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Kumal: Greetings/Namaste. For many months I have been a subscriber to the YouTube channel of Sri James Swartz and have noticed the mention of Sri Chinmayananda at the ShiningWorld website. Through one of my relatives I heard about Shri Anubhavananda, who is a disciple of Sri Chinmayananda, as I understand. His video YouTube.comwatch?v=RJnF1d4GM apparently implies that there is nothing like jivatma/subtle body inside the physical body.
Sundari: Hello, Kumal. Thank you for this link to Anubhavanada, James and I very much enjoy listening to him. You are right, he is implying that there is no subtle body “inside” the physical body. How could this be? The physical body is an object known to you, awareness. It has an apparent existence and is made up of awareness but it is not real in that it is forever changing and does not last. It is not conscious although it reflects consciousness. This applies also to the subtle body, or jiva. The concept of “inside” is not correct either because there is no such thing as “inside” or “outside.” There is only “within the scope of” awareness, as all objects arise out of it and have a dependent existence on it but it is always free of all objects. Moksa is the discrimination between awareness (satya) and the objects appearing in it (mithya). This is what Swami is teaching in this video.
Kumal: Hence I have some questions. If possible please let me know your views if (1) there is soul (jivatma/suksma sharira) at all of an individual or is it just an incorrect concept used as a tool to explain/justify something.
Sundari: Yes, it is a tool used to explain something: the something depends on who you take yourself to be. From the point of view of awareness, there is no subtle body, no objects and no mithya. There is only awareness. From the reflected, apparent self’s, or jiva’s, point of view, the subtle body, or jiva, has an apparent existence. This is where viveka begins: the discrimination between self and not-self.
Kumal: 2. Is the concept of rebirth true or fictitious, introduced as a tool to explain/justify something?
Sundari: Again, see above. Yes, it is true if you take yourself to be the reflected self, no it is not true if you take yourself to be awareness, or the self. “Rebirth” does not mean that the same person is reborn, it means that the vasanas, or conditioning, of the apparent person, or jiva, takes another body. The creation of the vasanas is governed by the gunas, which belong to the dharma field, or Isvara, not to the individual, or jiva.
Kumal: 3. Is the world real (yes, the world looks real but so does the dream and hence the question)? If it is real, why does it exist?
~ Regards, Kumal
Sundari: Same answer again. Yes, the world has an apparent reality in that it is made up of awareness and is a reflected reality. It is has a dependent reality on awareness and is thus not real because it does not last and is forever changing. There is no answer to why it exists; the power of maya makes it seem to exist.
Isvara, before the projection of maya, refers to pure consciousness/awareness, or brahman. Maya is a power (shakti) that exists in awareness, or it would not be unlimited. Once maya is projected, Isvara wielding ignorance is awareness appearing as the Creator, the dharma field, the macrosmic mind, or the causal body. The creation is made up of the three energies, or gunas: sattva, rajas and tamas; it is projected with the emergence of the three gunas. Sattva appears first and is intelligence, the knowledge that directs evolution (it shapes matter), tamas is the heavy, dense substance of matter, and rajas is the energy required to transform matter. The gunas are consciousness and collectively they are the substance of creation and what give rise to the jiva, or subtle body, meaning all objects.
In maya, the apparent reality, or creation, there are two forces: knowledge and ignorance. Ignorance creates involution, which is the self that has identified with matter, or objects, thus apparently under the spell of ignorance. Knowledge creates evolution, the attempt of consciousness to disentangle itself from matter (i.e. from identification with the objects, or ignorance).
~ Om and prem, Sundari