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Unravel!

Published by Shashidhar Sharma at Smashwords

Copyright 2010 Shashidhar Sharma

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Preface

A few years ago, something happened to him. He was stupefied, he was intoxicated, and he was ignorant. At
the time he didn’t know what had happened, but it was something so profound that he ended up spending
years trying to find out its meaning. He spent a lot of time in mountains and read numerous books but failed to
realize what he was looking for. And then it dawned upon him that he should be looking for the meaning where
the event originally took place -inside him.

This book is about his contemplation on that event, and on the world. Basically, it is years of internal chatter
compacted and organized in the form of a book. And surprisingly enough, this internal chatter led to its own
destruction after yielding to a certainty about life and about the world which makes one know that no further
questions of any consequence may be asked.

The terms -I, me, myself, you, your, yourself, we, us, ourselves, they, them, themselves, the real self – all
refer to the author. The author was the questioner and the author was the one who answered. And by the
time the book was finished the author found that it was written by no one.

Yes, it is true. Although the same author is now calling the book his work (you will find the reason inside the
book), as the book itself will make it clear -nobody ever does anything!
It may seem self-contradictory but it is true because it is the reality. The subject of this book is reality, and
that reality is one, a singularity, a reality of everything beyond which nothing exists.

The reality of existence is a subject that has a potential to become a life-long search. After wondering for
some time most people fail to find anything substantial. Some of them are later found preaching that the life is
short and so it is useless to worry about such questions. They say that instead one should eat, drink and make
merry as long as one lives. But the fact is, that is just a way of claiming that the grapes are sour, even without
tasting the grapes; and they are ignorant of the fact that knowing the reality doesn't prevent anyone from
eating, drinking and making merry!

The reality of existence is too close and too simple to be ignored, and yet it is often known as the most
difficult thing to know. Such contradictions are aspects of the very nature of reality. Why? Because as I
mentioned earlier, that reality is a singularity beyond which nothing exists, and if nothing exists beyond it
then obviously it must contain everything within, including contradictions and paradoxes.
The reason why knowing reality is so important is that most people don't know whether they existed before
their birth. If you don't remember anything beyond this life then it is worth keep asking yourself -Why am I
here? If someone totally ignores this question (though, I doubt anyone can) then there is a great question
mark on all his (or her) activities. If you don't know whether or not you existed before this life then
obviously you live on day-to-day basis and have no real idea as to why you are doing whatever you are doing.
This author himself had no idea until he was all of a sudden startled and made insignificant by the reality -
he discovered that the only thing this Universe lacks in is individuals.

Unlike other studies and disciplines the study of the nature of reality doesn't make any demands of you. The
study of reality is the study of the self because the only thing you can say with absolute certainty is that you
exist, everything else may just be a dream (including this book). And if you come to know your real nature
then you know the reality of everything, because if you didn't exist then you wouldn't know if everything else
even existed. So, if you are yet to know about 99 percent of this universe then it is your own self that you
need to know.

The only way of knowing the whole of existence is to know yourself because that self is certainly in existence
and if you start by asking questions about something else then in the end your questions may prove misdirected
or useless; after all, you may be asking questions about something entirely imaginary.

So, there are just two criteria for knowing the reality of existence. One -you must exist. Two -what do you
want to know, yourself or something else?

If this book is being written then obviously you do exist (I hope this statement makes your appetite for
knowledge of the true self even stronger), that leaves us with the second criterion.

The second criterion is that you should want to know the reality of the self, and it is the only criterion that
needs to be fulfilled. Speaking in absolute terms -one doesn't have any control over desires, speaking in
relative terms -one knows only that which one wants to know. Within this book you will discover why these
statements are true and false at the same time but in everyday language we can say that if all the time you
just want to know the world then it is the world that you will always have before you. Knowing the world is
nothing bad, if you were expected to be oblivious to the world then obviously you wouldn't find yourself
here, but that is the very question why are you here?

You say that you are here to know the world? That seems like a task. Who gave you that task? Was it you who
gave yourself that task? That would imply that you existed before you were born, but most likely you don't
remember anything. Do you say that this task was given by some god? Do you know that god? If yes then
maybe you should close this book right now (although it is not about atheism), if not then how can you claim
that a god gave you that task when you don't even know that god or when that god gave you a task?

Do you say it is just some scientific laws which cause your existence? I fear that is too simplistic, after all, do
we know why these scientific laws exist? Scientific laws are known by human beings but human beings have no
idea who or what made provision for these laws. Considering this question to be absurd or leading to some
endless regression is not an answer, it is just complacency. So, who gave you that task? If one doesn't have an
answer then one doesn't know if one is really fulfilling the task. We hardly know the future and we hardly know
why we are here; so how do we know what is the right thing to do? Under such circumstances the status of an
individual is exactly like a drowning man who tries to hold on to anything that presents itself to him. If it is so,
then why are some people very proud of their achievements and others, too self-loathing? Were not all
achievements just by chance, just a floating log of wood that the drowning man found by chance?

It is questions like these which indicate a desire to know the self, and since this self seems to come into
contact with everything so this quest for knowledge of reality doesn't prohibit one from following a usual life-
style. It is already an obvious truth that one sees things from an exclusively personal point of view, and so this
search can become a ubiquitous feature of one's existence, without making any effort. It’s a way to enjoy
everything much more intensely by discovering who is enjoying what and why. If you are convinced that
chemicals do enjoy things and know what and why they are enjoying then no use conducting this search. But if
you wonder, then you may find logic in need for conducting such a search.

Also, this search is possible for everyone without exception. Your ability to know the reality of existence
doesn't depend on race, gender, age or creed because irrespective of your current mental image of yourself the
self that you will be wondering about will be found to have just one attribute -existence.

This is not a self-help book; it is about something which puts an end to any need for self-help. This book is not
a guide, it is just a clue, and everything else that you need you already have. This book is not about proving or
believing in something, it is about the only thing that exists.

This book was originally a set of notes which author created in order to remember what he discovered every
day, but a stage came when he no longer needed to remember anything and so he compiled the book just for
the sake of it. Now that it has taken shape of a book, at some places it will seem like a conversation of the
author with himself and at others, with the reader. Nonetheless, the author knows no real difference between
himself and the reader. And so, if you enjoy it then I will be enjoying.
Shashidhar Sharma October 20, 2010 New Delhi, India

A question asked not too soon

Apparently human beings (in fact all living beings) don't feel happy with everything that happens, and so they
want to know the reason why things happen at all. Therefore, the goal is not just to know the cause but to
know the cause in order to be happy. Happiness and sorrow always affect the body and the mind, but body and
mind are at the mercy of circumstances. In attempts to procure happiness for body and mind one may spend an
entire life-time but one will never be sure and will always find the life abounding equally in happiness and
sorrow (but most likely, more in sorrow and boredom than in happiness). And they say that it is not unusual for
a man at the deathbed (who thought that he was happy throughout his life) to regret having wasted his life in
meaningless pursuits and think – If only I could get just a few more years! Although he still wouldn’t know what
better he could have done if he was given some extra time.

Since this is the experience of an uncountable number of people, rather than repeating the same process one
may as well try to answer the following important questions first: Why do I need happiness? When in the past I
have experienced how after acquiring or enjoying a thing the happiness feels like why can't I again simulate the
same experience without the help of objects of enjoyment? Don't I still retain the memory of that experience?

Who am I who needs happiness? If I am the body or the mind which needs happiness then why don't I feel
unhappy when I am in deep sleep and don't know the body or the mind? More importantly, I don't remember
having desired to be born here, then how come I exist without desiring my existence? Was I forced to come
here? If yes, who forced me? If not, then how to explain this existence?

I could also have existed like a mute rock that doesn't seem sensitive to pain or happiness; why didn't that
happen? If I am here for a finite time and upon my death won't feel anything then why don't I commit
suicide? If I forgo suicide because that would mean giving up all chances of future happiness as well, then
who is it who will give me those chances in future? If it is merely random chance then isn't it too risky, what
if something extremely painful happens in the future that makes the rest of life unbearable? If it is me who
gives me chances at happiness then why don't I do so always?

If chances depend on the state of my mind then who is changing the state of my mind all the time? If it is me
who is controlling my mind then -am I something subtler and more powerful than mind? If I am the mind then
how come despite the ever-changing states of mind I know myself to be one individual?

If I am something more powerful than the mind, then who am I?

Who am I? That is the question. The question is not about anything else that is known or knowable but about
the reality of this 'I' who knows. And if you want to benefit from what I have discovered then take my word at
face value, the answer is simply, “I am”. And believe me, this is neither words nor a feeling, this is the living
entity that you are. And imagination cannot reach its glory.
The old situation

I am conscious and I perceive things. My whole life is a series of interactions with these things, and
impressions generated by these interactions give rise to further interactions. And I can never escape the fact
the while my body and mind help me know this world, at the same time they force me to act within limits
set by their own inadequacies.

Impressions created by this world go on filling the reservoir of my knowledge, and I draw from it the knowledge
necessary to confront various situations. At the same time these memories limit my choices as I find myself
unable to act in a way that is entirely original, because it is my memories and habits which are telling me how
to act, as if life is so predictable.

And although the world abounds in beauty, I find it impossible to determine whether it is I or my eyes that
enjoy this beauty. If it is me who has been enjoying all these things for all these years then why have I not
been satisfied yet? However good or beautiful a thing may be, enjoying it once does not quench the thirst.

If I need to feel happy or to avoid sorrow, I find myself forced to collect more and more materials and
experiences, so that my senses always keep busy. I don't know how this is different from the situation of a man
hanging by a cliff, consumed by a deadly fear that shall his grip fail he would go straight into the jaws of
death. It reminds me of a poor beast of burden who must haul the load without stopping, and get merciless
beating of whip as encouragement. Why can't I be happy with having only my own self? Why do I need things in
order to be happy? Am I so fallen that my worth depends on insentient matter and random opinions?

The satisfaction I get after having enjoyed a good thing to the fullest I find no different than the little rest
that beast of burden will have at the end of a long day's slogging. For just like the beast has to go through
that trouble again and again for the sake of same little rest, I have to go through same troubles for same
trifle enjoyments of which I was fed up just yesterday and of which I will be fed up again and again.

If satisfaction is same as not being able to take any more of a thing then why go through all that trouble? Isn't
that satisfaction, though temporary, just like being beside myself, being happy while not pursuing anything?
Then, why can't I make it last?

And on the other hand some desires are never satiated. I can never have enough money. But if a desire
can never be satiated then why go through all that trouble?
Or does the answer lie in trying to have enough wealth so that nothing that is desired is away from one's
reach? But if a person has a lot of money won't he be always on lookout for more and more new things to
acquire? Things he never knew existed he will want for himself, and as is the nature of things, he will be soon
fed up with them. Doesn't he know there is no end to number of desirable things? Then why would he go on
creating more and more of same problem for himself?

And what about those unfortunate ones who have lots of money, who dedicate their whole life to
maintenance and growth of that money but can't stop for a moment to think how to make a good use of that
money?

One may think of other situations when one is satisfied but likes that satisfaction. Time spent with your loving
family may be such a situation. But, is the time spent with loved ones always a happy time? Do the happy
times last? What if those who make you feel happy, are themselves unhappy? What if you don't have such
people, would that mean your life is a bad accident? What if you can't make others happy? Would that mean
the space you occupy is a waste of space? What if there is something more important and good than happiness?
Is it possible?

Well, the universe is supposed to be vast beyond measure and most of it is perhaps without people, and so,
I can't help but wonder if there is really something more important.

Not that I am a very poor man, or living the life of a slave. On the contrary, I belong to as good a family as
anyone can have, and have often earned as much as I needed. But, is that all? Am I born here to do these
things all my life and then simply die? What about the time after death? If there is another life after death
would I really like to live it? I wonder if this vast universe exists just to accomplish these petty things.

I don't mean that I have reached the height of humanity. Not that I am the richest or most knowledgeable or
most beloved person in this world. But I don't see how becoming a Don Juan or a Bill gates is going to satisfy
me. Such people are also controlled by the same nature, after all. And they can't even use all their
opportunities or all their money as they like. Of course they may try to tell themselves that they do, but I know
for sure that it is just too easy for a man to delude himself.

How? Well, in this respect there is no greater law than the fact that living beings live controlled by their
nature and so they are not very likely to know when they are deluding themselves.

I guess it is then worthwhile to examine what this nature really is. And although it is an option to just leave
things as they are and not bother about a question so convoluted, I wonder if I would be justified in doing so if
an answer really does exist. I will never know if I don't even try. So, I would better try.
Which is the shortest road?

Modern view of life is that everyone has some basic instincts or desires and everybody follows them, and they
call it psychology. But, believing in psychology necessarily means depending on another person, depending on
the second hand knowledge of some so-called expert. I find it just too similar to brain-washing and so I am
going to skip psychology. I will also skip religion for the same reason (worship and dogma, not the philosophy
though).

But odd as it may seem (and at the same time, too predictable as it may also seem to those who know that I
am from India) I am going to base the search for the meaning of my experience on some Indian philosophical
treatises which look like religious texts. Basically there are two reasons for my choice:
The texts in question, when read in perspective, have nothing to do with worshiping anyone and so,
they are not religious.

