Messages from Baghavan
from The Association of Happiness for All Mankind (AHAM)

In262.jpg (12541 bytes)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.

"If the world exists only when my mind exists," be began, "when my mind subsides in meditation or sleep, does the outside world disappear also? I think not. If one considers the experiences of others who were aware of the world while I slept, one must conclude that the world existed then. Is it not more correct to say that the world got created and is ever existing in some huge collective mind? If this is true, how can one say that there is no world and that it is only a dream?"

Bhagavan refused to modify his position. "The world does not say that it was created in the collective mind, or that it was created in the individual mind. It only appears in your small mind. If your mind gets destroyed, there will be no world."

To illustrate this truth, Bhagavan narrated a story: "Long ago there was a man whose father had died thirty years before. One day he had a dream in which his father was alive. In the dream he [the man who had the dream] was a boy who had four younger brothers. His dream father had accumulated a great fortune which he divided among the five brothers. The four younger brothers were not satisfied with their share. Out of jealousy they came to fight with the eldest brother and began to beat him up. As he was receiving the beating in the dream, he woke up.

"On waking up, he very happily realized that he had neither a father nor any brothers. He discovered that of all the characters he had dreamt, he alone really existed.

"Similarly, if we go beyond this waking dream and see only our real Self, we will discover that there is no world and that there are no 'other people.' On the other hand, if we move away from the Self and see the world, we find that we are in bondage."

Bhagavan summarized these views a little later by saying, "Every 'jiva' [individual self] is seeing a separate world, but a 'jnani' [one that's realized] does not see anything other than himself. This is the state of truth."

- From Annamalai Swami's autobiography, "Living by the Words of Bhagavan"

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2. I asked Bhagavan about periods in my meditation when I was only aware of an all-pervasive blankness.

"Sometimes nothing is seen," I said. "Is this good?"

Bhagavan did not seem to approve of these states. "In the beginning," he said, "it is good if meditators meditate with self-awareness."

The state of 'sahaja samadhi' continued to intrigue me. A few weeks later I asked him another question about it. "Can one practice sahaja samadhi right from the beginning?"

Bhagavan replied by saying that one could.

"But how to practice it?" I asked. "And how does one practice 'nirvikalpa samadhi'? How many different kinds of samadhi are there?"

"There is only one kind of samadhi," said Bhagavan, "not many kinds. To remain temporarily subsided in the reality, without any thought, is 'nirvikalpa samadhi.' Permanently abiding in the Self without forgetting it [even while being active and with eyes open] is 'sahaja samadhi.' Both will give the same happiness."

- From n Annamalai Swami's autobiography, "Living by the Words of Bhagavan"