The great riddle of human life!
What is happiness?
Is the world an 'illusion'?
It is only a little ego. But its ambitions are endless. Even if the entire earth is bequeathed, it won’t get satisfied. Insatiable is the hunger of the ego. The goals set by the ego often changes after realizing one wish or other. The ego feels that something is valuable to possess. It may be toys for the babies.As the baby grows into a boy or girl, the wish list changes. It finds no interest in the colorful toys, once considered as valuable. This is the same story with all people. Everyone desires something or other. But once the desire gets satiated, his mind rushes for some other thing. It may be money first and later one craves for recognition from everybody. When he is not recognized, he naturally gets infuriated. Never once, he applies his mind to get the answer, ‘what is his real quest? Hence, the sages and saints of the yore retreated to deep jungles and practiced intense penance to seek the answers to many riddles of life.
After many years of intense penance, they intuitively understood that the worldly life is ephemeral and evanescent. Pleasures bring pain as their companion. There is no unadulterated pleasure. In the external world, every thing is subjected to change. Our bodies too undergoes multitude of changes internally, which we are not aware. We are not aware how much work is being done by the different cells of the body! The body is the biggest manufacturing factory, a processing center, storage go down, an efficient filter and supplier of nutrients to each cell of the body every second. Imagine what will happen, if a small minute hairline artery gets blocked. Immediately some limb looses its sensation or function. It is an intricate network of nerves extending to many miles. How communication happens between different parts of the body, nerve centers, brain and the perceiving mind? Every thing inside is a great miracle. Many involuntary functions happen even during our sleep. The heart beats continues, the blood circulation happens, breathing never stops. Do you aware of it? No!
Since all these things are organized by a great power, we simply live without any concern about our internal systems like breathing, digestion, and filtering of toxins from our systems by the kidneys etc. It is ridiculous that we consider the body as ours, but we are not aware what is inside and how we live? Hence, it is surely a false claim. The body is not ‘you’. You are the indweller. The body is like a dress for you. When it is worn out, it is relinquished and another new dress is worn. This is what we call as birth in a new body. Relinquishing is really death. But, births and deaths pertain to the body. The indweller is immortal self, which is never affected by the changes that occur in the body or the mind. The grief and pleasure undergone by the false self through the mind never affects the real self. Here, the false self is the body/mind complex and the real self is the Atman within. As air surrounds everywhere, as the ether envelops everything, the Atman or Self is “All pervasive”. Not only that, it transcends the creation or cosmos. In fact, everything is contained in the self and nothing is apart from the Self.
From the beginning, there is One only. It is illusion when we perceive two through the mind. The mind, which is the seat of duality is the primal cause for creation. The Vedas declare, “Ekoham Bahusyam” which means, “I am all alone, let me become many”. Even this primal desire is the result of primal mind and ego. But the advaita philosophers assert that there is no world at all. The perception of the world is the result of ignorance or darkness. Yes, during darkness, we never perceive a rope as a rope but think that it is a ‘snake’. The fear of snake is due to the absence of clear light. It is semi darkness. The sun is setting and it is twilight hour. This is how, the scriptures clarifies the position.
But the practice of non-dual philosophy is possible to only few people on earth. Majority of people are enveloped by duality and hence for their sake, prayers, meditation and other rituals are prescribed. To reach the summit of a hill, we can start from any point around the base. We must move up, though it is a circuitous route. As we ascend higher and higher, the differences become less. Once we reach the summit, there is no difference at all.