Depth of illusion

Hello, my dear friends! This is Mohanji.

Welcome to another podcast. Today, we will discuss the subject – illusion. What is illusion? I’ll tell you a story. Probably, you can figure out some aspect of illusion. In Sanskrit, it is called Maya. Maya is a relative truth. Relative truth, it is a truth, but its relative. Relative truth means it has existence, only on a relative level; it doesn’t have existence on the absolute plane.

So, relative truth is what we experience most of the time when we are awake. When we are awake like the sun rises, the mind rises; when we wake up, the mind rises, and then we start perceiving the world around us. And when we sleep, the mind sets. Nothing around us is of importance. So what rises, and what sets, is the relative mind. The mind, which is connected to relative things. But we still have an element of satisfaction, an element of happiness, even in sleep.

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So, we are not dependent on any items or any things around us. Our happiness is not dependent on people, places, time, situations, experiences of external nature; we are not that, they are all outside. We are only completely inside when we are sleeping. But we are happy, we are happy with that sleep. There is a satisfaction that is happiness. When we wake up, if somebody asks, “Did you sleep well?” “Yeah, it was a beautiful sleep. It was enjoyable. I was happy.” What is enjoyable in that sleep? This is something which we must perceive so that we will somewhat understand the relative truth.

What we have outside is not always experience. We see so many things outside. Eyes see ears listen. So many things, so many factors we go through every day. But everything is not experienced, imagine there are so many people around. We are not experiencing everybody’s relationship.

I’ll tell you the story, and then I’ll talk further. There was one guy; he was meditating in Ganga, in freezing water for a long time, just to find out the truth of Maya, the illusion, or the relative truth. And finally, one day, God appeared and said, “Why are you meditating on something which is insignificant which you are experiencing and it may not be possible for your intellect to understand it. Why do you want to know?” Then he said, “I would like to know the depth of Maya, illusion.” God said, “In time, you will understand, let time, teach you this lesson.” God disappeared. He was disappointed because he thought that God will give him clarity, but he did not get it. So, while he was sitting there, his children came, he left for his home, and the children took care of him. He was living with his children, but at the same time, he had a deep urge to know the truth of Maya, illusion.

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One day, when he was sitting outside on the porch of the house, he heard one beggar singing a song and walking outside on the road. And he had a glimpse of the beggar, he was in tatters. He had no clothes or very little clothes, fully dark and kind of shabby, not at all clean. And he felt a lot of disgust. And also, he felt this is very bad or something like that in his mind, and soon afterwards he died. So, his predominant thought at that time was disgust.

When he was reborn, he was born again, as a beggar. And he had no memory of his past life, and he was walking around, singing songs, just like he had a glimpse in the previous life. He went on like that, he married a woman, but she didn’t live for long. And meanwhile, she had a few children, children also died.

So, he was very sad, he was disoriented and he was wandering all the time. And one day, it so happened that he was wandering through one city and that King of that city had died, and they were trying to find a new king. So, the astrologers or the wise men told that the new king should be chosen by an elephant, by the Royal Palace elephant, a trained one, as it has the power to see who is divine. It was given a garland and the elephant was wandering through the streets, looking for the right person to be the next king. Then he put the garland around the neck of this beggar. Everybody was surprised, but they said this is the decision of God. Then they took this guy, they bathed him and they gave him fresh clothes and they coronated him, he became the king. And he married again, he had a few wives and he had children and all those things.

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And he was ruling the country. He had some kind of inclination for a good rule, means without selfishness. He was a good king and he was having a good way to assess the good and the bad and make good decisions. So, everybody liked him. Eight or nine years went on like that. Meanwhile, one day he was walking in the garden outside his palace, and he heard a beggar singing, same like he used to do outside on the road. He immediately called the beggar, and he sat with him and he also started singing. All the palace people, the ministers and the people in the court, they saw this, and they were a bit disappointed. And they were saying, “oh, we did not know the past of this King, we must know.’ They went around their search and they found out that he was born in a beggar’s colony, and he was a beggar himself. This was his story. So, they were very disappointed. A couple of queens committed suicide knowing this. Some ministers also went away and there were so many calamities. This also made him very sad, so he also decided to jump into the fire and die. He jumped into the fire and died.

Suddenly the man who was meditating, or doing penance in the river got up. He realized the illusion, he realized what is untruth. The whole story, that means he’s still alive, but at the same time he saw him dying, him taking birth, him becoming a king; all this happened in about a minute. He realized it was a parallel reality, it was not true. It was a reality. So, God wanted to tell him what is reality and what is illusion.

Was this a reality? While he experienced, everything was real. He had sorrows, he had happiness, and he had everything. But now he realized that he’s not even dead, he’s still there. His sons have not picked him up. So, he was pretty much confused, he did not know what is real, what is untrue, what is not the truth. He was contemplating on it. And then he decided, “Okay, let me do penance again. Let me ask this question to the deity,” whom he was worshipping. And he started doing penance.

And while he was about to do that, one wandering man came to the place where he was sitting. Then he asked, “Who are you, where have you come from?” So, the wandering man said, “I was living in a city, there was a king who was a beggar, but we did not know he was a beggar. So, we coronated him as a king. He was ruling the country well, but later on, we realized that his background was not good, then we had a lot of problems in the country. Because of those problems, I decided to go wandering, because I had no other way to do.”

Then he realized, “This is my story, this is a story which I saw, but I saw all this in one minute. While this man is telling that this really happened. So what is reality? Whether my story is right, whether what I saw is real, or how did I perceive this? It is about me he is talking about, but I have not gone anywhere. I’m sitting here, and I’m experiencing this from another person’s mouth.” Then he decided, “I must get this answer.” He did penance, and the deity came, and the deity said, “Look here, your mind cannot comprehend Maya. It’s not possible. What your intellect, your logic is trying to understand, only some reality is connected to what the brain can understand, but there is much, much more. There are much deeper dimensions to everything, you will not be able to understand’.”

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Ramana Maharishi

Just like that, somebody asked Ramana Maharshi, if a person dies, will he come back in two years into another body? And Ramana Maharshi said, “Yes, he can come back in two years in another body, and he can also come back into a body tomorrow. At the same time, he would have probably already lived for 75 years.” That means he can come back into a body in two years from this death to new birth. At the same time, and parallelly, he could have probably lived about 75 years.

So, this is exactly what is the depth of illusion, or the relative truth. We have so many parallel existences, which we may not even know. And some of these existences could be creating an interconnecting effect on each life.

So, I leave you with this thought about illusion. Don’t be confused. If you’re confused, it only means that this is something which creates confusion. So, just look at it that way, and we can explore it later. But it’s not really something which you can comprehend with the normal, available intellect. Don’t worry; all the people who heard this story, even the masters are confused about this.

So, the depth of creation and the depth of illusion in the creation, parallel realities and all these things, they are all real. But we have nothing to do with it. For us, what is experienced, that’s what we are. Experience, as I said in the beginning, we are experiencing everything, as we are. Outside, there are so many things that can only be perception; everything will not become our experience. We meet a person, we get a thing, materials, places, time, and they all may not give us experiences. But we are the experience. That experience also remains with us, when we are sleeping, when the mind is set, still, we have experience. And that’s what we are.

So, that experience when everything sets, mind, senses, all the aspects of the waking state sleeps, that’s exactly what we are. That’s worth exploring. What are we?

So, this is a good question. I leave you with this question. It’s a bit longer today, but to tell the whole story, it took some time.

I leave this thought on your plate. Contemplate on it, and then we’ll talk further.

Lots of love.

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Transcribed by Ulla Bernholdt

Proofread by Rekha Murali

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