These texts firmly state that the truth of the existence can be directly realized by all, using simple
investigation into self. And this is pretty uncommon among scriptures.

I intend to say that basically what I am deriving from those texts is the idea that one will know the self only
when one contemplates the self, and the hope that truth of existence can be known by anyone without relying
on external help. I am a person who questions every belief, but since the texts in question say that knowing
the ultimate reality is possible without relying on anyone, or anything else except my own self, I am willing to
do the exercise they suggest – contemplation on my existence.

However, if I discover something which is easier to explain in terms borrowed from science, religion or
spirituality then I will not hesitate either; but I hope to keep that to a minimum. I don’t intend to write an
interpretation of scriptures but only a summary of what I discover by contemplating on my existence.

One may still ask why I skip psychology under the pretext that it is similar to brainwashing and yet go for
some scriptures. I have more reasons.

Psychology tells you about thoughts and mind, but it doesn’t say why thoughts and mind (and, do they really
exist? What are they? Why do they exist? Are they more, or less important than the things they are about?).
Also, thoughts appear to be numerous and keep changing while I know myself to be just one person. If my
thoughts are my creation then why should they overwhelm me? Am I not the one who affects them? Why
would I use my own creation against myself? If the power of creation is mine and doesn't belong to thoughts
then how can they overpower me? Is there a possibility that my thoughts are actually not my creation? I don't
know at this stage (this chapter) but psychology doesn't answer these questions satisfactorily. So, definitely
psychology cannot tell me about myself. On the other hand the scriptures I am talking about specifically say
that I am not my thoughts nor I depend on them.

As far as I know it is true that I am not my thoughts, and the possibility of me being independent of them I
would definitely like to investigate. And I find it reasonable to say that I am not my mind because mind
cannot be proved to be more than a collection of thoughts.

The texts I studied say that since I am not my thoughts I must be something else and that this something else
can be known directly, and is answer to all the questions. I am definitely interested. But I am not talking about
Buddhism. Because Buddhism asks you to do good deeds and follow non-violence in order to self-realize.

What is wrong with that?

Well, nothing wrong. Good deeds and non-violence are definitely desirable in life, but if that is what it takes
to know myself then why follow Buddhism? Apart from the fact that many other religions (and even atheists)
emphasize the importance of these virtues, don't I know these things myself? If I am a meat-eater and
consequently not following the principles of non-violence, am I doomed? What about those who eat plants? Are
they truly non-violent? If you say it is about the sincerity and not the exact action then would a maniac who
sincerely thinks he is god actually become god? Would he at least achieve anything worthwhile due to his
sincerity?

I am a non-violent person more or less and I try to avoid bad deeds as much as possible but what I want to
know is: why am I not good and happy all the time naturally and without effort? And if I keep my behavior
under control all the time, how is my situation different than a beast of burden? Besides, as much as one may
try to ignore or deny it, Buddhism is based directly upon the religion it tried to uproot, and so, it is second
hand, and its assertion that everything is a void is counter-intuitive. That simply won't do.

All the questions I asked, if rearranged after stripping off their question marks, are nothing less than the
knowledge I currently have. It turns out these questions are impossible to answer without a clear insight into
the very nature of our knowledge. I definitely need to ask myself if what I consider knowledge is actually that
thing or not. And I also need to ask myself if knowledge is going to do me any good.

To sum it up, I want to know the reason for and reality of everything, by knowing just one easy to understand
truth. I don't know yet (at this stage in the book) what that truth is but if it exists then I should be able to
find it. The texts I mentioned tell me that I can conduct the search myself without any book knowledge, and
without keeping any vows. They merely claim to provide some clues. I like that, because if it were anything
more than some clues that would mean a dogma. That would at least be a fixed quantity of knowledge, and it
is not likely that the truth of existence can be contained within a dogma or a set of laws.

While I say that I want to know just one easy to understand truth at the same time I reject any fixed quantity
of knowledge. By this I mean that as per my understanding there must be only one all encompassing truth.
Because if there is a truth that gives real meaning to life, all other facts must depend on it and must fade
away before its glory, meaning that all other facts must be relatively false. So, that one truth must be more
potent than infinity of other truths and consequently, that one truth is not likely to be a limited knowledge.
And I can comfortably reject the possibility of more than one such truth because reading so many books didn’t
make me any wiser. They told me about many things but not about myself. And I don't find it likely that a
religious belief can be such a truth because belief also involves believing without actually knowing. How can I
call something true if I don't know it?

That is why now I am willing to give as much time as possible to contemplation upon a single question – Who
am I? As far as I know, all other knowledge comes and goes and needs effort to maintain and recall it, but the
self-identity is the only knowledge that never needs any effort to put it into practice, and it is a sure thing
that all courses of one’s actions depend on it, and so do all states of mind and all happiness. Therefore, the
knowledge that is most desirable is the knowledge of the self. And since everyone seems to have it and yet
have doubts so it is clear that this ‘I’ is something else, or at least our ideas about it are false. Therefore, I
find it quite reasonable to make it the only goal worth pursuing and ask myself –Who am I?

This is the method I follow. Just asking myself -who am I?


Let’s ask that person

Everyone has a personality. It is not limited to the clothes one wears. It is also not necessarily what others
think about you, because if it was so then anyone would change you as a person just by thinking any damn
thing about you. Your personality is basically what you think you are.

If you have read the last line in the previous paragraph the way I read it then you have realized how unreliable
the personality is. It is only what you think you are; it is not necessarily what you really are. It is your
thought, thought is not you. Let us see.

What you think you are keeps changing incessantly all your life. My current personality can be summed up more
or less in the following words:

I was born at a certain date in a certain family; my childhood was spent in villages and cities. I had a number
of friends, some of whom I remember clearly, others vaguely. My education was a mix of learning, play,
success and failure. I did several jobs, went to many places, I had many experiences. My behavior towards
things and people keep changing every now and then. I have been trying to fulfill a few responsibilities while I
have not even tried to fulfill others. Some people make me envious while others make me pity them. I enjoy
the company of some people, and try my best to avoid even the shadow of some others. Sometimes I take a
liking to a thing and do all I can do to gain it. And often I get fed up with that thing or simply begin ignoring it,
as if I never liked it, or as if it is just lying out there like a forgotten pebble in the middle of a road. And
again, sometimes I hate a thing to death and then in due course come to like it as if it is only natural to do so.
Now I know myself to be this and now that, actually I am never sure what is my personality, but I am always
sure that I am the same one who experienced all this.

I feel like I am the center and see everything else with respect to myself. It is like everything happens to me
only. The moment I wake up in the morning I become aware of a situation that involves one man on the one
side and the whole world on the other. A newspaper may say something about corruption in the government of
a distant land but the only real knowledge I get is that I am a person who came to know about how corrupt
people are. It is like I am a spectator and everything else is the spectacle.

I attend a wedding and people are as happy as they can be on such a great day. Very important things are
being taken care of, so much of trouble gone through, such a lot of effort made, so many emotions seen. But
what is my finding? I attended a wedding where many things were seen by me. To me, I am the center. And
yet, now that I am young soon I will be old and then I will die.
Die like billions of humans and trillions of plants and insects have died in the past. Of course, all great men of
the past are included in those billions. Isn't this a wonder that I, who finds me the center of whole existence,
am going to have the same fate? And what after death I don't know, but wonder I do. And not that I fear
death, no. In fact, I have come close to death many times in the past and most of it was a deliberate test of
my guts, but my question is simply this -how could such a strange thing happen to this center of existence?

Doubts about birth and death


All this starts with the birth. That is something one has to assume, but one doesn't know anything about
one's birth directly. Like other babies are born one can deduce that one was born the same way. Or one has
to rely on the knowledge of people present at that moment. But however reliable this information may be it
is not a personal experience as far as the memory goes. And even if someone claims to remember his birth,
being so old a memory it may equally be a mere imagination.

It is not knowledge, only a belief. If it was knowledge then children wouldn’t ask their parents how babies are
born; after all, the memory of children about their birth must be relatively fresh. And it is nothing more real
than the story of the stork bringing babies or the myth of babies falling from the heaven directly in the hands
of their respective parents.

If I were to be treated as a witness in a court of law and asked under oath whether I was born or not then I
would not be able to say anything with any conviction; and even if I say yes the court will not be right in
treating that as a true account from an eye witness.

All this may sound absurd but before rejecting it one must remember that the question under investigation
requires keeping an open mind. Basically what I mean is that an unconscious person doesn't know what is going
on around him, but later he has to believe whatever others -who were conscious at the moment -tell him. But
that should not necessarily be always true, for others may tell him a lie.

A baby is more or less in the same situation in that if it is born at all then at the moment it doesn't know it is
taking birth. The baby is the unconscious man who later comes to believe what others tell him about his birth
(I am aware that there are ‘she’ babies as well, but I use ‘he’ just because these words are being written in a
particular setting, which involves a male author). Of course he may see other babies being born later in his
life but as I said, like in the case of the unconscious man it should not necessarily mean the same thing
happened on the first day the baby opened his eyes.

The scenes later investigated should not necessarily be always the same as the scene at the moment of
unconsciousness. Besides, if in a dream you see yourself taking birth wouldn't you believe that as long as the
dream lasts? But would you believe that once you wake up? Can I be sure that this life is not a dream?

While we dream we never know the dream world to be a dream world, we know it as the real world. So, it is
wise to question the obvious because it so often fools us into believing something which is completely false.
Now that a few centuries back some people came to know about the rotation and evolution of earth they can
think about a moving earth, but I am even at this moment not conscious of this movement no matter how hard
I try, all though after reading many books I have found that actually this knowledge is thousands of years old.
And to me this movement of earth may well be a lie. I would never really know until I see the earth moving
with my own eyes.

The point is; something very obvious maybe totally false and something absolutely true at all times maybe
extremely difficult to verify.

So, have I just forgotten or was I never born? And what about the time before I was born? Is it true that I
didn't exist before this my life? What about the time after death? Is it true that I will cease to exist after I
die?

Well, at this stage I don't know about the time before my birth but I have come to know that I cannot imagine,
even with my best effort, a time when I will cease to exist. This is not something I say without conviction. And
my conviction is born of clear logic.

Possibility of soul and immortality


The way I see the world presently is that it is I who sees the world (and I am sure the same is experienced by
every moving thing in this world). I can attest to the fact that currently I know the world to exist. My
perspective is unique; nobody sees the world as I do. I don't mean it in a poetical way. This is a practical
experience of every person.

Compare me or yourself to a player in a video game who has to tackle many obstacles in the virtual world.
While the enemies or friends of that player can all move about and may even do all the activities that the
player does, only the player is a primary entity and all else just provide a background to the existence and
activity of the player.

If you still find it confusing, here is another way you can think about it:

Suppose you bought a humanoid robot that speaks and can answer certain questions. Though it is able to
speak, you know it is not a living being because machines are not self-conscious (Self-consciousness is
basically this: You know that you exist. And you know that it is you who knows).

Now, in this world you see other living beings beside yourself. But, are they really self-conscious like you are?
Or are they just some highly evolved robots or illusions you don't know who made? While you can verify for
yourself that you are self-conscious you cannot by any method verify that for others. You cannot even say with
certainty that anyone except you even thinks. If they do think then there is no proof that their thinking is any
different than thinking of a robot. Even if you had some supernatural power to read minds that wouldn't help,
for your reading may just be your imagination. If you asked someone whether he or she was self-conscious and
they said yes, even then you would have proved nothing, for that might be just a prerecorded answer. The only
thing you can say with absolute certainty is that you are, and that you are self-conscious. No other belief of
yours can be proved to you as an absolute truth. In other words, you feel as if you are the only player and the
world is your playground.

So, you think that you are a self-conscious person. But what you take that self-conscious person to be? If a
person was only the body then there would be essentially no difference between that person and a car. A car
cannot run by itself. But then it is not a certainty that the human body is running on its own. Like within a car
there is a driver who runs it, there might be a soul within the body that runs the latter. Or, what if the human
brain is just some sort of parasite that extends and embeds its tentacles deep into the body and uses it for its
own mysterious purposes, more or less like a man using a car?

If there isn't a soul in me (something that is not the body and outlives the body) then the moment I die this
whole universe must die with me. For when I am dead and when only some ash or dust is left of my body then
without a soul definitely my thoughts must also vanish and so must my sense of identity and perception. So, if
nothing is left of me, who will see this world? You won't be able to prove the existence of the world to me
because I will not be there whom you would like to prove this to, and I will not be there to know if there is
anyone who can prove or, anything which can be proved. In fact, in no way it is possible to prove that you will
continue existing even after I have died (of course, you may try to kill me; but I am also speaking from your
point of view). I won't be there to seek a proof. I cannot even say that to me the world would be dead because
there will be no ‘I’ to say this.

For example, in a dream I may see a beautiful country and I may see myself as a king but when I wake up
that country and that dream will be no more. Even if that country and that king continue existing somewhere
in the air or in my mind, I just cannot be conscious of their existence as a fact. The only difference is that
after death if there is no soul, there will be no one to even remember my world as a past dream. So, if there
is no soul within me then as soon as I vanish from this world the world itself must vanish away with me. It will
be like nothing ever existed, not even empty space. And you may try for yourself, it is simply and utterly
impossible to imagine that nothing.

