Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Rupert Spira on Devotion

Question: Is there a place for bhakti or devotion in this [Advaita] approach?

Rupert: To be truly devoted means to give our whole self to the object of our devotion at all times. Therefore, the only object worthy or even available for such devotion or love must be something that is always present, for we cannot give ourselves completely to something that is intermittent.

There are no true objects of devotion because all objects are intermittent. Only Consciousness is ever-present and therefore, only Consciousness merits true devotion. And what could give Consciousness this devotion? Obviously an intermittent object such as a body or a mind cannot render devotion to something that is present when it is not. Therefore only Consciousness is able to impart this devotion to itself.

So, it is only Consciousness that can be truly loved and it is only Consciousness that can truly love. However, Consciousness does not love and is not loved. It is love.

So, the highest form of love or devotion is simply to abide as Consciousness, knowingly.

Any other sort of devotion would be the devotion of any imagined entity towards an imagined object.

However, the imagined entity that looks for a direction in which to turn and for something to turn towards, does not realise that the ‘attention’ it is ‘using’ for this purpose is already the Consciousness that it seeks. It is like a current of water searching the ocean for water.

Every object or direction which appears as a possible recipient of the mind’s devotion is an object that it has created within itself and cannot therefore be the true object of its devotion. Any object is simply more mind.

As the mind searches for a direction in which to turn, it is, without knowing it to begin with, tracing itself back to its source.

Finally, having explored all directions, it comes to a dead end. It comes to the knowledge that there is no known direction in which it can turn nor is there an object worthy of true devotion. In short, the mind cannot know what devotion is.

With this understanding the mind falls silent, which means it dissolves and what is revealed is devotion.

Devotion is what we are, not something we do.
* * *
The investigation within the mind for the true object of devotion is sometimes known as self-enquiry or higher reasoning. It is a concession to the mind that thinks it has the capacity to direct its attention at will towards an object.

However, this is not a process of the mind going towards its source, although it may appear to be so to begin with. It is rather, the dissolution of the apparent mind in its source.

[Note: Only something that is not the source could dissolve in its source, so the idea of the dissolution of the mind in its source is part and parcel of the mind’s belief that it is something other than its source. In other words, the idea of a source from which something emerges is a dualitic idea which itself ‘dissolves’ upon understanding that there is no independent entity, mind or object.]

How could a mind go towards Consciousness? In what direction would it go?

It is rather the source itself, Consciousness, that gradually reclaims the mind.

In taking the shape of mind, Consciousness seems to become something other than itself. It seems to become separate, other and outside. At the end of every perception, Consciousness folds the mind back up within Itself and, as a result, ceases to seemingly veil itself with its own creativity.

However, even that formulation is not quite right: the mind has no other substance other than Consciousness so there is nothing there to be dissolved.

When an image that seems to veil the [TV] screen fades, leaving only the screen in view, did the image really dissolve?

The image was only made of screen. However, by seeming to become something other than itself (the landscape on the screen) the screen seemed to become hidden by taking the shape of the landscape and the subsequent fading of the image seemed to reveal the screen.

Likewise, the mind is an appearance within Consciousness, made only of Consciousness, but has the capacity to seem to veil the Consciousness out of which it is made.

In self-enquiry or higher reasoning the mind fades like the image on the screen, leaving only the background of Consciousness in plain view.

It is not the mind that undertakes this process, any more than it is the image in the landscape that is responsible for its own dissolution. The mind does nothing. The mind is not an independent entity with the capacity to do or not to do anything.

In fact, it was always only Consciousness that was in plain view, simultaneously the background and the foreground.

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