That I attempt to be different, is samsara.

what-is-samsara-according-to-vedanta

“That I attempt to be different, is saṃsāra”.

To see how this is true, we first ask…

What is saṃsāra? It is mistakenly seeing one’s own thoughts/emotions (prātibhāsika; Subjective reality), including the Objective reality (vyāvahārika)… to be the final Reality (pāramārthika; unchanging pure Consciousness, Brahman).

Why does one confuse these 3 realities (causing saṃsāra)? Because of avidyā (unresolved Ignorance).

WHAT DOES ALL THIS MEAN?

Jīva (person) has a subtle body (sūkṣma-śarīra). Sūkṣma-śarīra consists of the MIND (manaḥ: emotions), INTELLECT (buddhi: calculating/deciding), MEMORY (citta: past), and ‘I-sense’ (aham kāra).

Now tell me… since when do your EMOTIONS, INTELLECT, and MEMORY ever remain CONSTANT? Never!

Nobody can say “I had the exact same thought/emotion, with the same intensity, texture and quality from moment I awoke – to moment before sleep.”

Deepak Chopra agrees with the general scientific estimation that mind undergoes 50,000+- thoughts per day. That’s 50K opportunities for distraction, per day. That is saṃsāra!

What’s more, majority of thoughts are repetitive, discouraging and inappropriate.

Thus naturally Jīva wants to modify the condition of their sūkṣma-śarīra to suit one’s preference (vāsanā) of “appropriate, happy, successful, right”.

Therefore one gets caught up investing majority of time-effort into modifying the sūkṣma-śarīra. Which is the “place” where all your emotions, thoughts, memories and sense of “I” is experienced.

Put simply: “I don’t like how I feel! So I do something to feel better”. This is typical saṃsārī thinking.

This type of saṃsārī is predominately prātibhāsika. Meaning, majority of time-effort is invested into satisfying personal, SUBJECTIVE preferences; vāsanās.


NOW, let’s talk about a saṃsārī who is predominately vyāvahārika. Meaning, majority of time-effort is invested into studying the OBJECTIVE world (IE: perceptible Universe and laws.)

Suppose the Jīva is smart! And they’re aware that sūkṣma-śarīra’s condition is a continuous series of EFFECTS. And the unseen CAUSE is the 3 guṇas (Sattva, Rajas, Tamas).

Thus this smart Jīva is disinterested/dispassionate towards establishing sūkṣma-śarīra’s condition in state of PERMANENT UNCHANGING SATISFACTION. (Knowing it is impossible and unrealistic! EG: Try feeling good when family member dies. Or when body gets ill. Or when finances are shaky.)

Or maybe this smart Jīva is only interested in topics of Science. Meaning, one is devoted towards mastering, discovering and improving the Objective Reality (vyāvahārika).

So this Jīva invests most of their life trying to uncover the smallest “God” particle, find life forms on other planets, study psychology, bring a positive difference to the world.

Yes, we’re speaking of a common good-hearted, devoted and intelligent Scientist, Therapist, Biologist, Chemist, Doctor, Engineer, Physicist, etc.

The only issue is, this kind of Jīva also gets caught up in saṃsāra – no different to our first example above. Why?…

Because the smart scientist Jīva is treating the Objective Reality (vyāvahārika) – to be the ABSOLUTE/FINAL Reality (pāramārthika; Brahman, Consciousness).

Again for same reason, avidyā (Ignorance of Self).

fractal-vyavaharaika-samsaraThis is proven through your own experience: the more you look, the more you find! The more you get caught up in what you found.

That’s why vyāvahārika is a like a FRACTAL. Each zoom level reveals another world of itself as intricate and interesting as the previous zoom level.

Thus the journey of uncovering and exploring vyāvahārika – NEVER ENDS. And it’s a fascinating world which ends up stealing all time/effort from Jīva to discover and pursue “Who am I?”.

Eventually, when one is no longer lured and fascinated by his-her Subjective preferences and Objective changing phenomena of the world… then saṃsāra gradually loses grip on the Jīva.

This Jīva then naturally turns inwards, and slowly being to contemplate the highest goal (puruṣārtha) of human life; mokṣa.


Finally, let’s answer: why saṃsāra causes subtle sense of insecurity, anxiety about future, lack of certainty of NOW, and unnecessary over-thinking?

Because clinging to changing objects of the world causes Jīva to depend on the objects to REMAIN IN THEIR IDEAL CONDITION… according to Jīva’s likes/dislikes (vāsanās; tendencies, preferences).