You may not be able to imagine that state but you can certainly experience something close to it. Every day
when you are in deep sleep not interrupted by any dreams, you are unaware of any ordinary or dream object.
The world just does not exist for you when you are in deep sleep. But does it really cease to exist? Upon
waking up you discover that it is not so. You discover that your existence continues even after an apparent
discontinuation.

The purpose of this example is to bring home the point that like in deep sleep I see neither the body nor the
world; in absence of a soul, after death I will see neither the body nor the world. And so, if there is no soul
the status of this whole creation will be like it is in my deep sleep, for ever after. But if there is such a thing
that is not dependent upon the body, which surmounts the slumber and makes awakening possible then it must
outlive the body and must be beyond death. Also, if there is no soul, then surely the world must have been
like a nothing before I was born. You may counter these arguments by saying that I saw the world before I fell
asleep and I see the world after I wake up. But that involves a waking me. If the world existed before my birth
and will exist after my death then I must have been there even before my birth and I must be there even after
my death.

The reason for this conclusion is that there are only two possibilities:

1.
Not being conscious of the world after death would mean that the world is an illusion, which will last
for a finite period of time equal to my lifespan. My death, in absence of a soul, would mean
disappearance of this illusion. But since even an illusion cannot exist without a cause, it would
imply existence of a creator of this illusion, in other words, an eternal god. And since it is me who
sees the illusion of this world, possibly I am that god. Or at least it would mean existence of an
entity to whom this illusion appeared, which would mean an eternal soul that is beyond birth and
death. Therefore, if we stick to the scientific tenets of all-chemicals-no-soul then the world will
be proved an illusion and I will be proved the god, or at least an entity that is beyond birth and
death. In other words, the scientific argument will contradict itself and will yield to the argument
in favor of an eternal soul.

2.
As per our everyday experience the world continues existing after the death and before the birth. If a
baby was born in your lifetime obviously the world existed before the birth of that baby, and if a
person died in your lifetime then obviously the world continued existing after the death of that
person. Never the less, you can claim this continued existence of the world only if you are there
to see all this. And this continuing existence of the world doesn't match the experience of a soul-
less dead person who was earlier a soul-less physical man, or of a soul-less unborn baby who will
later become a soul-less physical baby. This again will mean that either the world is an illusion
and that the continuing existence of world is seen only because an illusion can contain any type of
scenes, even those which involve seeing continuing existence of the world before the birth of a
baby and after the death of a man; or that the world is both non-existent (from perspective of the
dead and the unborn) and existent (from the

perspective of the living) at the same time, which is absurd. I wouldn’t consider it absurd if people
accepted that all inanimate matter was self-conscious, as that would have forced me to accept that
seemingly unconscious things like a rock may be self-conscious and that conscious beings become
seemingly unconscious objects upon destruction of their previous structure, but this is not what people
think and this doesn’t contradict the argument for an eternal soul. On the other hand, assuming this
simultaneous existence and non-existence to be just a natural thing would mean that everything depends
on one’s consciousness, which would again make the world an illusion. Therefore, if the world should
continue in existence as a reality then I (and that baby, and that dead person) must be eternal. So, even
if the world is considered a material reality I must have an eternal soul.

The case for this world depends upon my consciousness and the continuing existence of this world proves my
eternity. Whether the world is an illusion or a reality it won't affect my status (although an illusory world does
seem to elevate me to godhood). Therefore, I must continue to exist after my death and I must have existed
before my birth in this body.

Apparently there is a scope for a creator who knows what he (or she, or it) is making, and who existed before
the birth of the baby. There must be some reason why he wants to create the baby and that reason must be
older than the baby. And while a baby's body ultimately grows up and finally dies, the reason for a baby
existed before creation of the body and continues to exist after death of a body (for ever new people keep
coming to the world). The fact that all babies have intelligence makes me suspect that the real baby is that
reason (or intelligence) itself. It makes me suspect that this reason is some kind of eternal blue-print, or
something else that doesn't die. Besides, saying that a person is naturally supposed to exist only in the time
period between birth and death will imply the existence of some entity that made provision for such a law,
meaning an eternal GOD. But that is just a word. It may be anything; apparently, its only attribute is that it is
eternal existence.
My position is neither of an atheist who believes in nothing beyond sense perception nor of a believer who
doesn't ask questions. An atheist who claims to rely solely upon the sense perceptions will have to prove to me
the chemical origin of all thoughts and the self-combining ability of atoms right here and right now in a
palpable manner, without relying on some mugged up lessons he or she learned in school (not that I am
myself able to do so, but not believing something which cannot be perceived or verified with help of
instruments is the position of an atheist and not mine, mine is a position based on my reliance on my
consciousness; and sense organs and consciousness are different things altogether because I am conscious even
when I don’t perceive anything, I will prove that in a short while). On the other hand a don'task-any-
questions-and-just-believe approach is not going to take me anywhere and I will never be able to decide what
is worth believing.

And again, if the atheist says he makes no claims regarding nature of things and only believes what he sees
then he is no different than a believer (because his mind is closed to possibilities) and can't help me in any
way. Therefore, I consider that to be the best approach which helps me know the truth subjectively (taking
myself as the only subject worth trusting, but relying on direct knowledge rather than on beliefs whether
modern or religious), and I will try my best to constantly keep asking questions until and unless I personally
know that no further questions may be asked. I will do that because it is in my own interest to not to delude
myself. Of course, it is improbable that new questions will not arise during my entire life-time, but that is
exactly why I want to know just one truth capable of answering all questions, be they past questions or future
questions.

Anyway, let us go back to personality.

Who is the person?


Now, if the body is the person then why do we have a persistent identity? The body was different as a babe,
has been changing constantly during all these years, and will be different in the old age. Why is it that I
believe it is the same person who had or will have these different bodies? Also, why do I say “my body”? If it is
“my” body then it is my “something” but not me. It is just a thing that belongs to me. So the body is not the
person. Body must be just a thing that belongs to that person. Mind cannot be that person because as we
mentioned earlier mind also keeps changing all the time. At any point of time mind is just some thoughts. And
if I were some thoughts then the question “whose thoughts?” would still remain unanswered, and the question
“why I feel these are my thoughts?” would also remain unanswered. Whether there are numerous thoughts or
just one thought which keeps changing, it would simply mean no continuity and no integrity of identity. It
would rather mean that either I am more than one person or I am a different person every moment, which is
counter-intuitive. So, the only logical conclusion is that something like a soul does exist and that soul must be
changeless and eternal and identical with one's self, the self that 'I' is really trying to identify but which is not
identical with body or mind.
This is really shocking, even given my upbringing. While it is common usage to parrot about the soul,
implications of existence of soul are hardly understood by people. For one, it proves that I am neither my body
nor my mind. It also means that I must be immortal. So what am I doing trying my best to keep the body in
good shape? If there is something that is agreeable to the body why must I worry about procuring it? If there is
something that the body abhors why should I care? If I am not the mind then why would I take myself to be a
good person when a kind thought comes to mind? And why would I condemn myself when a supremely
disgusting thought arises? Are not “kind” and “disgusting” also just thoughts? Then why give so much
importance to them? Is giving importance to them an act of mine? More importantly, who am I to give
importance to them? What is my role?

One thing worth noting is that apparently before my birth the world was perceived by others and after my
death it will continue to be perceived by others. So if I exist beyond my birth and death there must be some
role my consciousness plays even when my body doesn't exist. In other words, there must be some connection
between my consciousness and the consciousness of the world. Because as we concluded earlier the soul must
be changeless, and so, even after death my real self will be the same as it is now. If my real self has any
capability now the same capability must exist in it at all times. Obviously, there is a capability called sense
perception which is always seen in people who are alive but which, it is not sure, if exists after death. But
before even considering that issue we must first understand what perception really is.
The misguided perception

It is a known fact that what we perceive is always a partial truth. This is so because:

We cannot focus on all things at the same time and so we miss a lot of what is happening around us.

We have our preferences and fears and we filter out undesirable perceptions, and if we happen to
fail in that filtering process then we try to repress our memories of those undesirable
perceptions.

Our senses have limitations.

A lot of things are taken for granted by us because we have to rely on secondhand information
gathered from books and other sources.

Mind can delude a person into believing anything.

People can deliberately make false look true and truth look false.

Intellectual laziness acts in a stealthy manner.

Some things we just do not want to hear because they threaten our beliefs, especially the religious
ones and those which are supposed to be beliefs of the modern civilization.

We assume that the right way of life is a known path and only following it is what needs to be done.
And we believe that in order to reach the destination we need to acquire the same resources and
follow the same methods that others do.

When one is a student one should ask questions (even if only within the mind) only in order to get
explanation of things not understood. What we often do is ask questions in order to counter the
teacher, so that we can keep our beliefs intact.

All this is secondary; first we need to know what perception is.


Why perceive?
Have you ever asked yourself what is the reason behind your ability to perceive?
Perception is taken for granted because every moment of life is basically just perception. Since it is so
obvious and so pervasive we never question it. But what is the reason behind this phenomenon called
perception?

As far as humans know, the vast universe is mostly empty dark space and dead matter. It is also believed that
the whole creation must have been like that in its infancy. There might have been light but in absence of a
seer it must have been just what it really is -another form of dead matter. All that could have remained so
forever. When and why did a need for perception arise? Who was it that wanted the universe to be perceived?

Think about the most primitive living organism which first started perceiving. According to scientists, its
predecessor must have been a non-conscious thing, a combination of several chemical compounds. Why would
chemicals all of a sudden start perceiving? If human existence is merely a play of chemicals then isn't
perception fundamentally non-existent?

Say, you have honey on your tongue -just a combination of chemical compounds coming in touch with
other chemical compounds that make up the tongue and its secretions. Some sort of electric impulse
(which is but merely charged particles) running across the nerves and brain (also made of chemical
compounds) gives you a heavenly taste. But where do we see any perception in this chain of chemical
reactions? Isn't every chemical merely changing itself into something else; merely telling itself (and to no
one else) its own story? Which of these chemicals recognized a change in its composition to be a taste?
Why do you say that YOU tasted honey? Didn't the honey taste itself? Or, isn't it more like nobody tasted
anything?
When we are in deep sleep we perceive nothing. But then we start dreaming as the sleep becomes more
and more shallow, and finally we wake up and perceive other things. Why don't we perceive in deep sleep? I
think the answer to this question can also throw light on other questions I raised above.

The answer is this -no light is needed when all one desires to perceive is darkness. That is deep sleep and
perhaps that is the most primitive state of the universe. Of course, by light I also mean the ability to
perceive. And of course, I am taking the darkness of deep sleep for an object of perception. Isn't it true
that we ourselves desire the darkness of deep sleep, and isn't it true that even in deep sleep we are
conscious (I remember how I used to wake up immediately even from deep sleep as soon as someone called
out my name, it wouldn't be possible if I were unconscious).

A dream is perception, it contains objects and so it looks somewhat different than deep sleep. But as I said
earlier, no light is needed when all one wants to perceive is darkness, and so there is no light during deep
sleep, the person perceives nothing except a total blackout, but this doesn't mean that perception is absent in
deep sleep.

As soon as objects are there the light is also there. From deep sleep one emerges into a dream. As soon as a
dream begins he begins to perceive. This perception, or light, or ability to perceive discernible objects can be
one of two things. Either this light is the very same person who perceives or it is all those objects that are
perceived, for don't you ever have dreams wherein no other source of light is there, not even the sun? So, if
there is no sun in a dream, the light is those other entities which are present during the dream, that is, the
dream-objects or the dreamer.

If we are to believe in religious texts which often describe the soul as a divine light then we may consider the
person to be this light or ability to perceive. But wasn't it the same person that was previously in a deep dark
sleep? If he is essentially all light then how does he become all darkness and ignorance in deep sleep? A light
that is same with the unchanged person can never turn into darkness. So we must conclude that the other
possibility is more likely. The other possibility is that the light is the dream-objects themselves and it is also
the darkness of deep sleep, which is not a nothing but yet another object. In other words, there is no
difference between the perception (ability to perceive) and the object perceived.

This necessarily means that all that is perceived is self-illuminated. This same conclusion is also arrived
at by following another path. It is something like this: Saying that no light is needed when all one wants
to perceive is darkness is equal to saying that perceiving darkness is also, perceiving something (I am
sure this is obvious in the waking state also). This means that when we are in deep sleep we are indeed
still perceiving (but only darkness; all though that darkness is not only dark to the sight but also dark to
all other senses), only that we are not perceiving anything else at that moment.

That the absolute darkness of deep sleep is also a perceivable object is proved by the fact that I am telling
you about it and that you can also tell me about it. It is also proved by the fact that if you didn't perceive
anything during deep sleep then you wouldn't be able to say that although you saw nothing you slept happily
(happiness is associated with objects). And so, the darkness of deep sleep is also a perceivable object.

It is a known fact that whether one is awake, dreaming or in any other state of being, manifestation of
objects is concomitant with manifestation of ability to perceive. Therefore, since the ability to perceive
(senses) and the objects perceived become manifest simultaneously (this is more obvious when emerging into
dreams from deep sleep, never the less it becomes obvious in all states of being, including in the waking state,
if one observes carefully), objects must be the ability to perceive itself.

