Knowledge, Experience and fear
Ms. Aikya Param
aikya at IX.NETCOM.COM
Mon Nov 11 11:26:13 CST 1996
A very happy Divali to you.
You asked the following:
Is your posting based on Knowledge acquired thru past and present teachers OR
Experience (Direct Experience)
By her grace I studied with Swami Dayananda Saraswati at Sandeepany West
in Piercy CA (U.S.A.) for 30 months. This was very intensive including
various upanishadic tests (Kena, Katha, MuNDaka, MaaNDuukya, Prashhna, Iishaa,
and Taittiriiya), Bhagavad Giita, and Brahma Suutras - all these with the
of AadishaN^kara as well as various supplementary texts. My guru is one who
has studied the texts with teachers for many years and he understands the
teaching method. He was therefore able not only to use it on us but to give it
to us to use for the benefit of others. Since then I have continued studying
teaching whenever possible.
It is of course possible to come to understand the oneness between the little
the jiivaatma, and the Self of all, the paramaatma, with someone who has the
vision but not the study or mastery of the teaching method but it is harder. It
is also possible
to come to know without a teacher, perhaps due to praarabdha. People's ability
clearly explain is not there in those cases although they may be very holy
and nice to spend time with.
My point in various posts lately has been to say that experience is not
required, meaning some kind of ecstatic experience in which one feels the one-
ness in some way. Pardon me, therefore, if I decline to answer whether I have
had "experience". All people want happiness. Most people also are curious
about experiences they have not had. All who are ignorant have some
inferiority based on their identification with a limited not quite real self.
important understanding to get clear about is that this little self, the real
"behind" the mind with its memory of the individual biography, is identical to
the Self of All. This is a hard idea to take in because people experience
daily. This "experience" test makes it more difficult.
Let's say I have this mistaken idea that people must have had an ecstatic
experience of oneness with the Self of All in order to be "enlightened" or be a
qualified teacher or anybody worth listening. Now I find a person who says he
she has had. Now if I (not just me, Aikya, here in CA, but anyone) have not
had this experience, then what happens to my already ignorant idea of who I
am? There's another problem and a barrier to my understanding the teaching.
Now I am not as good as this person who claims experience and until I have
this experience I will feel inferior. The whole point of the teaching meanwhile
is to show that you/I are/am the same as the Self of All, so much greater in
fact than that individual who was born and will die. Some people will never
have this "experience". It's just not part of their praarabdhaH or their role
this life (like KrishhNa had a certain role, and Raama had, and AadishaN^kara
had and Raaamana MahaaR^ishhi had). They can still see the vision of
oneness of the individual with the universal self clearly.
More than with this "ecstatic experience" I hold more value in becoming more
mentally healthy, dropping pretenses, being alert to and letting go habits of
thinking and feeling which are based on ignorance, facing all my experience
with gratitude as if it were prasaadam.h. including all my emotions. This quest
makes us simple and very normal.
You ask what is Mayaa.
Maayaa is half of two terms used in teahing. The other is Satyam.h.
Satyam.h means that which is real. Real means that which stays the same
in all three periods of time: past present and future. Is there any thing like
There is no thing like that other than myself (means the self, not just me Aikya
in CA). Why is there no thing, no object like that?
Objects I can know have form. Any form must have a beginning and end in space
and in time (creation and destruction). Maybe in between it wears out a little
So all those are changes and the real is that which does not change either in
time. So now you are already figuring that your body has been born and has
and your mind changes minute to minute, so all changing parts of you are not the
you that is the real, the SatyaM.h.
You can figure it out like this. If you can know it as an object of knowledge,
it is not the
Satyam.h. My guru used to use a styrofoam cup as his "object" that we know that
is clearly not the real me. Then he would move to the body.
So you can know your body and all its aches and pains and glories so that's not
Satyam. You know your mind and its emotions, its memories (or forgetteries)
and so on so
your mind is not the Satyam.h. What about your ignorance? Oh no because you can
know what you don't know like maybe Java programming or Russian language so
ingoarance is not Satyam.h. So what's left? There is something there. Let's
awareness. Awareness is there and it is myself. I am (sat.h) awareness
Does it have a color? No. Does it have a shape? No. Just I am awareness.
How far is it from "I am awareness" to your computer? Well, you can measure how
it is from your body to your computer but is there any distance between "I am
and the computer? No.
How far is it from "I am awareness" to the sun? Well, it is 93 million miles
earth on which the body is sitting and the sun. How far is the sun from "I am
There is no distance. Same thing for the farthest galaxy, do you see?
"I am awareness" is not limited in terms of space. Now you have understood
Your self behind the mind, same as "I am awareness" is not limited by space.
It has no shape and so no edge. How many are there? You have your dear friend
Sada and yourself. How many "I am awareness" are there? There is no edge to
distinguish so there can be no counting. There is only one "I am awareness" and
apparently different minds and bodies. There is no counting because there is no
shape with an edge to distinguish between another shape with an edge. Minds
have the shape of the thoughts and the memory of the biography. Those you can
distinguish but not "I am awareness". When they write about this oneness beyond
which you cannot count, they say there is no second (to count).
So now if there is only one and no second "I am awareness", what about God or
Goddess? That same "I am (sat.h) awareness (chit.h)" is the self of deva and
The minds are not the same. You and I have limited knowledge. Devi/Deva has
all knowledge. Our body is limited; the Lord's body is all the universe. But
of God s that same "I am awareness." that is myself (not just me Aikya in CA,
Where is the search for God now? Does this mean that devotion goes? No. The
ecstatic hymns of the upanishads show that bhakti comes to full flower with this
And what time is it for "I am awareness"? It has no form to count. It has no
form to come
into existence or go out of existence. It just is. For "I am awareness" it is
NOW. It was NOW when Krishna and Arjuna had their famous conversation on the
Kurukshetra plain. It was NOW when Lord Rama rescued Sitaa from Raavana. It
NOW when the Greeks invaded North India. It was NOW when the Pilgrims landed
on the East Coast of the U.S. and when Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of
Independence and when Presdent Kennedy was assassinated. It was NOW when
Gandhiji took a stand for India's independence. When the year 2098 comes,
for the "I am awarenes" is is NOW.
So "I am awareness" is not limited by space or limited by time (ananta). That
awareness" is the real, the Satyam.h. It is the subject. It is
yourself/myself. It is the
Self of God.
What else is there? There's a lot of forms that arise, grow, decay and go out
existence. These forms are not as real at the satyam.h. But we see and
them all right because they have the "I am awareness" in common. That is they
"exist" and are both knowable and operate by intelligent rules suggesting an
consciousness. These ever-changing forms with names we give them is what is
"Mayaa". It's not as real as "I am awareness" but it has a limited
it's sort of real and useful. People sometimes say the Mayaa is what is
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