Awareness and the Power of Ignorance

I have been studying James’s chart ( but I am still not sure about a few things and I have a few questions.

1. What is the relationship between Awareness and Maya?

My current understanding is that Maya means ignorance. When Maya is operating the world of duality seems to appear. Maya is made up of the 3 Gunas (Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas) What gives Maya the power appear?

Ted: Maya, ignorance, is a power inherent in limitless awareness. Ironic as it may seem, if limitless awareness did not have the power to apparently delude itself, it would not be limitless.

Tariq: 2. What is the relationship between Maya, Ishvara and Bhagavan?

I think they can be translated to the word “God” but I am not sure about all 3. Do they have different characteristics?

Ted: Isvara, Bhagavan, and God are synonymous terms that indicate that power which is the creator, sustainer, and dissolver of the universe (i.e., manifest apparent reality). When pure, limitless awareness is apparently conditioned by its own inherent deluding power of maya, ignorance, “it” assumes the role of the creator. Though we personify this phenomenon and refer to it as Isvara, Bhagavan, or God, it is actually the collective of impersonal and inviolable dharmas, or universal physical, psychological, and ethical laws, that govern the impeccable cause-and-effect functioning of the giant mechanism that is the manifest universe.

Tariq: 3. What is the relationship between the small awareness in the subtle body and Awareness?

Ted: There is no difference whatsoever. Awareness is awareness. There is only one awareness. Reality is non-dual.

The small awareness near the center of the chart is the Jiva (experiencing entity with most people take themselves to be).

Ted: The “small” awareness in the center of the chart does not indicate the jiva, per se, but awareness in association with the subtle body, which constitutes the jiva, the apparent individual. Brahman is the term used to indicate awareness in its universal aspect. Atma is the name used to indicate awareness in its personal aspect (i.e., in its association with the mind-body-sense complex that constitutes the limited apparent individual person).

Tariq: Is the Jiva just Awareness operating through a physical body and a mind?

Ted: Yes.

Tariq: Is the Jiva the human soul, individual, or personality?

Ted: Yes. Essentially, the jiva is the vasana-bundle that has associated with and is expressing through the particular mind-body-sense complex that constitutes the embodied apparent individual person. We can call this “the human soul,” and it does constitute the personality of the apparent individual person, but it should be understood that this “soul” as well as the mind-body-sense mechanism it is expressing through is not an independently sentient being operating according to its own volition. Rather, it is a machine made of gross, subtle, and causal matter that functions only when illumined by awareness. Its essential function is to produce and process experience. The apparent individual seems to be perceiving sensations, thinking thoughts, feelings emotions, and executing actions within the context of the apparent reality (and from its relative perspective it is), but actually awareness is simply enlivening the mechanism of the mind-body-sense complex and consequently experience spontaneously takes place according to the machine’s design (i.e., the components comprising it, such as the perceptive and active organs, the pranas, the mind, intellect, and ego) and the program informing it (i.e., the vasana-bundle associated with and expressing through it).

Tariq: My background: I have a good understanding of Vedanta. I have seen almost of all James’s videos, and I am currently waiting on How to Attain Enlightenment to arrive at my home.

Ted: Fantastic. When the book arrives, be sure to read it slowly and in the order it is presented. Don’t skip around. The book provides an overview of the entire system of self-inquiry and follows a very rigorous line of logic that builds point-by-point and ultimately reveals the irrefutable truth of non-duality and one’s true nature as pure, limitless awareness.

Thank you so much

My pleasure,