I will give more reasons for this conclusion later, for now we can derive three inferences about the subject
(the seer or the ‘I’) from the phenomena of dreams and deep sleep.

1.
The entity who perceives and which we designate 'I' is not identified in any of the states of being
(waking, dreaming, sleeping).

2.
Objects and their perception are probably not two different things.

3.
The states of being called waking, dreaming and deep sleep are themselves mere objects (deep sleep
is just one object while other states are collections of objects), but we don't know the subject.
However, there is no doubt that if there is a subject, it is conscious in every state of being.

Now, if the subject or the seer is not found in any state then we must look for it again among the objects, for
we might have missed something. Maybe we have missed the subject because we didn’t analyze the ordinary
waking-life perception in detail. That is what we are going to do next.
How do we perceive?

The body is endowed with several sense organs. Each organ is accompanied by what we can call a faculty of
perception.

While the organ itself collects the information it is the faculty associated with that organ that is supposed to
process the information and create a perception. For example, eyes respond to light and this light transformed
into some sort of signals is processed by the brain to form visual imagery. Similarly, skin responds to pressure
or other forms of tactile stimuli and these stimuli transformed into similar kind of signals are processed by
brain to create a perception of touch. What exactly happens in the brain still cannot be stated with certainty. I
am however not going to bother about the mechanisms of brain because:

It is the people who ignorantly or deliberately hide the truth; it is the instruments which may cause an error
during investigation. The self is self-evident and it is the subject of our investigation. This subject is not
capable of being investigated with help of people or instruments. This truth doesn't seem to hide itself and
contemplation seems to be the only way to know its nature. Understanding the mechanisms of brain is not
going to make any difference because even if the brain is damaged or full of complications it is only up to the
owner of that brain to contemplate and know the nature of his or her self using whatever resources he or she
possesses.

So I would rather rely on direct experience because direct experience means not relying on others, and hence
no possibility of hindrance from someone or something that might try to hide the truth. Studying the
mechanisms of brain necessarily means a possibility of having to rely on the unreliable and wasting the time
(because even the experts can't say much with conviction regarding brain), so I will take the best and the
easiest way out. Besides, brain also is something under question in our investigation.

So let us see what the direct experience tells us.

Phases of perception
When I see a thing I can distinctly recognize the phases of perception as follows:

1.
As soon as the thing comes into sight I become conscious of its existence.

2.
The thing is recognized as something different from its surroundings (for example, I see a bottle if
and only if all its surroundings, including the space (and including myself), don’t appear like one
bottle; the bottle I see is well demarcated or distinct from its surroundings).
3.
Previously learned words used to identify that thing echo within the head (words may be formal words
or just some concepts previously learned). As specific regions or parts of the body of the thing
perceived come within the focus of consciousness further recognition and more words follow.

4.
If there exists no specific word that refers to the object or to a region in the body of the object then
the seer tries to invent one on the basis of previously learned concepts or words.

The last phase is based completely on arbitrary terms invented by humans. Same is true of the third phase.
The first phase is pure perception and the second phase is merely an attempt to separate the thing
perceived from other things.

Words may be necessary to identify an object but the word is not the object it describes. The word is yet
another object, an audible object. Also, identifying an object as distinct from other surrounding objects is not
equal to the object itself; it is merely the beginning of an attempt to categorize the thing. It turns out that
the object is truly perceived only in the first phase. This is perception not adulterated by preferences,
prejudices or any other thoughts or emotions. Since preferences, prejudices, thoughts and emotions are other
perceivable objects, so the true perception of an object is limited to the phase where only that object
appeared. So, we can say that the perception of an object is equal to becoming conscious of that object (the
first phase) and all other phases are merely repetition of the first phase but having different objects of
perception (words, thoughts etc. which appear to be connected with the object perceived in the first phase).
You may think of a real wall and the word "wall" as an object and its shadow, respectively; the real wall is one
object and the shadow is another, the shadow somewhat resembles the real wall but it is not the wall itself, it
is yet another object of perception.

Perception is not separate from the object perceived


A careful observation reveals that it is impossible to separate the first phase from the object itself. What I
mean is that there is literally no difference between the pure perception of the object and the object itself.

If I take a bite of a hot chili pepper I find no difference between the extremely burning taste and being
conscious of that taste. Now, the chili pepper is not merely taste, it is partly solid and partly liquid in
composition, and it has a particular smell and texture. But all these properties can be analyzed just like the
taste of the chili pepper. On careful observation no difference is found between the smell of the chili pepper
and the perception or consciousness of that smell; and same is true for the texture, solidity etc. Every single
quality or property of the chilli pepper is found to be exactly a form of consciousness, a feeling, or a thought.

Please note that this is not application of some logic but is rather a result of direct experience. Anyone
desiring to know this truth only need use his or her own senses to perceive things and try to feel what is being
perceived. It dawned upon me as a huge surprise that for such a long time I just ignored this truth while it
was always as obvious as the fact that I exist.

When one touches a hard surface one can feel the hardness. But words are not needed to feel the hardness;
the hard thing will remain hard even if the word "hard" itself did not exist. Hardness, as felt, remains. This
feeling of hardness or any other feeling is just like a thought; only that it has not yet evolved into a word. So,
the properties of any object are same as being conscious of those properties. But can we imagine a solid thing
without its solidity, or a sweet thing without its sweetness? No.

So we can see that every object is a combination of some properties. And these properties being equal to
being conscious of them, the object is revealed to be a combination of several forms of consciousness which
are perceived as various senses like sight, smell, taste, sight, touch, sound etc.
It may seem difficult to believe but a careful and concerted attempt to analyze perceptions reveals that all
matter is just like a thought, a feeling, a perception or mere consciousness. It was quite unexpected, but
matter seems to be so obviously immaterial! I mean it, it is a practical experience anyone can reproduce and
verify (apart from direct experience later I will also give you a conclusive scientific proof which you can
immediately verify, although no scientist seems to have reached it so far).

The only reliable method to determine whether an object that can be seen is or isn't an illusion is to touch it.
Of course one may throw a stone at it but still the only firsthand knowledge you have is of the materiality of
the stone. So, you touch the object in question and satisfy yourself that it is not an illusion. But, as we have
discussed previously, the sense of touch is essentially no different than the sense of sight in that it is merely
another form of consciousness. Therefore, even after touching the object we cannot deny its illusory nature.

Here is yet another way to understand this:

In a book you see numerous words. You will agree that words on a page are, in some way, like images. Now,
you can see the words, do you also see what these words are based on? Obviously, words are thoughts or
images which manifest in the ink. Ink can also be seen. Do you see what the ink is based on? Well, you know
that what you call ink is a color manifesting in the substance that the ink is composed of. And the paper
supports the ink as the substratum upon which the ink is seen. But like the words and the ink the paper is
also an object that is perceived. Why do you think the paper has no substratum to stand upon? Just like a
thought appears in ink and paper in order to become manifest, so do ink and paper appear in consciousness
to become manifest. Reality is that your consciousness (power to know) is the ultimate substratum which the
paper, ink, words and the meaning of those words are painted upon.
Fact is that thoughts are manifesting themselves in various forms and the ultimate substance cannot be other
than the consciousness. The paper looks like paper only during a finite period of time, earlier it might have
been a tree and later it might become ashes. It may change into billions of forms over time but only the form
is changing and the form is not the truth. When one sees a sheet of paper one says it is paper, when it is
burned one says it is carbon, when one analyses carbon one says it is made of protons, neutrons and electrons;
when one analyses even smaller particles which form the bigger particles, one says it is something that now
seems like a wave and now seems like a particle. When one analyses a wave it is revealed to be a mere
disturbance in time and space, when one analyses a disturbance it is revealed to be a mere movement of
energy. But the energy is created by movement and movement is created by energy. It is a movement of what,
and energy of what? Nothing!

Despite all this, things are known. What can be the reason apart from the consciousness? And what
can be the substance apart from the consciousness?
Perception is illusion

Let us examine a classical example of illusion -a snake in a rope.

It sometimes happens that a person mistakenly comes to believe a rope to be a snake and might feel paralyzed
with fear; but then he realizes his mistake and finds out that it was a rope. According to any person, existence
of the snake is true only as long as it is not recognized as a rope. But a thing cannot be real at one moment
and unreal the other moment. Reality must endure forever and ever, otherwise it is just an illusion, just a
momentary appearance without any substance (however long that moment maybe). And while you may think
that this rule proves that the snake was illusory, it actually proves that the rope was also equally illusory.

When you have recognized the snake to be actually a rope, the existence of snake is not only denied in that
moment but also for all times before the knowledge of rope dawned upon the mind; for you come to know
that the snake didn't exist at any time.

But, is that true?

While denying the existence of snake you still have a mental image of that snake. So it does continue to exist
in your mind. In other words, it existed before and it continues existing even after the illusion is gone. It is not
correct to say that the image of the snake in mind is any less real than a snake that is seen with eyes, because
everything in this world keeps changing the form but the substance always remains, besides, when you were
afraid you saw an image and now that you have realized the snake to be actually a rope you still have an
image, so the snake never changed in its nature.

You don't have any mental image of the snake when you have not yet seen any such illusory snake in your life
or have completely forgotten about an incident of seeing an imaginary snake in the rope. But then you are not
denying its existence. There is no question of affirming the reality or unreality of what is not even in your
mind and so it doesn't become unreal at all.

For example, when America was not discovered anew by Europeans then there must have been a time when no
European thought any such land existed. At that time the only possibility that existed was the existence of
America to be affirmed in future, but at that moment America could not be denied existence because the
question didn't arise. A thing that doesn't seem to exist even in the mind at present can only be made possible
(and not impossible) in the future. And that is why you are vulnerable to a repetition of the same snake-in-the-
rope illusion in future. And that is why you cannot really deny the existence of that snake even after you have
completely forgotten the incident.
So, let us now compare the rope and snake situation to our everyday experiences.

Snake-in-the-rope illusion compared with everyday experiences

Suppose you see a chair. Now, the chair is not seen when you turn your attention the other way to see a
different object at a different location. Do you think the chair still exists?

You can say that the chair is only not visible that moment but it certainly exists. But what do you mean by
that? Doesn't it exist only in your mind? Even when someone else confirms that it exists, it exists only in your
mind unless you see it again. Isn't it the same situation as that when you had realized the snake to be false and
the rope to be true? When you are denying the existence of the snake its image is in your mind. You don't see
the snake and you don't agree that it exists but it does exist as an image in your mind because you need that
image to DENY its existence. However, in case of the chair you are using the image of that chair in your mind
to AFFIRM its existence. Isn't that inconsistent?

You can say that the continuing existence of chair will be proved once you look at it again. But isn't it possible
for you or someone else to see a snake in that same rope again?

You can say that the snake doesn't exist because you have seen the rope in EXACTLY the same place where the
snake appeared. But upon physical removal of chair to some other location you see something else at the
original location (maybe, just empty space), so looking at the original location can you deny the existence of
the chair because you see something else in its place, like a rope in the place of snake? If not so, and if you
say that you are aware that the chair still exists but only at some other location; then you must agree that the
snake also exists, though only at some other location.

So, would you affirm or deny the existence of snake after you have seen the rope in the snake’s former
location? It turns out you can't do either thing because no matter whether you affirm or deny something you
need an image of that thing. You are bound to go by just the appearance, and appearance is true only as long
as it lasts. Since all appearances last for only a finite time, they are not the reality; they are no more than
illusions (after all, what else is characteristic of an illusion?). The fact is you seldom see the snake again in the
same rope because you have come to believe the rope exists but not the snake, and you almost always see the
chair again because you have come to believe it exists (earlier the image of snake was more potent and now
the image of rope, but that relative potency of images is obviously not an act of yours, it just happens); now
you have a relatively persistent image of the chair in your mind. It is just your belief that is making things
appear or disappear. Only that this belief is so strong that you take it for knowing. Isn't it the very nature of a
belief that like an
ordinary thought or imagination it is also an image but a relatively more persistent image than an ordinary
imagination?

Let us now for a moment go back to our previous discussion of the phases of perception that can be distinctly
recognized. We found that only the first phase that corresponded to becoming conscious of an object could be
called real perception because it was unadulterated by any prejudices or other thoughts. Now, in case of the
illusion of a snake in the rope that real and unadulterated first phase of perception didn't make any difference
as far as knowing the reality is concerned. One cannot say that he saw a rope but thought it to be a snake.
That can be said only after realization of the truth. At the moment the event happened he saw something (but
not a rope) and took it for a snake. In other words, he effectively saw a snake and thought it to be a snake. If
he had seen the rope he would never consider it a snake. Do you see how intimately thought and perception
are connected? Even a true, unadulterated perception cannot be relied upon because the thoughts it can
trigger are not under our control (by triggering of thoughts I mean being followed up by other images and not
strictly causing other images).

