Saturday, March 19, 2016

The Reality and the unreality of the World - Sri Ramana Maharshi sayings

The world is illusory. Only Brahman is real,
Brahman is the world

extract from the book: GURU VACHAKA KOVAI
The Light of Supreme Truth
by Sri Muruganar
 The Truth or Reality of the World

19. As cause alone is seen as its effect, and since Consciousness [Brahman], which is the cause, is as clearly true as an amalaka fruit on one’s palm, this vast universe, its effect, which is described in the scriptures as mere names and forms, may also be called true.

Sadhu Om:
Brahman has five aspects, Sat-Chit-Ananda-Nama-Rupa [i.e., Being, Awareness, Bliss, name and form]. The first three aspects are real, being eternally Self-shining, whereas name and form are unreal aspects, since they merely seem to exist, depending upon the illumination of Sat-Chit-Ananda.
If, however, one sees the cause, Sat-Chit-Ananda, which is real, one may say, ignoring the apparent names and forms, that this universe is also real.

20. When viewed from the standpoint of the eternally self-existent Cause, even the three, seven or twenty-one worlds will appear to be real. But when one sees only the names and forms of the world as real, then even Brahman, their cause, will appear to be absolutely non-existent or void [sunya].

Michael James: The three, seven and twenty-one worlds occur in different traditional, cosmological classifications.

21. For the sake of those [ignorant ones] who take the world, which appears before them, as real and enjoyable [it became necessary for the scriptures to say that] it is God’s creation. But for those who have obtained unobstructed Knowledge of Self, the world is seen merely as a bondage-causing mental imagination.
22. This world of empty names and forms, which are the imagination of the five senses and an appearance in the pure Supreme Self, should be understood to be the mysterious play of Maya , the mind, which rises as if real from Self, Sat-Chit.

Michael James:  
The origin of Maya, meaning “that which is not” is unknown; it appears, functioning in man, as mind, and is inferred in God through his actions, sustenance, and dissolution of this whole universe; it ends, on being seen to be non-existent, when the Truth is known. 
The seer, known as mind or ‘I’, and the seen, known as the world, rise and set simultaneously in Self. If Self sees Itself through Itself, it is Self; if It sees Itself through the mind or ‘seer’, it appears as the world or ‘seen’.

23. The Realised who do not know anything as being other than Self, which is absolute Consciousness, will not say that the world, which has no existence in the view of the Supreme Brahma n, is real.

Michael James: The Tamil word Iraivan is usually understood as meaning God, the Lord of this world, and as Bhagavan has elsewhere explained, the trinity of soul, world and their Lord will always appear to co-exist in Maya, and thus the apparent world does exist in the view of its apparent Lord, God. Therefore, on seeing this verse, Bhagavan remarked “Who said that there is no world in
God’s view?”, but when the author, Sri Muruganar, explained that Sri Muruganar he had used the word in the sense of the Supreme Brahman, Sri Bhagavan accepted this meaning and approved the verse.

24. O man, like a parrot waiting expectantly for the silk-cotton fruit to ripen, you persist in your sufferings, believing this world appearance to be real and enjoyable; if the world is real simply because it appears to your senses, then a mirage would be water.

Michael James
: The fruit of a silk-cotton tree always remains green, not turning colour even after ripening; the parrot meanwhile waits expectantly, hoping to eat it when it changes colour, but is finally disappointed when it bursts, scattering its hairy seeds.

25. Forgetting Self, which gives you [the seer] light to see, and being confused, do not run after this appearance [the world which you see]. The appearance will disappear, and is hence not real, but Self, the source of you [the seer], can never disappear, so know that That alone is real.

26. Is the word ‘Real’ befitting to this world, which is seen only by the illusory and changeful mind, but not by Self, the source of mind?

Michael James: As Self knows Itself alone to be, any imagination such as this world is entirely non-existent to It, and thus is never seen by It.

27. Fear not on seeing this empty world, which appears as a dream in the sleep of Self-forgetfulness. This imaginary and bondage-causing world-picture, [projected on the background] of the dark, dense mind, will not stand in the light of Supreme Knowledge, Sat-Chit-Ananda.

28. O aspirants who hide yourselves away fearing this world, nothing such as a world exists! Fearing this false world which appears to exist, is like fearing the false snake which appears in a rope.

