Bondage: Anava, Karma, Maya


Why aren't we with God Siva? Bondage: anava, karma and maya. The law of karma is teaching us to understand the behavior which is conducive to the unfoldment of the soul. Anava makes us think we're an individual, separate. Through positive experience, use it to accomplish, mature the soul. The sense of a Oneness eventually comes in. "..all are pervaded by love. But there is no all for you alone exist. All are you."

Master Course, Living with Siva, Lesson 54.

Unedited Transcript:

Good morning everyone.

Today's lesson from Living with Siva, Lesson 54.

I'm going to give a short introduction.

This is drawing on Saiva Siddhanta philosophy. So in Saiva Siddhanta philosophy we have three primary concepts: pati, pashu and pasham. Pati is God Siva of course, pashu is the soul and pasham is bondage.

I was doing a keynote recently, which is the Mac power point and doing something on bondage. So, looking on Goggle Images for a rope with three strands, so I haven't, be nice to use a rope with three strands to represent pasham.

Bondage, bondage is three-fold, anava, karma and maya are the three components of bondage or the three strands. So, that's what we're talking about here: anava, karma and maya, or what makes up bondage. Why aren't we with God Siva? Why are we stuck here? You know, we got some bondage.

Yogaswami told Gurudeva: "Let go of the rope."

No one explained what the rope was for a while, finally, Gurudeva figured out the rope was bondage. Pasham! It was a philosophical rope he was supposed to let go of not a physical rope.

So, we have, Pasham is three-fold. "Maya, the ever perpetuating dance of creation, preservation and dissolution." So in common philosophical use, when you hear the word maya you think of illusion. That's because of dominant philosophy in the Hindu world is Shankara's maya-vadin philosophy in which maya means it's unreal; doesn't really exist.

So maya in Saiva Siddhanta exists, it's just constantly changing. That's why Gurudeva writes "...the ever perpetuating dance." It's constantly changing; there's nothing permanent about it. So it's a reality but it's constantly changing. "Maya, the ever perpetuating dance of creation, preservation and dissolution."

Karma: Gurudeva clarifies: "...(our prarabdha karma, brought with us to face in this life, along with the karma we are creating now and will cause in the future); and anava, the ego, ignorance or sense of separation."

So karma we all know. Anava is an interesting concept. We live, in our normal state of consciousness, in a sense of separation and being an individual. But, in a deeper sense, everything is really One all the time. Paramaguru Yogaswami liked to remind everyone, he would say: "How many people are here?" And the correct answer is just one, swami, just One.

So we tend to forget, we identify and we think of ourselves as a separate being rather than being just the One Being. That's anava.

So, anava, karma and maya are there for a reason. We're not just supposed to throw them all away on day one. You know, they were given to us as a tool so we have to use them to understand them.

Gurudeva likes the analogy to the student, classroom and teacher. Remember? So the student, of course, is the anava, the classroom is maya, and the teacher is the law of karma. So, the teacher is invisible. The lessons are a bit subtle. Cause no one's there explaining it; you know, you have to figure it out yourself. I did this and this happened as a result. Is that result something I want to experience or not? So we have to figure it out, that actions cause reactions and that's the learning experience. So, it's a classroom but we need to learn.

What does it mean if we're not learning? Well, it means a couple of things. It means whatever happens to us is somebody else's fault. Right? If things go wrong it's somebody else's fault. It's not our fault. We're constantly blaming other people and therefore, retaliating in one form or another. At least with some unkind words or thoughts, but, because they did something to us. So that's called reacting to the karma.

I like to do it numerically. If you come into life with a hundred karmas and then somebody does something to you, which of course is getting rid of one of them. You're down to 99, right? But then, when you get mad at them for doing that to you, you're back up to 100, right?

So that's what I mean, you have to learn. We have to learn from the experience. We've got the maya there, the world. We're a person. We have the law of karma trying to teach us. What's it trying to teach us? It's trying to teach us to understand the behavior that is conducive to the unfoldment of the soul. That's what it's trying to teach us by showing us consequences. But we need to be a good student, be attentive and then we're benefiting from the process.

There is an interesting statement Gurudeva makes when he defines moksha. The third aspect to it. If we think about: Well, what's required to achieve moksha? We think: Well we have to realize God in some way. And if we've cited Gurudeva's teachings, the second thought to come to mind would be: Well we have to resolve all karma. Obviously, we can't be something, if we want to not come back here, we can't have anything we have to do here because of our past actions. We have to resolve all karma!

That's easy to get but the third one is the one that's easy to live out. He says: "...fulfill all dharma." What does that mean? Well that means we need to take life seriously and accomplish things. I'm a doctor; I'm going to be a very good doctor. I'm an attorney; I'm going to really help people by being a good attorney. We need to take life seriously, take who we are seriously and do it well. And do that for many lives.

Well why is that? Because that matures the soul. When we start out in this anava, karma and maya we're immature. Well how do we become mature. Through experience but through positive experience. Not just all kinds of negative, emotional experience. Through positive experience we mature the soul. So, we have to do that. So we have to take ourselves seriously and that's where anava comes into play. If you woke up in the morning and all you could do is to be the One Being of God Siva, you wouldn't want to get out of bed. You'd just sit there. I am Siva. Siva One. Siva One. This is nice. I am Siva. Siva, get out of bed! You wouldn't take life seriously.

So, we have to be denied that state to mature to it. So that's what anava does. It makes us think we're an individual separate from all other individuals. So, this is a positive thing if we use it and accomplish things. So we're supposed to accomplish things to mature the soul and anava helps us do that. But, eventually, the sense of anava lessens particularly during deeper meditations or after a profound festival, puja. You know, the sense of a Oneness comes in for a time being and then it fades of course.

But, eventually, it gets stronger and stronger and that's when you become fairly useless. That's a joke. So we have to moderate that if we want to get anything done.

Anyway, yes that's the reason I brought the other book. Here, read that quote. This is 'Vedanta Kesari." Publication of Ramakrishna Mission, Chennai. There are two publications, one in English which is this one: Vedanta Kesari. And then they have another one in Tamil which I don't know the name of. An this core issue is on "Bhakti the Path of Divine Love." And they, we know them very well. Over the years we've worked together on a few articles. And they asked us to submit an article on bhakti and Tamil Saivism. So, we wrote an article, the editing team polished it up and we put it in. And it's, you know, it's our take on Bhakti and Tamil Saivism which is a Theism leading into a Monism. Duality leading into a unity. Both of them, states of bhakti. So, I'll read the quote which explains it better than I could. So this one we quote. It's a letter to a young man.

"I am with you and you are with me. There is no distance between us. I am you, you are I. What is there to fear? Look, I exist as you. Then what must you do. You must love. Whom? Everyone! To speak more clearly your very nature is love. Not only you but all are pervaded by love. But there is no all for you alone exist. All are you."

Nice quote. Okay, have a wonderful day.

Aum Namah Sivaya.

Photo of  Gurudeva
The outer worship is approaching God properly, presenting ourselves acceptably. It is to offer our love, our adoration and then to speak out our prayer, our petition.
—Gurudeva