what is jnana?
Jnana is a Sanskrit word. It literally means “to know”. The knowing of Self is called Jnana. In ancient time in India, those who are the knower of Brahman (Self) are called Jnani (knower of Jnana).
In modern times, having Jnana equates with having Self-realization.
To put simply: Jnana = Direct intuitive knowledge of Self (Self-realization/Enlightenment/God Consciousness/ Full Nondual awakening).
In Levels of Consciousness terminology, when a seeker stabilized in LOC 1000, he attains Jnana (knowledge of the Self), as at this stage, his individual self or separate self (ego sense) totally merges with Primordial Self (the Divine “I”)
what is Vijnana?
Vijnana is a specialized kind of Jnana. Vijnana is what makes Self-realization or Enlightenment “tastier”. While Jnana is all about realizing “Who am I”, the Vijnana is all about applying this knowledge in everyday life.
If enlightenment is raw meat, then Vijnana is the marinating substance that makes enlightenment so rich and life affirming.
If enlightenment or Jnana is realizing the Self (or God), then Vijnana is building greater intimacy or rapport with that Self (God).
If Jnana is discovering the Divine Light as your core or essence, then Vijnana is falling with that Divine Light, again and again.
Jnana is attaining bodhi (full awakening), and Vijnana is what a Bodhisattva does.
Jnana is the standard term for the highest kind of knowledge: not scholarship or book-learning but direct knowledge of God, spiritual wisdom. If we take jnana in this sense, we are not left with an obvious meaning for vijnana, a “more intense kind of jnana.” Ramakrishna takes vijnana to mean an intimate, practical familiarity with God, the ability to carry through in daily affairs with the more abstract understanding that is jnana. (1)
Jnana is to come under the magnetic influence of God and Vijnana is getting magnetically attached to God. Jnana is to know that God exsits by one’s inner experience; Vijnana is to communicate and relate to God as a slave, a servant, a child, a friend, a spouse, and a devotee. (2)
Ramakrishna Paramahansa, the famous Indian Bengal sage from 19th Century, is often credited for revitalizing the concept of Vijnana. He repeatedly emphasized the importance of having Vijnana throughout his life.
ramakrishna's view on vijnana
Vijnana means knowledge with a greater fullness. Some have heard of milk, some have seen milk, some have drunk milk. He who has only heard of it – is ignorant; he who has seen it – is Jnani; but he who has drunk it – has vijnana, that is to say, he has fuller knowledge of it. (3)
What is vijnana? It is knowing God in a special way. The awareness and conviction that fire exists in wood is jnana, knowledge. But to cook rice on that fire, eat the rice, and get nourishment from it is vijnana. To know by one's inner experience that God exists is jnana. But to talk to Him, to enjoy Him as Child, as Friend, as Master, as Beloved, is vijnana. The realization that God alone has become the universe and all living beings is vijnana. (4)
First of all you must discriminate, following the method of 'Neti, neti': 'He is not the five elements, nor the sense-organs, nor the mind, nor the intelligence, nor the ego. He is beyond all these cosmic principles. You want to climb to the roof; then you must eliminate and leave behind all the steps, one by one. The steps are by no means the roof. But after reaching the roof you find that the steps are made of the same materials — brick, lime, and brick-dust — as the roof. It is the Supreme Brahman that has become the universe and its living beings and the twenty-four cosmic principles. (5)
After attaining vijnana one can live in the world as well. Then one clearly realizes that God Himself has become the universe and all living beings, that He is not outside the world.(6)
To put simply:
Vijnana = Immersive and more intimate experience of Self (God) + Wisdom that arise from the practical application of Self-realization+ spontaneous desire to serve others.
Ramakrishna also called Vijnana as “knowledge with greater fullness”. To me, it is as same as wholehearted living. The word “wholehearted” means being enthusiastic, passionate, unreserved, and total. To me, getting in touch with Vijnana means totally opening myself up, unreserved, to the life itself while maintain my passion and enthusiasm for the Self (God).
Therefore, I can say something like this:
VIJNANA = WHOLE-HEARTED LIVING
Vijnana comes from an immersive and more intimate experience of Self (God)
The ability to see everything as one's very own Self is enlightenment or Jnana. A Self-realized being sees Self (God) in everything.
Everything is consciousness. Everything is God. This is the inner experience of a Jnani (the one who has Jnani).