We will recognize a thing by thoughts it triggers, and these thoughts could be entirely random, or due to some
deep seated desire, fear, obsession or any other form of ignorance that we just don't know how to get rid of.
Or our perception may simply be a result of our deeply ingrained habits.

~~~ Side-note ~~~

It is not difficult for a person to believe that he knows certain things to have happened in his life. Memories so
often get jumbled up that what has never happened in distant past is taken to be an absolutely true personal
experience. Although I have used the words “distant past” here, there is no reason this phenomenon should be
limited to memories of distant past only; because when you believe that something really happened, you
believe it irrespective of time. After all, isn't the time of that event which never took place also a part of your
belief? If you agree, then isn't it possible for you to believe that something happened just yesterday, when it
actually didn't?

Suppose you saw a rope but thought it to be a snake and before you could realize that it was actually a rope
the light went off or a friend of yours placed his arm upon your shoulder and took you away. Now, suppose
that another day you again took a rope for a snake and this time you just run away without realizing the truth.
After that it might become natural for you to run away whenever you thought a rope to be a snake. And if a
real snake bit you after you had had significant number of snake-in-the-rope incidents then it will be hard for
you to not to think that same old snake was chasing you and finally succeeded in biting you. The point is,
unless you realize the truth, false perceptions can become obvious and ordinary truths. There is no reason why
this cannot be true of all kinds of perception. After all, perceptions may last a few moments or a lifetime; but
as we have seen, that doesn't change their nature.
~~~ End of Side-note ~~~
Analyzing the second phase of perception: the subject - object duality
We can now safely conclude that the possibility of a perception to be taken as good or bad, desirable or
undesirable arises only at the second phase of that perception. The second phase corresponds with an attempt
to recognize an object as separate from its surroundings. In other words, this means dividing the existence in
sections. Since this determines in what spirit we are going to take the object perceived, it must hold the key
to eternal happiness.

Now, while we may recognize a thing as separate from its surroundings or as part of the surroundings (meaning
recognizing a thing to be this or that, snake or rope, man or woman etc.) what really determines its quality is
its separation from ourselves.

To elucidate this consider a basket full of some good and some rotten apples. That the rotten apples appear
different than the good ones doesn't say anything about their absolute value. They are considered undesirable
by some of us because we have use for only those which are not rotten. Someone might have some use for
rotten apples as well. In other words my reaction after perception of things depends on my desires. But the
perception itself only depends on me because I only recognize something to be an object or a perceivable
entity if and only if it is other than myself (by myself I don't mean my body because that is just another
perceivable, one of my belongings). In other words, there is always a tendency to divide the existence into self
and non-self. This is the real meaning of second phase.

My desires and reactions correspond with the third phase predominated by words and descriptions of things
(like considering rotten apples undesirable). So every scenario seems to involve these three factors: The seer,
the scene and the seer's desires (which can be termed thought or mind). While the objects seen and the desires
of the seer are always changing and are impermanent by nature, the seer seems to be permanent and
unchanged.

Consider yourself, your desires keep changing, the things you perceive keep changing, even your body and the
state of your mind keeps changing; but you always find yourself to be one entity. In relative terms we can say
that though over the years you have grown up, have married, are raising your own children and have
experienced so many changes, yet you are the same son or daughter of your mother that you were as an
infant.

We need to understand what these three factors called the seer, scene and desires really stand for. But as
always, first we need to know if they really exist.
Cognito ergo sum?

Desires are essentially thoughts. I say they are essentially thoughts because all desires are ultimately found to
be thoughts that have become subtle and rise in the mind every now and then. For example, desire for an
apple is nothing more than rising of the thought of apple in the mind. Of course it is entirely possible that
when you are in a fruit-shop you instinctively extend your hand and start picking up apples without being
prompted by a discernible image of apples in your mind, nevertheless the fact that you extended your hand to
pick up the apples and not some withered leaves lying by shows that you instantly recognized the apple to be a
fruit and so basically you were prompted by a thought which was no other than an image of apples or an
image somewhat related to apples. You may be fiddling with something carelessly but even that would mean
you knew there was something which you could fiddle with, implying an image again. The same is true of
reflex actions like withdrawing the hand upon accidentally touching a flame (feeling the heat is just like an
image or thought, you can verify it yourself).
Now, thoughts are perceived as images, sounds or touch. This makes them similar to other objects that are
perceived. The only difference between them and ordinary physical objects is that desires and thoughts are
perceived internally; but then breath, food and water inside the body, the blood running in the veins and
arteries, and internal organs are also perceived internally (most people don’t perceive the flow of blood, but
actually by meditating one can not only listen to the sound of the blood-flow but can also perceive the flow).
When you speak out audible words you first think up those words, even if unconsciously. For evidence you can
talk to yourself (internal chatter) and find out that the sounds are same as those when words are spoken aloud.
Also, dreams are internal images and they are just thoughts. Anyone with enough practice can verify that
dreams are simple thoughts. I can personally attest to the fact that they are no more than thoughts; a person is
not even asleep when he is dreaming. It is just that he becomes so engrossed in his thoughts that he forgets
his body and his surroundings in order to view his internal visual imagery vividly. With practice it is possible
(and easy) to transform simple thoughts into vivid dreams and at the same time retain some consciousness of
your body and surroundings.

Whether or not you agree with this or take to practice in order to verify that dreams are just like other
thoughts you will agree that our thoughts and dreams are internal images or sounds and hence they are
perceivable objects. Therefore, we can say that desires are thoughts and thoughts are images. And this is fact
is of profound importance, for it shows that while there are scenes everywhere, the seer is nowhere to be
found.
The absolute darkness of deep sleep is also an image
When you are in deep sleep you forget everything and lose your sense of personal identity. But when you wake
up you instantly remember everything; you can even remember numerous events that had taken place in your
life. How come you can do that? A thing completely forgotten is recalled either with input from another
person, or with a great effort, or just by chance. But in this case you had forgotten all that you had. Nobody
gave you any input to help you remember. If you say that your surroundings acted as input that will be
incorrect, because the surroundings were a part of what you had forgotten and a thing forgotten recalling itself
without any cause doesn't seem likely. You didn't have to make an effort and such a great number of things and
events being recalled instantly cannot be a product of mere chance, especially when this occurs every morning.
So, how does it happen?

It happens because even deep sleep is essentially no different than dreams or waking consciousness. You are
actually awake when you are in deep sleep and hence no effort is needed to remind you of everything every
morning. The reason is, like everything else deep sleep is also a perception, only that you perceive merely an
absolute darkness in deep sleep. Think about it, when you close your eyes you see darkness; does that really
mean you perceived nothing? That you don't remember anything that happened during deep sleep is because
not only your sight was enveloped by darkness but also all other senses were equally enveloped by darkness.
Do you perceive nothing when you see darkness? Don’t you perceive the darkness?

It is known that people who can’t see also have dreams, but usually their dreams lack visual imagery, they
mostly dream of sounds, touch and other kinds of imagery. If you close your eyes and move your fingers across
your arm you are conscious of the shape and color of your arm, but if you are given an object that you hadn’t
seen before you can still imagine the shape of that object by running your fingers over it and without looking
at it; you will be creating an imagery that is not visual imagery but is still an image. That is why I say that all
things and their perception, be they visible, audible, edible, or any other kind, are strictly images and nothing
else. All senses are modifications of just one consciousness and saying that one doesn’t see even darkness in
the deep sleep is not correct because what one sees in the deep sleep is not an object of the senses we are
habituated to use, it is an object which is perceived when no ordinary senses are employed. It is a darkness
that is perceived by consciousness in its unmodified form. Since this absolute darkness is completely
homogeneous from the perspective of every sense organ, it doesn’t become discernible and so we think that
we saw nothing. But actually, whatever we perceived during the deep sleep was something that made us
happy; it was something so interesting that we became deeply engrossed in it.

And again, with practice it is possible to remain conscious even in deep sleep. There are people who are
capable of doing this and I have myself observed it many times. As a matter of fact now I very rarely sleep;
usually I appear to be asleep, but when I appear to wake up I find that I was awake all the time, although I get
as much rest as I would have got In deep sleep. But even if you don't agree with any such possibility you would
agree that the fact that you remember having slept happily shows that you were conscious at that time. And
when you are conscious, whatever you perceive at that time is essentially a perceivable object be it a wooden
table, a dream or the absolute darkness of deep sleep, unless the object perceived is your own self, in which
case it would be the subject and not an object.

In fact, deep sleep is no different than perception of an object in which you become very deeply involved.
For example, when you are watching an extremely interesting movie you forget everything else and remain
aware of the movie alone. The only difference between that extremely interesting movie and the deep sleep
is that in case of latter you are deeply involved with the absolute darkness. Because the absolute darkness
means not perceiving a great number of objects, it gives rest to all senses and hence you become so
interested in it that you ignore everything else. But just like while watching that extremely interesting movie
you were wide awake, even while in deep sleep you are wide awake.

Let us make this even easier to understand.

Suppose I see darkness all around so that I can't see anything, not even my own body. Would I say I am
unconscious because I don’t see anything? NO.

Again, if I don’t hear anything at all, not even my heart-beat; would I say I am unconscious? NO. If I don’t
smell anything, would I say I am unconscious? NO. And you can extend this to all other senses.

Now, why would you say you were unconscious when all this happened at the same time? In deep sleep all your
senses are taking rest at the same time, but that doesn't mean you are unconscious while asleep. You are
conscious but only of a happiness that results from total rest and you can vaguely recall that happiness when
you wake up. Why don't I consider simultaneous disabling of all senses to be unconsciousness? Because an
unconscious person is alive but can’t perceive outside objects, but after becoming conscious again he doesn't
find himself to have changed into another person, which means that neither the consciousness nor the real
person who is conscious is to be confused with the senses, for it is not your senses but you who is conscious
and you being the same person even after the apparent unconsciousness means that you must have been the
same person even during the so-called unconsciousness, you must have been conscious in the unconsciousness.

In conclusion, every state of existence is merely a manifestation which we can term an object and these
include desires, dreams, deep sleep and physical objects.

This means we need not consider desires or thoughts separately from other objects because an object is
simply that which is perceived, and that includes desires and thoughts. Therefore, if you observe carefully
and sincerely you will find that actually there are only two phases of perception instead of three: becoming
conscious and dividing the consciousness into parts (or objects). So now we have two things -the seer and the
scene, or the subject and the object.

By the way, I will come back to the topic of desires later because their apparent role as motivators of acts has
not been analyzed here fully. In any case, I find that the statement of Descartes (“Cognito ergo sum”, or “I
think, therefore, I am”) is not entirely correct because thoughts (and even deep sleep) are just objects and I
don’t depend on objects for my existence. And although Descartes, being unable to think in sleep, could have
forgotten his existence for as long as he slept, I know myself to exist at all times. So, I would rather say that I
am, therefore, thoughts are.
Looking for myself, deeper yet

Let us now consider the seer or subject separately from its thoughts, desires or mind.

That subject is definitely not the body because the body cannot perceive on its own (ask a dead body).
Without an intelligent principle the body is just dead matter and even if given energy it will remain just that.
Again, that subject cannot be the breath which sustains life because breath also is perceived and hence it is
not the subject, not the seer. That subject cannot be mind because mind is nothing more than thoughts and
memories (which are again just thoughts) perceived by the subject. That subject cannot be the faculty of logic
because, for one, the logic entirely depends on memory (concepts learned), secondly we are not always logical
in our actions, logic doesn't correspond with our identity, and lastly, it is not there in deep sleep (that is a
must because apparently there is a continuity in existence of the self even in deep sleep, which is proved by
our later awakening and our acknowledgment of the fact that we slept). Ego cannot be that subject because
ego is synonymous with the personality which is a collection of memories. Ego is the story of a life time, which
kept changing throughout our life and hence would correspond to numerous different personalities depending
on the time-frame under consideration. Therefore, the ego is not the subject that is known as one entity.

Clearly, we have run out of options here. There is simply nothing that can be pinpointed as the subject (or
the self, seer, soul). So, does the subject really not exist? Or is it that it exists outside the body and mind?
For now, all we can say is that we didn't find any subject that corresponds with a changeless seer. The
question now arises, if there is no seer then why do we perceive?

Is it possible to see without being a seer?


Of course, it is possible. But such an act of seeing must fulfill one precondition: the seer must be the scene.
When there is no distinction between the seer and the scene then what remains is the act of seeing, mere
knowledge (perceiving your body, mind or thoughts is not such an act of seeing because the fact that you say
"my body", "my mind", shows that those are your belongings, not you). Since our discussion so far proves that
there is no seer to be found anywhere and yet the scenes are seen therefore you must be fulfilling this
precondition all the time and so, you must be the universe. Our only question is this: if this ‘you’ appears as
an individual and is also indirectly proved to be identical with the universe then what this ‘you’ really is, and
how does it appear like a Universe?

Objects, other than absolute darkness do not exist during deep sleep or during so-called state of
unconsciousness. Some objects are perceived in waking state, while others exist in dreams but vanish once
we wake up. All objects keep changing and are ultimately destroyed. They are only perceived when we
identify them as separate from the self. This fact is easy to verify.

