( Another continuation of the discussion about Karma: )
The issue of free will is increasingly looking complex and there seems to be interaction of various influences, some of which are deterministic and conditioned by the lower bodies such as: physical constraints, emotional patterns, attachments, desires etc. Simultaneously, there appears be influences of greater freedom such as the influence of the higher spiritual bodies on the lower ones and any higher dimensional influences the person has access to. The answer doesn’t appear to be black and white or straight forward.
One of the proposed solutions to this paradox, that looks quite sound to me, is the one from Vedanta, where it is said that one can achieve “enlightenment” (whatever that means in the context of any system) within one’s personal dharma. One example is of a butcher who is supposed to be on a very low ladder within the Hindu caste system, yet is able to teach a yogi about subtleties of living the unity with brahman while performing his normal duties, which would usually be considered something that would preclude even a thought of enlightenment of any kind. Bhagavad-gita should also be read from this perspective, as instruction by God that killing, in fact killing one’s relatives in a fratricidal war, is something that should actually not be shunned, but implemented from a position of detachment and surrender of fruits of action to God.
The implications are manifold; for instance, people naturally want to think in terms of hierarchies, and they spend an inordinate percentage of their time and wealth on preening and posturing in society in order to create a picture of themselves as being “well off”, and this obviously extends to “spirituality” as they see it, where you can see all kinds of hierarchical nonsense, where people will try very hard to look humble in order to present themselves as highly spiritual, which is a slightly counter-intuitive form of preening, but preening nevertheless. 🙂 Just check the list of desirable spiritual qualities in one’s spiritual system, and check it against their self-presentation and you’ll get the obvious results. What Vedanta teaches here is that this entire thing completely misses the mark – tantra also states this very clearly, with stories that explain that liberation is more easily achieved by destroying one’s preening social persona by performing outwardly irredeemable deeds – consuming ritually impure substances, having sex with whores and dobis on graveyards and so on.
The lesson is that the connection to brahman exists on a layer that is completely independent to the layer of “purity”, which has a very fortunate consequence of it being accessible from every dharma (mode of life, or “career path” as it would be called today), and the sooner you abandon the pursuit of spirituality as a social status game, the better your chances of divesting your spiritual energy from such a useless effort and achieving actual spiritual breakthroughs. I tried to emphasise this in my first book, the “Approach”, but I’m afraid it went unnoticed.
The implication of this on free will is that this exact part, the “mode of life”, or varna/yati, is the most difficult thing to change and is most resistant to free will, because it consists mostly of immutable properties: where you were born, who were your parents, what one needs to do in this environment to make a living and so on. If this part had to be changed in order to attain a different set of properties and attributes, which is what some religious systems actually advocate, this would instantly take enlightenment out of reach of almost everybody. Also, it would breed a caste of, for all intents and purposes, insufferable assholes who are so incredibly compassionate, good, nonviolent, pure, loving, humble and perfect, they could earn their living by whoring out their lives on Instagram. 🙂 The teaching of both Vedanta and Tantra is that this is not how things work, and spirituality is not a game of virtue signalling, as it was usually assumed, but a matter that doesn’t even have to touch the immutable part of existence that is the most resistant to any kind of actual free will.
However, showing what spirituality isn’t doesn’t go very far in making one understand what spirituality is, so this matter remains open, but with valid warnings about wrong paths. The issue is complicated enough without worrying whether your career is “karmically pure enough”, or some other stupid bullshit.
You see why I have a problem with Vedanta? It’s a simplified system that appears to give answers to all questions, but those answers are always useless poetry and outright wrong – for instance, how does karma actually work or what’s the actual difference between a pashavi and a yogi, and all you get are stories about forgetting one’s true nature and identifying with maya because your soul-mirror doesn’t reflect the One Moon correctly, and so on. Things *obviously* don’t work like that, and the more I was able to “see” the souls directly, the more I saw that the vedantic explanation of “karmic dirt” forming the difference between the souls is outright wrong, and that was before I was aware of the Buddhist explanation. The difference between a pashavi and a yogi isn’t that a pashavi is a yogi plus more karmic dirt, the difference is in orders of magnitude bigger and better organized karmic body. It’s like saying that a Commodore 64 is like a modern computer only impure, or that a frog brain is the same as human brain, only with more impurities. No. 🙂 A karmic body is not “impurities”, it’s, poetically speaking, the best you could do so far in trying to reach God in the relative existence.