On the other hand, the ability to relate to that God as one's father, mother, brother, sister, friend, mentor or teacher is Vijnana.
Jnana is realizing and experiencing “what is”.
Vijnana is developing an unending intimacy with “what is”.
A Vijnani (Sage with Vijnana) develops the ability to see anything and everything as emanations of God. Whatever is out there - whether seen or not, whether gross or subtle, whether with or without form - all are expressions and emanations of one God.
Some nondual traditions argue that Self (Brahman or the Absolute or Primordial Consciousness) alone is real and the rest is unreal or less than real. Nondual traditions like Advaita posit such views. Here, God is utterly transcendental, formless being. Some traditions see God as both personal and impersonal; that the impersonal God emanates himself into infinite categories of subjects and objects. Here, God is both diversity and singularity. Kashmir Shaivism is an example of such spiritual traditions. On the other hand, there are some traditions that believe in absolute distinction between God and man - that God can’t be man because he is infinite, whereas man can’t realize God because man is finite - the exact opposite of God. There are dualistic schools who hold this view, and are in sharp contrast with that of nondual schools.
For Vijnani, there is no so such issue as he simultaneously reveres God as personal, impersonal, immanent and transcendental.
A Vijnani has nondual realization and thus he knows God as formless Primordial Consciousness. He sees God everywhere, whether it is a rock, a tree, an animal or a human being. He finds God within himself as he finds God within others.
And yet, he has no problem revering that formless Primordial Consciousness as his own personal God (such as Shiva, Shakti, Krishna etc.) and building a devotional relationship with that personal God. In this way, he develops a deeper level of intimacy with God (Self).
The Vijnani doesn’t see any difference between God’s “Being” (the Absolute) and "Becoming" (the relative). To him, being + becoming points out the same reality.
A Vijnani has the ability to relate to God from both nondual and dual perspectives. He knows he is the Self, the formless Brahman. But the Vijnani can also relate to God in a more personal and intimate; albeit in a dualistic way. In this way, he sees God as his father, mother, brother, sister, friend, mentor or teacher. In short, the Vijnani is a nondualist and at the same time, perhaps paradoxically, he can also worship the highest divinity as if belongs to a dualistic spiritual tradition.
A Vijnani is a Jnani who is deeply, madly in love with God (The Absolute) and God’s emanations (the relative / the manifested world).
With deep love, comes the natural longing for surrender and intimacy for the Divine. Because of this love and surrender, the Vijnani achieves a greater level of intimacy and immersive experience with God that is even hard for other enlightened sages to encapsulate.
Masters of Nonduality and Devotion
There are many masters (and well as mythical legends) throughout history who both realize Jnana and Vijnana. They don't see any difference between Self-knowledge and devotion to personal God (called Ishta Devata or cherished divinity). For example:
Abhinavagupta – Master of Nondual Kashmir Saivism and a great devotee of Shiva
Abhinavagupta was an outstanding master of Trika Shaivism and wrote as many as 41 texts. Some of his books are encyclopedic in nature. His magnum opus is Tantraloka which contains the philosophy and practice of Trika Shaivism in 37 chapters.
In spite of being a master of nonduality, Abhinavagupta was also known to be an ardent devotee of Shiva. He wrote many devotional poems that reflects his yearning and devotion for God.
Hanuman - The Devotee of Rama who lifted an entire mountain for his master
Once Lord Rama asked Hanuman - “How do you look upon me?”
Hanuman, in response to Rama’s question, gave an incredibly insightful answer:
“When I believe I am the body, then I am your faithful servant. When I know I am the soul, I know myself to be a spark of your eternal Light. And when I have the vision of truth, you and I, my Lord, are one and the same.”
Hanuman had nondual realization, and yet he is famous for his incredible devotion to Lord Rama. He lifted an entire mountain for Rama, traveled thousand miles to seek Rama’s abducted wife Sita and once ripped his heart open to show that, Lord Rama and Sita, literally were sitting in his heart. He was a Vijnani of legendary level, as he had devotion, intimacy as well as nondual realization of the Divine. He was already abiding in Self, and yet was ever ready to serve his Lord.
Ramakrishna - The One who saw God through all paths and religions
Ramakrishna had some incredible achievements that is very had to eclipse. He realized Self through the path of devotion and self-knowledge (Advaita). However, he also practiced path of Tantra and Vedanta. He even had profound spiritual experience practicing techniques from Sufism and Christianity. However, he always recommended that the path of devotion as according to him it is the easy path.
