These days, it is far too often assumed that this individual or that is enlightened.
Actually, that level of life is far rarer than so assumed.
Mother Teresa was one of those very rare and precious individuals.
These days, it is far too often assumed that this individual or that is enlightened.
These three planets will all be close together in the eastern night sky before sunrise tomorrow morning. Venus will be the bright ‘star’ and Jupiter will be just above it. It will be a pretty sight.
Q: I humbly seek to understand the difference between the state of longing to be one with Shiva versus already being one with Shiva.
The reason for this question is: If I am intensely longing to be one with Shiva and feel MY being not as My being, but Shiva’s, then am I already one with Shiva?
If so, then that ONENESS should resonate as already existing. This state or feeling of ONENESS is abstract and internal, whereas the body is physical and external and it is this body where my being, my soul, resides. Therefore again, the soul is longing to be one with Shiva, to be dissolved in Shiva.
Hence, I am lost. Will I ever be enlightened enough to stop longing for ONENESS? Or will the longing still continue even after ONENESS with Shiva?
A: Everything, everyone, is already one with Shiva. A rock, however, has no conscious awareness of this. A human being may know it intellectually and even feel it emotionally with great intensity. Yet an enlightened individual knows it as a direct experience that transcends thoughts and emotions… transcends even the deepest feeling one can experience. To describe that experience is something that has been attempted by most every enlightened individual throughout history… but without success. It is likened to attempting through description to give someone who has never tasted a strawberry the experience of how a strawberry tastes. It cannot be done. However, the attempt to do so will point in a direction and thereby give some sense of the experience. Hopefully this will clarify things somewhat.
Though it comes gradually, there is a moment of abrupt transition when enlightenment comes. In that moment, even though everything goes on just as before, everything is forever changed. It is as if suddenly, everything is seen to be a projection on a screen, a virtual image, like the picture on a television. The screen is pure Being, YOUR being…. YOU. At the same time, it is God… Shiva. In that moment, He has no name… no words… no opinion… no comments… no thoughts or feelings… He just is…. Though the personality you that was there before remains exactly as before, the real You is the only thing that really is… the rest is a projection, not really real. It is maya. To intellectually know all about maya… to have memorized the Vedic texts about maya… that is one thing. To experience it directly is completely different.
The early experience of pure Being is the crux of the matter. It is the backdrop of all that is. If until that moment, you never even believed in God, the only word you could find to name it would be ‘God’. At the same time, you would know that the way all of humanity uses the word ‘God’ is not exactly accurate. You are That. At first this experience can be most disconcerting and confusing. How is it possible that you can be That, while at the same time, That is as if someone else (namely God… Shiva)? But that is undeniably your experience. Liken it to looking at the same diamond from different angles. You see something a bit different from each angle, but it is the same one diamond. However, the paradoxical experience of it being you and also being God happens simultaneously.
It is not that your Being is experienced as not your being but instead as Shiva’s. Perhaps that would even be easier to accept! Your Being remains your Being. At the same time, that personality being ceases to be the dominate Being that You are. The personality self continues just as it did before enlightenment, but it is insignificant (for lack of a better word) compared to your True Being, the Self, that you have awoken to. And that Self is one with God… one with Shiva. The life, thoughts, emotions, and moods of the personality self go on just as before. Yet it is all different in the context of the transcendental Self that has emerged and, without a word, has overtaken everything.
Some think that the moment of enlightenment is a moment of total clarity after which you live happily ever after. That is not so. It takes time to sort out and to get accustomed to. In fact, all of the higher states of consciousness are really just levels of getting more accustomed to, more familiar with, the enlightenment that has overtaken you… the ‘You’ that has overtaken ‘you’.
Life exists on many levels. In the state of enlightenment, the level of life that longs for nothing is always there. It is the transcendental level of Oneness with Shiva that you have become. It is the level of freedom… freedom of the soul, freedom from wanting, freedom from desire, freedom from longing. At the same time, there are the other levels of life where desire and longing remain. Life goes on. This is a matter of confusion for many people. To become enlightened and have no desire on any level is simply a state of overwhelm with the new found enlightenment. In time, it integrates with the other levels of life… the field of duality… relativity… the world of wanting.
Yes, after enlightenment, life goes on as it did. Completely the same… just totally different.
It has many names… the soul, the self, inner divinity, the unified field, Oneness, God… call it what you will.
Through evolution, the sense of it becomes clearer and clearer… Along the way, there are many awakenings… glimpses, hints, faint whispers of what is to come…
As water cools, it comes to know the nature of ice more and more fully… Yet, at one point it crystalizes… it becomes ice… and everything changes…
Everything in creation gravitates back to the Oneness out of which it came. It is that Oneness that you are sensing deep inside… that you are being drawn toward… like a moth around a candle flame… like a plant reaching to the Sun… like a mountain stream to the ocean… until that moment when it all comes together… it crystalizes… that moment is called enlightenment…
It is not that anything goes away…
The full range of thoughts and emotions remain… The you that was… remains… But the real YOU emerges in full splendor… like a backdrop to all of creation… And in that moment, your relationship with everything changes… forever… You realize that nothing is really happening… that relative existence is a beautiful, glorious, magnificent mirage… a virtual image… like a reflection in the mirror, lightly etched on the face of Being… your Being… the only thing that really IS… Shiva… You and God are One…
The Self that you sensed deep inside, overtakes the universe…
It is pandemic. It is an aspect of the human condition. People look for perfection in the relative. This is such a beautiful thing. Everything is gravitating back to the one source, the Divine. However, as has been said, “Do not look for perfection in the relative. It is not there.” The relative is, by definition, relative. It is not absolute. The relative is the field of imperfection. It was born out of Perfection, Pure Consciousness, the Absolute, but it is not the Absolute. When Consciousness becomes conscious of itself and incorrectly views itself as other, duality (relativity) is born.
