- Religion and Philosophy»
- Exploring Religious Options
Illusions of earthly life.
All things are mere illusions of mind!
The dream world we live in!
Is it not a wonder that whatever we perceive through the senses are mere illusion and not real. But, many people who consider themselves as ‘rational’ do not believe in the Maya theory (illusory experiences of the world) as valid. They assert that everyone in the world visualize the external world with equal clarity. How this can be proved as ‘unreal’. For the rational people, I will give an example, which every man undergoes during sleep time. Most of us invariably dream during the sleep. In deep sleep, there are no such dreams and one is peaceful and enjoys a rare joy which can be explained only after one wakes up. What happens to the man who dreams? In the dream state, the dreamer is lying on a cot like a log of hood. But, in the dream, he goes to places; he meets many and interacts with them as though it is a real life. He dates with some, become angry with some people and even argues vehemently with someone. Sometimes, he is frightened by a horrible experience during dream. The fear itself wakes him up and he seems to perspire and his heart beats quickly due to the fearful experience of the dream. On waking up, he finds that it is only a false fear. Now ask him, ‘which is real’? The dream experience or waking state! Though he may assert that the waking state is real, it is not so. Even if we consider logically, the dream state negate the waking state and the waking state negates the dream state. Hence both these states are facts only when the individual is in a particular state. The scriptures state that neither of the experience is real and the individual who undergoes the above experiences is the only reality since he is in both the states. What really happens is that the mind is creating the dream experiences exactly as per the waking states. It creates the people, places and other environment suited to the dream whereas the individual is lying on the cot all the while.
The Advaitin, who practices non dual philosophy, asserts that the world is really an illusion just like the dreams created by the mind during sleep. He posits several examples to prove the philosophy. During twilight hours when the light is not clear, a man walks through a narrow path. Suddenly, he stops midway seeing something. Actually, he saw a big snake coiled in the middle of the road. Nobody would dare to go near a snake. Now another man fortunately carrying a little torch light passes through the same path. The first passerby requests the man to stop and focus the torch light towards the snake. Now they could clearly see it. Oh! It is only lengthy coir coiled and lying like a snake. Both of them had a hearty laugh at the illusory fear created by the coir (snake). Now the question I would like to pose the rational people is just this. Where is the snake? The snake is only an imagination of the onlooker. What caused the fear? It is the poor light which made one to think that a snake is lying there! Hence, all along there was only coir and there was no snake at all. Likewise in the place of Brahman or God, we visualize the world due to the illusions caused by the mind! Yes, the mind is a culprit during dream state as well as the waking state also. It is the mischief created by the mind! The mind is capable of confusing even a rational individual. All the scriptures point out to this reality. The snake is superimposed over the coir and in the like fashion; the world is superimposed over the almighty god by the illusory mind!
Now, the real question is “how to remove this great illusion? This question can be answered by another query. How the man realized that there is only coir on the road? It is by focusing the torch light where there was shadow. Likewise, the ignorance of the individual can be rid once knowledge peeps in. This knowledge can be gained when we go through the philosophical texts and put them in practice in day to day life. Yes, relying upon the illusory mind, we get desires, we hate somebody, we become emotive and abuse some, and we feel grief and pain due to some unfulfilled desires! Our real nature is Bliss everlasting. But, the body identification prevents us to enjoy the bliss. The body is like a thick opaque sheath which will fall one day. It came in the middle and will go in the middle. What comes in the middle has to recede one day but what is eternal and permanent from the beginning alone will survive the death of the body. Yes, the SELF or ATMA or God is the only eternal being. All else is false and fleeting. Have you ever enjoyed perennial bliss? No, it is impossible. The senses can impart only momentary joy like taste, smell, hearing, seeing and touch. Even the tastiest dish cannot be retained in the tongue for more than a few seconds. The tongue will automatically pass it down the gullet. We can enjoy melodious music only for some time. Likewise, the sensory perceptions are only momentary. Eternal bliss is the quality of the SELF. Hence, never believe in what you see, hear, taste, smell or touch. These are all mere illusions!