"Do you hear how melodious that music is? One player is producing only a monotone on his flute, while another is creating waves of melodies in different ragas and raginis. That is my attitude. Why should I produce only a monotone when I have an instrument with seven holes? Why should I say nothing but, 'I am He, I am He'? ..... I want to call on God through all the moods- through santa, dasya, sakhya, vatsalya, and madhur. I want to make merry with God. I want to sport with God." (7)
Vijnana is the wisdom that arises from the practical application of Self-realization
After Self-realization, the sage needs to apply his spiritual understanding in his daily conduct. This is his way of “becoming”.
If enlightenment is a way of “being-ness”, then the daily life presents opportunity for the sage to “become”. Being and becoming is not contrary, rather they are the two sides of the same coin; and the coin is God.
So jñāna knowledge, first knowledge, is what is God, what is God and what is my relation with Him. This is knowledge. Then you... When you act according to that knowledge, that is vijñāna. That is bhakti (8)
After Self-realization, the sage needs to apply his spiritual understanding in his daily conducts. This is his way of “becoming”.
Some sages find it relatively easy to integrate their enlightened state with their day to day life.
Some other sages, however, find it a bit difficult to integrate their spirituality with their ordinary life due to their deeply ingrained negative beliefs. These sages find it quite difficult to overcome these negative patterns even in their post enlightened life. They tend to default back to myopic thinking instead of adopting liberating perception in their everyday life.
Whether this process would be easy or difficult, all depends on the wisdom of the sage.
To put simply, to integrate enlightenment with your very life requires a certain level of “wisdom”
Enlightenment may happen in an instant. But wisdom, on the other hand, is an incremental process, happening overtime across your entire lifetime.
So, what’s this wisdom?
Wisdom arises when you are living from inside out, meaning when your ordinary daily life is imbued with your spiritual realization.
Wisdom arises when you deeply contemplate your everyday experience from your awakened perspective.
Enlightenment without wisdom is like fire without heat. The extraordinary potency and transformative possibility of the marvelous enlightened state will simply be absent without wisdom.
If the many and the One be indeed the same Reality, then it is not all modes of worship alone, but equally all modes of work, all modes of struggle, all modes of creation, which are paths of realisation. No distinction, henceforth, between sacred and secular. To labour is to pray. To conquer is to renounce. Life is itself religion. To have and to hold is as stern a trust as to quit and to avoid.
One way to determine how integrated you have been after your enlightenment is to observe your inner reaction when dealing with people in your day-to-day life.
As you can see, most ordinary folk will not care about spirituality, let alone enlightenment. The vast majority of people lives below LOC 500, and therefore, they are not mature enough to take spirituality seriously. These people are the litmus tests for your integration level. How do you see or behave around this people? Do you think yourself holier than them? Do you think yourself “purer” or more “enlightened” than them? Are you bothered by the fact that these people don’t give a damn about you or your spiritual level? If these people or the world starts bothering you, then you haven’t fully integrated your enlightenment knowledge into your everyday life.
There is no shortcut to fully integration of enlightenment into your life. You have to give yourself enough time, which is usually 6 -12 months into your Post 1000 life. After this period, you will realize by yourself that you’ve gained so much wisdom interacting with the world. If you don’t embrace the world, with all of its flaws and peculiarities, you’ll become like a cave dwelling Monk who is enlightened but don’t see the value of our imperfect world.
Remember: As long as you are bothered by this world, you are still habitually clinging to duality. The world and its people, no matter how bothersome, are your very own Self.
How to Access Wisdom: Perspective From Kashmir Shaivism
To access this wisdom, the sage needs to orient himself with the seemingly dualistic way of life. This orientation process has many names.
