught properly, and we will not be able to communicate with you unless you are willing to throw away what you think you know. We are teaching the science of consciousness and your confusion will be cleared up once you are taught correctly but you need to be taught from scratch.
I repeat: you are looking for a particular answer but you do not hear what I am saying because I am not telling you what you want to hear. However, I do respect that you genuinely do want to try to understand so I will do my best to help you one more time. ☺ What I cannot get you to understand is that if you insist on your line of thinking in all your emails to me, what you are saying is that the person, Manolo, is real. He is not real. The only definition of real that works is “that which is always present and never changes.” You cannot apply that definition to anything other than awareness because Manolo, like all objects, is not always present (as in deep sleep) and is always changing.
Your question above relates to your confusion about what belongs to Manolo and what belongs to the self: you think that what applies to the person, Manolo, also belongs to the self. Manolo and the self are not the same because of the different uphadis. An uphadi is what makes something appear to be something other than it is. For instance, if I have a red rose behind a clear crystal, the clear crystal will appear to be red, but it is not red. The uphadi for the self/awareness (or what you call perception) is Manolo. Manolo, the experiencing entity, makes awareness look like an experiencer. What belongs to Manolo does not belong to the self because the self is not an experiencer. Awareness is the experience-less experiencer that makes experience possible.
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 (I have given you the definition of real above). In the same way, the perceiver, Manolo, looks different according to the uphadi in association with him; the difference belongs to the uphadi and not to the subject. In other words, it looks like Manolo is conscious but it is the presence of awareness that makes him look this way.
There is no actual difference, because it is all awareness; it is just an appearance in awareness causing a sense of difference where there is no real difference.
BUT it is a very important distinction to understand because moksa is the ability to discriminate you, awareness, from the objects that appear in you, Manolo. Manolo has a dependent existence on awareness, but awareness is free of Manolo – like water is free of the ocean and the wave – but the ocean and the wave depend on water to exist.
You confuse Manolo with awareness, so you think that Manolo’s perception – how he sees – is the same as awareness, the perceiver or knower. The one perceiving this life (Manolo) is the limited perceiver, or self under the spell of ignorance, also called the experiencing witness, seeing objects through the screen of the vasanas. The unlimited perceiver (awareness) is the non-experiencing witness and that which makes perception for the limited perceiver possible: awareness is the knower of the limited experiencing witness, Manolo.
The limited experiencing witness, or Manolo, does not reincarnate as the person, although the vasanas may take another body. The unlimited, non-experiencing witness or perceiver does not reincarnate, because it is unborn and never dies. When maya manifests, the illusion of duality makes it look like the ONE AWARENESS identifies with the subtle body and appears as many seemingly different individuals. It is like a light beam refracted through a spectrum, appearing to split up into many separate light beams. But it is still only one light beam – one source of light – one awareness.
Maya is what makes everything very difficult to understand! Maya is the upadhi for Isvara, the Total Mind, and it makes awareness look like a Creator.
Manolo wants to guarantee that his experience will continue in another incarnation by ensuring a good life for the next person by following dharma in this life. This is a noble and very good idea for Manolo’s sake because this will mean he will have a happy life. However, the agenda behind this idea is that the ego wants a guarantee that it will continue. What Manolo fails to see is that awareness, the unlimited perceiver, is the only continuity there is – and that he is always only ever experiencing awareness, in this incarnation or any other, regardless of life circumstances or the person. The person and their external circumstances are no more substantial or real than smoke on the horizon. What you need to understand is what makes the smoke on the horizon appear to be real when it is not. This is the upadhis I explained above – and to understand this you need the teaching on maya. I have attached a teaching on this for you.
As I have said in previous emails: when the body dies, the perception that was unique to that particular set of vasanas dissolves, as the vasanas are no longer active; they go back to the causal body. If they do incarnate into another body, whatever the life situation of the next incarnation is will be of no consequence to Manolo, because he will no longer exist as Manolo, although the perceiver, awareness, remains the same. The next life or person with their particular perception will be no more real than this life, Manolo or his perception.
