The Ribhu Gita
81. However much one progresses forward or higher in the spiritual path, one is not freed from pitfalls until Liberation from the body is attained. “It is a walk on the razor’s edge” warns the Katha Upanishad.
Shiva Sutras 3.24 & 3.25 – Falling back into Maya’s Webs of Illusion
Shiva Sutra 3.24
Matra-svapratyaya-sandhane nastasya punarutthanam
In this sutra we again are reminded that even after experiencing God consciousness, the yogi may fall back into differentiated perception. The universe operates through the modes of continual expansion and contraction. Our journey Home seems to follow along similar lines.
“Due to God’s energy of Maya, the minds of yogis are diverted by force towards worldly pleasures and away from God consciousness. [SLJ – Svacchanda Tantra]”
God’s energy of maya is the same power of illusion that binds our consciousness in the temporal hologram. My own intuitive reflection on the reason for this is that when we enter into God consciousness, Maya’s powerful energies, which produce the differentiated perceptions that serve to bind us in time and space, remain in their momentum. Maya is accustomed to perpetually generating these deceptions. Neglected, Maya has no way to release and express its power. When we fall back into her influence, it may feel even stronger than before.
It is said that when you reach enlightenment you will be astonished that you ever forgot – and amazed at the intensity of effort it takes the Creator to bind Itself in delusion and separation. There is no source of power in this universe other than the infinite immeasurable immutable power of the Oneness. What God has Veiled and concealed by Its own free will, cannot be unveiled and revealed by our small personality ego-self.
When we fall back under the influence of Maya’s illusion, we are counseled to think: “This whole universe is one with myself,” and perceive the “fullness of God consciousness in each and every object…” In this way we again become “one with the glory of God consciousness. [SLJ]”
Everything is consciousness. By redirecting our consciousness into immersion in the Oneness that dwells in our own Heart, we return to the state of God consciousness.
There is a similar understanding in Abhinavagupta’s Paramarthasara. We are told that we must constantly think, “I am infinitely potent and absolutely pure consciousness. All this is my divine play. It is being manifested by me through my divine powers. I am all this… [B.N. Pandit]”
One of my favorite verses in the Bhagavadad Gita is XII.7. This verse contains the Sanskrit phrase: mayyavesitacetasam. The pronunciation is mah-yee-ahvay-sheetah-chay-tah-sam. It means ‘those whose consciousness has entered’ into the Oneness. In other words when you direct and immerse your own consciousness into God consciousness you are Home.
Once you are ‘inside’ you will understand and feel that there never was anything other than God consciousness. As the waves on the ocean continually rise and fall, the dance of history and all innumerable variations of temporal appearances are nothing more than the cyclical motion of God’s play in Time and Space. Here there is no fear, no death. Only eternal Bliss will remain.
Shiva Sutra 3.25
Kashmir Shaivism uses the Sanskrit word Shiva as the Oneness, God consciousness. Shiva is not a deity residing in a far away heaven or on top of a Himalayan mountain peak. Shiva is the eternal Oneness that permeates and pervades everything and everyone.
In this sutra we are told that as long as we are in our body, some separation will exist. Thus we do not become completely one with Shiva, we become just like Shiva with “pure independent consciousness and independent bliss. [SLJ]”
Swami Lakshmanjoo says that even the enlightened yogi will have “headaches, experience muscle pain, stomach aches” etc. Obviously Shiva would not suffer such ailments. “so, as long as the yogi possesses a body, he can only be like Shiva, not one with Shiva. [SLJ]”
This does not mean that we should cast off the body and make an effort to die. The enlightened ones must stay in their body until the time allotted to that body runs out. There is in each body what is called prarabdha karma and this is the karma that “has brought your body into being and is based on the actions of your past lives. [SLJ]” This karma has to be lived out, endured also by the enlightened yogi.
The karma that brought your body into being is to be “enjoyed” and it “cannot be cast aside or abandoned. …this body is to be maintained until the time of death. [SLJ]”
Abhinavagupta’s Paramarthasara, Verse 94, also says that while the enlightened yogi remains in the physical body, he has “all the mundane experiences of pleasure, pain, etc.” However these experiences do not at all alter his God consciousness – and from “within he is pure and has a firm belief in his purity and divinity…firm in his real nature at the time of death and that results in his absolute and perfect liberation after death. [B.N. Pandit]”
This would shed light on all ‘Hollywood’ fantasies of sainthood, along with the confused idea of new age ascension. Since there is no up and down in God consciousness, therefore there can be nowhere to ascend to. The experiences of the enlightened take place in consciousness. Everything is consciousness.
The Samkhya Karikas also reflect this understanding. In verse 67 we are told that by the attainment of Perfect Wisdom, meaning God consciousness, all causal powers lose their efficacy and yet due to the momentum of past impulses, the Sprit remains in the body. The remaining years are compared to the potter’s wheel that continues to revolve even when the potter has ceased his efforts at revolving the wheel due to the momentum of the past impulse.
Because the yogi is immersed in God consciousness, these remaining years in the physical body cannot produce any karma, any ‘fruit’ in the form of experiences that might result in rebirth. The heat produced by the Knowledge of the Truth is said to burn away the seeds of karma.
The enlightened are no longer bound by their actions. “The enlightened have abandoned the fruits of their acts (karma), and are liberated (moksha) from the bondage of rebirth. They go to the place free from pain.” [Bhagavad Gita II.51]
“…the place free from pain” sounds good.