Christopher D. Wallis calls this process as “recalibration” in his book “The Recognition Sutras” (which is a translation and commentary of “Pratyabhijñā-hṛdaya” by Kshemaraja, a legendary master in Kashmir Shaivism)
…..we have to overcome our ingrained tendency to identify with a tiny portion of the whole, a portion called ‘me’—a tendency reinforced over countless lifetimes. Ultimately.....everything has to be re-seen and recalibrated in light of your essence-nature……once you have recognized what you are, then everything that was previously experienced in the dualistic mode of being must be re-seen as an expression of what you are, then it is recalibrated and integrated. (9)
.....whatever one notices—the sensations of the body, an emotion arising (such as sadness at the experience ebbing away), a thought arising (“Have I lost it?”) or an ordinary perception—should be seen as further expressions of that same unitary Awareness..... A gentle effort is necessary here, a firm intention to see whatever arises or whatever you notice as an expression of that same Awareness, a vibration of that same Energy, an extension of that same state. (10)
Chogyam Trungpa emphasized acceptance and openness in everyday situation in order to acquire wisdom:
The everyday practice is simply to develop a complete acceptance and openness to all situations and emotions and to all people, experiencing everything totally without mental reservations and blockages, so that one never withdraws or centralizes onto oneself.
This produces a tremendous energy which is usually locked up in the processes of mental evasion and generally running away from life experiences.
Clarity of awareness may in its initial stages be unpleasant or fear inspiring. If so, then one should open oneself completely to the pain or the fear and welcome it. In this way the barriers created by one's own habitual emotional reactions and prejudices are broken down.
When performing the meditation practice one should get the feeling
of opening oneself out completely to the whole universe with absolute
simplicity and nakedness of mind, ridding oneself of all "protecting"
The continual stream of new discovery and fresh revelation and inspiration which arises at every moment is the manifestation of the eternal youth of the living dharma and its wonder, splendor, and spontaneity are the play or dance aspect of the universe as guru.
Learn to see everyday life as a mandala in which one is at the center, and be free of the bias and prejudice of past conditioning, present desires, and future hopes and expectations. (11)
Sometimes people find that being tender and raw is threatening and seemingly exhausting. Openness seems demanding and energy-consuming, so they prefer to cover up their tender heart. Vulnerability can sometimes make you nervous. It is uncomfortable to feel so real, so you want to numb yourself. You look for some kind of anesthetic, anything that will provide you with entertainment. Then you can forget the discomfort of reality. People don’t want to live with their basic rawness for even fifteen minutes……For the warrior, fearlessness is the opposite of that approach. Fearlessness is a question of learning how to be. Be there all along: that is the message.
How to access wisdom: advice from Tibetan Master
How to Access Wisdom: Advice From Lord Krishna
I believe Christopher D. Wallis’ process of recalibration and Chogyam Trungpa’s advice of complete openness can also be realized by those who are more of a devotional type and have acquired developed one pointedness and faith in their chosen form of God.
I call it taking refuge to God; because it is exactly that. It is constant mindfulness of God’s divine nature within you and around you. This is the highest form of worship - seeing everything as expressions and emanations of God as God by God. Everything, however crude or subtle, is simply infinite permutations and combinations of God’s energy.
In Bhagavad Gita, Krishna called it as offering to God and taking refuge in God.
What is offering to God? Is it limited to praying few times a day? Is it limited to offering fruits and Tulsa leaves to God in the temple? No, when Krishna told us about offering, he was talking about remembering God at every step of the way.
Krishna talked about the process of fixating one’s attention to one’s Self throughout the Bhagavat Gita. The following verses should give some idea on how to follow this process, from beginning to end.
He who meditates on the Supreme Personality of Godhead, his mind constantly engaged in remembering Me, undeviated from the path, he, O Partha [Arjuna], is sure to reach Me. (12)
Engage your mind always in thinking of Me, offer obeisance and worship Me. Being completely absorbed in Me, surely you will come to Me. (13)
The steadily devoted soul attains unadulterated peace because he offers the result of all activities to Me; whereas a person who is not in union with the Divine, who is greedy for the fruits of his labor, becomes entangled. (14)
Gradually, step by step, with full conviction, one should become situated in trance by means of intelligence, and thus the mind should be fixed on the Self alone and should think of nothing else. (15)
Such a liberated person is not attracted to material sense pleasure or external objects but is always in trance, enjoying the pleasure within. In this way the self-realized person enjoys unlimited happiness, for he concentrates on the Supreme. (16)
For one who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me, I am never lost, nor is he ever lost to Me. (17)
How to speed up the integration process: overcoming resistance to “what is”
The realization of Unity consciousness means realizing that, even though we see multitude of subjects and objects, they are unified under "ONE" consciousness. Another way of saying is that the perceiver, the perceived and the process of perception are entirely made of consciousness and happen within consciousness.
This ‘ONE” consciousness is your core. It is God. It is God who has woven himself into every fabric of your being as your core.