Your confusion relates to the identity between the individual, or jiva, and the Total Mind, Isvara. As I said above, although there appear to be many individual jivas, or people with unique lives and karma, the term jiva refers to the generic individual. There really is only one person, or subtle body, and we all share it. As jivas we are part of the dharma field, our environment (the world), which is run by the gunas; this is called Isvara, the Total Mind. Both jiva and Isvara have a common identity as awareness.
Ignorance or maya is what makes the unchanging appear to be changing. Maya deceives the mind with the illusion of duality – which creates the hypnosis of materialism and identification with objects – which in turn creates all fear and suffering. There is one label for all of this and it is what we call the ego, or the person. Your problem is that you keep looking at this from the limited, fear-based perspective of the ego: Manolo, the one who thinks that he can effect change or achieve a certain desired result in order to ensure his continuity. It is the ego who wants to hang onto all its beliefs about how things are. To understand what I am teaching you, you need to put all that you think you know on the shelf and open your mind to the scripture. As I have said many times now: you will not get the answer you are after from Vedanta. If you insist on having it your way, that is fine. Hang onto your ideas, but then Vedanta is not for you.
If you subject the mind to self-inquiry with a valid means of knowledge like Vedanta and have the teaching properly unfolded for you, self-knowledge will change your perspective to see from the perspective of the unlimited perceiver, awareness. Right now all you have is some indirect knowledge about awareness mixed in with a lot of your own ideas. Vedanta, or self-knowledge, removes ignorance of your true nature revealing the direct knowledge (1) that you are awareness – and (2) what it means to live free of the person AND free as the person by (3) revealing the true nature of the person/jiva and of the Total Mind/Isvara as well as their common identity as awareness. Without understanding all three you will not really understand any of it – and you will not be free.
Seen from the perspective of the individual, of course, it appears to be true that there are many different movies playing on many different screens at the same time; but it is really all one movie, one screen. You can act to achieve certain results but those results are not up to you; they are up to the field, or the Total Mind.
As much as it looks like you are the doer, you are not. The individual or doer is just one factor in many that make up the constituents of action. From the jiva’s, or doer’s, point of view there is appropriate action to be taken but that still does not guarantee any particular result. You do not understand karma yoga, which is an attitude towards action which says that you can take action but the results are not up to you. Very importantly, karma needs to be explained as it is a very difficult thing to understand.
Karma comes to the subtle body, which a jnani (enlightened person) knows belongs to Isvara. The dharma field, or Total Mind, remains unchanged if one is "enlightened" or not, which means prarabdha karma will play out according to the laws of the dharma field – and those laws are impersonal! Prarabdha karma is the momentum of past actions that fructify as your life experiences in this life but this does not make them personal, because they are not. They come from beginningless ignorance and have very little to do with any particular person; all vasanas are universal vasanas because all vasanas originate from the gunas, Isvara. To repeat: the vasanas incarnate as a particular set of life circumstances, or karma, and the person then identifies with the vasanas and creates a story out them with a name, an address and a history.
The generic jiva continues because the vasanas continue but there is no continuity on a personal level. The person is just an idea in the subtle body which you are taking to be real.
You are attached to Manolo and you like the idea that what you do in this life will give the next person a better life, so that Manolo carries on. What you don’t understand is that the dream IS a dream; it is not real, even though you can and do experience Manolo as being a discrete person with different karma to anyone else. It is a movie which is the playing out of the gunas. It is the only show in town!
Karma is just an idea in the mind that causes suffering. So burning up karma happens when the jiva is no longer identified with the mind (Manolo) and knows that its true identity is awareness. This does not mean that the karma does not still play out for Manolo – remember the body belongs to Isvara, the Total. The momentum of past actions – prarabdha karma – which is Isvara delivering the fruits of jiva’s actions, plays out as long as the jiva is alive. When prarabdha karma is finished, the body dies.
