ignorance

electrotype's picture



Average: 4.8 (6 votes)

They say we're already the Self, God, but we are not aware of that fact, our consciousness is limited, there is ignorance.

But why is there ignorance?
How is it possible that ignorance even exists?

Let's say at one point there is the Self, there is God, perfectly conscious of Itself. Suddently, It forgets that It's THAT and ignorance appears. Why?

I think this is the most important spiritual question of all. Because if the ignorance is wanted (God likes to forget Itself to play adventures as limited conscious beings), then enlightenment, end of ignorance, shouldn't even be desired, as it's agains God's will, agains our own true will!

Please tell what you think is the meaning, the purpose, of ignorance.



alon's picture

Maybe we are like simple employees in a factory

I agree with you that this is maybe the most important spiritual question.

If there is a logical solution to this question (logical in the sense of our logic, mind's logic) it must be that whether we are aware or ignorant is simply insignificant. That from the broad perspective, it does not matter how conscious we are. maybe we have a much more modest role in existence, more functional. It is like an employee in a big factory, all he supposed to know is how to operate the machine he is assigned to and better he will not start getting interested in the financial strategy of the factory and management issues and as a result become unproductive...

Maybe, getting out of the box and being conscious is an accident, a bug that happens to some and was not supposed to happen in normal course...

alon | Mon, 01/18/2010 - 07:38
electrotype's picture

So we're spiritual hackers

So we're spiritual hackers looking for bugs in God? ;-)

But, seriously, I can't believe that the notion of "bug" can be applied to the Ultimate Reality, do you?

I can only believe that what appens has to append. That everything is known, since everything is part of, is inside of, is a manifestation of, is made of, God Itself.

electrotype | Tue, 01/19/2010 - 20:10
johnd's picture

Bug is not necessarily negative

If you cast out the negative connotation of "bug", it can be attributed also the ultimate reality seen through the glasses of the relative reality.

All speculations, including those here, about God are just an amusement, they do not have much value. When you try to discuss something about the absolute reality, it is not absolute anymore, it is not regarding God anymore. By definition.

johnd | Fri, 01/22/2010 - 15:07
electrotype's picture

All speculations, including


All speculations, including those here, about God are just an amusement, they do not have much value. When you try to discuss something about the absolute reality, it is not absolute anymore, it is not regarding God anymore. By definition.

I must say I agree 100% with this. And this is the main reason why we shouldn't think ignorance is something we have to get ride of, since we don't know its real purpose. We don't know why it exists exactly, we can just make suppositions.

So why even be interested in a spiritual path? Ultimate Reality knows what It's doing and why. I can't see why there should be something to seek by ourself or "bug" to find.

electrotype | Fri, 01/22/2010 - 17:27
tiru's picture

The role of ignorance

Ignorance is not necessarily bad. It is the price you have to pay for being able to focus: when you focus your attention on something, you are not aware of the rest. By being ignorant of the rest, you are capable to focus on the important. If there was no ignorance then focusing our attention was impossible, by definition.

And being able to focus our attention is the foundation of our mental being.

tiru | Mon, 01/18/2010 - 14:58
electrotype's picture

I've never said ignorance

I've never said ignorance was bad, if this is what you understood. In fact, my though is that ignorance is actually maybe not something we should try to end. I think there must be a reason why we are ignorant and maybe trying to end this ignorance is a proof we are not accepting things as they are!

You seem to say ignorance is required to focus on something. This may be the case for a limited human like me, indeed. But I can't believe the Self Itself, the Ultimate Reality needs to become ignorant to focus on something. I mean, I can't imagine the Ultimate Reality needing anything at all, since It's perfect.

We are interested in spirituality, we are looking for enlightenment. But we forget to ask why there is this current "adventure" of trying to get ride of ignorance. Why is this adventure appening? When did it start?

All spirituals teachers show ways to calm the mental, to be in a receptive mood for the Reality to manifest, the know the Self inside us. But they do not teach why this quest has to be done in the first place!