You can speed up the integration process if you learn to see that whatever is arising in your experience is nothing but infinite permutations and combinations of God’s energy, arising in your experience as God. We label our thoughts and emotions as good or bad, in reality, they are different types of energy coming from God. It is the brain that labels them as good as bad.
Look at the sky. The sky will always have white clouds and dark clouds. Do you stop living just because there will be dark clouds in rainy seasons? No. Because we know the nature of dark clouds and we know that they are "seasonal". They come and go. You embrace the rainy season by keeping an umbrella handy.
In the same way, learn to see every arising as God and embrace them without wanting them to be something different than what they are.
Exercise: Overcoming negative emotions
All emotions are felt somewhere in your body. For example, sometimes fear can be felt in your stomach, or in your chest area. Sometimes fear can be felt as a migraine or headache. You must become aware how are you feeling fear in your body.
When you have detected negative emotion in your body, imagine this emotion as a big ball of energy.
Now, jump right into this ball of energy. As if you are diving into swimming pool, imagine you are diving into this big ball of energy.
As you continue to do this, you would notice that even negative emotions are actually nothing but energetic manifestations of God. Negative or positive, all emotions are energetic movement happening within your body.
When you examine any negative emotion that way, it will dissolve automatically. You are no longer trying to hide, suppress or running away from fear; on the contrary, you are examining it by diving right into it. When you do that, negative emotions will dissolve automatically.
Your ordinary and mundane life is also a Godly life: Five Divine actions of the Highest Divine
In Kashmir Shaivism, it is said that the Highest Divine who creates, maintains and destroys the entire universe is the same divine who works as you and through you to create, maintain and destroy your own inner universe. In addition, he is the one who bestows grace and he is also the one who gives you momentary forgetfulness of your true nature.
These five things, creation, maintenance or preservation, dissolution, grace and forgetfulness, constitute five divine actions of Highest divine.
Your own inner universe contains the moment to moment experience of your thoughts, sensations, emotions etc arising within your consciousness. All those things linger within your consciousness for a few moments and eventually they disappear within your consciousness.
According to Kashmir Shaivism, it is Shiva himself who is creating those thoughts, sensations, emotions etc within your consciousness. In this way, Shiva is acting as a creator of your moment to moment experiences.
It is he who sustains those experiences within your consciousness as consciousness. This is his act of maintenance at an individual level.
When you experience a thought (or a sensation or an emotion), after a while, it dissolves into your consciousness. Why? Because Shiva, by his divine power, devours or gulps whose experiences within his being.
Thus he becomes the lord of your own inner universe (at the individual level), just like he has already become the lord cosmos.
It is amazing that, even at individual level, Shiva works as you and through you all the time. Whether you are unliberated or illuminated, Shiva is ceaselessly performing those functions as you through you.
The very same divinity who manages the entire cosmos is the same divinity that becomes embodiment beings. Not only that, that divinity becomes the moment to moment experiences of those embodied beings.
The only difference between cosmic Shiva and embodied Shiva is the scope of work. The embodied Shiva is restricted by time, space and many other things whereas cosmic Shiva doesn’t bound by any restrictions.
However, even this restriction (such as a human body being limited by time and space, a human body being subject to birth and death etc) are nothing but Shiva’s own manifestations. Shiva is imposing these limitations upon himself as an embodied being.
This is a divine play of Shiva. The unlimited one appears to be momentarily limited and yet he remains forever unlimited.
Therefore, all those things that make up what we call life are nothing but an expression of God.
When you actually internalize this truth, you will be able to let go of your trying to control your life.
You will be able to let go of your sufferings quickly, even though you may not always avoid pain.
You will be able to let go of your grasping. You will stop looking for bliss and never ending happiness.
Instead, you will find equanimity and peace within yourself no matter what happens with your life. Bliss and happiness may come and go, and you will be perfectly fine whether those things present in your life or not at any given moment.
Experiencing the Divine from inside-out and outside in: Email from one of my students
One of my students once emailed me (she was at LOC 970 at the moment she wrote this email to me) describing her embodied experience of the divine. She was experiencing the divine from “Inside-out”. I am quoting some portions of that email because I very much liked the way she described her experiences:
I found out that I feel safest when I really drop into the body (be there pain or not) and fall ... fall in love with myself. The Self. Which is equal to God or the Divine. From there, many times the apparent limitations of the body open up and the whole world is contained within. Or rather: the whole universe. Boundlessness within the boundaries of my body. The opposite of “spacing out". Present. Here. Contained.
