I believe we are now in agreement on the answers to your five questions, which would imply a de facto agreement on a wide variety of related issues. I was wondering whether there was an area where your and my experience or understanding would diverge, when I remembered something you said : “ I spoke of individual consciousness and likened it to a drop of the ocean; the latter being Consciousness as such (two “meanings”).”
To clarify my incertitude, could you please answer the following question: in your experience and understanding, is the consciousness that really perceives these words the individual consciousness, or is it the Consciousness as such?
Dear Mr. Lucille,
To explain what I meant, there is first: man’s individual consciousness likened to a drop of the ocean. The ocean here symbolizes, by its vastness and sheer inexhausibilty, the infinite Consciousness of the Self. The drops, on the other hand, symbolize both identity of substance with it, and separation in form from it. Both these, Concsciousness as such and its individual modalities, being total, are by that fact subjectivities. For The Self knows itself and so das man.
We have, then, two subjectivities, hence two egos, both of which are transcendent, for even the drop does not really belong to existentialized, individual man, but constitutes his divine center, his “inner man”, the inner, transcendent witness of all his thoughts, intentions, and actions. And since, furthermore, it is the endpoint of the manifesting Spirit ray, man is thereby, as is the fetus by the umbilical cord, connected to the Ultimate. Only what I called the empirical ego, a manifested and hence exteriorized modality of the latter, belongs properly to earthly man and so, of course, does the empirical ego’s outgrowth, the passional ego of ignorance. We have here, in summary, four egos. The last two ‘are’ and ‘are not’, that is, they merely have a relative existence.
Next: “…is the consciousness that really perceives these words the individual consciousness, or is it the Consciousness as such?” Answer: Ultimately, what perceives these words, can be nothing other than the Consciousness as such, the ocean in my earlier analogy, because ultimately that is what alone is and all that is. But since the ocean and its spray or drops are identical in substance, and in fact connected, Consciousness as such perceives the world both from the “outside” so to speak, as well as from the inside, through its concsciousnesses as they are deployed in creatures.
I was very happy about your answer, which agrees with my experience that the subjective or perceiving part of our seemingly limited, ordinary consciousness is in fact already divine Splendor, eternal Love and infinite Intelligence, a bridge between the finite and the Infinite, a ray between man and Spirit. Although most of my teaching methods and formulations come from the tradition of my Master, Advaita Vedanta, I immensely enjoy expressions of the same Truth that originate from other authentic traditions and beings such as Sufism and Rumi, whose poems always make my heart sing. The moment we agree on that which is essential, the other divergences are only complementary views or semantic differences (I plead guilty of misuse of a language, English, which is still foreign to me). These divergences can always be reconciled in the light of That which is essential.