I AM __ Only In Reference to Mithyā: Don't confuse Self with Role played (30)


Lesson 30 demonstrates how ‘I' (Self/Atman) is only an APPARENT doer/actor in reference to the mithyā role played amidst relating with life. Confusing ‘I' with ROLE results in forgetting of one's Ātman identity – which resulting in suffering. Then we undertake some Advaita Vedanta exercises to test your knowledge.


Terms used:

  • Īśvara: macrocosmic Causal Body. Sum total of all Karma for every individual Object (sentient/insentient) in the Universe.
  • Hiraṇyagarbhaḥ: macrocosmic Subtle Body. Sum total of all Jīva's Subtle Bodies. Jīva in this context is anything that is sentient (human, microbe, animal, plant, etc).
  • Virāt: macrocosmic Gross Body. Sum total of all gross matter (5 elements) for every individual Object in the Universe. You as Body-Mind are also one Object of Virāt.
  • Jīva: Is referred to when Ātman (Consciousness) is APPARENTLY conditioned by 3 states generated by Māyā: Waker (viśva), Dreamer (taijasa), Deep Sleeper (prājña).

  1. I AM __. But only IN REFERENCE TO Object (Mithyā).

    Life is series of experiences. To call something an experience, it implies there was Subject (Puruṣa: basic person which comprises of Ātman + 3 Bodies) interacting with an Object.

    And to interact is to RELATE. Meaning “to live” is “to relate”. So life is RELATING.

    But to RELATE, puruṣa needs to constantly adjust it's Manas (Mind) and Buddhi (Intellect) – in order to appropriately relate with the Object(s).

    For example, a father puruṣa needs to “lower” one's Intellect to appropriately relate with his 3 year old son.

    But as husband, that same puruṣa needs to “sharpen” the Intellect to appropriately relate to his wife.

    And as employee, that same puruṣa needs to adjust it's Body-Mind-Intellect to correspond with the employee ROLE of policeman (or whatever your occuptiona/business expects of you).

    Meaning, a father puruṣa is an inappropriate ROLE played in an environment which requires a policeman puruṣa.

    So the problem is NOT the constant change of ROLES, that all puruṣās are required to temporarily wear, in order to RELATE TO LIFE.

    But the problem is when puruṣa unsuspectingly and mistakenly forgets it's identity (as Ātman) – by developing a like (raga/attraction/raga) towards the ROLE it's temporarily wearing – in order to accomplish a certain task for the day.

    Or the puruṣa fails to STOP playing the ROLE that is no longer appropriate or useful in the new circumstance/environment. This is because Mind's thoughts have momentum. Just like turning off the fan doesn't immediately cause fan to stop spinning. This trail is why arguments or emotional experiences “stick” for hours/days after.

    Of course the best cure for this is to NEVER forget your identity, no matter what ROLE you're playing in any one moment. Because every 1 extra second of Identify forgotten, is equal to 1 extra hour of suffering in the aftermath of the argument or emotional experience.

    We observe this with children. A child doesn't get the candy/toy at first. He-she begins to cry desperately due to desire being denied by parent. Then even after getting the candy-toy minutes later, the child still continues crying (sometimes for half a day). Why is this the case? Because the child puruṣa has forgotten it's Identity, being overshadowed by desire for candy/toy. Now it doesn't even want the candy/toy when it's offered.

    Adults are exactly the same. A puruṣa playing ROLE of a boss at work, comes home and starts bossing his children/spouse. This causes suffering not only to the puruṣa who's forgotten to STOP playing the boss role, but also to everyone else who is related to this puruṣa.

    Now let's tie this with “I am not the doer” (CH5, verse 13)…

    Yes, there is a doer/enjoyer. But it is only present IN REFERENCE TO Roles.

    If there is no ROLE to wear (experienced), there is no doer/enjoyer (experiencer). Just like in deep sleep, there is no experienced, thus there is no experiencer.

    Why? Becuase Māyā took away the WORLD (jagat) for 5-8 hours.

