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Time and Enlightenment
In Ancient India there were different kinds of ashrams: ocean, forest, and mountain ashrams. People would go there and meet great Wisdom emanations, like Vishvamitra, Gautama, Valmiki and others -- beings whose teachings have lasted for thousands of years. This is why we're grateful for Babette's ocean ashrama and Kanya's mountain ashram and Bhama's too. [these are the homes we are holding Babaji's Hawaii classes in]
Desha, kala, nimitta (space, time, and causation) -- When sages entered into a discussion on this topic you knew you were about to hear something supramundane. Why discuss space, time, and causation? In order to place them in the category of maya for the purpose of transcending them. This is to be done with the mind, primarily, because as long as the collective mind of humanity is active, maya (time, space, causation) will continue.
So what does it mean to think about time, space, and causation? If you think about space, then you have to think in terms of particles, for everything we sense is made of particles, gross or subtle, and they all exist in space, gross or subtle [according to Indian philosophy there are 5 kinds of space, the physical space our bodies exist in being the most dense]. If you think about time, then you think about what is most valuable in time -- enlightenment. [by transcending particles, one transcends space; in enlightenment, one transcends time.] Next week I will bring the chart on causation, which is based upon the search for origins. [realizing the ultimate Source (Origin) transcends the law of cause and effect.]The Three Levels of Philosophy
If you want to clear your doubts, you take recourse to knowledge. You meditate on a sloka, a sacred verse. The rishis of the Upanisads generally did not express an Advaitic [nondual] perspective that left out name and form. Pure Advaita (nondualism) is for those who are finished with name and form. The rishis expressed their realizations through dualism, qualified nondualism and nondualism--another "triputi" (threesome). Most people operate at the level of dualism. Qualified nondualism is for people who see their connection with Reality and want to proceed through that connection. One such analogy from the Upanisads is the description of Brahman in the individual soul as sparks coming off a fire. The sparks are small and quickly go out, but they are still fire.
Swamiji (Swami Vivekananda) emphasized these three levels of philosophy so we could look at religion and philosophy and see where we are and where we are heading. His purpose was also to help us understand that each level is valid and has its culmination in Advaita. Advaita doesn't dismiss the preceding levels.
Madhva was the ancient propounder of Dvaita (dualism). His idea is that there is God and there is the creation, and they are separate realities. This is a rub on nondualists. The nondualists, some of them, don't even accept the scriptures because the Truth is within each of us, there's no need to take a Guru. But the problem with this view is that spiritually immature people take the ego, nature, maya, etc as Truth. That's why in the ancient ashrams, the Teachers there made sure that a person was truly qualified and ready for this highest truth of Advaita. They taught by stages. Swami Vivekananda gave the example of flying to the sun in a spaceship and taking pictures along the way. Each picture is different only due to the stage at which the picture was taken. But they are all pictures of the sun.
Ramanuja was the ancient propounder of Qualified Nondualism. He came and said that God and the creation have a connection. Madhva said creation is a separate reality, but it is dependent on God--so there is no final contradiction here. And this is the difference between the Eastern view and Western Secularism and Science. Also, a case could be made to cite that (fundamentalist) Christianity is not only dualistic, but that their dualism is not based upon God and mankind having a connection. For, man is a sinner, and further, those who do not accept Christ go to dust or to hell with no redemption possible. What kind of connection is that with one's God?
Qualified nondualism is a crucial step on the way to Advaita. Few people can go from dualism to Advaita. Sri Ramakrishna, in his teaching analogies, said to go up every step and not jump over any. By doing this you realize that each step, from the bottom to the top, is made of the same ingredients - brick, lime, and brick dust. Qualified nondualism is beautiful. When you experience it, you won't be a dualist anymore.
The great Avatars have all been established in Advaita, but have the ability to come down to the level of qualified, dualism, and even fundamentalism. They can teach at these levels, but we mustn't label Them accordingly, for They do this in order to help others understand the next step in their spiritual awakening. They Themselves remain ever established in Advaita. We need to become conversant with these three levels of philosophy. A person who gets attracted to Sri Ramakrishna is an Advaitist and a nondualist. In the comprehensive and living Advaita expressed in Sri Ramakrishna's life, one realizes that everything becomes a fit vehicle for realization.
Swamiji thought the Advaita could be communicated in a way that is accessible. "The abstract Advaita must become living - poetic - in everyday life; out of hopelessly intricate mythology must come concrete moral forms; and out of bewildering yogi-ism must come the most practical and scientific psychology -- and all this must be put in a form so that a child may grasp it."
Shankaracharya resurrected Advaita. It was always present in the teachings of the rishis, but different overlays throughout the centuries had covered it. Shankara brought forward again the Four Mahavakyas, the Four Great Statements that appear in the upanisads.
- Aham Brahmasmi, I am Brahman: This is the most nondual of the four.
- Tat twam asi, That thou art: This one speaks to the One Essence in different forms, that is, the Self and the apparent self, or the Universal Soul and the individual soul.
- Prajnanam Brahma, Brahman is Consciousness: Here is a philosophical statement. It gives a clue into the way the rishis thought. God is Consciousness.
- Ayam Atma Brahma, This Self is Brahman: Like tat tvam asi, this statement reveals the lack of difference between the apparently individualized soul, and the supreme Soul.
