Messages from Baghavan
|1. Bhagavan once made the following remarks about the waking and dream states:
"The world vision with appears in the waking state and the world vision which appears
in the dream state are both the same. There is not even a trace of difference. The dream
state happens merely to prove the unreality of the world which we see in the waking state.
This is one of the operations of God's grace.
"The world of the waking state changes in the same way as the world of the dream state. Both are equally insubstantial and equally unreal.
"Some people dispute this by saying, 'But the same world which we saw yesterday is existing today. Dream worlds are never the same from one night to the next. Therefore how can we believe that the world of the waking state is unreal? History tells us that this world has existed for thousands of years.'
"We take the evidence that this changing world has been existing for a long time and decide that this constitutes a proof that the world is real. This is an unjustified conclusion.
"The world is changing every minute. How? Our body is not the same as it was when we were young. A lamp which we light at night may seem to be the same in the morning, but all the oil in the flame has changed. Is this not so? Water flows in a river. If we see the river on two successive days we say it is the same river, but it is not the same; the water has completely changed.
"The world is always changing. It is not permanent. But we exist unchanged in all the three states of waking, dreaming and sleeping. Nobody can truthfully say, 'I did not exist during these three states.' Therefore, we must conclude that this 'I' is the permanent substance because everything else is in a state of perpetual flux. If you never forget this, this is liberation."
*Bhagavan, along with many other Indian teachers, maintained that anything that varies or changes cannot be real. In his view, immutability is one of the hallmarks of reality. Those who uphold this view say that since the Self alone is unchanging, the Self alone is real. Proponents of 'advaita' (non duality), the philosophy that maintains that the formless Self alone is real and that there is nothing separate or apart from it, say that the appearance of an ever-changing world is an illusion generated by the mind. Bhagavan, who vigorously upheld the teachings of 'advaita', maintained that both the mind and the world are ultimately unreal since they are nothing more than illusory appearances in the unchanging Self.
Since this view of the world is so contrary to what we regard as common
sense, Bhagavan was frequently questioned about it. Even his long-term devotees sometimes
tried to get him to modify his views a little. I remember, for instance, one evening in
the hall when Major Chadwick tried to persuade Bhagavan that the world did have some
reality and permanence.
- From Annamalai Swami's autobiography, "Living by the Words of
- From n Annamalai Swami's autobiography, "Living by the Words of Bhagavan"