Question: I want to ask about the material energy … more specifically the bodies which are made up of material energy: If we are separate from and have no connection with the material energy, and if the gross and subtle bodies are merely part and parcel of the material energy – then this means that the gross body and subtle body are as separate from me as any other part of the material energy. So my understanding is that if I am sitting next to a tree then my gross and subtle bodies are as separate form me as the tree. But why is it that I am intrinsically more attached to the two bodies (gross and subtle) than I am to the tree. Put another way, if I choose to move away from the tree, why is it that my bodies follow yet the tree remains behind? Are they not all equally separate from me?
Answer: There is a difference. You are identifying with the subtle and gross bodies and not with the tree. Moreover this identification is not done by you consciously. It has been there since birth with the gross body, and since the beginning of creation with the subtle body. There are some subtle elements involved in the process which keep you within these two bodies although the soul is not physically touching them. Because of this, when you move, the tree does not move. These bodies are the covering of your soul without contacting it.
Q: Why am I trapped and allocated imprisonment within a specific portion of the material energy (my bodies)?
A: This is because of past karma which is perpetual and beginningless.
Q: And why is my interaction with other parts of the material energy (like a tree) limited to happen only through the bodies?
A: Because these bodies have been designed for you to meet your karma.
Q: Can there be (or are there) pure ”Soul-to-Soul” interactions free of the bodies – here on this earth? And what is that like?
Q: It is said that Mind, Intelligence and Ego are what compose the subtle body. And it is also said that these are part of the material energy and separate from me. This gives a very ”impersonal” interpretation of mind intelligence and ego – yet they feel so personal. The thoughts, feelings and desires that come from the subtle body seem allocated specifically and subjectively to my experience alone. Yet shastra suggests that my subtle (and gross) body is simply mixed within the impersonal soup of material energy.
How is there a difference between my thoughts (and ultimately my experience) and that of another jiva if our subtle bodies are part and parcel of the same material energy – which we are both separate from?
A: Material energy manifests at two levels – subjective and objective. Mind, ego, etc. are the subjective manifestations, and sense objects are the objective manifestations. Therefore your thoughts are your thoughts and not mine. But a car can be yours and if you sell it to me it becomes mine.
Q: What then manifests the experience of subjectivity – or is it just an illusion of conditioned nature?
A: It is not an illusion. Every individual soul has its own individual equipment and that’s why they experience differently.
Q: How does an inhabitant of the spiritual worlds who is free of the subtle body (meaning he would be free of an analytical mind) think, calculate, analyze and make decisions? Or is the reality altogether different to an inconceivable degree?
A: It is a different ball game. He has spiritual mind and senses.
Q: What is the difference between the mind and the intelligence and what are the abilities and roles of each?
A: The mind generates thoughts, desires and emotions. It is also an instrument of perception along with the external senses. The senses send the sensations to the mind and then the mind perceives them and recognizes them on the basis of past experience. The intelligence makes decisions whether a particular action is to be taken after the perception. Intelligence also brings objects to memory from past experience.
The Sandarbhas are very brilliant work, and for me, they are the love of my life. When I heard about it, I wanted to study but I didn’t know where I would find the book or how because I was in Detroit. But somehow, by Krishna’s grace, I landed up in Vrindavan and I studied this by a great follower of Jiva Gosvami. So this is my great fortune and I took it as my life mission to read and comment on The Sandarbhas.
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