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Why Experience Duality?

Why do we experience duality? Why must we go through the pain and suffering of the illusion of separation only to come back to what always was? Why must we forget our true nature, only to remember it?


This question was brought to us by a student during a Q&A session at the ashram and an excellent question it is. What is the purpose of this great Līlā and why do we get caught up in it?





Līlā: The Divine Play


Līlā (लीला) can be understood as “divine play” or a “pastime of the Gods” and refers generally to the playful relation between the Absolute and the manifested world. It is within Līlā that we experience a sense of separation.


We could say that Līlā is the Supreme at play. And why do children play? To have fun. It's almost like a game of peek-a-boo with the Divine. We forget, we remember, it seems hidden, suddenly it's staring us right in the face, undeniably present.


Of course, this is one interpretation as there is no definite answer to this question. It's more of just the phenomenon that is happening. Similarly, why is there gravity? There just is. We could go into the science of it all, but even then, it's just what is.



The Baby and the Master


We have mentioned this comparison in a few podcast episodes, so you may be familiar. But essentially, a baby and an enlightened master are both living in Samadhi. Only, the baby has no idea what kind of bliss it is living in. The enlightened master, having gone through a feeling of separation followed by the remembrance of their Divine nature, can truly appreciate this blissful state of being.


By knowing what we are not, we can truly appreciate what we are.




The Suffering and Joy of Chasing


Suffering happens in chasing the material, believing the mind, and letting that be the ruler.


But eventually, along the path, we come to see that the Līlä is truly a play! Truly a joy. And suddenly, we are no longer chasing just the material but forever chasing our Beloved.


And that fundamentally changes your life. You go from trying to escape life to enjoying a dance with your lover.



The Party


We come to this point which is only possible in contrast to the illusion of separation where it's like we're at a party with the Beloved, with the Divine, and we get to just keep deepening and deepening and deepening in Love.


And God (Universe, Source, Creator) is ever-elusive, like this lover at a party that is teasing you all night long and you just want to be close to them. You get that kiss, or we could say a glimpse of Truth, and they keep you longing for more.


And life becomes like this party which never ends, a continuous deepening into Love with the Divine. And it is only through the feeling of separation, through that pain, that we can truly appreciate this recognition when we come to it.


How to come to this recognition? Stay tuned for our next blog post on the three stages of awakening in Non-Dual Tantra.



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