29. This world is only seen without doubts in the waking and dream states where thoughts have risen and are at play. Can it be seen in sleep where not even a single thought rises? Thoughts alone [therefore] are the substratum of this world.

30. If it is thus said that this world is a mere play of thoughts, why, even when the mind is quiet, does the world-scene, like a dream, suddenly appear in front of us? That is due to the stored momentum of past imaginations!

31. Just as the spider emits the thread [of its web] out from its own mouth and again withdraws it back, so  the mind projects the world out from itself and again absorbs it back within.

32. When the mind passes through the brain and the five senses, the names and forms [of this world] are projected out from within. When the mind abides in the Heart, they return and lie buried there.

33. This world, full of differences of names and forms, will remain as [the undifferentiated] Brahman when these are removed. The ignorant one masks the Supreme with imaginary names and forms and, being thereby self-deluded, sees Him as the world.

34. The deceptive I-am-the-body idea alone makes the world, which is an appearance of names and forms, seem real, and thereby it at once binds itself with desires [for the world].

35. Since this world of dyads and triads appears only in the mind, like the illusory ring of fire formed [in darkness] by whirling the single point of a glowing rope-end, it is false, and it does not exist in the clear sight of Self.

36. O worldly-minded man who is unable to understand the wise reasoning and the teachings of Sages about the Supreme Knowledge, if properly scrutinized, this big universe of delusion is seen to be nothing but the illusive play of the vasanas [mental tendencies] within you.

37. Like the illusory yellow seen by a jaundiced eye, the whole world that you see before you is the product of  your own mind, which is full of deceptive vices such as desire [anger, lust and so on]. In reality, however, it is a plenitude of pure Jnana.

38. Just as ‘yellow’ fades away in the sunlight, the appearance of this world disappears in the Light of Self-Knowledge, and therefore it cannot be a creation of the Supreme [Self]. It is merely like the beautiful colour designs which appear on a peacock’s plumage; that is to say, it is only the reflection of the vasanas within you.

Michael James:  ‘Yellow’ in South India refers to turmeric, whose stain fades away in sunlight. Beautiful colour designs, which are not seen on each individual peacock feather, appear on its plumage, due to the combination and positioning of many feathers.

39. This world is a mere illusion seen in the deluded objective sight of the ego, which is simply the ‘I-am-the-body’ idea. In the sight of Self-Knowledge, however, it is as false as the apparent blueness in the sky.

40. How does this false and villainous vast world, that cheats and ravages the minds of all people [except the wise], come into existence? Because of no reason other than our own mistake in falling away from, instead of clinging to, Self-attention.

41. This life, an illusion based upon [our] likes and dislikes, is an empty dream, which appears, as if real, during the sleep [of ignorance], but which is found to be false when one wakes up [into Self-Knowledge].

42. When the mind is least in pure Supreme Self-Consciousness, all the powers which seemed to function [through the mind], such as ‘Ichha’[will-power], ‘Kriya’ [the power of action] and ‘Jnana’ [the power of knowing], will cease, being found to be imaginary.

43. The projected picture of this world of triads is a play of Chit-Para-Shakti [i.e., the power or reflected light of Self-Consciousness] on the screen of Supreme Consciousness.

44. The appearance of this illusory world, which is seen as real, is just like the serpent seen in a rope, the thief seen in a tree-stump or the water seen in a mirage.

45. The various ornaments fashioned out of gold are not different from the gold, and similarly, this world of moving and unmoving things, manifested out of Self, cannot be other than Self.

46. Self is hidden when the world appears, but when Self shines forth, the world will disappear. Being different in nature, like the [apparent] dog [seen in] the stone, both cannot be seen together.

Sadhu Om and Michael James: The nature of Self, the true aspect of Brahman, is not these names and forms, whereas the nature of the world, the false aspect of Brahman, is not Sat-Chit-Ananda, so both cannot be seen simultaneously.
See also verses: 876, 877, 1216.

876. Until the false appearance of the snake goes, the real rope, the base, will not be known.  Likewise] until the false appearance of the world vanishes, the real Self, the base, will not be seen.