Why doesn't Everything perfectly conscious of ItSelf, already? What exactly is ignorance in relation with the Ultimate Reality?

electrotype | Tue, 01/19/2010 - 20:27
johnd's picture

This is what implied from your post

I feel it you implied in the post that ignorance is something negative with relation to the common image we have about God. This is the whole conflict you bring in your question, isn't it? Otherwise, what is here to discuss?

Anyway, I think that viewing ignorance as the other side of the coin of concentration is brilliant. I never thought of it this way. When you focus on something your attention is concentrated on that something, ignoring the rest hence ignorance of the rest.

johnd | Fri, 01/22/2010 - 15:13
electrotype's picture

I feel it you implied in


I feel it you implied in the post that ignorance is something negative with relation to the common image we have about God. This is the whole conflict you bring in your question, isn't it? Otherwise, what is here to discuss?

I says that 99,9999% of the spiritual masters out there, including those I enjoy the most, like Nisargadatta Maharaj, teach that the only thing to do is to get ride of ignorance, since we're already what we try to be, but we ignore it.

I'm not saying I think ignorance is bad, I say ignorance is the main target of most of the spiritual teachings. Maybe those spiritual teachings don't think ignorance as bad, but they still present ignorance as the only ennemy, the only thing between your present consciousness and the Reality of the Self.

So my question is: why should we want this ignorance to dissapear in the first place? Why are we trying to follow any spiritual path? If ignorance is, there must be a reason. If it has to dissapear, then God will make it dissapear!

Isn't trying to get ride of ignorance not accepting current reality as it is?

electrotype | Fri, 01/22/2010 - 17:41
electrotype's picture

Spiritualy paths are like

Spiritualy paths are like instructions on how to exit a movie theater you chose to go to.

electrotype | Fri, 01/22/2010 - 03:08
electrotype's picture

*Spiritual paths* are like

*Spiritual paths* are like instructions on how to exit a movie theater you chose to go to.

(Sorry about the typo... It's not possible to edit comments?)

electrotype | Fri, 01/22/2010 - 03:10
johnd's picture

This is a beautiful

This is a beautiful allegory.

johnd | Fri, 01/22/2010 - 15:21
joejo's picture

Ignorance! Why get rid of it?

I thought that was simple and straightforward. It was because of all this pain and suffering that we look to get rid of ignorance as it is the main cause of suffering.

To imply that there is no need to get rid of ignorance because (God likes to forget Itself to play adventures as limited conscious beings), would presume that we exactly know what God wants.Probably this escape from ignorance is also a play that he likes. Just like the child who gets bored with one toy?

In any case it is more important to understand why one doesn't want to get rid of ignorance.

God plays the game of creation without being ignorant or else there would be chaos.

joejo | Fri, 02/05/2010 - 03:48
electrotype's picture

To imply that there is no


To imply that there is no need to get rid of ignorance because (God likes to forget Itself to play adventures as limited conscious beings), would presume that we exactly know what God wants.

As you said: we don't know what God wants (well at least I don't).

There are a lot of spiritual teachers (Buddha being the best known) who say that "we must get rid of ignorance for suffering to dissapear". But those same teachers often also say "We must accept what IS to be able to reach the Ultimate Reality which lies into now".

So, in one hand, we have to get rid of ignorance, and in the other hand, we have to accept what is. But ignorance IS!!

Also, who would wants to get rid of ignorance? Me. My limited ego. And isn't enlightenment a desire of that ego? As "getting rich" is? In the end i's all about wanting the now to be different, not accepting it as it is.


Probably this escape from ignorance is also a play that he likes. Just like the child who gets bored with one toy?

This is a theory I agree with... In my opinion, all the manifestation is just a game God plays and, one day, this game will end.

But during the game, I don't see why trying to get rid of ignorance would be better than trying to get rich, for example. Everything, all this game, occures inside of God! Everything is God Itself! So nothing really matters... Everything if perfect as it is.