As soon as the Object’s nature changes (as it inevitable will) – the change immediately compromises the security/refuge Jīva has placed into Object for their satisfaction or sense of purpose in life.

Result of this is an agitated and anxious mind, which is obsessed with maintaining the Object to remain in it’s preferred condition. This of course is motivated by FEAR.

You can prove this in your own experience. Why does one hold onto things? Because of FEAR of losing it. Why? Because it gives one a sense of security, happiness, purpose, meaning, and SATISFACTION in life.

Problem with this is, FEAR binds. Fear doesn’t feel natural. Fear is anything other then FREEDOM.

Thus, FEAR causes saṃsāric suffering.

And what causes FEAR? Mistaken notion that “I am this sūkṣma-śarīra”. (Where all emotions/thoughts are felt, including fear, desire, lust, love, empathy, compassion, kindness, etc.)

And how to get rid of this notion? Begin by OBJECTIFYING your body, emotions, thoughts.

How? Instead of saying “I AM confused”, say “There is confusion KNOWN to Me”. Or “I am AWARE of my mind’s dislike/like towards ___”.

This kind of language will help you establish clarity that you are NOT what you experience. But the AWARENESS of __.

2 Comments

  1. Lloyd on February 17, 2019 at 6:36 pm

    start quote…
    This is proven through your own experience: the more you look, the more you find! The more you get caught up in what you found.

    That’s why vyāvahārika is a like a FRACTAL. Each zoom level reveals another world of itself as intricate and interesting as the previous zoom level.

    Thus the journey of uncovering and exploring vyāvahārika – NEVER ENDS. And it’s a fascinating world which ends up stealing all time/effort from Jīva to discover and pursue “Who am I?”.
    ….end quote

    Thank you so much for writing this. This really does describe my current experience, a never ending FRACTAL. I am a computer programmer and have been fascinated as I continue to master this craft. Lately I’ve learnt how to write code without comments meaning the code is itself self explanatory. I do this by giving descriptive names to the functions. And of course instead of writing big long functions each function calls other functions which have their own names and conceptual level and that’s like a different zoom level of fractals. I reminds me of a few weeks ago when you described the objective reality as ‘schemes within schemes’ and another thing it reminds me of is how many hours I can be stuck exploring Google Earth at different levels or exploring early MineCraft worlds (online multiplayer world). It goes on forever, as you say. And there is never lasting satisfaction…

    … and so my mind is again turned toward the highest goal: moksa.
    Having a good reason to want moksa is important in order to devote more time toward it.

    I will remind myself of the above lesson whenever I see I’ve succumbed to the endless fascination of fractal reality (vyāvahārika).

    Then again, what if my fascination of Advaita Vedanta is just another phase or zoom level?
    Well it certainly seems like a healthy fascination to have! 🙂

    • mm Andre V on February 17, 2019 at 8:40 pm

      At beginning we said in class “Vedānta” is a throw away. Because Vedānta is indeed just another zoom level within the fractal. However it’s job is to negate the entire fractal by educating the individual that fractal (Īśvara) serves it’s purpose… to teach Jīva that “I am NOT the fractal, and fractal has nothing to do with me, it’s just appearance changing in infinite forms for eternity”.

      In fact the fractal is Me (you; Ātman), but I (you: Ātman) am not the fractal. Owning to this knowledge, the fractal has ZERO fascination power to jñāni (wise person).

      IE: Highest purpose within fractal is to realize: I am the substratum upon which the entire fractal depends on for it’s existence.

      While other schools, not being aware of this endless and attractive scheme within scheme, end up shifting the sādhaka (aspirant) from one zoom level to a more appealing zoom level. Then sādhaka feels “I am evolving/growing! Yipee!”, but one is unknowingly diving in endless ocean of beautiful saṃsāra, which has no beginning.

      Diving literally NEVER ends until guru comes (owning to sādhaka’s readiness) and helps one lose attraction for saṃsāra by exposing it’s essence-less nature (eg: beautiful female under microscope zoom level is just molecules, or we only experience worthwhile happiness for fraction of our lives on earth, or having a body = constant attendance to it’s hunger/demands).

      Vedānta’s only job is to get the person out of saṃsāra. Not into a better version of it. Yes, it’s Knowledge is also saṃsāra, but when it’s taught by guru, then it’s Knowledge ends saṃsāra. While knowledge of (for example) physics or carpentry continues the saṃsāra… because it’s prettifying/modifying the world of vyāvahārika.

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