The Veda is the field of perfection. Yet once it is viewed in relative terms, that view is imperfect… dualistic, relative. It is essential to understand this. Otherwise, you cling to relativity as perfection. Isn’t this a beautiful and profound yet delicate topic? The Absolute, by definition, transcends ALL ‘things’… even, dare I say it, scripture. This is not to say that scripture is not precious, sacred, and in a relative sense certainly Divine. But it points in the direction of the Absolute, like a reflection in a mirror or an echo. It is not the Absolute. Religions point in the direction of the Absolute. But they are not the Absolute.
Truth is absolute. Even the nearest we can come to the Absolute in the relative is not Absolute. To think it is Absolute, prompts people to cling to it as the Absolute and thereby resist transcending relativity which is the ultimate ‘goal’ of religion, and in fact , of life. This is the meaning of ‘to be in the world, but not of it’. This creates a tug of war between the Devas, who embody the Absolute, and the Asuras, who cling to its echo. Echoes of Truth, perceived as Truth, hold Truth at bay. This is why it is said that the Veda dwells not in books, but in the awareness of those who have awoken to the Absolute, i.e., the enlightened.
For a temple to be a Vedic temple, it must stand strong as a representative of the most profound truth. It must hold true to such understanding. Few understand that Truth. But that understanding is what upholds and keeps the temple aligned with the deepest Truth of life. The custodians of the temple unceasingly aspire to that which transcends even the most sublime aspects of relativity. You are one with the Absolute. All relativity is born out of that… out of who and what you truly are… beyond samskaras, beyond conditioning. The supreme culmination of spirituality, of life, is to awaken to that. Some may call this Vedanta, but to cling to a perspective on Vedanta Is to miss its deepest message, its deepest Truth.
Below is a very nice video about the Swastika as a symbol in Hinduism of purity, the Divine, etc. It speaks of the Nazi misuse of the symbol. As well done as the video is, to my mind a very important component is missing. This component is not only essential in a very literal sense, but is also missing in most discussions of Vedic Knowledge.
This essential point is that just as gravity or electricity is not a symbol, the swastika is not a symbol. The swastika is structured in the very nature of existence. It is an aspect of the very mechanic of nature. It is as if woven into the fabric underlying all of existence. It does not simply symbolize that, it IS that, just as the nuts and bolts in a car do not symbolize the structure of the car. The nuts and bolts are an essential aspect of the structure of the car.
So what does it mean to live in harmony with nature… in harmony with life? It means to live a life in harmony with the very structure of nature. As if to say not to deny gravity or electricity, but instead to live in harmony with it. To think of such things as merely symbols is to greatly compromise their significance. The fact that the swastika was used in such a horrendous manner by the Nazis only shows how out of alignment the world has been with nature.
Imagine a level of life when the deep underlying structure of nature is spontaneously known and lived. When all aspects of Vedic Knowledge are found within ones awareness, not out of habit or cultural orientation, but from inner knowing… inner wakefulness.
The more these things are represented on the surface with symbols and images, the better. However, the real value is that they are understood deeply as something that transcends religion in the traditional sense of the word ‘religion’. Instead they are directly experienced as eternal truths of nature… similar to how you might view gravity or electricity, only deeper and therefore more profound and meaningful. The various deities, pujas, havans, pradakshina, etc.… all these things must be understood, not as symbols but as technologies of Vedic science. It must not be based upon mere faith, just as your relationship with science is not based upon faith. It is one thing to say you know that, it is another to perceive it directly. That is the difference between knowing and Knowing.
All religions of the world dance around the underlying Truth of nature as echoes of Truth. But echoes of Truth can hold Truth at bay, if we cling to them simplistically. This is why I distinguish between the terms ‘Hindu’ and ‘Vedic’. Hinduism is a religion. Religions point in the direction of Vedic, but as it says in the Veda, real Knowledge only dwells in the awareness of the enlightened. Like everything in life, it is not just the things in life, it is your relationship with those things that make all the difference. Take care, lest that which is right under your nose will slip right through your fingers.
When it comes to understanding the Veda, we must not be simplistic. The Veda emerges from the finest level of existence. In the west, that is called the Unified Field. Modern science tells us that the structure of the Unified Field (i.e. the Veda) is crystalline in nature. The mathematics of such structures is called Abstract Algebra.
The face of a clock is a very simple example. Three o’clock minus five hours equals ten o’clock. Modern physics theory tells us that Unified Field is ten dimensional (the ten mandalas of the Veda). The vastness and complexity of each dimension, of course, far exceeds that of the face of a clock.
So when it comes to trying to understand Vedic Knowledge, we must keep this in mind and remain humble. It simply cannot be fathomed by the elementary logic and mathematics with which we are all familiar.
What contributes to the challenge of life is that beliefs, be they based upon Divinity or samskaras within, are experienced as truth. Notions considered positive, constructive, wise, and laudable can still be the result of samskaras. People hold to them as Divine. They justify them with scripture and quotes from the Veda or other Holy books. Life experiences justify your world view, whatever that world view may be. That is why often the most ‘educated’ or ‘advanced’ people are the hardest to move forward… Because from their perspective, they already have the answers. Indoctrination is all too often mistaken for evolution. That is to say, samskaras are all too often mistaken for the Divine.
Only rarely, does one catch a glimpse of what lies beyond those world views. The Guru can help you with that, but only if you are open to it.