It's said that that ‘enlightenment’ is for the jiva (which results in freedom FROM the jiva) — and not Awareness (brahman) which is already enlightened.
Now when it comes to the cycle of birth and rebirth on the relative level — it's been said that although this apparent cycle can be said to come to an end (once self realization dawns) — it's said that from the ‘viewpoint’ of Awareness, the cycle continues because Awareness (brahman) is always associated with Maya (maya is never away from brahman) and the manifested creation. Except during the period cosmic dissolution.
This means I (as Awareness) am constantly being associated with the apparent jivas that appear (and continue to appear) via Ishvara’s creation.
This is concerning! Then how am I (brahman) free after death (videhamukti)? Seems like Brahman is forced to be constantly associated with the (ignorant) jivas. Seems like I (as Awareness) will always be Aware-ing someone's ignorant mind.
Follow the logic of my confusion:
- Brahman (self / my true nature) is the highest reality.
- Ishvara depends on Brahman.
- Ignorant jivas depends on Ishvara.
- That means Ishvara is holding all jivas perspectives. And since I (Brahman) am the truth of Ishvara, it means it's Brahman's obligation (since Brahman is the content of all-that-is) to shine through every jiva's ignorant mind.
CONCLUSION: This means the whole ignorant world is within me (Brahman) and I (Brahman) have to be aware of all that. And I'll never be free of jivas because they keep on coming.
Isvara is the name we give to the effect that Maya has on Brahman (limitless conscious existence).
Just as “dream” is a name we give to the effect when samskaras (past impressions) have on mind. The impressions construct a dream-universe, filling the entire mind with colors, experiences, people, ideas, wars, reconciliation, etc.
On waking, even though I still AM — the dream is NOT. It's resolved into myself. I cease Aware-ing the dream-world of ignorant jivas.
Above example is used to demonstrate videhamukti (death of physical body of the enlightened one). All dissolves into myself. I (Brahman) am fully awake, alive to myself as myself whose nature is limitless. Another dream doesn't appear.
Whereas the jivanmukta (enlightened while living) is one who knows, recognizes, acknowledges that truth of all names-forms is Awareness. And knows it with absolute doubtless conviction. It's not a fake, self-deluded story one has told themselves a long time. But reality on bases of concrete understanding owing to inquiry in light of self-knowledge guided by the “dream”-guru.
Getting back to maya…
Technically, Maya is the material aspect of Brahman.
This “material” is not tangible as we normally think of material being, but rather is better understood as the capacity to appear as objective phenomena; both subtle and gross.
Maya’s influence on Brahman is to make Brahman appear to be something it is not; namely the manifest universe (in gross and subtle aspects).
Thus Isvara is the shrishti-sthithi-laya karta (creator-sustainer-resolver of the universe) — as well as dharma (physical, psychological, and ethical laws that govern its operation).
Just like the mind (equated to ishvara) is creator-sustainer-resolver of the dream-universe (jagat). And upon waking, that power-to-dream-owing-to-samskaras (equated to maya) has resolved into none other then myself, the Conscious Being (equated to Brahman). (Potential objection by inquirer: Doesn't that mean that power can project the universe again, sucking me (Brahman) back into world of limitation? In short: Impossible as “I” (Brahman) have disidentified with the Causal Body; which is the carrier of samskaras, which demands maya to create a body-mind through which they can express.)
Now onto the jiva…
Each jiva (apparent individual) is defined as such due to the limitation of its unique body-mind-sense complex.
Moreover, each jiva only has access to the objective phenomena (both subtle and gross) — that appear within the scope of its perceptive range.
In other words, the jiva’s perception is limited to the scope of its mind.
By ANALOGY we might liken it to the space inside all the houses in the world.
While truly speaking there exists only ONE SPACE in which all the houses are situated.
However due to the walls that have been erected, it seems as if space has been divided into a plethora of unique entities.
What’s more, the events transpiring within each house are unique to that house and cannot be seen by someone who is outside the walls of that house.
Within the context of this analogy, Isvara is like the all-pervasive space within which all the houses appear.
While the jiva is like the inhabitant of a certain house within which it is residing.
Isvara “knows” what’s going on in every house by virtue of being the space in which all the houses exist and events are taking place.
The jiva only knows what it can perceive within the walls and out the windows of the house it inhabits.
The reason for jiva's limitation is that the mind is the perceptive instrument with regard to objects within it's immediate proximity.
Technically speaking, the mind is a portion of Ishvara, for Ishvara is all that is, but each mind, when considered as an object (any perceivable and/or conceivable phenomenon), is limited to a particular range of both perception (which is based on the condition of the perceptive organs), AND conception (which is based on the capacity of its knowledge-influenced imagination).
Having given some clarification on terms, let's reinterpret this statement: “I (Brahman) will always be aware-ing jivas ignorant minds, hence I'll never be free, even after death”.
- Brahman means vast. This universe (and the countless jivas in it's 14 lokas; which includes the good-bad-ugly) — are but an insignificant spec within Brahman. For analogy, imagine a single-cell good-bacteria on stomach-lining is the entire universe with countless jivas. Does it bother you? Is it of any significance to you? In fact, it's already died during the 5 seconds of reading this.
- The point of giving a crash course on Ishvara-jiva is to demonstrate BOTH are only effects of maya on Brahman. And both effects resolve into Brahman (their cause) upon videhamukti (enlightened one's physical body ends).
Perhaps I should let go and accept that the individual human jiva mind can never understand how it is possible to be simultaneously experiencing all the limited jiva ‘scopes’ at once. And I should just accept that this aspect of non-dual reality is probably not comprehensible by the individual finite mind. It’s like the human mind trying to comprehend the mind of god. Maybe it’s better to simply accept that this is what apparently happens and not worry too much about the mechanics of it?
The mechanism of how the universe works is not necessary for liberation (moksha). Although to the unwise, it will seem neccessary, since mind has thrived on mechanics and samsara-expertise since beginingless time.
Comment on this; just as the macrocosmic body (whole universe) goes through periodic cycles of dissolution—we could even call it sleep—and then ‘wakes up’ again… so the microcosmic body (jiva) is involved in a similar process every night when we go to sleep.
To quote the hermetic principle, “As above, so below”.
It's exactly how the macrocosmic cycle of manifestation and dissolution is reflected on the microcosmic level.
When we hear of purely experiential ‘oneness’ experiences that are periodically experienced during NDE’s, tantric practices etc — I’m wondering if what’s happening in these experiences is that the scope of the limited jiva widens into a momentary glimpse of the ‘wider’ Ishvara ‘perspective’.
And this phenomena is what results in a mind blowing experiential experience of ‘oneness’ (experiencing totality).
It's know that Advaita isn't too concerned with such experiences (apart from being potentially useful pointers along the way to self realization).
What's being described is basically what happens. One's mechanism of aham kara (sense of individuality) temporarily ceases. Hence ownership of one-single-body-mind ceases; which results in experiencing the totality (although still within scope of maya's time-space).