How can someone say "Something is not as it should be" ?
How can someone say "Something has to dissapear" ?

electrotype | Fri, 02/05/2010 - 16:36
joejo's picture

What is Ignorance?

Before we begin to do anything or not do a thing regarding ignorance we must know what it is. Also what is the relation of the God, Absolute or self to Ignorance.

Can there be darkness in Sun. If the God or Absolute be subject to or be a mixture or have any taint of Ignorance then Self would not be absolute any more.

Hence even the dualists who admit God as the ceator say that he creates by dominion over the creative power or Shakti(Maya).

Creation is not Self+ Ignorance.

So God is not subject to Ignorance but the individual soul(Jeeva). If you say that God thrust the ignorance on the soul then it would impute a sadistic motive on him. Therefore the original sin is supposed to be the cause of ignorance and not God. Some say the cause of Ignorance is not known or its just a misaprehension like we sometimes mistake a rope for a snake.

Buddha forbade discussion on such topics by illustrating this story. If a person is struck by a poisionous arrow and physican came to remove it and you told him to first clarify on who shot the arrow, was he white or dark etc etc. you would die before the arrow is removed.

The name for Ignorance is Maya and the famous Adwaita sage Shankara defines it as that which is not. That is what it means Etymologically. After enlightenment it is not seen.

Our immediate concern is to know that Ignorance is the cause of sorrow and try to get rid of it. It is not just bad but the mother of all errors and sins.

joejo | Sat, 02/06/2010 - 03:09
B-friend's picture

misidenitfication

Ignorance is misidentification. It is not necessarily that we are ignorant. We identify ourselves as these limited beings through the phenomena of ego. We identify ourselves as ego, as who we unconsciously and naturally accept ourselves to be in this existence. Many of us accept the possibility that we exist as eternal beings yet somehow conclude that our eternal nature, or our existence as soul or what have you, is revealed to us only after death or known to us preceding this incarnation, or, revealed after we shed our subtle sheaths.

When one looks into it, they may conclude that all they are is mind or ego, which when explored further, are only accumulations of experience. After examining that there is no real substance behind what they perceive themselves to be, they may begin to question who they are, really. This is where the simplicity and beauty exists in Ramana's "Who am I". It is not a mantra nor some antidote to negate all experience in an attempt to escape. It is only a simple fundamental question that must ultimately be answered in Truth. It is not something that can be answered by another because the answer can only come from one's self, from "one's own eye of knowledge" which makes this internal path an intensely personal journey.

How people reconcile the ephemeral nature of their existence in this life creates much of the struggle and strife with so much of it being subconscious. Who want's to deny themselves and accept a fate of non-existence? But when the ultimate question is ultimately answered, transcending our numerous imagined perceptions of Self, a laugh may soon follow because the mis-identification will reveal itself as only that. The reference of "I am That I am" may hint itself as "Oh...I am THAT I am. Not this I am"....duh.

And for those confusing God the Father (personal God) with Self, this excerpt from Maharshi sums it up nicely.

"Again, the Trinity was explained:

God the Father represents Isvara
God the Holy Spirit represents Atman
God the Son represents Guru

Isvaro gururatmeti murti bheda vibhagine vyomavad vyapta dehaya dakshinamurtaye namah:

Meaning that God appears to his devotee in the form of a Guru (son of God) and points out to him the immanence of the Holy Spirit. That is to say that God is spirit, that this spirit is immanent everywhere and that the Self must be realised, which is the same as realising God."

B-friend | Fri, 04/16/2010 - 06:50
joejo's picture

Refreshing

What a delight. It was refreshing and had a thing or two to learn. Thanks.

joejo | Fri, 04/16/2010 - 12:20
electrotype's picture

Who is subject/prone to

Who is subject/prone to misidentification?

electrotype | Sat, 04/17/2010 - 01:27
B-friend's picture

identifications

I say that is a good question. Keep going with that one.

