More and more questions, as always:
Q: You will think that my question is silly, but how can one achieve true Happiness all the time?
A: It is not silly in itself, but yes, it is completely silly in this context since I have been speaking for one gazillion hours here about the Self and the entire process of bondage, etc. Do not worry, anyway, because it is pretty usual that the teacher has to explain the same topic twice, thrice or even more times to the disciple.
Obviously, true Happiness ALWAYS dwells in the Self and His Power and NOT in the limited individual and his activities, thoughts, etc. The Self and His Power are totally inconceivable, while the limited individual is conceivable. This which is conceivable is merely an invention of His Power and not an autonomous entity that is able to enjoy autonomous Bliss or Happiness. That is not possible. Therefore, Self-realization is always the way to true Happiness and there’s no other way.
Q: It is silly again, but why is Self-realization the only way to true Happiness?
A: Because if you do not know who you really are, how are you supposed to enjoy Real Happiness? You need a Real “I” in order to enjoy it. As the limited individual is an invented “I” full of conditioning, he is not ever fit for being perfectly Happy unless he fully realizes his own Self. Most people are completely identified with their limited individuals, hence I can state that they will never be totally Happy while they remain in that state of bondage. Nobody can be completely Blissful in a condition of limitation. This is a rule. All those people that are thoroughly identified with their limited individuals and who base their happiness on objects, other people and the like, will end up failing in the end. There is no way to be really Happy that manner. I am absolutely sure about that. A limited sense of “I” can never bring real Happiness to one’s own life. Those people are feeling their “I” improperly and therefore, while that process of bondage continues, they cannot ever be Happy in the truest sense of word. It is only when the sense of “I” is moved from the limited individual toward the Self that one becomes fit for being absolutely Blissful forever, and not before. This moving from a state of submission to one of Freedom is always a superhuman act that no limited individual can do by himself. The only cause for the achievement of Real Bliss, as have explained before, is His Grace or divine Dispensation.
I will make this clear by an example. Suppose that a spiritual aspirant called John A. (yes, he is back again, hehe) is sitting in lotus posture, ready for meditation. Now, there is a tube inside the body. This tube leads food from the mouth to a little bag called… yes… stomach. When food enters, some fluids arrive at the little bag. Well, the entire process known as “digestion” is something like that, you know. But, this time, John A. ate something that did not agree with him, i.e. with the little bag, tube and all that. As a result, John A. starts to experience difficulties in meditating on the immeasurable Self due to his indigestion. A little tube, a little bag, a little food and some fluids are able to interrupt his meditation on the Highest Self. In this way, the entire process of meditating on the Self is always absolutely stupid due to very low quality of the limited individual. Consequently, the Self Himself will have to meditate on the limited individual in order to bring about Self-realization. If the Self expected John A. to cope with all the process of Final Liberation, this Liberation would never occur. When John A. is someone whose meditation on the divine Self can be interrupted by a combination of a little tube, a little bag etc., how is he supposed to face the Power of the Self directly, grabbing It by the throat? If the Power of the Self is not overcome, Final Liberation (also known as Self-realization) will never happen. So, the Self will have to come to the rescue or John A. will remain bound forever. This is very obvious, right? Anyway, when some people learn that His Grace and not them is the crucial factor in spirituality, they experience confusion. Why? Because they have not yet understood that foolish indigestion is more than enough to spoil their meditations over and over again. What will they do to overcome the Power of the Self Itself (the cause of their bondage) then? They can do nothing at all. This truth is always disheartening to the limited individuals, because they live in a bubble most of the time.
In that sense, the limited individual never meditates on his own Self really, on the contrary, the Self meditates on him. His Grace allowed the limited individual to begin with his spiritual path in the first place. Next, His Grace will be guiding him and doing everything for him. Without His divine Grace, the mission called “Self-realization” is mission impossible. This is pretty obvious, but if a mere indigestion is not enough to show how powerless a limited individual is, you can take the challenge to a new level: what about a gang of ill-doers replete with guns knocking your door while you are there sitting for meditation? What about a missile hitting your backyard while you are meditating on the Supreme Self? What about a huge jumbo jet crashing into your block while you stay there, meditating on your Self? What about news on TV telling that your entire family was lethally scorched by a maniac with a flamethrower in the airport, while you remain there, absorbed in the Self in full lotus posture? What about divine beings coming to you as visitors during your meditation on the Self, some of which have terrifying aspect, while you stay there, fixed on the Highest Reality without the least bodily movement? Or you can lift the things to the top level: what about you meditating on the Self, engrossed in Him, like a golden pillar, in full lotus posture, while the entire universe collapses consumed by the Fire of the end of time? Can you imagine yourself meditating firmly on the Self in the middle of those situations? If you can, you will finally understand that, as a limited individual, nobody can subjugate the Power of the Self and attain Self-realization. A limited individual will become a bundle of nerves even if the least disturbance comes up and then he will ask for God’s help or he will say that there is no God at all, etc. That which is limited cannot reach the Unlimited One, ever. But the Unlimited One can reach the limited individual instantly.
