On restrictive theory

(I’m forwarding a part of a very interesting private discussion I had with Robin, because I think it might be useful to more people)

robin wrote:

I agree, the self realised state appears to be normal once the body is removed, this is also reinforced by many NDE experiences. In that sense, its not an achievement or anything special and I’m not sure how useful it is for the soul to manifest it while in physical form. It would definitely improve the pleasantness of ones physical existence, make life here more bearable and change ones physical perspective. However, if the goal is to become self realised and everything is already self realised once the body is removed than how can it be of any value to the soul? Maybe the goal is manifesting the self realised state by overcoming the physical limitations and attaining liberation but somehow it doesn’t feel like the point of it. On some deeper level we must be each trying to achieve something specific which is lacking and gain experience, wisdom and refinement of qualities.

Yes, that’s my line of thinking as well. Remove the body and suddenly both a flower a saint and a god are “self realized”, but then there’s the obvious difference between them. The only thing Vedanta has to offer is “a flower will need to be *more* self-realized”, but it’s a completely hollow argument that shows the inherent weakness of the philosophy, because it has only the atma-brahma-jnana card to play as the explanation for all the problems and quantitative differences, and once that is removed, it has nothing. That’s actually something I noticed in 1994 when I was in samadhi; that there is an obvious difference between a saint and God, and it was obvious that the answer wasn’t that the God was in samadhi more, or that he removed some remainder of duality and what not. It’s something else, and it was a mystery to me. The second mystery were the descriptions of God in Bhagavata-purana, that looked like descriptions of name and form, which Vedanta would dismiss outright as mere limitations upon brahman, but they obviously weren’t limitations, but somehow God-aspects; relative and Absolute both, in a strange way that created relative divine presence phenomena, similar to how Buddhism would explain Dakinis, something that exists in a superposition state between nirvana and samsara. I incrementally introduced non-vedantic elements to explain reality, because Vedanta simply lacked cognitive instruments for processing the actual empirical evidence that I gathered, and it’s not that I just replaced Vedanta with Buddhism, because I find most interpretations of Buddhism lacking and unsatisfactory; however, the part of Buddhism that deals with high-energy spiritual states, such as the elements, vajra, dakinis, bodhisattva-states etc., corresponds very closely to my experiences and I found it very useful for modelling, in combination with the aspect of Hinduism that describes the Gods. Combining the descriptions of Vishnu and Shiva, for instance, with the understanding of how vajras and dakinis work, and then understanding that Self-realization is the underlying current somewhere in all that, not some generic emptiness Buddhism keeps harping about, well, it creates a much better framework.

robin wrote:

danijel wrote:

Yes, Self-realization is probably one of the “names of God”, or at least that seems to be the effect of darshan of God. However, I keep being bothered by the fact that Vedanta collimates the experience by focusing only on that, the way one would collimate an x-ray source by absorbing everything but a very small sliver by a block of lead. There are so many things I experienced that I hardly have names for; for instance, the combination of deep understanding and kindness, but with the undercurrent of immense depth and power; there isn’t a simple word for it, such as “ananda” or “jnana”, but it is nevertheless one of the main things one feels in the presence of God, the power of a thunderclap but lasting, and not momentary; and yet not necessarily explicit, merely hinted, and it still strikes you with unbearable force. Also, the weapons of the Gods, things like the sudarsana cakra or the trident, when you look at them there’s a whole story in it, the intent, kinetic motion, intent that seeks the narrow line of dharma and follows along, there’s so much there and I’ve seen nobody talking about it, just the same five fucking sentences about how tat brahman aham, so ham. If that were all there is to it, God would be the most boring fucking thing ever and all the saints would have committed suicide just to get it over with finally. 🙂

Probably most people stop at tat brahman aham realisation because the majority of souls lack the capability of realising and manifesting the awesome things you described. They probably cant go any further and there is literally nothing they could do to arrive at the quality of depth of understanding, kindness and power you are talking about. The best most of us can hope for is feeling those qualities in God as a result of Darshan (if we are lucky), being struck by how great God actually is and praising his awesomeness. But there doesn’t seem to be a realistic way of actually having the same quality and realisation and I don’t see how a soul could develop into that within a short period of time any more than a cloud of hydrogen gas could become a neutron star by trying or a hard rock could become a diamond by exerting effort. That cloud of gas or rock would have to go through a long process over millions of years and it doesn’t look like something that can be easily attained. So most people end up settling on self realisation and calling it a day 🙂 .

That’s all true, but the real question is, if “more self-realization” isn’t the path forward, explaining the difference between a rock and sudarshana-cakra, or a flower and the mind of Shiva, what is? Compassion, in the sense of “becoming more”, expanding what you are into the realm that is presently beyond you? That seems to be the closest, because, obviously, things like suffering and yoga might be side-effects and tools, not the working principle; for instance, when through compassion you expand to include non-self things, they are usually what Patanjali would call “disturbed”, they create terrible whirlpools of citta that emotionally translate as “suffering”, and then yoga comes into play, as means of working through the suffering and “thermodynamically” calming the spiritual substance, the way a compressor in a refrigerator “calms” the gas by extracting the excess heat. This seems to be the basic Buddhist explanation for the phenomenon of spiritual growth, and I can’t presently think of problems it doesn’t solve.