But the same student also described another kind of awakening experience, which I believe an “outside-in” way to experience the same divine. I don’t see any contradiction with her preceding statement. Though, I do admit most people tend to express their Self-realization exclusively through one way, either it is “inside-out” or “outside-in”
However, I believe those who can experience their divine Self in both ways (“inside-out” or “outside-in”) will have rather smooth ride to integration.
Now the other experiences are starting to happen again, which I believe are the same but appear just like its opposite: I watch myself or the "little self" (the body-mind-system) from the outside, being basically the expanded Benevolent Presence that is like wrapped around the "little me". Or let's say, that contains it as well as everything else. And that uses these eyes to watch trough, these ears to hear through etc.
The last two functions of Shiva (grace and forgetfulness) are more important to you than you think
The state of forgetfulness (unenlightenment) of embodied beings is also a function of Shiva. In converse, in the state of liberation, he graces the beings with the knowledge of Self. Both delusion and illumination are caused by no other than the Shiva.
However, the act of grace and forgetfulness of Shiva is not at all limited to spiritual context. The act of grace and forgetting is equally applicable to our day to day life.
Feeling spacious and open or feeling low and constricted are all plays of God who plays as you and through you
If you observe closely, you will see that our ordinary and mundane day to day life consists of mainly two states:
An effortless, zen like “in the zone” state where life is okay and you are generally happy and peaceful. You feel stress free and in harmony with your moment to moment experiences. You feel some sorts of equanimity and spaciousness within you.
A constricted state, where you’re constantly switching between these two polarities: attraction and aversion. In this state, sometimes you gravitate towards something because you think the object of your desire will make you happy. Conversely, you try to run away from something that you are averse to. For example, in your workplace, you tend to mix with someone you like. On the other hand, you tend to distance from someone whom you don’t like, even if the person is basically a good person.
Whether you are feeling spacious or constricted, liberated or chained, all states are manifestations of God.
If you are feeling spacious and if your life is going smoothly; this is because the core of your being, which is consciousness, is unobstructed and flowing freely through you and as you.
In this state, Unity consciousness effortlessly prevails. On the other hand, Ordinary consciousness, where subject-object duality predominates, recedes.
This state is being called as a result of Shiva’s grace (or grace of unity consciousness)
On the flip side, if you are feeling constrained (because of negative emotions or life circumstances for example), this means your essential nature is being veiled. Veiling occurs when you momentarily forget your true nature. This momentary forgetting or veiling or covering is also a divine play of Shiva.
While under the influence of momentary forgetfulness, Unity consciousness takes a back seat and ordinary consciousness predominates (even if it is for short amount of time).
How this information is useful in day to day context?
This information is incredibly useful if you realize that everything you perceive in your consciousness is a unique pulsation of the highest divine. It is THAT highest divine that creates, maintains and dissolves those perceptions within you.
And as the consciousness itself, Shiva is the one who perceive those perceptions.
This is another way of saying that age old truth - the perception and the perceiver is one.
And who is this Shiva? It's you. You are a unique emanation of Shiva himself appearing as an embodied being.
Therefore, each perception reveals the incredible closeness of Divine. God is not further away; as he can be found in the very same perception you are having right now.
Therefore, each perception gives us the opportunity to relish the unity consciousness. Every perception is a God perception. Every moment is a God moment.
By recognizing this, you can turn every moment into a contemplation of the Divine.
This is why my Guru often proclaims- this is It. This moment is It.
Conversely, if you are habitually clinging to your perception without sensing the underlying unity behind those, it is very likely that are going to be afflicted by your own perception. This is temporary veiling or forgetfulness of your unitary nature.
In other words, every perception (whether you perceive them as good, bad or neutral) is coming from Shiva and is being relished by none other than Shiva. And who is this Shiva? It’s you.
And while Shiva is busy jumping from one perception to another, what’s happening to you? You remain as you are – Shiva. You don’t stop being who you are just because you are going through ups and downs of life.
Knowing this, you have the freedom to maintain your equanimity and sanity.
be willing to not give any label to any experience
The best way to apply the knowledge of self-realization in everyday life.. is this:
TRY TO ACCEPT WHATEVER ARISING IN YOUR EXPERIENCE WITHOUT LABELING IT.