The Power of the Self is simply Colossal in the fullest sense of word. The entire universe is Its manifestation. The limited individual is an invention of this Power and therefore always at Its mercy. Only the Self can vanquish His Power at Will (hence It’s called Power of the Self). That is why He is so awesome. His realization is the most amazing experience a human being can have. I have no doubt about it. Before that, so many things look impressive, but after having realized Him, all those things are not impressive any longer. A Self-realized person cannot be impressed by anything at all but Himself. This is one of his features. While most of people are impressed by the Sun, the galaxy, a hurricane, other people etc., a Self-realized person is not impressed by all that. Why? Because he has already perceived the Most Impressive Reality. This teaching has also been indirectly mentioned by the sage Patañjali in his Yogasūtra IV.31. He is saying that when a person is about to achieve Final Liberation, all the knowables (objects, people, etc.) which looked innumerable, now look scarce. In other words, the universe looks “impressive” before the arrival of that State, but after, it does not look impressive any more. Can you follow me?
Q: Yes, but the limited individual is the Self.
A: Of course, but “gone crazy”. While I write articles about the Divine, His Grace and sacred processes, I very often receive e-mails from my pupils. As they are mostly identified with the state of limited individual (the Self gone mad), they insist on being happy with all those knowables (objects, people, etc.) that Patañjali was referring to. There is no doubt that they are the Self, but at the same time, there is that madness called “limited individual”, which leads them to more bondage in the name of being happy. This state is pretty common in the world and explains why spiritual teachers have to repeat their teachings over and over. Disciples do not get them despite affirming that they understand them perfectly. Only the advanced disciples can get them, but my blog is not intended for them but only for beginners and middle aspirants, as I stated in one of my previous posts. So, even with this entire set of divine teachings being published in a very simple way by me during one year in the blog, many of my pupils cannot be cured of their insanity yet. As you can see, this is not about mere statement but one must be able to put the teachings into practice. This takes time. Therefore, even though all of them are the Self completely, I have to deal with almost all of them as if they were the Self gone crazy (like John A. believing he is Napoleon). I cannot treat them like the Supreme Self all the time but only for a while every time, because the limited individual is constantly ready for messing around.
The limited individual is characterized by his claiming states that belong to a Self-realized person alone. For example: “I have free will” or “I am the architect of my own destiny” or “I will be happy in spite of the external circumstances” or “I will keep my love intact always” or “I will never lie from now on” or “I am able to change my habits at will” or “I will be benevolent all the time”, etc. All those states come true “after Self-realization”, when one acquires a Real “I” (the Self) who is able to remain Blissful automatically and under all circumstances. Before Self-realization, when the limited individuality predominates, all those statements cannot be true because the limited individual is someone “real” (he does exist) but “fictitious” (because he is an invention of the Power of the Self). When the Power of the Self moves, all the previous conceptions of a limited individual start to move to the beat of Its movement. Nobody in a state of limitation and bondage can have free will. This illusion is pretty usual, viz. the limited individual assuming states that only someone who has realized his own Self possesses. I could affirm that almost all my work as a spiritual teacher consists of “removing false illusions instead of bringing something new to the lives of my pupils. They are mostly the Self “gone mad” and their behavior shows that.
Those insane illusions are also an invention of His Power. This Power is Colossal and able to bind everybody in less than a twinkling of an eye. Only the Self is capable of subjugating It. The limited individual is not capable of doing so because he is “a son” of this Power. This is so obvious to me, but I have to repeat it time and time again for years because the disciples cannot get it quickly for the most part. This is only true in regard to beginners and middle-level aspirants, of course, because the advanced aspirants have finally understood it. Thus, advanced aspirants are fit for Final Liberation.