Who are you? Do you have no identifications? Of any of the identifications, do you admit an I? That's the "I" that is spoken of to be sourced. It is said to be the root thought. The first thought that sprouts forth before your world comes into focus. (I liked tiru's insight on focus btw)

If understanding "I" to be a thought is cumbersome..welcome. Many tips are given to seekers to aid the ability to focus. A Sattvic vegetarian diet in moderation is said to be upmost in aiding clarity and strength of mind. Having lived as a vegetarian and non vegetarian for extended lengths, I have to agree.

If the I can be comprehended, sourcing it is known as the path of self inquiry. To say that this is the only path one should take is incorrect. Maharshi..AGAIN..answers this clearly to Yogananda Paramahansa when Yogananda asked him about the spiritual instructions to be given to the people.

They differ according to the temperaments of the individuals and according to the spiritual ripeness of their minds. There cannot be any instruction en masse.

So the point you're eluding to about how can we be ignorant has merit. Who says Self can't identify itself with whatever Self wants? But..When Self attempts to un-identify, what should Self do? Maybe ask "Who Am I"??

Such is this great blessing of existing as a human being. What countless beings and objects that must exist in all the worlds and universes that aren't provided the ability, impetus, nor opportunity to ask that question the correct way.

B-friend | Sat, 04/17/2010 - 05:19
joejo's picture

Ego the result of Ignorance

Maharshi on what is the ego or the entity that is deluded and a result of the misapprehension or wrong identification or Ignorance.

What is the mark of the ego?
The individual soul of the form of ‘I’ is the ego. The Self
which is of the nature of intelligence (chit) has no sense
of ‘I’. Nor does the insentient body possess a sense of ‘I’.
The mysterious appearance of a delusive ego between
the intelligent and the insentient, being the root cause of
all these troubles, upon its destruction by whatever means,
that which really exists will be seen as it is. This is called
liberation (moksha).

joejo | Sat, 04/17/2010 - 05:53
B-friend's picture

nice

Excellent addition to aid the clarity in what we're speaking of.

B-friend | Sat, 04/17/2010 - 12:01
electrotype's picture

Let's say the Self, God, the

Let's say the Self, God, the Ultimate Reality, was, at a moment, perfectly ItSelf, without any misidentification. Then, a moment later, It forgot ItSelf and started identify with you, with your ego. How is it possible?

1. What you seem to say, like most of the people speaking about spirituality, is that misidentification (or ignorance of what we really are) is an accident, a thing that would have been better not to happen, something that we must try to get out of.

2. The other option, is that the Self, God, the Ultimate Reality, decided to forget ItSelf, willingly. Misidentification is then not something that we must try to get out of, as if it was a bad place to be in.

"Who is subject/prone to misidentification?"
At the root, it's the Self, God, the Ultimate Reality. How could an accident happen to the Ultimate Reality? I mean, come on, we are not talking about a very intelligent or powerful being here, we're talking about Something way Greater then that.. We're talking about God, about the Truth, the Am I That. Don't tell me accidents can append to THAT!

Who says Self can't identify itself with whatever Self wants? But..When Self attempts to un-identify, what should Self do? Maybe ask "Who Am I"??

You really think the Self, God, the Ultimate Reality may have "problems" getting out of misidentification? That It may struggle finding ways to get rid of ignorance?

How could the Ultimate Reality have any problem at all? This is pure madness.

In my opinion, we are an experience, an expression, a manifestation, a game, of the Self. Nothing has to be looked for, nothing has to be worried about. Everything is already as it should be. How could it be otherwise?

Spirituality is, in the end, just a big divine joke!

electrotype | Sat, 04/17/2010 - 15:14
B-friend's picture

Divine jokes and opinions

>>>Let's say the Self, God, the Ultimate Reality, was, at a moment, perfectly ItSelf, without any misidentification. Then, a moment later, It forgot ItSelf and started identify with you, with your ego. How is it possible?<<<

You may say this and have this question. I don't. Why assume anything isn't perfectly as Self when nothing can exist but Self? I also do not say that Self can be forgotten.