The karma seems to pass on to to the next life – but what does that mean? There is only life, whether you think you are eternal, unchanging awareness or whether you think you are the finite person. The vasanas pass on, that is all. Karma depends on who you think you are. If you take yourself to be the person, the karma belongs to you. There is no karma for an enlightened person (jnani) because they know that the karma belongs to Isvara, not to them. The individual, or jiva identified as a jiva, accumulates karma that seems to come to the body-mind-sense complex; when moksa happens, the karma burns up. However, one has to look at what “burns up” actually means. Karma does not burn up for awareness as there is no karma for awareness because for it nothing ever happened. It is not a doer. Karma is not real.
Karma is just the impersonal playing out of the gunas, which do not condition the Total Mind/Isvara because Isvara is beyond the gunas. Isvara is pure awareness (paramatman) minus the gunas. Isvara plus the gunas assumes a role and becomes the Creator operating maya. Karma conditions the doer because he/she is identified with being a doer. There is no karma for animals, for instance, because they do not have intellects so they are neither ignorant nor do they have knowledge; they are a program run by Isvara. Therefore animals do not interpret their environment; they do not evaluate the things that happen to them, in them and around them. Animals do not think, and they act purely on instinct, meaning according to Isvara. Karma itself is value-neutral. It is just action and its results. Karma only becomes meaningful when we evaluate it. We either like it or don’t like it or are indifferent to it. Only in the minds of human beings does action become karma.
Karma seems to be there for the doer or jiva because the doer is ignorant of its nature as awareness and interprets what happens in its environment. Karma is a matter of identification or interpretation, although difficult circumstances may still play out. This is Isvara, nothing to be done about it. When you know your true nature is awareness you know that it has nothing to do with you, so you are always above it, observing it, free of it.
Very important: by saying that the karma and the doer are not real Vedanta is not saying that they do not have an apparent existence; one cannot get rid of the doer or ego; liberation comes when you know the difference between what is real and what is only apparently real and you never confuse the two again. It is this confusion that causes all suffering.
Karma is real if you think it is real; it is almost impossible to understand how karma unfolds because the one trying to understand it is in the dharma/karma field and part of the field. It is like trying to understand the mind of Isvara; it cannot be done. Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita: “On the topic of karma, even sages are perplexed.” This is where dispassion and karma yoga are so important; it is the only way to deal with life from the jiva (person) or jivanmukta (the enlightened person) level.
It only makes a difference to Manolo in this life whether he is free or not, not for the next person. You cannot make the world a better place for the next person. Anyway, what evidence is there that there will be another life? It is purely a belief, nothing more.
Life is free and beautiful NOW when the mind subjected to self-knowledge is freed from ignorance, revealing Manolo’s true nature as awareness and freeing him from the limitation that identification with objects creates, which is called bondage. Freedom means that one always follows dharma because one respects and understands the Total Mind and operates with the universal value of non-injury – not because you are a good person. This is also not only because you know your true nature to be awareness and it is all you, but because you do not stop being the apparent person after enlightenment, so you value peace of mind above all else. If you do not have peace of mind, you are not free of the person.
You don’t understand Isvara, which is why you don’t understand what the jiva is and are hung up on this idea of reincarnation. Please re-read carefully the articles I sent you on this topic – and very important: read James’ book from start to finish before you write again. Watch as many videos of James’ teaching as possible and read the e-satsangs on the website. Your discrimination needs a lot of work.
~ Namaste, Sundari
The Final Word on Reincarnation
Manolo: I don’t understand you, because you talk about vasanas, but then you say that all what I do right now only makes a difference to Manolo in this life, not for the next person.
Sundari: Manolo – you do not understand what I am saying, because you are identified with the person, Manolo. As I said in my previous email I cannot teach you unless you have done your homework. If you want to understand Vedanta and you want me to help you – read James’ book How to Attain Enlightenment – I have sent you the first three chapters in Spanish. There will be more chapters coming soon, but read these first three chapters very slowly. Watch as many of James’ videos as possible and read the e-satsangs at the website.
Manolo: I will save all the emails and I will read them later, when I can understand.