Experience the "heated" energy of anger without grasping the label -"anger" or any concept or belief associated with the label "anger".
Experience the "sweet" energy of joy without grasping the label -"JOY" or any concept or belief associated with the label "Joy".
Experience the "confusing" energy of confusion without grasping the label -"confusion" or any concept or belief associated with the label "confusion"
Experience whatever arising in your experience as a materialization of Goddess Shakti (the Primordial energy of Primordial Consciousness) without grasping all the labels that your brain tries to give as soon as Goddess Shakti arises in your consciousness. The default mode of operation of your brain is such that it will objectify anything and everything.
**Nonduality cartoon by Bob Seal, available here:
Experience whatever is arising in your experience as a materialization of Goddess Shakti (the Primordial energy of Primordial Consciousness) without grasping all the labels that your brain tries to give as soon as Goddess Shakti arising in your consciousness. Your brain is a machine of objectification. It will objectify and label everything as good, bad etc. Always focus your attention on the energy that is arising in your experience rather than the "labels" that your come up with. Instead of getting caught up with the contents of your experience, become fascinated with experience itself. What is the texture of the energy that you're feeling right now? Does it feel shallow or spacious? Does it move around quickly as if it's causing your heart palpates more? or does it have felt good vibe in it?
When you look into your experiences as manifestations of energies (of God) and when you observe those energetic aspect of your experience with an inquisitive and wondering mind (as if you are seeing the naked body of your lover for the first time, and you are paying attention to every nook and alley of the body of your lover. Your eyes are feasting on every detail of every curve of her body like you've never seen a naked female body before), the concreteness of that energy will loosen up and dissipate with grace.
Vijnana comes from the feelings of genuine love and compassion as well as a spontaneous desire to serve others
This is the gist of all worship — to be pure and to do good to others. He who sees Shiva in the poor, in the weak, and in the diseased, really worships Shiva; and if he sees Shiva only in the image, his worship is but preliminary. He who has served and helped one poor man seeing Shiva in him, without thinking of his caste, or creed, or race, or anything, with him Shiva is more pleased than with the man who sees Him only in temples.
An important marker of Vijnana is when the sage starts experiencing the finer qualities of a human being – authentic compassion and deep heart-felt love for others. This often leads the sage to the service of others. The sage wants to serve others not because he thinks the world is imperfect and needs to be redeemed by him; rather he views service to others as a way to worship the divinity that resides within him and the others.
This manifestation of good qualities is a natural consequence of the maturation of sage’s consciousness. A Self-realized being is an innate channel of God’s effusive energy. God is an infinite reservoir of love and compassion. Over time, the sage achieves greater proficiency in channeling this love and compassion from God. When love and compassion for others permeates his entire being, he is ready to serve others without any selfish agenda or motives.
Ramakrishna always instructed his disciples to serve other sentient beings as if they are serving God himself. One of his most famous declarations (which he originally said in Bengali) was:
“Jive daya noy, Shiv gyane jiv seba"
(Not kindness to living beings, but serving the living being as Shiva Himself).
It’s said that the entire philanthropic work carried out by Swami Vivekananda, who was the chief disciple of Ramakrishna, was influenced by that teaching by Ramakrishna.
However, authentic love and compassion can’t be forced. Just because a person is enlightened or self-realized, that doesn’t mean he can summon these qualities on demand out of moral obligation and duty. These finer qualities have to be arisen within himself as a natural expression of God as God. Nonetheless, until these qualities arise spontaneously, the sage needs to keep reminding himself of his realization – that everything is his very own Self and there are no others except God.
The point is not to want to benefit anyone or make them happy. There is no audience involved, no ‘me’ and ‘them.’ It is a matter of an open gift, complete generosity without the relative notions of giving and receiving. That is the basic openness of compassion: opening without demand. Simply be what you are, be the master of the situation. If you will just ‘be’ then life flows around and through you.
Chapter 7, page: 147, The Bhagavad Gita, Eknath Easwaran, 2nd Edition.
The Bhagavad-Gita: Translation and Commentary by Veeraswamy Krishnaraj)
“The Recognition Sutras” (kindle edition) by Christopher D. Wallis, Chapter 16
“The Recognition Sutras” (kindle edition) by Christopher D. Wallis, Chapter 16
The Collected Works Of Chogyam Trungpa, Volume One, (Pg. 461 – 464), Edited By Carolyn Rose Gimian