Nods. I get the part that kalapas are necessary for God to be able to manifest in the relative world and that a larger more sophisticated and initiated karmic body consisting of greater numbers of Kalapas can manifest more of God in the relative.
To continue on my prior paragraph, this is a very important matter because it is on a completely different dimension of the coordinate system to everything people would normally perceive as being relevant for one’s spiritual stature, because they can measure one’s caste, they can measure whether the words one is using are “spiritual enough”, whether one is “humble enough” and so on, which is why all the fakes are so good as maintaining a spotless outward spiritual persona, to the point where everybody looking “spiritual” is a fake. However, what actually matters is the qualitative and quantitative magnitude of one’s spiritual body, meaning how many kalapas, and in what form. On a result-level, you would perceive this as a difference between someone whose soul is a grey dull astral fog on one end of the spectrum, and someone whose soul looks like something so dense, it immediately “radiates” high spiritual experiences when you actually perceive it directly, and the kalapas are packed so densely and there are so many of them, the phenomenon is for all intents and purposes impossible to describe, because every aspect of it you try to perceive brings you in a different state of darshan of God, or direct I-state of God, the “first person”. The analogy with physical matter would be that a common person is some kind of a coloured vapour, a gaseous cloud, while Krishna or Shiva are of the order of a supermassive black hole that bends space and time into a pretzel, and the inner substance is so densely packed, it goes beyond that in a neutron star, where the neutrons are so densely packed they actually become a stream of quarks and gluons forming something that is closest in structure to a nucleon, only planet-sized, with almost lightspeed-fast currents of quark-gluon plasma under the “surface” that looks like one big neutron. Then you go several levels further into crazy and you get how crazy the spiritual body of a God feels. Insanity is too mild a word to describe it; you can say it’s a relative thing because it has an endpoint in time, in some kind of a space, it has dimensions and you can say it has appearance, and every single, slightest touch of its reality brings you directly into full knowledge that it is the Absolute, endless God, that is One without the other. It’s a paradox, yes, but I already warned against equating paradoxes with illusions.
It’s a paradox, yes, because that’s the word we have for things that exist in apparently contradictory or logically inconsistent ways. Yes, you can say that everything not-God is an illusion, but that would apply perfectly to this place, but in the astral world you would have the light of God shining through many things that retain distinction and individuality, and both distinction and individuality contribute to a complex story, so it would be quite difficult to find “not-God” there. So, the Vedantic story about the world being a mirage, a dream, an illusion, that works perfectly as an explanation for the vast difference in consciousness between samadhi and body-consciousness in this world, but it falls apart very quickly once you get past this world and you still want to know how things work.
Maybe the relative existence including Kalapas themselves are perceived by some people as illusions because they are windows that transmit light and don’t emit light? In that case, the light that one can perceive through the kalapa is the reality, but the kalapa itself is just the instrument and not the source of light? So while one can perceive Gods light shining through kalapas which retain distinction and individuality, one perspective is that they are not reality but windows to reality and everything apart from that reality is an illusion including the kalapas?
I’m not really sure people are perceiving anything regarding kalapas, at all. If anyone perceives anything of the sort, it is some high-level phenomenon, such as the flow of spiritual energy, or a spiritual state of some distinctly energetic kind which can macroscopically be described as astral energy or an entity of some kind. Kalapas are so tiny, I talk about them only because they provide the fundamental theoretical framework on which I can build explanations of other, more perceivable phenomena.