    Meaning “I” (Self) has nothing to do with the WORLD that is created. It is entirely operated by Māyā. Not only is it generated by Māya, but it's also taken away by Māya.

    How to prove this? Do YOU (puruṣa) decide when the DREAM WORLD is going to start? No. It starts with or without your permission.

    Do YOU (puruṣa) decide at what point there will be NO WORLD (deep sleep)? No. It's entirely operated with or without your intervention.

    Did YOU (puruṣa) decide at what point you will come to this WORLD (born)? No. You were put here with or without your intervention.

    Did YOU (puruṣa) decide what race and color of skin body origin will be? No. It was decided with or without your decision.

    Do YOU (puruṣa) get to choose when body will die? No. One is innocently drinking coffee in a restaurant. A car driver has heart attack, they swirl into restaurant, and make a sandwich out of your body.

    Do YOU (puruṣa) decide what specific thought will be present in the next 5 minutes? Not even one's own thoughts does puruṣa decide.

    So then what does the puruṣa acually “DO”? Nothing. Puruṣa only observes the ROLES (generated by Māyā) which the puruṣa is wearing in any one moment.

    “I am not the doer” means: Awareness is an APPARENT doer through it's māyā śakti. But not an actual doer. A wise person (jīvanmuktaḥ) knows that despite being under spell of Māya, it is only apparent, and not actual.

    Thus only difference between ignorance person (drunk on avidyā; ignorance) and wise person is KNOWLEDGE. We are not talking about Intellectual knowledge like factual data. But knowledge/experience inseparable. Sanskrit word for it is anubhūti: experience-knowledge as one. What does this mean? Car driving is anubhūti. Cooking is anubhūti. In other words, it is integrated knowledge on auto-pilot as result of much prior repetition.

  2. Advaita Vedānta Test: (students in class may skip)

    Right now or today at most, reserve 20+- minutes to describe following to best of your ability. Benefit of it's completion is to help exercise the Intellect.

    1. Purpose of Bhagavad Gītā

    2. How to Communicate:

    a. satyam (Honesty/Integrity. Don’t be shy. Say it!)
    b. rutam (Researched. Don’t speak unless it’s 100% verified.)
    c. priyam (Appropriate/timely. Sensitive to environment’s needs.)
    d. hītam (Leads to learning. Curious what other has to say, judge not.)

    3. Subtle Body (sūkṣma-śarīra/antaḥkaraṇa)

    a. Mind: Manas
    b. Intellect: Buddhi
    c. Ego: Ahaṃkāra (Doer/Enjoyer)

    4. Causal Body

    a. Karma

    i. Sanchita (Storehouse of all lifetime karmas)
    ii. Prārabdha (portion of Sanchita playing out in this lifetime)
    iii. Āgāmi (created by Prārabdha, which will become Sanchita upon death)

    b. Vāsana / Saṃskāra

    5. Dharma

    a. Sāmānya (Universal values. Applies to entire Universe.)
    b. Svadharma (Unique to circumstance. EG: Mom. Must adhere to Sāmānya.)

    6. Explain concept of “Free Will”. (Must tie in with 4a)

    7. What are some attributes of a jīvan-muktaḥ? (Liberated while living)

    8. GENERAL: What is the purpose of Avaita Vedānta? (Examples, Term, How it helped you, etc.)

    9. Who am I NOT? (Use all Vedānta knowledge to describe what the “I” is not.)

  3. Yey!work for 15 Jan, 2019: Fun challenge to see how neither Ignorant nor Knowledge we are.  😀

    Please use your tongue or hands (whichever is preferred to write/type with) to magically formulate a ONE page manifestation of words describing 2 eternal principles below. It will be shared in class on 15 Jan – to help everyone else learn more. Also wonderful opportunity to shine!

    1. What does it mean to live life of Dharma?

    2. What is the difference between Satya/Mithyā? And how is this knowledge applied in day-to-day “ordinary” life of duties, joys, sorrows, concerns, doubts and epiphanies?

Recorded 27 Nov, 2018


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