Sadhu Om: The same idea is expressed by Sri Bhagavan in the following passage of Who am I?: “Just as unless the knowledge of the snake, the imaginary superimposition, goes, the knowledge of
the rope, which is the base, will not be obtained, so unless the perception of the world, which is an imaginary superimposition, ceases, the realization of Self, which is the base, will not be obtained”. Refer to verses 46, 876 and 877

877. Only when the knowledge of the world ceases will the knowledge of Self be obtained. Such a glorious life illumined by Self is the true and natural life of the jiva; all other kinds [of so-called glorious life] will be useless for him.

Sri Muruganar: Since the word ‘world’ [loka ] literally means ‘that which is seen’, the phrase ‘the knowledge of the world’ used in this verse denotes objective knowledge, the seeing-knowledge which appears with triputi-bheda [the difference of the seer, the seeing and the seen]. The word ‘illumined’ here denotes the shining of the reality as unqualified knowledge [that is, as the adjunctless consciousness ‘I am’].

1216. If they see the many moving pictures, they do not see the one unmoving screen, the base. Those who see the unmoving screen do not see any of the pictures. This is the nature of a cinema theatre.
Michael James:  When pictures are projected on a cinema screen, they in effect hide that screen. Likewise, when the pictures of names and forms – the world, soul and God – are seen, they in effect hide their base, the Self or Brahman. Therefore, just as the screen is seen as it is only when the pictures are not seen, so Self is seen as it is only when the world, soul and God are not seen. Hence, if the world, soul and God are seen, Self will not be seen, and if Self is seen, the world, soul and God will not be seen. Refer also to verses 46, 876 and 877, where the same truth is expressed.

47. This world which appears, concealing Self, is a mere dream, but when ‘concealed’ by Self, it remains as none other than Self.

48. This whole world of triads which deludes us, seeming to be an undisputable reality, is only the form of the Supreme Power [Chit-Shakti], which abides eternally as none other than the Supreme Self.

49. As the fire shines hidden within the smoke, the Light of Knowledge shines hidden within the names and forms of this world. When the mind is made clear by Supreme Grace, the nature of the world is found to be real [as Self], and it will appear no more as the illusory names and forms.

50. For those who never lose the True Knowledge of Self, which is the base of all sense-knowledge, the world also is nothing other than Self-Knowledge. But, how can an ordinary man, who has not gained Self-knowledge, understand the statement of Sages who, seeing through Jnana, say that the world is real?

51. Those who have given up worldly [i.e. sense-] knowledge and attachment to it, and who have destroyed the evil force of mind [i.e. Maya], thus gaining Supreme Self-Consciousness, alone can know the correct meaning of the statement, “The world is Real”.

52. If one’s outlook is changed into Jnana [Divine Wisdom], seen through That, the entire universe, consisting of the five elements such as ether and so on, will be found to be real, being the Supreme Knowledge Itself. Thus you should see.

53. If one’s outlook is changed into Jnana, seen through That, this same world, seen previously as a hell of misery, will be found to be a heaven of Bliss.

54. As per the saying “The seen cannot differ from the seeing eyes”, the Jnani, whose eye [i.e. outlook] has become Sat-Chit-Ananda due to the cessation of all mental activities, sees this world also as Sat-Chit-Ananda.

Michael James: See verse 343.
VERSE 343. For the one who has obtained the Eye of Self-Knowledge by diving deep within himself, there is no otherthing to be seen or known. Why? Because, having lost the wrong knowledge that he is the body-form,he has rightly known himself to be the Formless.

Sadhu Om : According to the maxim, “As the eye, so is the sight” [refer to Ulladu Narpadu verse 4], so long as we know ourself as the name and form of a body, we will see the world and God as names and forms, and hence they will also appear to be separate from us. But when we realise that we are not the body-form, then the world and God, which previously appeared as mere names and forms, will disappear, and Self alone will shine as the Formless and Limitless One. For those who are in this State of Self-Knowledge, nothing will remain to be seen or known.

55. The appearance of this world, like the illusory appearance of a dream, is merely mental and its truth [therefore] can be known correctly only by the Supreme Consciousness that transcends
Maya, the mind.

56. O foolish, illusory mind, deluded by seeing the daily dream which is nothing but your [mind’s] own nature, if you discern the true nature of your own Self, which is Sat-Chit-Ananda, can this world be anything other than That?

57. This empty world, bewildering with multiplicity, is, in its original state, unbroken uniform Bliss, just as the multi-coloured peacock is, in its original state, the single-coloured yellow egg-yolk. Abide as Self and know this truth.

