Consciousness Is All There Is

by Astavakra
(South Freemantle, Australia)

Dear Janaka

Thank you for your latest offering, "The Beloved's Cake", which prompted some reflection.

As I am relatively new to your list, I was prompted by your interesting poem to ask what is your
understanding of Reality? Is it essentially a dualistic or non-dual understanding of 'What Is'?

Your poem describes dualistic relationships between the lover and the 'Beloved'. between the eater and the offerer of the cake. Indeed, between the cake and it's layers etc. etc.

This seems to be the position taken by those who pursue the Bhakta path or the way of the Mystic who seeks by utter devotion and surrender to merge with the divine 'Beloved'. As with most dualistic approaches to 'Enlightenment' or Liberation, the way of the Bhahti or Mystic usually entails great effort
over time to attain the desired result.

The non-dual (or Advaitic) approach, on theĀ  other hand, does not demand of us an effort to add more of this or that (cake?) in order to be 'good enough' or to attain a 'state' of so-called 'Enlightenment', but rather to 'see' (insee!) or understand our true nature and the essence of all that is. Was it Ramana Maharshi who said, "Understanding is all"?

When understanding arises, (usually through a radical and sudden shift of consciousness), we see we are not separate from the 'Beloved' nor anything else ... because there is nothing else than Consciousness, the Source that expresses Itself in trillions of forms.

This means, of course, that there can be no choosing between the layers of the cake, because we ARE (to use your words) the sugar, the shit and the heart of the Beloved all in the same instant ... the eternal or timeless Now.

The deep and intuitive understanding of this 'Truth' is profoundly liberating because it means there can be no individual 'doer' either to eat or not to eat, to choose sugar or anything else. There can be no guilt nor pride etc. because no individual 'does' anything ... it just happens ... as part of the cosmic play.

Oh yes, we enter into the spirit of the play, and, as a particular form, we act as if we do have the power of choice, but with the abiding awareness of 'What We Really Are', there is an underlying sense of detachment about the outcomes etc. Peace, joy and love that has no cause is the substratum of our life experience whether that life experience is judged by others as 'happy' or 'sad' etc.

The non-dual approach has been referred to as the pathless path of Jnana and stands in contrast to the dualistic way Bhakta. Ultimately, however, the acceptance of the Jnani and the surrender of the Bhakti lead to the same realization ... that Consciousness is all there is.

In Unicity,

Astavakra (as Peter S.)

Clearsight Counselling & Spiritual Teaching
Pearl Sumner ~ Peter Sumner
PO Box 390, South Fremantle WA 6162, Australia.
Tel: 61-8-9336-4737

Thank you for your question and insights. With all that you have said I agree. There is only That. And 'we' are That. Always have been. Always will be. There is no other.

However, just as I am speaking to you I speak to God, when the desire, the vasana, arises to have such a conversation. Mostly there is a happy Silence between 'us'. Funnily enough, I was visiting a store yesterday and looked at a Ramana book with a quotation over his photo stating basically advaita and dvaita are simply concepts. Nisargadatta said that when there is the world there is love and when not, wisdom, and that he stood in between, if I recall correctly. My stand is that It is all Mystery, beyond words and thoughts. Janaka has tendencies as does everyone else and these are not apart from the Self yet do not touch it. Nothing is Real; only God is Real; All is God; which I see as the paths of Jnana, Bhakti and Karma Yogas respectively. Yet only the mind is busy dividing it all up to discuss in temporal terms. Just as in the poem there is the ignorant one who wants only pleasures, the seeker who is getting tired of all the suffering that is inevitable and finally the liberated one who tastes everything as Happiness. It is all That.

I was talking to a Christian Fundamentalist who said that one either is saved by following Jesus or is lost, just as 2+2=4. There is only one right answer.Yet the equation is really his answer and not the sum; for my response was: what does 4 equal? He said 2+2. I said 6-2. Hell, both our answers were correct. In fact, the correct answers are infinite. So Truth=Bhakti Marga or Jnana Marga or Karma Marga or the infinite number of path humans and perhaps other beings choose. For me, however, most equations seem a lot more complicated and very long. My path, my _expression, includes Jnana in the form of Self-inquiry and dispassion, Bhakti in the form of love and compassion, and Karma in the form of creativity and kindness. Each to their own. After all, regardless the equation both sides of the equal sign are the same.

Another way I look at how I express the Self through Janaka is the same as the ability to speak different languages. I can speak French to a Frenchman, American to one of my compatriots, Australian to you (g'day mate), Advaitin to dispassionate non-dualists, Bhakti to misty-eyed devotees, Karma to busy activists, sports to my son, romance to my lover, metaphysics to an occultist, art to an artist, chant Sanskrit in satsang, and speak numerous other languages. Yet, the Silence is the same with all these people and during all these times. Not one language affects the Silence.

The Jnana is the same with Ramana, Nisargadatta, Rumi, Gautama, Hafiz, Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Ramakrishna, Mohammad, Moses, Plato, Jesus, St. Francis, Meister Eckhardt, Narada, Vasishta, Rama, Krishna, Dattatreya, Ashtavakra, Janaka..........Yet with everyone they expressed It differently. Each spoke a different language.

My poem is simply a love song spoken in the language of Love, because poems happen with me. The words mean nothing. It is simply Love expressing through the Lover to the Beloved. And all is That.

To the Self in you from the Self in me that sees no you and me,



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