Sundari: It is pointless for me to repeat what I have said every time, because you are not hearing what I say; you need proper teaching. As I said in my last email, you only have indirect knowledge of awareness and a bunch of ideas that you have strung together from many different sources that do not hold up when you subject them to proper self-inquiry.
Manolo: Now I do not understand, because you are breaking my ideas of all this.
Sundari: This is exactly my point, Manolo: if you want to be free, you have to break your ideas because they are based in ignorance of your true nature. I explained this to you in my last emails to you. You cannot make Vedanta fit into what you want to hear; if you don’t like Vedanta, that’s fine. You are not ready for it – so believe what you want to believe. There is nothing more to be said about reincarnation from scripture, take it or leave it.
Manolo: There’s no meaning if there is no control.
Sundari: There is no meaning if you think you are the ego, Manolo. What Vedanta is trying to show you is that you do not need to seek meaning or have control because YOU, AWARENESS, are the meaning. Only Isvara, or the Total Mind, has control in the apparent reality. Manolo is part of the apparent reality, he is not real and he is finite. However, you, awareness are real and eternal, you are unborn and you never die and you are that without which the apparent reality does not exist. And as awareness you are the common identity between Isvara and Manolo. This life is a movie – a dream within a dream. You are the one who knows the dream as it takes place in you.
Manolo: I can kill one thousand people and kill myself, and this is okay because I was never Manolo and that did not produce karma or anything else.
Sundari: Once again: your thinking is dualistic, which is to say you are thinking as a person identified with being a person attached to their story as though it is real. Vedanta is telling you that this is a non-dual reality and you are not the person because the person is not real; you are awareness, the knower of the person, and you are real. To live free as awareness while still a person, you need to subject the mind to self-inquiry so that self-knowledge can remove ignorance revealing your true nature to be awareness. When you understand what it means to be awareness and what it means to be the person (because the person does not cease to exist when you know you are awareness) then you are free of the person because you just understand the true nature of their existence, which is non-dual and you – the self no longer under the spell of ignorance – are freed from the apparent spell of duality or ignorance.
Freedom does not mean that everything is okay. Freedom means that you understand what makes up the person and what drives them to do what they do – in the light of self-knowledge – so that there is an end to existential suffering for the person. This is why I sent you the teachings on Isvara/jiva and on maya. Without understanding these teaching you will not understand what is meant by rendering the binding vasanas non-binding and negating the notion of doership.
Suffering is caused by the non-apprehension of your true nature as awareness and by NOT following dharma. If Manolo does not follow dharma, Manolo will suffer. Following dharma means doing whatever does not cause injury to you or any part of life. When you understand your true nature as awareness you respect and love ALL life because you know that it is all you: you would not harm yourself or anyone else because you see everything as non-different from you. Only when you truly understand what your true nature is can you honour and respect yourself and all life.
Manolo: The next person’s [reincarnated] life does not depend of what Manolo did in his life. I’m the self, so I kill myself and it’s okay.
Sundari: Who or what is the next person? Why are you so hung up on that idea? There is no proof that there is such a thing as the next life or the next person; why not concentrate on what makes you happy in this life, which is doing what is right for Manolo? The only thing that brings lasting happiness is knowing that your true nature is awareness, that everything arises out of you but you are free of everything because you depend on nothing to exist or to be happy. All objects depend on you to exist and the joy comes from you. So you cannot gain anything AND you can never lose anything because YOU are everything and you are eternal! What is there to lose or to hold onto if it is all YOU? When you understand this, what does it matter if there is such a thing as reincarnation or not?
There is reincarnation if you take yourself to be the person identified with their vasanas but it does not mean that you as a particular person reincarnates. All this means is that ignorance reincarnates, not the person. Whether the next person has a better life or not because of what Manolo did or did not do in this life still does not mean that ignorance has been removed. The next person with Manolo’s vasanas will still be ignorant of their true nature and unless Manolo actualises self-knowledge in this life, there is no freedom. When you do actualise self-knowledge it does not matter what happens in this life or the next life because you know that none of it is real. That’s all there is to the subject.