Consider those moments when one is absent-minded; things go unnoticed even when eyes and ears are open.
While the food cooking on your stove burns to ashes you may not notice the smell. Someone might be calling
at the door for a long time but you may remain blissfully unaware. And when you do come to notice these
events, you may realize that actually you were aware of the smell and aware of the noise at the door all that
time but didn't recognize it as something worth a reaction. It is because your perception of those things never
reached the second phase that involves making distinction between the subject and the objects. Such things
may happen when you are deeply involved in some other activity (in such cases you are so engrossed in your
activity that at the moment you become one with the activity), but they also happen when you are in a
reverie or otherwise absentminded. You can say that you were lost in yourself. Since we earlier saw that the
second phase is not a distinct phase but merely perception of other objects like words, thoughts and emotions
which seem connected with previous object called the first phase, we can say that in such situations of
absentmindedness you ignore your surroundings because you are deeply engrossed in just one object. But when
the spell of absentmindedness breaks down then you instantly see at least two objects, one which you call
your Self, and second, the object which was calling your attention (a knock at the door). Since now you have
assigned the status of a distinct seer to your body and mind (which are but scenes) so now you perceive all
objects distinctly.

As we concluded in the case of a red hot chili pepper, objects are found to be identical with various
properties or ideas perceived in them which in their turn are revealed to be some form of consciousness. And
that consciousness is something like an airy nothing.

However, this truth is seen only when one analyzes the perception so deeply as if one is almost absent-minded
or in a reverie. When one wants to just taste the chili pepper then obviously one finds it a chili pepper (in
other words, the object appears as object when one has distinguished it as an object, as something other than
the consciousness).

In the end what remains of subject, object and desires is merely consciousness.

But you may get a feeling that I have not given enough evidence for matter to be essentially consciousness.
Perhaps we can make it easier to understand and easier to verify.

Actually the illusion of existence is like a house of cards where all cards support each other but actually none
of them is capable of standing (the test of reality) in isolation. Or you can compare our belief in the existence
of the world to be a loop formed by some circular arguments. It is something like saying that X must be a good
guy because he hangs out with Y and Y must be a good guy because he hangs out with X. In everyday life you
seldom use your individual sense organs in isolation. That is because a perception by a certain sense organ can
always be dismissed as merely an illusion or hallucination unless that perception is double checked with help of
another sense organ. You may see a flower but that may be an illusion, however if you smell it and/or touch it
you may conclude that it is a real flower (or a real plastic flower). Some other person plucking that flower is
no proof because that only adds to the number of entities you have to prove real. Similarly, a taste on your
tongue may just be a product of your fancy created by your intense desire for that taste unless other
perceptions of smell, sounds (maybe of munching, slurping etc.), touch or sight reassure you of the reality of
the delicacy you are savoring. In case of perception of sounds you have to rely on your sense of direction or on
sight to verify that indeed there is some distant or nearby source of that sound and that it is not just a
hallucination of some sort. Simply put, the reality of a perception is dependent on the proof furnished by some
other perception.

Now, take for example the sense of sight. When you see an object, if you don't bother about describing it in
your mind, giving it name, analyzing its characteristics and its uses but just see it then you will find that there
is not a least bit of difference between the object (scene) and the fact that you are aware of that object (seer
and sight). There is no difference between the object and the consciousness that reveals it to you. How do you
know the consciousness that reveals a chair in your sight? You know that the chair is there, that's it! How do
you know that there is a chair? You are conscious and so you know, that’s it! Of course, you may ask a person
who cannot see but is otherwise conscious. That person may not know the chair but he or she can certainly tell
you that there is a chair in your mind, only because that person is conscious. Clearly you cannot take the
senses for consciousness and clearly you cannot take the forms of objects for consciousness, nevertheless, you
can take the consciousness for something which is synonymous with knowing, and knowing being inseparable
from the known and the knower the consciousness is everything that is there.
This can be directly and certainly experienced without any form of meditation or special exercise. You just
need to observe carefully. Although it seems like a very simple exercise I don't imagine most people are willing
to really understand its meaning and importance. Its meaning is the meaning of entire creation and its
importance nobody can describe nor ever did describe, not even this author. Why do I say nobody ever
described its importance? Because when one realizes the truth of the statements made above one finds that
while this whole creation, including the apparently dead matter, is actually self-conscious (in other words,
alive) at the same time there is no living being to be found anywhere.

Since this is an extremely important revelation which happened as a result of adopting a certain method I am
going to describe the method once again in brief.
~~~.Side-note.~~~

I would like to reaffirm this reality again and again because true knowledge is not a product of one-time
reading. It is an everyday experience that in order to acquire more valuable things one needs to make greater
effort. In case of physical things you may need to go to various places and interact with many people, but to
know the self the only effort you make is contemplation.

Something of great import or secret meaning is understood only by going through it again and again and
contemplating it even more. Of course you don't know which statements contain hidden meaning and so it is
worthwhile to consider all statements at least twice.

Since the ultimate truth is one, collecting ever new facts is not going to make us any smarter. If in the next
few lines I happen to say something new that would be only because it revealed itself while I was
contemplating on something already known.

The simplest statements often have dozens of different meanings and one who thinks it is a waste of time to
contemplate the same again will definitely miss all other meanings than the one he accidentally happened to
know (a partial truth). If the meaning of a book was no more than the words it contained then it wouldn't
make much difference whether it was a camera or a person who stared at the book. Revelation of a hidden
meaning may not even need new words echoing in the mind of the reader, nor any new interpretation of the
same old words. The only way you recognize that revelation is the feeling that a revelation has taken place,
and this usually happens when one is not in a hurry to find revelation somewhere else.

~~~ End of Side-note ~~~

When you consider each property of a thing in isolation all the properties and the thing itself is found to be
immaterial and of the same nature as pure consciousness. Nothing is left of the object after all its properties
have been found to be essentially immaterial and of the nature of pure consciousness. So the entire object is
found to be pure consciousness, pure knowledge.

Here is a simple exercise. Close your eyes and put your finger on anything nearby, maybe on some part of
your body. Now observe the sense of touch carefully. It is hard to observe it in isolation because although
your eyes are closed still you are aware of the shape and contours of the thing you are touching. You have a
complete mental picture of that thing; in fact, even a person who cannot see has some sort of image in his or
her mind. When you are touching your hand, even with your eyes closed you have the image of the shape of
your hand and the location of your finger where the hand is being touched, you might also be observing slight
movements of your body (and all this is trying to prove the physical reality of touch). But if you try sincerely
to observe only the sensation of touch without bothering about the properties of two surfaces that are coming
in contact to create that sensation then you will find that sensation to be exactly like a thought, or just
knowledge, just pure consciousness.
After that you may consider the mental image of your finger touching your hand. Or if you like you can open
your eyes and see the finger and the hand and repeat the same exercise for the sensation of sight. You will
never find any sense perception and the objects which form it to be other than pure consciousness.

Therefore, on the basis of evidence we can say that the only thing that possibly exists is an entity which is
showing itself in the form of an illusion called the universe.

It is a dream, a much longer dream

We know that perception of physical objects is possible in two states of being, the waking state and the
dreaming state. In waking state of consciousness we rely on our gross sense organs to collect information in
form of stimuli, and we perceive with the help of underlying faculties of perception that we suppose are
located somewhere within the brain. In dreaming state of consciousness we perceive without apparent help
from our gross sense organs and rely solely on our faculties of perception which we again suppose to be
located in the brain.

Please note that there is no big difference between perception in waking and dreaming states. We can perceive
same tastes, smells, sights, colors, touch and sounds in both states. However, as is ordinary experience, dreams
seem to depict a disordered or impossibly extraordinary world while the waking state seems to have everything
in order and we know everything to be normal and ordinary in it.

For example, while one may fly very easily in a dream, doing so in the waking state is mostly unseen and
unbelievable or simply a matter of stories and legends. However, whether something that was perceived
seems impossibly unbelievable or very normal doesn't change the fact that it was perceived. And it is not
unusual for dreams to depict even ordinary objects and events of waking state. Besides, dreams look
extraordinary only when we wake up, as long as they last we believe everything in them to be absolutely
normal. Therefore, dreams are not entirely different from the waking state.
Both dreams and waking are persistent and non-persistent at the same time. While we remember dreams even
when we are in the waking state, we don't remember the waking state when we dream and hence dreams are
more persistent. On the other hand, dreams are almost always new and different (but there are numerous
exceptions if we consider the dreams of entire humanity, as there are many who have recurring dreams) while
the waking state usually seems to resume in the next day. In this way, the waking state is more persistent than
dreams, but maybe that is only because in the dream-life I don't care what day of the month it is.

Anyway, that just makes me suspect that either the waking state is an intermittent dream within another
longer dream (called dreaming state) or the dreaming state is an intermittent dream within another longer
dream (called the waking state). Whatever may be the truth, the fact remains that both are similar in
character when compared against the seer who is not an object of perception.

Which desire causes dreams, which causes the world?


According to currently predominant view, dreams are imaginations created by us in order to fulfill our desires.
But as per my knowledge this is not limited to dreams only but applies equally to the waking state. Isn't it true
that whatever we do in the waking state is due to our desires? You may say yes it is so, but that it differs in
the fact that we don't create the world in the waking state; and that the world is already existing and we only
manipulate things in it in order to fulfill our desires.

Maybe it is true that the world in the waking state already exists but that doesn't mean dreams are any
different. For even if you consider dreams to be an effect of impressions created by objects we perceived while
awake, you will agree that this only implies that the dream world existed even before it was perceived. And by
the way, have you ever considered a possibility that the waking world might just be a product of imagination
which we had before we were born? While scientists think the universe is always moving towards an ever
greater degree of disorder (law of entropy), isn't it quite natural for an intelligent principle to move towards an
ever greater degree of order, to evolve from a dream to the waking state?

We notice that dreams are quite awkward and jumbled up but the waking state is quite orderly. Is it an
impossibility that dreams might be our primitive world which when ordered by our intelligence appears to us as
the world we see in the waking state? The waking world seems to precede the dream world only if you
presume the waking world to be a persistent reality. Duration of the dream world seems shorter than the
waking world but that is no reason to believe that dreams are aberrations and the waking world is reality. That
difference in duration is something like difference in perception of two men one of whom sleeps more while
the other one keeps awake longer. Isn’t it possible for us to be creatures who are accustomed to dreaming for
long hours (the waking life) and live the waking life only intermittently (the dreaming life)?
While I have no issues with accepting that dreams are our attempts to fulfill our unfulfilled desires, I don't
agree with the common notion that these desires are born out of impressions upon mind left by our perceptions
during the waking state (nor with the notion that components of dreams are passed down genetically as some
basic instincts, because that would be equal to saying that our ancestors originally acquired desires from the
world).

My position is that rather than an object perceived in the waking state creating impressions upon the mind
(and ultimately, dreams, desires and other thoughts) it is desire that creates both the dreams as well as other
physical objects. It is clear to me that all the waking sessions and all the dreaming sessions are part of one
long dream; and waking seems to cause ordinary and everyday dreams just like yesterday seems to cause
today (which is actually one day being followed up by another day, and not one day causing another day).

Just like today is no more real than yesterday, waking is no more real than dreaming.

The only thing that a person does after being born is to learn how to convey a desire and get it fulfilled, but
in no way does he or she acquire desires from the world. You may see a new car and feel desire for
acquiring it but the fact is your motive behind desiring that car is not the car. There is some other basic
desire that you want to fulfill through that car; and if you found some other easier or better way, you may
instantly forget about that car and fulfill the same desire through that new-found mean.

The world is full of forms agreeable to senses, and of objects desirable. But if you look carefully you will find
that the number of basic desires does not surpass the number of modifications of consciousness into various
senses. All desires correspond with our senses; they are just a way to keep sense organs occupied. Since sense
organs do not act in isolation there are a great number of possible permutations and combinations and we have
an enormous quantity of desirable things.

In other words, since the eyes can perceive a wide spectrum of colors and forms, you can desire an
inconceivable number of different types of cars. And since your skin can recognize a wide range of tactile
stimuli so you can desire cars made of a combination of any of numerous kinds of materials; and since these
senses act in a harmony so the number of desirable things becomes even greater. And if a desired car doesn't
exist in material form but you know what you desire then you might attempt to make it manifest in material
form by designing and building it, or just by passing your thoughts to someone else who can design and build a
car. However, all these desires indicate that the real desire is one (you will know the reason in a short while).

Dreams are basically daydreams. When one daydreams one gets involved in thoughts so deeply that all
movements of body appear automatic. Nevertheless, the sense of doer-ship is divided between the ordinary
existence and the thoughts of the daydreamer.
However, when one has a real dream it is usually the bedtime, a time when other activities cease to be
priority. Then the person daydreams with greater intensity. The sense of doer-ship of that person gets almost
completely transferred to the thoughts. Again all the activities of body (breathing, digestion, blood circulation
etc.) appear automatic. The person, however, now plays an active role in his imaginary world, as if earlier
(when thinking or daydreaming) he was just watching a movie and now (when dreaming) he has entered the
movie.

Dreams are supposed to be an attempt to fulfill suppressed desires but psychologists and psychiatrists do not
really understand what those desires are. If you had a nightmare, would you like to be told that it happened
because you wanted to feel haunted?

The desire which dreams attempt to fulfill is not a desire for objects. It is simply a desire to create more and
more scenarios out of available ideas of objects (thoughts). Sometimes some of these scenarios or
arrangements prove frightening and upon waking up you say that you had a nightmare. It is something like an
honest scientist making a new discovery only to find out later that his discovery was misused to create a
weapon of mass destruction; or like a newbie in a lab playing with seemingly harmless chemicals which look
like water, and putting his hair on fire.

