Sayujya-mukti and end of individuality of a soul

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    Shanky Worker

    Hello Ashish, Hope you are doing well.

    From my studies of your works so far a soul can be in the following states

    1. Material condition
    2. Deep sleep (voidism)
    3. Brahmaan (self-awake)
    4. Vaikhunta
    5. Goloka

    And you have provided arguments on how each states are more and more superior.

    In one of your blog posts titled, the scientific study of consciousness you write,

    Finally, there is also a relationship of equality which is confused as identity . In this relation, the soul merges into God and loses its identity. This is called the sayujya-mukti.

    Is sayujya-mukti too a temporary state where the soul can fall into material or other liberated states? Or is it a complete annihilation of individuality of a soul (if such a thing is possible because soul is considered to be eternal part and parcel)?

    Shanky Worker

    Thank you Prabhuji

    Ashish Dalela

    Individuality is never annihilated. Individuality means the capacity for choice. The object conception of individuality is false because objects are not conserved. You can assemble a table by aggregating wood pieces and then you can break it again into pieces. Likewise, no individual particle is conserved in atomic theory. These particles can be created and destroyed. So, the materialistic conception of individuality is false. Real individuality pertains to a person, not an object. And each person is eternal. A person is defined by their capacity for choice, and this capacity is also never destroyed.

    However, one can surrender one’s choice in many ways. In the material condition, the person surrenders their choice to the control of mind and body. In the deep sleep condition, the person surrenders their choice by choosing to negate choices. In the self-aware state, the person directs their choice toward themselves. However, the self is not just a whole; it also has parts.

    The self is also an ocean. There are so many things inside the self. During the self-aware state, all those things inside the self are not seen. This is just like seeing the elephant without knowing that it has legs, a trunk, a tail, a stomach, and ears. One of those things inside the self is the Supreme Self. This Supreme Self is like the chairness within the leg of the chair. The chairness is in each leg, for otherwise, we will not be able to say that it is a leg of a chair (not just a plank of wood). Sayujya-Mukti is realizing that I’m the leg, rather than a plank of wood because there is chairness in me.

    Becoming self-aware is like knowing that I’m a plank of wood, and this is called Brahman. And Sayujya-Mukti is realizing that I’m a leg, not just a plank of wood because there is chairness in me. This realization is still incomplete because there is a chair beyond the chairness. The chairness is in each leg, so if we just realize the chairness, we have better understood the self, however, we still don’t know about the chair, beyond the leg. The realization of the chair beyond the self (including the chairness within the leg), then goes through several stages in Vaikuntha and Goloka.

    Thus, there are many stages of knowing the self: (a) an illusion that I’m the body and mind, (b) putting myself to sleep, (c) that I’m separate from the body and mind, without seeing what is inside me, (d) seeing within the self and realizing that I’m defined by the Supreme Self in me but not knowing that this Supreme Self is also outside, and (e) realizing the Supreme Self outside.

    The Lord is realized as something outside where there is a feeling of separation from the Lord. When the soul is merged in the Lord, there is no sense of separation. In Sayujya-Mukti there is a satisfaction that I already have everything. But beyond that stage, there is a realization that although I have the Lord within me, it is not enough to just know what is within me. I also need to know the Lord outside.

    This is just like hunger. If I think about varieties of food, then I will get hungry. Then I cannot satisfy my hunger simply by thinking more and more about food. I have to get food from outside. The same thing applies to self-realization. There is an idea of the Supreme Self in the self. But if I think about this Supreme Self, then I will get so hungry that I will not be satisfied by just thinking of the Lord. Then we will search for the person outside. After seeing Him outside, my thinking will also be enhanced, and when I think again about this inner picture, then I get even more hungry. Hence, self-realization is incomplete without seeing the Lord within. And even that internal vision of the Lord is incomplete unless we realize that the Lord is outside too. That realization in which the Lord is both inside and outside, and each side increases the attraction for the other is complete self-realization.

    The impersonalists don’t have the full realization. They think there is one self, but there is nothing inside the self. So they don’t find the Supreme Self. Then because they don’t think of the Supreme Self, there is no hunger in them to find Him. Hence, that self-realization is called incomplete.

    As regards fall, anyone can fall anytime from any place, if we want that. That fall is extremely rare if there is a feeling of separation in the self from the Supreme Self. But it can happen that we have a sense of separation but we forget that it is the separation from the Lord. We might think that I’m separated from a house, car, wife, children, job, money, prestige, and so on, and we run after these things. We acquire them, but the feeling of separation doesn’t go away. Then we think it will go away if we just put ourselves to sleep. Then we say: If I just absorb the self in the self, it will go away. Then as we absorb in the self, we find that there is a Supreme Self within us. Then we seek Him outside. When we accept that there is a separation, and it is separation from the Lord, then it is perfect. Then we are not denying the reality, and we are not trying to misinterpret or misunderstand it.

    Shanky Worker

    Thank you Prabhuji for your wonderful insights.