If anything, a kalapa is a relative endpoint of *something*, that would normally need a function consisting of a vast number of such endpoints manifesting on it; for instance, if you want to “play a note” of wisdom-joy in the relative, manifestation of this “note” creates kalapas. If the note is played in a certain way, with “will to persist”, you get an astral being that is a manifestation of wisdom-joy arriving from God, with self-awareness and persistence of being, and you can see this as a process of soul-creation. OK, so if the kalapas are the means of manifesting something infinite and limitless in a finite and constrained coordinate system, is any of this an illusion? I would say that an illusion can happen only in the mind of the observer, who sees this and comes up with the wrong conclusions regarding the nature of the phenomena, but the phenomenon itself, as well as its mechanisms, is quite real, however limited. But there is a big distinction between being limited and being unreal, and also between being impermanent and being unreal.
The other argument is that Kalapas appear to be impermanent and subject to change. I’ve heard of subatomic particles moving in and out of existence, being created and destroyed etc. If reality is defined as something permanent and changeless and kalapas can be created and destroyed then by that definition, they cant be real?
You can have very real yet impermanent phenomena, such as joy. It’s very real when you experience it, and yet it has a beginning and an end in time. The same applies for samadhi and darshan – they are quite real, but since the higher reality intersects your human existence in a time interval, the experience is impermanent.
Personally, I would take an impermanent higher reality over a permanent illusion any day. 🙂
Regarding kalapas possessing the property of distinction, individuality and separate self. Isnt the experience of kalapas having a separate self a result of them being of low quantity and high energy and them moving around all over the place and creating disturbance which creates the illusion of a separate self? However, following from what you wrote earlier, if we have greater numbers of kalapas at sufficient mass and the energy is extracted from them so they become still, then they become that clear mirror that reflects the one moon correctly. This theory seems to reconcile both the Vedantic and Buddhist views in the sense that lower sophisticated, simpler karmic body can be equated to disturbance, chaos, illusion and impurity and higher more sophisticated karmic body is the clear pure mirror or portal to the one-self.
The example with a mirror is a high-level approximation of the wave-function interpretation of the relative consciousness. This makes it useful for making analogies and explanations, and yet the kalapas are the fundamental, quantified basis for all such macroscopic phenomena. Basically, it adds up to what I said before, that your spiritual body, kalapas and all, is the best you could do so far in attempting to reach God and manifesting anything in the relative. That a small soul will represent a lesser achievement compared to a God, goes without saying, and follows directly from the model. However, the state of a lesser soul doesn’t consist of obstacles and impurities – it’s just a less impressive, smaller breakthrough of the immense vastness of God in the relative. This is the part of the relative – you can have less impressive things that are barely anything, and yet the principles and the mechanisms explain the vast black holes of super-consciousness that are the Gods.
There’s another macroscopic reality that would be very hard to describe without the theoretical foundation that is provided by understanding the kalapas, and that is the “spiritual yoga” or “spiritual magic”, however you want to describe it, but that’s another story. You see, that’s another thing Vedanta doesn’t know how to model, because for Vedanta everything is either real or illusory, brahman or maya, but the point where I had to abandon such thinking personally were the descriptions of Krishna in the Bhagavata-purana, which obviously describe a phenomenon that is real on the level on which samadhi and brahman are real, and yet we’re dealing with an obviously relative phenomenon that exists in terms of relative properties that can be described, with limits in space, time and form, for instance. It is somewhere and not somewhere else, and can be experienced at one time and not another. It’s as if the absolute God can manifest a “particle fountain” in the spiritual world that is constrained by the properties of the unmanifested Absolute on the other side, and manifests in the relative all different kinds of “waveforms” that function like a sparkling shower of reality-breakthroughs that rip through the fabric of illusion and whenever each of those particles hits you, it brings you into God. When I talk about spiritual magic, I mean being able to create such breakthroughs at will, and coerce the fabric of the relative reality in order to make it tell a story, the way Shiva’s crown or Krishna’s sudarsana cakra ripple the fabric of reality with their mere existence and manifest an aspect of God in the soul of a beholder.
This is really a vast subject, but it is also hard to describe in any way without resorting to poetry. 🙂