Likewise, I am treating all the readers mostly as the Self gone crazy (no offense). As a result, I explain things in a dualistic manner for the most part, with some touches of non-dualism now and then. I also keep Sanskrit at minimum in order not to confuse them even more with many strange terms. If they were already advanced, they would not need my teachings at all. In fact, some of them could learn everything directly from the scriptures in Sanskrit as the sage Kṣemarāja learnt Trika philosophy from his Master Abhinavagupta. But that kind of advanced aspirant is very rare in this world right now. They DO exist but they are few. Ninety-nine percent of spiritual aspirants are beginners and intermediate aspirants. If I had a disciple like Kṣemarāja, I could be comfortably enjoying my Self while he looked after the website and this blog, for example. Unfortunately, there is no disciple of his caliber on my list yet.
All in all, I have no doubt that the limited individual IS the Self. Also, I know for sure that the Self is ONE with His own Power. For that reason, only the Self IS here, because all the other realities are one with Him constantly. Anyway, I can say things like those only now and then because most of the readers will not be able to get it yet. So, I have to explain the same truth in a dualistic manner, e.g. the Self, the Power of the Self and the limited individual. When this is explained in this way, the truth is better understood by all these readers. Hopefully you have got my point.
Q: Yes, I got it perfectly. Does the limited individual have “phases”?
A: Yes, you could call them so. First, there are three impurities or causes of limitation. By “impurity”, I am not speaking of something “morally” impure. NO. Purity in Trika implies “unity” and impurity implies “absence of unity”. Hence by the term “impurity” I am specifying that those three things are cause of absence of unity (i.e. duality, difference, separation and so on). And absence of unity implies bondage because of the presence of “another” apart from the Self. The condition of limited individual is then this in which the Self starts to think that there are other selves apart from Himself. And Self-realization occurs when He realizes that He is alone, always engrossed in His own Bliss. This could look like something sad from the viewpoint of some limited individuals: “Oh, He is alone, poor Self!” but this thought is childish, obviously. His solitude is Immense Freedom and Joy beyond human understanding.
I will give names in English to the impurities in order to avoid Sanskrit as much as possible. The first impurity is called “primordial impurity” (Āṇavamala) and generates lack of Fullness. The second impurity is known as “impurity related to differences” (Māyīyamala), which generates duality and differences as its name indicates. The third impurity goes by the name of “impurity related to actions” (Kārmamala) and generates the feeling of “doer”.
As you can clearly see, those impurities are manifestations of the Power of the Self and are destined for creating more and more bondage. First of all, there is the primordial impurity (which cannot be overcome by any effort, i.e. only His Grace is effective in removing it) which is simply the Self’s decision of going crazy. He says: “Now, I will go mad”, and His Power removes His Fullness. When this happens, He is transformed into a limited individual “in his first phase” called vijñānākala (to tell it in English would be pretty long, trust me). When He is in this state, He realizes He is the Self (He has vijñāna), but at the same time He has lost His Power completely (hence He is “akala” or powerless). This first phase of a limited individual is the highest state a limited individual can attain “by himself”, i.e. by his own effort, as it were. It is a temporary phase situated a little above the void of deep sleep, and consequently most of human beings rarely experience it for long enough as to realize they were in such a state. On the contrary, the vast majority of limited individuals are more aware of the second and third phases of the process of limitation.
The second phase is known as pralayākala, when the limited individual continues being powerless (akala) but dwells in the state of void of deep sleep (pralaya). From the viewpoint of the Self, this void comes as a result of the loss of His Fullness, but from the viewpoint of the limited individual, it is a “universal dissolution” or “pralaya“, where the universe is not any more in the form as it was before (as objects, people, etc.). When the Self resides in that state of void, a second impurity appears: impurity related to differences. This impurity is not obvious at that level because the Self has still no universe full of objects, people, etc. to perceive. Therefore, this impurity is there (in the state of void) in a latent form. When the universe full of objects, people, etc. starts to appear during the dreaming state, the impurity related to differences begins to exert its power on the limited individual. Next, when he wakes up, this impurity reaches the peak of dualism, and the conditioned being “believes” that all those objects, people, etc. are “different” from him. Along with the impurity related to differences, a third impurity comes up as well. This impurity is related to actions. Both impurities (the ones related to differences and actions) are in a latent state when the Self is in deep sleep, during the experience of the state of void. However, they are fully active during dreaming and wakefulness.