If you keep thinking about a nightmare you will be maintaining that frightening arrangement of objects which
you saw in the nightmare, and so, you will be vulnerable to seeing a repeat performance. But frankly speaking,
no one has control over thoughts and if you succeed in getting rid of the memories of that nightmare then you
are just lucky. But now you are luckier because you have come to know how the nightmares are created, you
don't create them, they have nothing to do with psychology.

Dreams depict strange experiences because with a limited set of objects the person tries to create numerous
scenarios at the same time. For example, in dreams you may see your friend who lives in India to be a king of
some distant land. And he might appear angry with you, while in the waking-life you always find him friendly.
You may see yourself in some other profession and indulging in activities that you found pretty useless in the
waking life. In a dream a person may even find his or her body to have head and torso of two different
persons. You may see your faraway village in the mountains to be inundated with waters of a tsunami.

It is stupid to say that you actually wanted to see yourself and your fellow villagers in such a plight. You saw
the water flooding the mountains only because two ideas were combined into one; you saw your friend as a
king in a foreign land because the ideas of a king, your friend and a foreign country were combined,
automatically. This is the same thing that happens even while awake. In your waking life you may actually have
a friend who is a king of a distant land, but since you have already taken this combination of ideas for a reality
you are not judging it. But you are not judging it only as long as you are in the state called waking and the
moment you start dreaming this apparent reality becomes meaningless; and the same thing happens in dreams,
you don’t judge dream events as long as you are dreaming.

Saying that a nightmare was because of some deep-rooted fear is also stupid. If there was a deep-rooted fear
would a nightmare mean you wanted to encounter that fear right away? Hardly any man or woman who had a
nightmare would tell you that they wanted to encounter their deep-rooted fears and suspect this to be the
reason for their nightmares. If they had any control over the situation, they would rather not have a
nightmare.

The fact is that fear is always associated with objects, even if that object is a thought of loneliness. There is
nothing like an intrinsic fear in absence of objects. Saying that a deep-rooted fear created objects which
themselves generate that fear is a circular argument. Just like a sweet thing has a quality of sweetness, a
particular scenario has a particular quality and that quality is the sum total of individual qualities of all object
or ideas involved in the scenario; and the individual who finds him or her in that scenario is one such object. If
one realized this, one would rather try to enjoy the fear. Or one would at least know the fear to be an
ordinary thing.

Both dream and deep-sleep are like taking a slice out of a longer dream called an ordinary lifetime.
Dreaming is like taking a slice of time out of total lifetime and filling that slice with a greater number of
objects and events, and scenarios created by those objects. It is like fast-forwarding the life, doing more in
less time. But since it happens within a localized portion of total lifetime of the longer dream, once you
wake up you may be surprised that what seemed like forever was actually just a few hours (or minutes), and
if your dream consisted of just a few objects which captured your attention strongly then upon waking up you
may be surprised that what seemed like just a few moments was actually a long time, this is only because
perception of time depends on perception of movement of thoughts.

Deep sleep on the other hand is filling a portion of regular lifetime with just one object, the absolute darkness.
You perceive time because of events, because of movement and changes in objects (including the movement of
thoughts). But the absolute darkness seems homogeneous and without any movement, so how could you
perceive time during deep sleep? It is like slowing down of life, but since that slowing down happens within a
localized portion of the total lifetime of the longer dream so we are surprised to know that we slept for hours
while it felt like just a few moments. It was several hours because hours were counted within the longer
dream called waking life, and it felt like a short interval because in that interval everything was homogeneous
and so we didn't perceive the length of that interval. Perceiving this quick flight of time doesn’t need falling
asleep, if you concentrate on an object steadfastly you can verify the fact that time actually depends on the
movement of thoughts.
From the direct experience it is clear that in dreams various objects (ideas) are combined to create a new
scenario, and the fact that people also have nightmares proves that this combining of ideas is not an act of
people, and since a fear cannot create an object which is supposed to generate that very fear so dreams are
not even products of impressions or memories. Within your heart you might be hoping for an enjoyable
outcome but you can't really decide the outcome of a scenario which was not created by you. That's all about
it. And the waking life is no different. In waking life also merely a process of combining the ideas is in
progress, and only later we come to know what the outcome actually feels like. The fact that one can see the
thoughts rising and falling automatically shows that actually no one has any control over life, it is exactly like
dreams. One finds reason for a specific thought only when that thought has already manifested and has been
followed up by another thought (the thought which involves finding the reason behind the previous thought),
and one terms this phenomenon conscious mental activity. But actually, it is entirely a passive phenomenon,
just like ordinary dreams.

One may say that it is possible to plan a specific thought and then actually thinking it, for example, saying that
I will think about an apple later and then actually thinking about an apple after several minutes. But there is
no reason to believe this new thought is caused by the old thought (the plan), because it is not infrequent to
forget something which we planned to do and so the old thought is essentially a preceding thought but not a
causing thought. What is the difference between preceding and causing? Well, you may count to number four
and then count five, but you could have counted hundred immediately after four and in both cases it will be
incorrect to say that the thought of number four caused another thought, it just preceded other thoughts and
it might have been followed up by another activity or a full stop to counting. Therefore both the dreaming and
waking thoughts and activities are entirely passive phenomena (I will dwell on it more when I take up the issue
of motivating power of desires again).

Where do thoughts originate?


Thoughts or sensations are said to be capable of being recognized in their respective centers in the brain. But
an apparent manifestation of a thought in some region in the brain doesn't mean it first originated in that
place. It merely manifests itself there, just like it later manifests itself in the physical world in form of
physical objects. Words, for example, may be thought within and may also be spoken aloud. When spoken
aloud, they may be captured by recording devices and heard by others. So, the same word manifests itself not
only in the brain but also in the recordings and in brains of other beings. If a man heard you calling his name,
it doesn't mean that the word he heard was born within his head. And I don't mean to say that that word was
born in the head of the caller, what I mean is that all the places where the word manifests are exactly that,
places of their manifestation and nothing else. They are not the places of birth of the word; they are only
locations of receivers. The location of the source of the word is unknown and the word has a potential to
manifest simultaneously in numerous places. A word spoken by one person and heard by many persons is
actually not a single word, the manifestations of that word in various places are all separate objects which are
copies of a single prototype, but that prototype cannot be located anywhere conclusively. You may think that
you actually create a thought, but the fact is you are only witness to manifestation of a thought and are no
creator, because you can always see that either a thought was preceded by some other thought or that you just
don’t know how a thought came to be, in both cases your brain cannot be considered the birth place of
thought under question.

Imagine a bulk advertising text message arriving in phones of numerous people at the same time. The places of
manifestation of the message are numerous but the source is one. The only difference is that in a relative
sense the source of that text message can be discovered but in case of thoughts it is not possible at all
because there is no material source.

I have used the phrase “in a relative sense” in case of the text message because the ultimate source of even
that text message cannot be discovered as the trail will lead us to some thought, and the source of thoughts
is again untraceable since the thinker is always conscious that he was influenced by some other thinker or
some other thought. So, the thought is not necessarily born where it is manifested. In other words, brain is
no different than any other sense organ. Neither a perception nor impression created by that perception is
born in the brain; if brain has any function then it is of acting like a junction, like a warehouse, but not like
a farm.

There is no outside or inside


The flow of desire is neither from mind to the world nor from world to the mind. I say so because, in reality,
there is no inside or outside. Even the consciousness or soul cannot be found inside the body or outside it. All
these conceptions of inside and outside are merely because of false belief in the individual existence. If one
had to imagine an individual soul at all then rather than the soul being inside the body it must contain the
body within itself because soul by definition cannot be contained within the body it creates or imagines for
itself.

Why? Well, because first of all the soul cannot be smaller than body in dimension for we can never perceive or
identify it in any specific part of the body while we recognize our entire being to be one unit. Secondly, it
cannot be the same size as the body since the soul is an unchangeable entity (the entity that always calls itself
'I' as a child, as an adult and as an old man) that doesn't depend on mutable physical objects (such as body)
and so its unchangeable dimensions can never correspond exactly with the ever-changing dimensions of the
body. And if you say that every particle which forms a part of the body is soul then it would mean every grain
of soil is consciousness, meaning that you agree the soul is not inside the body. Besides, when an organ of the
body is for some reason removed from the body then it is no longer felt to be a part of the self, and it is
inconceivable for something which was earlier the self to become the non-self the next moment.

Therefore, in no way can it be within the body.

Now, the soul is conscious and to be conscious of something it must exist before that thing, you know not a
thing if you don't know that you exist. And so, the soul must be older than the entire universe, because you can
see even the distant stars but the stars wouldn't be there if you didn't exist (and by 'you' I don't mean your
body), which puts the entire universe at par with the body in terms of being subordinate to the soul.

So, if the soul is not within the body then it is not within anything (because everything else also changes in
dimension and is necessarily within consciousness). Instead, everything is within the soul. And because
everything is within the soul there is really no inside and no outside. No outside because anything that could
lie beyond has already been counted inside; and no inside because all that the homogeneous and immutable
soul (‘I’) perceives is a part of itself.

Spiritualists often use dreams to explain the nature of existence. They have a good reason for doing so but
often this reason is obscured because of a tendency to compare dreams and waking state and to find out
differences among various objects seen in these states. However, nobody questions the existence of the
subject, the seer. This obvious fact is usually what is obscured during comparison of dreams and waking. Many
objects are seen in both states but the witness is the same entity. In other words, knowledge of dreams and
waking belongs to one entity. You may see yourself as a lion or a boat in a dream and upon waking up you may
reject those visions as mere imaginations but you can't deny that it was you who saw that. There is lot of
debate on the process of dream formation but hardly any on the one who dreams and the one who is awake.

If you see yourself as a lion in a dream you feel like a lion while the dream lasts but upon waking up you are
not convinced that the body of that lion was you, how could it be, after all now you know that actually you are
no lion. On the other hand you need no convincing that it was you who felt like a lion. Now, in the waking
state you see yourself in a human form, you know that it is you who feels like a human, but you are convinced
that this human body is you. Why so? Why don't you reject the body as alien, a hallucination? Obviously,
because you can't reject the possibility of being a human body while you are still in this waking state!

As long as a particular state of existence is in manifestation, you are going to take yourself for the body which
the prevalent state shows you. Suppose you start dreaming now and see yourself as some other organism, you
would instantly forget that you were a human being. When in a dream you see yourself as a lion you may still
continue to think like a human being, but there is no proof that thinking of a real lion is any different than
thinking of human beings. So, what are you going to believe?
No matter what you do, if you are going to take yourself for a body you will definitely call yourself a lair after
sometime. Between waking and dreaming you don't even know when you rejected all your previous beliefs.
Same is true of waking life taken independently. Sometimes you fail, sometimes you succeed, sometimes you
are happy, sometimes you are sorry; but you never realize that actually you never changed. You act like a
drowning man lost in the sea being tossed around here and there all the time. And most unfortunately, you
don't take support of the one thing you are always sure of, the one thing that never changes and will never
betray you. That thing is the knowledge that the seer is always unchanged, and that this seer is real you.

If you are just a seer why would you associate yourself with happiness or unhappiness? But of course, you are
not convinced yet. You will still ask who this seer is, although I have already told you that it is you. Basically
your question is about the status and capabilities of this seer. Your question also implies that you want to
know how these different scenes appear before the seer. You also want to know if the seer has any control, if
he can decide what to see and what not. The answer lies in a question, actually two questions.

Do you decide your dreams? Is a dream apart from you? No and No.

I think you agree, at least partly. But I am inclined to go all the way and accept that the same is true for
the waking state, too.

I can do that as now I know that the world only appears outside and apart from me only because I am
confusing myself with a body, which is a direct result of my being in a state of dream wherein this body
appears (although this dream is so vivid that right now I am prepared to call it waking). And actually I find this
dream of being awake more vivid than others I have had only because I am still dreaming this one. I never
doubted the clarity of other dreams as long as they lasted! And I have no reason to believe that I have ceased
to be that same dreamer. So, I celebrate the fact that I am not inside this world, rather this world is inside
me, not inside the body but inside the seer that I am.

And so, dreams are not a product of impressions left by the waking world. Same is true of the waking world,
and it is neither existent materially nor is a product of impressions left by dreams. Both dreaming and waking
are manifestations of one and same latent desire for imagining various scenarios; and the owner of this desire
is not located within the dream world or within the physical world.

As for controlling the desires, all I can say is that currently I have no control over my desires. Mind control is
mere talk; a controlled mind is unheard of because it is the very nature of thoughts to rise and fall
incessantly. I don't think you will reach a substantially different conclusion either. It seems to me that I and
my desires are not
created by anybody, we are self-born.
I am aware that you may find the concept of no inside and no outside to be quite strange. In this context
I would like to tell you an ancient story. Since the current topic is otherwise difficult to explain fully, I
think the need for a story has finally arisen. So please bear with me.

The story in question is taken from a Hindu scripture called Yoga Vasishtha. It is a book containing teachings of
sage Vasishtha to a teenager lord Rama and compiled by sage Valmiki, god knows when (Valmiki was also the
author of one of the greatest epic poems, Ramayana).