58. Those who have attained their aim, Jnana, do not see this world as a multitude of differences, since the multiple differences of this world are a sportive play of Chit-Shakti, the one Whole.

59. For the Jnani, who, free from the ‘I-am-the-body’ idea, is established in Self, this world shines as His own Self-Knowledge; and therefore it is wrong for us to see it as something different [i.e. as multiple names and forms].

60. By turning Selfward, you destroy your delusion, this world; what then remains as ‘this is void’ is known by you, Self; so, to destroy this [apparent] void also, drown it in the ocean of Self-Knowledge.

61. If you abide in the Heart as Sat-Chit [‘I am’], by which the whole universe exists and shines, then this world will also become one with you, losing its false, frightening dualities.

62. He who knows this world-appearance to be his own form, Supreme-Consciousness, experiences the same Consciousness even through his five senses.

The Unreality of the World

63. Some assert, “This world before our eyes, though not permanent, is real enough”. We deny it saying, “Permanence is one of the marks of Reality”.

64. Some people argue, “Though divided, this world we see cannot be devoid of Reality”. We refute them saying, “Wholeness is also a mark of Reality”.

Sadhu Om: Eternal, Unchanging and Self-Shining: these, Sri Bhagavan Ramana used to declare, are the three essential factors of Reality.

65. Because the nature of Reality is Whole, Self-radiant Existence, transcending time and space, Jnanis  will never deem as real this world, which is destroyed by Time’s Wheel.

66. The One Supreme Bliss, ‘Sadhasivam’ [i.e. Self] is alone approved [by Jnanis] to be the Whole Reality. This world, seen as full of miseries and defects, is known only by the mind which is unreal and divided with differences.

67. It is the result of the delusion I-am-the-limited-body, that the world, which is nothing but Consciousness, is known as a second entity, separate from Consciousness.

68. Will that which is perceived by the senses of this unreal body be real or unreal? O mind, worried and wearied by worldly ways, consider this thoroughly now and reply.

69. Whatever is seen by the ego who, having fallen from the true state of Self and having been buried deep in dark ignorance, takes the body as ‘I’, is not at all real and is simply non-existent.

70. Though the appearance of the world seems to be very real and attractive, it can only appear in ‘Chittam’ which is ‘Chit-Abhasa’ [the reflection of Self-Consciousness]. In pure Self-Consciousness, however, it is non-existent.

Michael James: Just as a cinema picture can be seen clearly only in a limited light on a dark background, and will fade away in the bright sunlight, so also the world-appearance can be seen clearly only in the limited light of the mind and will disappear in the light of pure Self-Consciousness. The limited consciousness of the mind is a mere reflection of Self-Consciousness, conditioned as ‘Chittam’, the store of tendencies which acts like the roll of film in the cinema analogy. 
See also verse 244, where this idea is further explained and clarified. See verse 114. 

244. Just as a clear prism appears to be red when it is near a red flower, so Chit appears to be the chittam  when it is near [but not truly associated with] the dirty worldly tendencies. The chittam will remain and shine as the Supreme Chit alone, if the syllable ‘-tam’, which represents the impurity, Maya, is removed.

Sadhu Om: The prism remains ever colourless and its red colour is only apparent. To remove the red colour, it is sufficient if the flower is removed, because the prism will then be seen to be colourless as before. Similarly, Chit truly remains ever pure and the impurity of Maya is only apparent. This apparent association of the ever-pure Chit with Maya is known as ‘chittam’ and to remove ‘-tam’ [i.e., Maya], which is merely attention wrongly focused on 2nd and 3rd persons, it is sufficient if attention is focused on the 1st person, because the ‘chittam’ will then be known to be the ever-shining
Chit, Shiva. 

114. When the limited light [which is used to project pictures on the cinema screen] is dissolved in the bright sunlight [which enters the cinema], the pictures also will disappear instantaneously. Similarly, when the limited consciousness [chittam] of the mind is dissolved in supreme Consciousness [Chit], the picture show of these three prime entities [God, world and soul] will also disappear.

extract from the book: GURU VACHAKA KOVAI
The Light of Supreme Truth
by Sri Muruganar

Translated from the Original Tamil
by Sadhu Om and Michael James