Celibacy/Abstinence/What is what?
After several months of earnest vichara (albeit with mental temptation) a few fundamental questions have arisen. Would be eternally grateful if you could shed light on these.
1) I can easily understand now, that I am not this body, prone to decay and inevitable devolution. But am I the soul (jiva) who controls this body like a puppeteer controls his puppets? Of course I realize that any capability of the jiva itself arises solely from the atman. But when, like Ramana Bhagawan, contemplates that he is not the body nor the mind, what is...left? This vacancy makes me very uncomfortable. How can realized sages claim that they are NOT the mind when they use their cognitive faculties to think about philosophy, respond to the queries of their sishyas, and so forth? The mind is very much real. So is their brain, IQ, etc it seems.
2) Is intellect (truth-realization) not the same as intelligence? I know many men who are much smarter than me (IQ-wise) who still crave for every form of sense pleasure. I suppose no amount of IQ, book knowledge, or wealth correlates with the desire to understand the supreme Reality.
3) Kindly clarify the karana sharira, or causal sheath. It carries the 5 klesas/kosas (please clarify, I am ignorant on the specifics) and carries past impressions to future births, it is said. In other words, does this mean that EVERY jiva is pure (a derivation of atman) but appears to have different dispositions (e.g. angry, lustful, shy, etc) due to the karana shariras?
4) My dear guru Swami Sivananda graces my heart and physical residence and came to me in the most unexpected of places right when I was on the verge of a vital BREAK in brahmacharya. Is a soul (jiva), upon exiting the physical body, capable of creating such occurrences? Is it only for self-realized jivas?
5) Often, when I have doubts, I look at the loving face of Sivananda and crystal-clear answers pop into my head. Is this simply my own mental rationalization or is there any link between me and my guru by which he is helping my shatter the avidya that binds me?
6) I engaged in the strictest form of brahmacharya for two months, during which people routinely commented on my intelligence, women viewed me with desire, and so forth. However, I started to slack in my practice afterward (no physical breaks, but mental lapses and occasional viewing of online material) and my former luster disappeared. Do I take this as either 1) a positive since it proved that the external world is fickle and unsteady or 2) a negative since my "powers" were lost?
For you, these may be simply answers, but to a practitioner and aspirant, they are the words of one's guru being conveyed through a divine medium in the form of you.
Most respectfully yours,
1. The Jiva (individual Ego) is different from the Atman (soul- an indivisible part of the universal). Who contemplates? It is the Ego. When through such contemplation, the mind becomes completely still, it merges into that source (Atman-true self), from which it has arisen. Then there is only pure consciousness, infinite, full of peace and bliss. There is no thinking or doing in that state. It is..is.
Does the Sun consider himself the red glass, just because his light passes through it producing red light? Is the music player itself the singer, just because a voice is coming through it as the song? The cognitive senses of the realized sage are used to communicate with the external world, so as to do that which is to be done, to people, as dictated by the remnant Prarabdha karma of that Jiva. To whom is the mind, brain and body real? It is to the perceiver and not to that from which these spring forth, just as light emanates from a torch, producing different images that appear and disappear, while the torch alone remains as reality.
2. Intellect concerns the ability to understand what is apparent, as perceived by the mind & the senses. Intellect cannot understand the absolute truth, which is beyond its purview. Intellect is a product of the Ego, and the absolute truth is beyond the Ego. Hence intellect concerns the unreal and not the real.
3. The 'Karana Sharira' is another body surrounding the physical and subtle bodies, which is the repository of the seeds of past karma. Hence, for the purpose of understanding it is said to house the Ego, which is the final barrier between the Atman and Paramatman, which are only the Paramatman.
4. That which is wished by the Lord transpires, be it through the physical body or otherwise, through those from who HE wills so.
5. The great Lord works through form and formless. HE helps every Jiva, in the way required, for evolution. The Guru is one such form through whom HE guides.
6. Getting slack is letting the Ego take the upper hand, which will eventually end in a break and take one far away from his self. One should make the mind still, surrender to HIM and rest in the self as the self. Nothing more is required, for it is the truth and the only reality, all else being an illusion.
ॐ तत् सत्
(That Supreme being is the absolute truth)