When the Self as a limited individual starts to dream (when He comes out of the state of void in deep sleep, which is dreamless), He “recovers” an extremely tiny portion of His lost Power. In order to dream He needs a psychic organ (intellect, ego and mind). Next, in wakefulness, ego and mind will generate all the necessary powers in order to manifest body, senses, world, etc. This third phase is known as sakala (with power), because He gets endowed with a minuscule fraction of His Real Power. This sakala is the full-fledged limited individual (or “limited individual” plainly), an invention of His own Power. Every time I spoke about the limited individual in the previous posts, I was referring to sakala mostly, because in the state of void he is inactive, and the first phase (vijñānākala) is practically unknown to most mortals except, maybe, as a concept read from a book dealing with Trika philosophy. So, He accepted extreme limitation at Will. Accordingly, His own Power carried out the process of transformation from the State of the Self endowed with Absolute Freedom and Bliss into the state of the limited individual endowed with bondage and grief. Only His Power can perform such a Monumental Task.
Now, this ridiculous limited individual, completely powerless in comparison to the Absolute Power of the Supreme Self, wants to attain the State of the Self full of Freedom and Joy independently, without any extra help, only by his own efforts… this is also a Joke played by the Power of the Self. Why? Because that limited individual is the universal laughingstock to say the least. So, what will have to happen in order for him to attain Final Liberation? His Grace bestowal, of course, i.e. the Supreme Self telling His Power: “Let him in!” At that time, the very Power of the Self that carried out the Astonishing Task of turning the Supreme Self into a minuscule being, will perform the Twice Astonishing Task of transforming that tiny being into the Supreme Self again. This is always “superhuman”; no limited human being can be effective in attaining Self-realization (complete transformation) without the Grace of the Supreme Self.
This is so obvious that even having to explain seems hilarious. Anyway, the teacher will have to explain it over and over till it forms an impression in the aspirants’ minds. By extreme human effort, one can overcome the last two impurities, but the first one (the primordial impurity) is always removed by His Grace alone. In fact, the magnitude of the effort in order to overcome the last two impurities is so phenomenal that most current aspirants could not make it (remember that their meditation on the Self is in general easily spoiled by an indigestion). Therefore, thank God, they are not bound to do that at this time, because when His Grace removes the primordial impurity, the other two are automatically removed too. This is an actual sample of divine Compassion really. This Compassion is mostly undeserved; almost none of these aspirants on the planet Earth deserve this level of divine Dispensation. It is His Gift always. Why? Because in ancient times, there were many amazing sages performing colossal spiritual tasks but now there are just a few sages appearing now and then. For example, eons ago there were sages that meditated for so long that the entire universe disappeared during its cycles of manifestation and dissolution, and they continued meditating till a new era dawned. Now, all these aspirants are generally taken out of their meditations by a simple indigestion, an inflated bill or similar trifles. Yes, this is the Best Joke ever!
Therefore, He has to be much more compassionate now than before. Without His Grace, the limited individual would be doomed to a life replete with ignorance and obscurity, no doubt. And yes, my explanations might sound dualistic to the ears of the purists in non-dualism, but I need readers to understand my teachings, as I have explained before.
Q: Why did you make that difference between “the viewpoint of the Self” and “the viewpoint of the limited individual”?
A: Because from the Self’s viewpoint, He perceives Himself coming from the Supreme State down to the state of limited individual in wakefulness, passing through deep sleep and dreaming. However, from the viewpoint of a limited individual, he perceives himself going from the state of wakefulness up to the State of the Self, passing through dreaming and deep sleep. Can you understand me?
Q: Yes. And of course, the limited individual is the Self but miniaturized.
A: Yes, he is like an atom in comparison to his immense Lord. In fact, he is called so: “aṇu” (an atom) in the Trika scriptures. How is it possible that the limited individual and the Self are one and the same Reality? This is always superhuman; no human mind can fully understand this because it is inconceivable. For that reason, do not try to understand it by means of your mind because it’s impossible. That truth is finally understood when Self-realization arrives, but Self-realization does not involve a process of thinking but consists of actual recognition of one’s own essential nature..
Oh well, my period in this crazy state of spiritual teacher posting in the blog is coming to an end for this week. I want to return to the full State of the Self so soon as possible because so much philosophy is driving me Mad, hehe. In my next post, I will describe other interesting things about the limited individual and the three impurities that keep him in bondage every day of his short lifetime on the planet. See you soon!