NDM: Ok, what about the belief in karma? Reincarnation? Whatever the incorporeal essence is that some believe transmigrates.
It is known in different spiritual traditions; “the most sacred body” (wujud al-aqdas) and “supracelestial body” (jism asli haqiqi) in Sufism, “the diamond body” in Taoism and Vajrayana, “the light body” or “rainbow body” in Tibetan Buddhism, “the body of bliss” in Kriya Yoga, and “the immortal body” (soma athanaton) in Hermeticism.
Karana-Sarira – causal body, subtle body, Jiva, “Atman” and “Purusha” in Vedanta. Budhuta, Linga Sharira in Theosophy. Rudolf Steiner’s Anthroposophical teachings usually referred to the Etheric and Astral Bodies. American Indians and indigenous peoples from around the world refer to this as aspirit, animism, or guide.
Others like James Hillman call this psyche. These are the various ethereal bodies that some believe contain samskAra-s, or sin and so on? Do you believe that such an ethereal essence or a thing exists?
What are all these various traditions talking about or pointing to exactly?
Ramesam Vemuri: When we discussed ‘samskAra-s and vAsanA-s’ in Part – I, we have seen how we invented those explanatory fictions. Karma is no different. Transmigration and re-birth are further stories to back up the fiction of karma. (please see: Infirmities in karma theory)
The three bodies you are referring to – gross, subtle and causal – correspond to the three states of awake, dream and deep sleep. They are said to be made up of finer and finer substance. It is said that the grossest part of the food you eat is excreted. The grosser part goes to make the physical body. Finer material goes to make the subtle body and the finest the causal body. You can draw your own conclusion about what would all this mean.
In the olden days dreams were a complete mystery. They belonged to the mental body (subtle or manomaya kosha) made of up mind-stuff of the mental world. The ‘mental’ was said to be accessible only to yogis and gods. It was believed to have its own life even after the death of the physical body. Thanks to the modern research, we have much better picture of dreams now. Of course, the last word is not yet said on dreams. But we are able to pierce through some of the mystery. We may even get a handle in future to control our dreams (for example, see: How Can You Control Your Dreams?)
That being the case, do you still like to go along with all these bodies and stories?
Further, when we understand that nothing is really born, nothing has a birth, where is the question of re-birth?
NDM: What would you say is the difference between “crazy wisdom” teachings and simply being crazy?
Ramesam Vemuri: I do not know what is “crazy wisdom” teaching.
NDM: I would like to ask you about non duality awareness and dissociative disorders such as derealization and depersonalization. If you look at this list of symptoms below, how different are they from what you described earlier concerning Jivanmukta?
Continuous or recurring feelings that you’re an outside observer of your thoughts, your body or parts of your body .
Numbing of your senses or responses to the world around you
Feeling like a robot or feeling like you’re living in a dream or in a movie
The sensation that you aren’t in control of your actions, including speaking
Awareness that your sense of detachment is only a feeling, and not reality
How would you make the distinction between someone who is Self-realized, and someone with a dissociative disorder of some kind?
Ramesam Vemuri: There is Cotard’s syndrome too wherein an individual claims that he is dead because he does not possess a body! They even do self-endangering acts that could prove fatal because they believe they have no body.
Our ancient scriptures too say that sometimes it is hard to distinguish a mad cap from a highly realized individual. That is why any assessment by an external agency is said to be impossible about the status of Self-realization of an individual.
While neuroscientists do have some knowledge of the pathological state of the brain of sick individuals, we have absolutely no known record of the brain scans of a realized man. It is high time we should build up this information base.
(To Continue … Part: 12/12)