Reader comment on Gunilla Norris's passage ...

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    On May 25, 2011 Somik Raha wrote:

    Very interesting thoughts from Ganoba. It brought up for me the notion of levels of awareness. At a gross level, I live in a dual world, where I am not you and you are not me. At a subtle level, my sharp dual boundaries blur, and this is where I start noticing paradoxes. At an undifferentiated level, there are no boundaries, and I cannot ask any rational questions, because there is no "I" to begin with.

    While some philosophies advocate for the undifferentiated level as the elixir of human achievement, I find a lot more depth in India's ancient Upanishads that makes me think twice before making a black-and-white judgment. For instance, the Isha Upanishad has the following in it (verse 9, quoting Aurobindo's translation):


    Into a blind darkness they enter who follow after the Ignorance, they as if into a greater darkness who devote themselves to the Knowledge alone.


    This is one of the most mysterious verses that unpacks its meaning when examined in the three dimensions of reality. The Vedas call all rational pursuits "avidya" or "ignorance," including the Vedas themselves, ascribing rationality to the gross level. :) Knowledge, or "vidya," is about direct experience, and exists at the level of undifferentiated reality. The subtle realm is where we dance from one to the other - there is nothing supernatural about it, or as Chris would say, it is "super" natural. Whenever we've felt love for someone, we've reached though the gross and into the undifferentiated. 

    What this sloka seems to be saying is that those who pursue gross reality (which also includes intellectual spiritual inquiry, such as this comment) are in darkness. And those who pursue undifferentiated reality (direct experience) are in even greater darkness! How can that be? That can only be if the underlying reality (or darkness) between the gross and the undifferentiated are one and the same, and it is a deep mistake to think one is different from the other. As Tagore so explicitly states in his poetry, there is no meaning in undifferentiated reality were it not for the gross.

    On that note, when I was bringing Prof. Howard over to last Wednesday's guest talk, he commented, "Even reading the most boring book in the world is more interesting that being God." "God" is the term many cultures have ascribed to undifferentiated reality, and in that light, there is just infinite potential, but no expression. 

    In summary, the mind that perceives paradoxes is just as right as the mind that perceives duality, as the mind that does not exist. Time for a good laugh now. :)

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