Maya and the Five Kanchukas….

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Nondualism can be a dangerous practice because it can encourage people not to take responsibility for their actions. But then when we turn to a dualistic sense purusha (individual self) and prakriti (matter), we separate ourselves from prakriti and see matter either as an enemy or as some horrible lesson to be learned. Prakriti then has nothing to do with us, and in that sense, again, we may not take responsibility for our perceptions and actions; prakriti is separate from us.

When we approach a nondualistic system, we are forced to see that prakriti comes out of purusha; therefore, we are the cause of our prakriti, of our environment. Though both systems are true renderings of manifestation and teach us appropriately, we can delude ourselves any way we want. In truth, the individual is responsible in both systems. In nondualism, all purushas have their own prakriti, which is not different from dualism. As we evolve back to God, prakriti is always here for our education and liberation.

In Kashmir Shaivism there is the understanding of unmesha, an upsurge of God, that arises when we are not cloaked by Maya and the five kanchukas. This upsurge is Bliss itself. But for people who have not purified themselves through intense sadhana an impulsive feeling or upsurge can be misinterpreted as God speaking. If everything is God, then in truth that impulse is from God, but not in the way our shrunken, deluded selves think.

Remember, Christ said “everything comes out of the Heart.” “When he had left the crowd and entered the house, his disciples asked him about the parable. He said to them, ‘Then do you also fail to understand? Do you not see that whatever goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters, not the heart but the stomach, and goes out into the sewer?’ (Thus he declared all foods clean.) And he said, ‘It is what comes out of a person that defiles. For it is from within, from the human heart, that evil intentions come: fornication, theft, murder, adultery, envy, slander, pride, folly. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person’”.

So everything is God. But until we are willing to unmask the truth of any vibration we have by practicing being with our experience whatever it is, letting whatever comes up from that vibration come up and simultaneously functioning appropriately on the material plane, we will delude ourselves as to what that upsurge really is. Every enthusiastic upsurge, every impulsive impulse to solve something, thinking it is an unmesha, is really what Ian said: “It is an enmesha.” We enmesh ourselves and miss the point.

How do we do that? By thinking our view of Prakriti is the way the world really is. By thinking “my wants and desires are the mission that needs to be fulfilled.” But when there is no core, then everything is arbitrary. Everything is “equal”, and we have no discernment. According to Jaideva Singh, this is how Maya and the five kanchukas cloak: “Maya draws a veil on the Self owing to which he forgets his real nature, and the Maya generates a sense of difference. The products of Maya are the five kanchukas or coverings.” Singh goes on to list them.

Kalā: reduces universal authorship, brings about limited agency
Vidyā: reduces the omniscience, brings about limitation in respect of knowledge
Rāga: reduces all-satisfaction, brings about desire for particular things
Kāla: reduces eternity, brings about limitation in respect to time
Niyati: reduces freedom and pervasiveness, brings about limitation in respect to cause, space and form

And so we are contracted into the individual that thinks so highly of himself and yet is so small. We are deluded by the cloaking and then find ourselves perceiving a rope as a snake and conjuring a thief in a tree.

To return home, we must unveil Maya and the five kanchukas for who they really are, and then unveil ourselves, so that our true nature will arise and we will not prevent Love from coming forth.



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