    Shanky Worker

    There is one more question for which I need your clarification. The supreme self expands into many souls, spiritual worlds and material worlds. The one has become many. This is the choice of the supreme self. Why? You would say it’s for anandamayo’bhyasat, for practice of enjoyment. This is the justification for the choice. Is this choice & justification of the Supreme self, my choice and justification too, because I am simultaneously one and different from the supreme self? In this case there is a natural love and devotion to the supreme self.

    Ashish Dalela

    There is a difference between choice and intention (or purpose). A hammer is designed for the purpose of being used for hammering a nail, not for cutting wood. If we use that hammer to cut wood, the result will always be suboptimal. We will not use the hammer for the things that it is ideally suited for, and we will use the hammer for things that it is not suited for. However, we can still choose to use the hammer for cutting wood. That will be an ignorant, immoral, and unhappy choice.

    The problem is that we can use a hammer even to cut wood. Therefore, we can say that since a hammer can also be used as a saw, hence, my understanding of the hammer as a saw also works, and what works must also be true. This is what most people are saying: We may be ignorant, immoral, and unhappy, but we are still able to cut wood with a hammer, therefore, my claims must be true. This claim can only be disproven by giving the person a type of wood that cannot be cut.

    Similarly, the soul is meant for the purpose of the Lord’s pleasure. This purpose is different from choice. The purpose is objective, while the choice is subjective. This is why we describe the soul in terms of six aspects—the self (choice), intention, emotion, cognition, conation, and relation. The purpose is the intention. It is not our intention; it is the Lord’s intention, just like when a hammer is designed, it has the designer’s intention. The intention is objectively present in the hammer: It is the intention for the hammer, and (b) it is the intention of the designer.

    When the choice deviates from the intention, then the choice is ignorant, immoral, and unhappy. However, because the choice is different from the intention, therefore, an ignorant, immoral, and unhappy choice can be made. The objective intention for the soul is called the soul’s svarūpa. It is the objective purpose for which the soul was created. If it deviates from that intention, then the results will be suboptimal. But since there is a choice to deviate, the choices can be ignorant, immoral, and unhappy. One can know the svarūpa by finding out the maximum happiness that one can get. If we deviate from that svarūpa, then we will get less than maximum happiness. In this way, we can know our svarūpa by measuring the extent of happiness. Everyone wants to maximize their happiness. So, just by trying to maximize our happiness, we automatically go to the intended svarūpa.

    Thus, Lord Kṛṣṇa states that everyone is following the path toward Me, because they are just trying to maximize their happiness, and eventually they will figure out that their maximum happiness lies in being situated in their svarūpaIt may take a long time if we want to misuse our choice and deviate from the intended purpose, just like using a hammer to cut wood necessarily leads to suboptimal results.

    While you haven’t asked, there is a nuance to this issue that I will note. There are some “gurus” who claim to “give” the soul its svarūpaThey claim that the soul is eternally fallen in this world, so it doesn’t have its svarūpaInstead, the “guru” gives the svarūpa to the soul. This is like saying that God made something without any purpose. It wasn’t a hammer, a screwdriver, a saw, or anything else. It is just something that can be anything because the intention is not an innate part of the soul. This nonsense is called “the soul doesn’t fall from the spiritual world” and “the soul is eternally fallen in the material world”. This is because (a) if it fell, then it has an original svarūpa, (b) the guru has no role in giving the soul a svarūpa, (c) everyone can eventually know their svarūpa by what makes them the happiest, and (d) the guru can only cut the path short by reminding the soul of its svarūpa

    Some gurus like to assign themselves greater importance than they actually have. Instead of saying that this is a hammer, and it is incorrectly being used as a saw, and the correct use would be that of a hammer, they prefer to say “you are nothing and I will make you into something”. This is yet another tendency to play God, where the intention is not objectively present, but given by the guru’s choice.

    Some people may ask: Then why is the soul called nitya-baddha which is translated as “eternally bound soul”? The correct question is: Why is the soul not called cinmaya-baddha or sat-baddha because those will also be translated as “eternally bound soul”? The fact is that an “eternally bound soul” can never be liberated because there is no other meaning of “eternity”. The answer is that nitya means “daily”, as in nitya-kriya or “something that you perform every day”. The concept of nitya is tied to our current conception of cyclical time, and doesn’t mean “eternity”.

    The soul is called nitya-baddha because we cannot trace out the history of the soul’s fall down because the history is based on a memory or something that is recorded as memory, and that history is being continuously erased as we endure the consequences of past choices. If we just fell yesterday, we cannot know for sure it was yesterday because it is possible that we fell a long time ago, but the historical records have been wiped out so there is no way to know when we actually fell.

    Long story short, the soul is nitya-baddha due to the erasure of history, and yet, it has an eternal intentional form called its svarūpa, which can be realized by everyone just based on what makes them the happiest, although that svarūpa can also be indicated by the advanced guru. There is no contradiction between an “eternally bound soul” and the soul having an eternal svarūpa. This is why Srila Prabhupada often used the phrases “Going Back to Godhead” and “being situated in one’s constitutional position” along with “you cannot trace out when you actually fell”.

    Shanky Worker

    Thank you prabhuji.

    Though it cleared some of my doubts, I am still delving into what you wrote.

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