Subjectivity is the wedge we must use to get rid of the wedge of subjectivity. By subjectivity I mean “subject” in the grammatical sense. We have to accept our agency as the individual subject in order to let go of our limited subjectivity and get to the Absolute Subjectivity of God. We need agency to move from dualism to nondualism.
As a dancer, I worked intensely for many years to acquire expert technique, knowing all the while that the ultimate goal was to go beyond technique. Technique became the wedge by which I could get rid of the wedge. There is no leapfrogging mastery of technique—or of our limited subjectivity. Baba always said, “You have to have a strong ego to get rid of the ego.”
If we indulge our limited subjectivity rather than discipline it, we become narcissists. The narcissist sees himself as the Subject but is really cut off from his true core. Ignorant people see him as a confident subject and willingly serve as objects for him. In truth, our subjectivity is only a diminished echo of the infinite Subjectivity of God. We therefore have a choice: narcissism or real Subjectivity. Kierkegaard understood this when he wrote in his journal, “Subjectivity is the way of deliverance—that is, God, as the infinitely compelling subjectivity.”
|Agent / subjective||Object / objective|
|Narcissist / self-absorbed||Accommodating / obedient|
One day in 1975, I was standing by the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The day before I had received a letter from Baba’s organization that quoted Baba:
God forgets his own true nature and looks for God. God worships God. God meditates on God, and God is trying to find God. It is God who questions and God who answers.
As I stood amid the shrubs on the bank, I started to laugh. I got the joke. “It is God who questions and God who answers.” This was too hysterically funny. I could not stop laughing. The laughter lasted for over an hour. Ever since, dialogue has never been the same. We are all just speaking to ourselves.
Last week, when I was reflecting on the image of the mirror in the Jnaneshwari, I started laughing again because I realized God created us so that when God was speaking to Himself He did not look crazy; it looked like there was a conversation. Part of the joke is that God cannot “con” Himself—there is only “sciousness” when there is no duality. Jnaneshwar uses a question to reveal this reality. He knows who is questioning and who gives the answer:
By means of a mirror one object may seem to be two; but in point of fact, are there really two? (IV.vi.46)
For us to resolve this conundrum, we use a wedge to get rid of a wedge. We need to trace back and then eliminate our identification with our separate subjectivity. We do this by questioning our small self and tricking it into facing that it is just a functional device and not who we truly are. We use our small self to finally see that we are just a reflection in a mirror, and when we realize the Seer of the reflection, we return to our true nature.
God continues the play of manifestation so that God can express and feel God’s Love. Jnaneshwar expresses the dilemma of unity: Love wants to be shared. God wants to share God’s nature:
If separation were removed there could be no question and answer; and if they were united, there would be no joy in mutual converse. (XVIII.lxxiv.1578)
But we have to return to our true nature—to the Absolute Subject—eventually, and we do this by purifying our understanding. We have wrongly believed that the image in the mirror is who we really are. That belief and its consequences have to be cleaned away.
Most people doing sādhana, though, are attached to the purifying process and miss its purpose. “I am the best mirror cleaner ever”, they say. “And because I am so good I am always looking for and finding dirt so that I can be the best cleaner. My tools are the best also: cleaners, sprays, buckets, cloths, etc. The mirror is very important to me so that I can be a cleaner. If the mirror were clean there would be nothing for me to do. No mirror, no me”. When we finally let go of the mirror, we are nothing, which then allows us to merge with the illuminator of the mirror, the Self. We then are no longer the doer. The Self, God, does it all. No more action for us. Our only agency is the Subject. As we lose the mirror, and with it our function and identity, we are using the wedge to get rid of the wedge. Left then is only the Self.
You can’t see the Self when you are the Self. I used to watch Baba enliven his vehicles so he could engage with all of us and share the bliss of God as the bliss of the world. For him, the wedge was gone.
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