Shining World

The Siren Lure of Maya

Note: This satsang is a sequel to a recent exchange I posted, called The Vaccine and the Tamasic Delusions of Fear. It is a beautiful response from a friend and inquirer who took my very direct reply to her about Ramji and me getting vaccinated in the spirit of Nonduality, meaning, not as a jiva.

Fiona: I am very touched by your replies, thank you both for sending me your thoughts and teachings on the subject. I am not very good with words and structure of sentences, when it comes to Vedanta, I feel my words don’t fully represent my thoughts and at times I feel that the essence of my words are not understood in a way I would like them to be understood. Therefore, I shy away from entering into such a deep conversation and only answer today, after many days of contemplation. 

I surely am not set on the full scope of the teachings, because otherwise I would be able to write and find the right words and I would have caught myself spiralling down the samsara spiral. I also thought I have no more questions, but I think I should have inquired more into who I am and discriminated between Satya and Mithya. I know very well that life is a zero-sum game and also that every coin is two sided, which I conveniently ignored and as you pointed out, fear made me hold on tightly to my point of view.

Since I received your mails, I have been watching myself speak, listen and responding to life. What an eye opener! I have printed the mails and have read them often. Thank you both.

I am sending you much love

With deepest gratitude and thanks

Sundari: Thank you for your email, it is touching in its transparency and honesty. As much as I know I am not the doer, I do not enjoy being used as a lightning bolt thrower by Isvara, which happens quite often.  I am really a gentle soul and it does not fit well with my character, but there it is.  Isvara made this jiva part fire and ice and part sweetness and light. I know the lightning bolt rocked you off your feet and I am sorry for the hurt feelings, it made me sad too, though I am not identified.  It never feels good to hurt someone’s feelings for any reason even when it is unavoidable and not you.

I understand what you say. Being human is hard and one makes the best choices one knows, moment by moment, day by day. Before we know it, we may find ourselves wandering down paths that are not conducive to happiness. And certainly not to freedom. It is easy to get distracted, to settle for what feels like security, it is a built-in drive for all jivas because Maya is so unpredictable and ruthless. It is easy and more convenient to believe we have no more to learn when it is the ego convincing us of this….

Sadly, the alternative, which is to choose the path of grace and radical trust in Isvara, invariably requires being out of our comfort zones.  If only it were possible to grow solely in choosing what makes us comfortable, but it is just not so.  Isvara is a hard taskmaster. To be happy in life requires choosing the path less traveled and that all too often is like rolling a big rock uphill.

Maya is the great seductress. Tamas is calling us all the while to take the easier way, to let the rock go. Why are you working so hard!? Relax, take it easy! And most do go that way, it’s just too hard to push that rock uphill. But there is no easy path, it just does not exist. This is in the small print most do not read. It may seem harder choosing the unknown path but the price we pay for avoiding it and putting our heads in the sand is high indeed. One does not have to look far to see the cost in the faces of samsaris worn down by duality and the bargains they made with it.  

The only solution of course is to step out of Maya with Self-knowledge. But there again, this is not easy, which is why few choose it. The only way to secure ourselves firmly in the knowledge so that our lives are in line with the teaching and not the other way around requires great commitment and dedication to self-inquiry.  It requires enormous honesty and objectivity to truly discriminate satya from mithya. Who wants to examine the less than fabulous aspects of themselves, to roll a rock uphill?

Yet you do have the honesty and objectivity, and I am very happy for you that this is so. If we stick to it the reward is great because we get to fly above the whole crazy movie of life and like a bird, to see it for what it is.  Just a play. We are the joy that can never be extinguished. There may be no security, but there is nothing to gain and nothing to lose, either. Who needs safety if you are the Self?

However, the temptation of slipping back into easy is always there. Maya is like a whore, beckoning us in sweet dulcet tones to taste her sexy wares as she whispers in our ear at every turn. Come this way, come this way! But it is a siren song that lures us to the depths of the whirlpool of duality and the death of the possibility of freedom from limitation and suffering. Most do not die instantly. It is death by a thousand little cuts that each steal a small part of our soul until we no longer own it.

It is hard too, being human and divine, as long as one is still tied to the jiva identity, which most still are though they may have realized the Self. You are no longer fully in prison but not free either. Just knowing is usually not enough. There is still work to do. Nididhysana takes as long as it takes. It can be a dangerous time and we have seen quite a few inquirers slip right back into ignorance at this point. Though they may not forget that they are the Self once it is known, there is residual ignorance that has not been cleaned up standing in the way of appreciating that fact.  Freedom is not freedom unless you are truly free of the jiva.

But once one is no longer identified with the jiva, when Self-knowledge has freed us from the last chains of the prison of ignorance and given us our wings, the irony is that we then have the freedom to be the jiva because we know it is not-Self.  The jiva is what it is with its good and bad points and that’s just fine because it does not bother us or anyone else ever again. And if it does, that is not our problem. We are the Self. We are not the Self and the jiva. And we see everyone else in the same way. 

We live effortlessly and naturally from this truth, there is never any diversion possible any longer.  Life continues seemingly the same as before, yet everything is different because we relate to it as the Self, no longer as the jiva. Discrimination between Satya and mithya is the automatic and permanent default position of the mind.  Maya has been neutralized. Existential suffering is over for us.

Up until then, rolling that rock uphill requires eternal vigilance. We cannot stop, not for a minute. That is the price Maya exacts, and she will not be denied. I can only wish for you total freedom from the prison of ignorance as I know what a fine and beautiful soul you are, both as a jiva and of course, as the Self.

May life bless you, and may Self-knowledge keep you safe in all ways

Much love


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