Manolo: I really want to know all this, but I don’t want to fall into dogma, even if Vedanta is the Truth as you say. Feeling that I’m the self is no guarantee of knowing everything; an enlightened person can be wrong about his ideas.
Sundari: Only the ego wants guarantees because it is afraid of its own demise. Vedanta is not dogma and it is not a belief system; it offers no guarantees and makes no false promises. If the mind is qualified and you are prepared to subject it to self-inquiry with great dedication and commitment, self-knowledge will do the work of removing ignorance. But there is no magic formula and there is no way around you doing the work. Ignorance is hardwired and VERY resistant; a strong desire to be free is necessary to go the distance; that is one of the most importance qualifications.
I keep telling you this. Vedanta is the science of consciousness: it is a proven methodology for understanding the true nature of reality as a non-duality based on the unexamined logic of your own experience. Yes, it is true that Vedanta is counterintuitive because maya or ignorance makes it look like what is only apparently real is actually real, meaning that maya makes duality seem real. This is the cause of all suffering, taking duality to be reality – like the mirage on the desert floor – it seems real, but if you try to drink the water – you will die of thirst.
Vedanta is not the idea of an enlightened person because what Vedanta is saying is that the person is not real; so there is no such thing as an enlightened person. There are only beings who know their true nature to be awareness–the light – and are no longer under the spell of ignorance. Such people do not have opinions or beliefs because they understand the true nature of reality. Belief or opinions can be wrong because they are based on subjective truth or knowledge.
Self-knowledge is always true because it is true to the self; meaning it cannot be dismissed or negated by any other knowledge. Self-knowledge is different from knowledge of objects, which is object-based, not subject-based. Knowledge of objects is not knowledge unless it is true to the object. If it is my knowledge, then it is my interpretation of an object, which is not necessarily knowledge. Ignorance (or my point of view) causes me to see or experience objects in a certain way because of my conditioning. People believe that ignorance is knowledge because they believe that what they experience is knowledge. It may be knowledge, but it may not be.
Self-knowledge depends on the nature of the self, not on knowledge gained through personal experience, meaning through object-knowledge. Self-knowledge is based on irrefutable logic which is why we call it the science of consciousness. On the basis of self-knowledge the individual can retain or reject the knowledge gained through his or her personal experience.
Vedanta is not my teaching and it is not anyone’s teaching. It is an objective and scientific analysis of the true nature of reality – and your experience – based on the facts. Like any other science, it is not personal and it has a methodology – which, if followed with great dedication and commitment, will provide irrefutable knowledge that is moksa, if the student is qualified. Vedanta is simply the truth about you. Not your truth or my truth or anyone’s truth: it is The Truth about the true nature of reality.
This is why Vedanta is called apauruseya jnanam, meaning not the philosophy or experience of one person like a prophet or a mystic. It is not a belief system or religion either. It is an independent teaching, or sruti, which means “that which is heard.” Vedanta is revealed to the mind of man, not thought up by the mind of man, which is why you can trust it.
I do not believe in Vedanta. I am Vedanta because Vedanta means self-knowledge. I know that I am awareness and not the Isabella-person. I am free of bondage to the idea of being a person – which means I honour, worship and love myself and all of life, including the Isabella-person. I am whole and complete, I need nothing to complete me, so I can give and receive without fear. I live, love and laugh because the flame of self-knowledge burns like the brightest sun in my mind. Life is a gift, priceless beyond words, and I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to experience being awake in the dream. I revel in the glory of life knowing that I was never born and I never die.
I know this is hard to grasp, Manolo. Without proper teaching, negating the person sounds like it makes life empty and meaningless, but I assure you quite the opposite is true. This is because you, awareness, are the fullness that knows the emptiness of objects – you are that which gives meaning to everything. Manolo and his life have meaning because you are awareness, not because of anything else.
Manolo is beautiful, life is beautiful. Be grateful.
You have come to the right place; you have found the Holy Grail, and I am happy to help you, but you need to do some work to understand what it means to be self-realised and to live the knowledge.
~ Much love to you, Sundari