In my way of thinking there are three kinds of Self/self:
1) The projected self, called ahamkara, which is the false self,
2) The individual Self, called Purusha, the Indweller in the body, which is the real Self modified by the five sheaths, and
3) The ultimate Self, called Atman/Brahman, the real Self without modifications.
The Seer is attached to the seen -- this is the cause of bondage and suffering. But you haven't yet meditated on the seen [objects, gross and subtle] and made the connection between the Seer and the seen, which leads to understanding or full comprehension [which is Mother, see Hawaii notes from 2/1/2009]. This understanding is Intelligence, and it leads us back to Atman. I'm seeing with these eyes because of a subtler cause; I'm hearing with these ears because of a subtler cause....
My knowledge has to get out of the way, and eternal knowledge has to come forward. That is, when the sense of ownership and the sense of agency are attenuated, one is able to see the sense of separation, the final veil. You will then see that matter and Spirit are one in Brahman.
Holy Mother's last statement was spoken from a nondual standpoint. [She said: "If you want peace of mind do not find fault with others. Rather, see your own faults. Learn to make the whole world your own. No one is a stranger. Indeed, the entire world is your very own."] When She says, "don't find fault," that means that "all is Brahman." And when She says, "no one is a stranger," this means "all are Brahman." When she says "the entire world is your very own," that is only possible from the standpoint of All is Brahman. For when you are practicing neti neti, not this not this, you will have to refute the world of name and form.
It is important to keep the perspectives of the dual level (relativity) and the nondual "level" (the absolute) sacrosanct, each in its own field. You cannot apply the nondual perspective to the relative and the relative to the absolute. Confusion and delusion result.Time and Enlightenment Chart
[Babaji presented the chart, Time and Enlightenment, which is one in a series of charts unwrapping the concepts of space, time, and causation, as well as name and form.]
With space/desha, we have particles. With time/kala, we think in terms of enlightenment. The Advaitists won't like this, since it implies a process, but their "dish" is already cooked (they've transcended maya/time, space, causation). The rest still have to get from "here" to "there." With Causation, we think in terms of Origins.Samsara to Kramamukti
The apparent (i.e., unreal) process of enlightenment starts with the transcendence of samsara, which is the dream of transmigration in assumed bondage. At this stage struggling and aspiring beings believe in the concept of gradual enlightenment, called Kramamukti. To be at this level one 1) assumed an ego; 2) has projected the worlds in space and time via the mind's process of sankalpa; 3) believes in the actual existence of matter and energy as being real; 4) is identified with the body and senses; 5) is attached to physical objects for gross enjoyment and possession. Most beings, from the grossly ignorant to the most intelligent scientists fall into this level and operate under these assumptions.Kramamukti to Jivanmukti
Kramamukti is gradual enlightenment. This is like duality and nonduality at once--a contradiction. It is a fallacy, like belief in a post-mortem emancipation. But this is the way our process happens; it is like a rule that we follow. It has to be allowed but it can't be believed in. Many people want to ex-out the cosmology as part of their nonduality, but I think that is pulling the carpet out from under people.
At this level, on the way to Jivanmukti, one observes moral and ethical rules; pursues a practical and rational mind, giving up pipe dreams, superstitions, fantasies, etc...; gains holy company and adheres to dharma. Holy Company and a dharmic path follow naturally when the first two are satisfied (but which themselves are incapable of satisfying). And then there is the study of nondual scriptures and the practice of meditation.Jivanmukti to Videhamukti
Jivanmukti is individual enlightenment. At this level, on the way to Videhamukti, one engages in selfless service with mature compassion.
What is mature compassion? To have compassion for something that is perfect (the Atman) is futile; and to have compassion for bodies and egos is misplaced. So Vedantists are more about Love. You're not serving egos or the human race, you are serving God - though not for that person in whom God dwells, but for yourself. You are the one who is learning. Any kind of service is for yourself. You can't help others, you can only help yourself comprehend only Great Self. Of course, It doesn't need help. This is the way you get rid of agency and ownership. Agency and ownership are what keeps the ego intact.
Next, one attains formless samadhi. That is, samadhi gets further honed, more and more subtle; for, in order to have attained the state of jivanmukti one would have experienced formless samadhi already. At this point [attaining Videhamukti, freedom from embodiment] you have a choice of either returning to jivanmukti in order to help awaken others, or merge and be a "hailstone" falling into the Ocean of Consciousness, as Shankara put it. I was told by a swami of the Ramakrishna Order that a monk is someone who takes a boat across the river and, after arriving, burns it. He's not going back. Now, this is hard for those still attached to form, but real freedom consists of a whiff of this.
[Babaji referred again to the analogy of the playground consisting of the six transformations, six passions and eight fetters all mixed up with pleasure and pain (see 2/1/2009 Hawaii notes)--why would we want to come here?! To this he added Shankaracharya's famous hymn Bhaja Govindam, citing the verse: "When a baby I was attached to my mother's breast, when a boy I was attached to sport; when a young man I was attached to a young woman; when old I was attached to anxiety; but, alas, to the Supreme Brahman I was never attached."] I should always have been attached to Brahman. My parents and teachers should have taught and embodied this for me!
Videhamukti to Sarvamukti
Videhamukti is freedom from embodiment. At this stage, on the way to Sarvamukti, one attains equanimity and unified vision; and one attains absorption in Absolute Reality.Sarvamukti
One perceives Brahman everywhere, in everything. According to the Great Master, this is the last word in spiritual life.