>>>1. What you seem to say, like most of the people speaking about spirituality, is that misidentification (or ignorance of what we really are) is an accident, a thing that would have been better not to happen, something that we must try to get out of.<<<

At no point do I admit an accident. This you do on your own. And absolutely I do not imply the necessity to escape.

>>>2. The other option, is that the Self, God, the Ultimate Reality, decided to forget ItSelf, willingly. Misidentification is then not something that we must try to get out of, as if it was a bad place to be in.<<<

This point has been understood clearly. For those that believe this to be so, then so be it. For those who are of the mindset to seek the Truth of their existence then why should they deny that as well? Obviously, if both options exist, then both options were put there by "Self, God, the Ultimate Reality". If you admit one as you have, an honest person would have to admit the other.

>>>"Who is subject/prone to misidentification?"
At the root, it's the Self, God, the Ultimate Reality. How could an accident happen to the Ultimate Reality? I mean, come on, we are not talking about a very intelligent or powerful being here, we're talking about Something way Greater then that.. We're talking about God, about the Truth, the Am I That. Don't tell me accidents can append to THAT!<<<

You are talking about yourself as well.

Yet you have all these questions. You also have the answers..But you aren't looking for them. The point you want to make is providing greater amusement.

>>>You really think the Self, God, the Ultimate Reality may have "problems" getting out of misidentification? That It may struggle finding ways to get rid of ignorance?

How could the Ultimate Reality have any problem at all? This is pure madness.

In my opinion, we are an experience, an expression, a manifestation, a game, of the Self. Nothing has to be looked for, nothing has to be worried about. Everything is already as it should be. How could it be otherwise?

Spirituality is, in the end, just a big divine joke!<<<

Then truly understand why it is a divine joke. And truly understand what your expression, experience, manifestation, really is. You can keep asking questions that aren't allowed answers, and by all means, don't limit yourself to this meek and meager input. As it is though, as you hold to your opinion, an opinion that has been held and transcended by countless others too, others will be seeking and finding their Answer as has been done throughout existence.

If there exists a satisfactory answer to your question above, may you come to know it. Until then, enjoy your stance..Really, have fun with this freedom for as long as you can hold it.

B-friend | Sat, 04/17/2010 - 16:04
B-friend's picture

limited identification

Let me admit that "mis-identification" is a poor choice of wording. Thanks for helping me see that. Let's just call it limited identification or just identification, whatever is least sorest for you and most capable to aid in any answer you seek.

B-friend | Sat, 04/17/2010 - 16:19
joejo's picture

Creation as Leela (sport)

Well, electrotype seems to have some strong leanings towards a particular viewpoint which takes creation as a Leela (creative sport) of God. This by itself is a wonderful theory the only difference in interpretation are broadly three.

1. Souls and God are distinct and we serve the purpose of our Lord & are free only by his Grace.

2. That Souls are a body of God and the they need to realise this to attain to the fullest potential.

3. There is only one and his Eternal Sport, the Cosmoc danse of Siva ( Nataraj).

But what you are proposing is slightly different. Apart from your belief, it would be worthwhile to inquire into the motives of such a strongly held belief or if it has any validity of known sources of authority. Don't misunderstand me to say that I am advocating strict adherence to theological dogma but we need to do a reality check as any pragmatic person would do when his self interest is at stake. If it was really a matter of serious concern and a question of material existence would you have taken it the way you do.

I am just writing this as a friend who too would like the forum members to destroy my illusions, so hope you would not take it as moralizing from any platform and neither is my intention to sell any theory.

joejo | Tue, 04/20/2010 - 14:36
Dojin's picture

IGNORANCE....WHAT IGNORANCE?

Dojin
Absolutly Ignorance does not exist......relativly speaking I'd say that was pretty ignorant. In this very moment Ignorance cannot possibly exist.

Dojin | Thu, 05/06/2010 - 03:47