You need not take it for a true history or a figment of imagination as I chose the story only because it
illustrates the concept of no inside and no outside in an interesting way, and the purpose is not your
conversion. Besides, as the message of story itself will tell you, there is no reason you should take it to be
true or false, you can always take it for simply something told by someone.

The story of Lila


Long ago, somewhere in India there lived a young royal couple – the king Padma and his beloved queen Lila.
They were so attached to each other that they couldn't even dream of living in absence of each other. But as
years passed by the queen started worrying that if her husband were to die before her, life would become
unbearable to her. She consulted some learned priests and asked them how one could become immortal. They
told her that although everything could be acquired by following certain practices it was in no way possible
for human beings to acquire immortality. Lila then thought of some other possibility. She thought that if after
the death of her husband she could still always be near him then it would be possible for her to somewhat
cheerfully await her last moments without committing suicide.
Lila was a devoted worshiper of the goddess of learning, Saraswati. She duly worshiped and meditated upon the
goddess for a specified period of time. The goddess being satisfied with her devotion appeared before her and
asked her to name the desired boon. Lila asked of the goddess two boons. That if her husband were to die first
then his spirit may not escape a small shrine she had built in their inner apartments, and that the goddess may
appear and give her blessings whenever her devotee, the queen Lila, called upon her. The goddess granted her
both boons.

After many years had passed, the husband of Lila, king Padma finally succumbed to death. His spirit left its
mortal coils and entered the little shrine Queen Lila had built in the inner apartments of the palace. Now Lila
passed her days full of sorrow sitting by side of the shrine all day long or worshiping the goddess. One day the
goddess took pity on her and appeared before her. The goddess asked her the cause of her sorrow. Lila told
the goddess everything and prayed the goddess to tell her where her husband was dwelling presently and if she
could go where her husband was.
The goddess told the queen that there were three kinds of space. The space that we see around ourselves
(physical space), the space we perceive with our eyes closed (mental space) and the space of pure
intelligence (divine space or space of pure consciousness). She said that Lila's husband was now in the space of
pure intelligence and to enter that space one must forget the body, the other two kinds of space and objects
they contain. The goddess told Lila that although it was very difficult for ordinary people to forget the
physical and mental space, with her blessings Lila would easily enter the space of intelligence. Then the
goddess disappeared.

Lila faithfully practiced the meditation prescribed by the goddess and forgetting everything else entered the
sphere of pure intelligence while still sitting in her inner apartments (because the sphere of pure intelligence,
as the goddess told the queen, was not separate from other kinds of space but was rather present everywhere
imperceptibly as water in milk). Lila saw herself in the court of her husband. The royal court was full of
courtiers and other people. Her husband was sitting on a magnificent throne and was thronged by ministers and
learned people. She noticed that everything seemed like before. The palace looked the same; even the
ministers, scholars and ordinary people looked like those same people she saw in the court of her husband
(king Padma) when he was alive, as if someone lifted them up from their respective places and placed them in
this similar court. But she also saw some new people she had never seen before. She heard her husband being
addressed by name of king Vidurath. She also heard some messenger say that spies had discovered enemies
ready to attack the kingdom from south. Lila came back to ordinary consciousness and was frightened. She
wondered if all the courtiers and other people were dead and had gone to the place where her husband was
now dwelling. Even at that late hour of night she summoned her ministers and ordered the court to be
convened. When everyone she desired to see was present in the court she was satisfied that all her people
were still alive. She dismissed the court, went back and started worshiping the goddess of learning to clarify
her doubts.

Once the goddess appeared Lila asked her if what she saw was a dream. How did her husband still appear to
be the same mighty king, although having a different name? Why were all those courtiers also present in her
husband's new court? How was it possible for the same person to be present at more than one location at the
same time, how could she see all the ministers in both places?

Of the world she was now present in and the world she saw during meditation which one was real?

The goddess told the queen that none of the two worlds was real, that both worlds were equally imaginary.
The goddess told the Queen that spirit of her husband was still residing in the empty space within the little
shrine. She told her that because her husband took himself for a mighty king of a vast empire in his previous
life of husband of Lila he had again by power of his imagination created a vast empire within that little sphere
of empty space in the shrine and was even now ruling that empire as king Vidurath. He still had all the people
of his past life fresh in his memory and so he had created by his imagination similar courtiers and even another
queen who looked just like Lila. But he didn't know it as his own creation but rather as a world in which he was
born and brought up, as is natural.

She also told her that the world which Lila presently saw was of the same nature and that it was situated in
a particle of vast sphere of consciousness.

Lila was astonished to hear that. Although she knew the goddess always spoke the truth she asked the
goddess how it was possible for the vast universe to be contained in a tiny particle of consciousness, like a
mountain in a tiny grain of sand. In response the goddess told Lila about the previous life of the latter.

The goddess said, “In a tiny part of the vast sphere of divine consciousness is situated the universe and in a
tiny part of that universe is the earth, and in a remote part of that earth a pious Brahmin (a Hindu priest) lived
with his family in a mountain village. One day the Brahmin while sitting on a rock saw the convoy of a king out
on a hunting expedition. He was mesmerized by the royal dignity of the king and craved to experience the
same. He decided that from that moment on he would worship with only that object in mind so that he could
become a king in his next life. After many years the Brahmin died and due to his life-long desire to experience
the royal pleasures he became a mighty king on the earth. The wife of the Brahmin, who was also a devotee of
the Goddess of learning asked of the goddess a boon that the spirit of her husband might not escape a small
shrine she had built in their house. Upon his death the spirit of Brahmin created, by power of imagination, a
vast empire within the empty space in the small shrine situated in that house. His wife could not bear his
death and died soon after his departure. The spirit of his wife left her body and joined her husband in his
newly created empire.”

The goddess told Lila that Lila and her husband (the late king Padma) were that same Brahmin couple and
that the whole earth of which the queen presently knew, all dwellers of that earth, the queen and the
goddess herself were situated in that same empty space of the little shrine built by the wife of that pious
Brahmin. She told Lila that it had been eight days since that Brahmin died.

Lila couldn't believe what the goddess told her because she was unable to understand how a period of eight
days could contain her life of so many years that she had experienced as Queen Lila.

To convince Lila the goddess told her that it was possible to visit the house of Brahmin couple because it still
existed, just like although king Padma had died and was now oblivious of existence of his former world and his
former wife still they continued in existence all the same. On advice of the goddess Lila meditated again and
entered the sphere of pure consciousness. She found herself in the sky in company of the goddess.
Lila found that she was capable of flying in the air. The two women went up in the sky and crossed many
regions in the space. They saw stars, planets and all sort of heavenly beings and then again descended to earth
at some other corner of the space. They went to the hilly village and entered the house of the late Brahmin
couple. They were welcomed by the grief-stricken son and other family members of the couple. They were
recognized as a pair of goddesses by Brahmin’s family. Lila touched the forehead of her former son, who felt as
if instantly relieved of all the pain. Then after some time the two women took leave of the family. Lila now
remembered everything and went about the village showing the goddess her favorite spots, people she knew,
and her domestic animals of the former life. She related her entire life story to the goddess, although the
goddess already knew all that. The two women then exited that part of creation.

Both women were back in the inner apartments of Lila and found the body of Lila to be sitting in meditation
next to her dead husband's body. Lila now desired to go to the place of her husband who was now ruling as
king Vidurath. So, both women again crossed the vast space and landed in the country of king Vidurath (within
the space of pure consciousness). They found that accompanied by a mighty force an enemy monarch named
Sindhu had attacked the kingdom of king Vidurath. King Vidurath was in his camp. The two women made
themselves visible to him. King took them for goddesses and worshiped them duly. The goddess of learning told
the king about his former lives as the Brahmin and as king Padma. As the two women were about to take leave
of the king he worshiped them and sought boons of them because, as he submitted, a visit of divine personages
is not supposed to go fruitless. He asked them to grant him a return to his former state of king Padma and
asked that wherever he went after death, his favorite minister and the minister's young daughter might
accompany him. The goddess granted him the boon and said that eventually the hostile king would kill king
Vidurath and conquer the empire.

After a little while the king went out to the battle-field. The two women first watched the battle from sky and
afterwards watched it from a balcony of the royal palace accompanied by the other Lila, the queen of king
Vidurath. The other Lila instantly recognized the goddess of learning and said that she was a devoted worshiper
of the goddess and that the goddess visited her in dreams every night. The goddess of learning was reminded of
the life-long devotion of this other Lila and asked her if she desired a boon. The other Lila wished that she
may not be widowed and that she may be able to accompany her beloved husband wherever he went. The
goddess granted her wish.

In the meantime they saw that the king Vidurath was fatally injured. The hostile king chased him, mounted
his car and cruelly slaughtered him. Meanwhile, the other Lila had fainted upon seeing her husband injured,
and died even before the king took his last breath.
The two women followed the spirit of king Vidurath as it went higher and higher in the sky. The spirit visited
the court of Yama, the god of death who judges the deeds of people once they have died and decides the
future of spirits of those dead people. The god of death found that king Vidurath had lived a virtuous life and
that he was favored by the goddess of learning with a boon. He ordered the king's spirit to go to the body of
king Padma and enter it so that King Padma might come back to life. The spirit followed the order and the two
women followed the spirit.

They reached the inner apartments of the palace of king Padma before the spirit. They found the other Lila
already present there, fanning the body of dead king Padma. They made themselves visible to the other Lila
and asked her how and when she arrived. The other Lila told them that some goddess had granted her a boon
that she would go wherever her husband went after his death. When she had fainted and died she soared into
the sky and was greeted by a heavenly maiden who introduced herself as the daughter of the former. The
heavenly maiden guided the other Lila and when they reached the palace of king Padma the heavenly maiden
vanished. The other Lila now thought that her husband was tired of battle and was sleeping and so she was
fanning him.

Then the goddess of learning awoke king Padma, who sat up as if emerging from a deep sleep. Apparently the
spirit of the king Vidurath following the verdict of the god of death had returned to the body of king Padma.
The goddess presently told him about the imaginary nature of all his lives and of entire existence, and after
blessing the king and the queens she vanished there and then. The king ruled his kingdom rightfully and led a
happy life with his two queens, the two versions of Lila, for a long time. Finally, upon their death the king
and the queens having known the knowable were liberated from the cycle of birth and death for ever.

Meaning of the story of Lila


Although I tried to squeeze the story in as few words as possible still it is pretty lengthy. But the import of
story is significant. And it sheds some light on the concepts of inside and outside.

The story says that queen Lila was able to go into another existence by meditating. The fact that goddess told
her that the space of pure intelligence can be entered only by forgetting other kinds of space and that Lila
entered the space of pure intelligence even while sitting in her room shows that actually the goddess meant
that there is only one space and it appears different depending on the state of consciousness. It also means
that it is the state of consciousness which decides the nature of objects we see in the space. This means that
all objects are ideas which are always present and even an apparently dead person still exists within the space
because ideas, which are synonymous with consciousness or knowledge, may change in form but never die.

She was told by the goddess that neither that other existence nor the one that Lila experienced while not
meditating was true. She was shown that a long time in one existence may be a very short period in
another and vice-versa. She was also shown that a person continues to exist even after death. She came to
know that other existences may be perceived after forgetting the current existence. It was also revealed to
her that although a person might forget his or her former world that former world doesn't cease to exist,
but at the same time that person is capable of creating another world. She also came to know that
everything one perceives is a product of desires but since every individual is imaginary so these desires
don't belong to any individual. And the fact that with closed eyes she saw same people as those she saw
with open eyes told her that what is outside is also inside. But those people were outside or inside of
what? Was the other world of king's imagination inside his mind or inside the mind of Lila, or inside that of
the goddess?

Before going into the answer, let us remember again the fact that all that we perceive is, in one way or other,
a result of desires (not "our" desires, only desires); both in the waking state as well as in dreams. Let us also
remember that objects which appear in waking state quite often appear in their exact same form in dreams,
too. It is true that sometimes dreams also depict things we have never seen and sometimes the objects we saw
while awake appear distorted or otherwise changed in dreams, but it is a known fact that in waking state also
sometimes we come to see objects which we never saw before and which appear quite strange. If we consider
that the material objects in reality are some forms of knowledge or consciousness (or, in consciousness) then it
is not very unnatural for them to change, both in dream and waking state. And lastly, I need not remind you
that previously we proved that although the location where a thought manifests can be pinpointed the source
of thought cannot.

The answer to our question is that since the consciousness is pure knowledge which is homogeneous
everywhere, there is no inside or outside. There is literally no boundary between the world and the body, and
between the body and the mind. There is no break in consciousness, which is all encompassing and
homogeneous. We take dreams to appear within us because we think there is something like a mind in our
heads.

There is no mind
It is not for no reason that one cannot locate mind anywhere, because while it is not anywhere at the same
time it is everywhere. Sounds self-contradictory? Well, it is not. The reason is as follows:

Whenever we perceive a thing we always perceive it at some location, even if within the body. But when we
do not perceive a thing in any way then it is nowhere. However, it is nowhere only until we come to
perceive it in some way. The moment we perceive it, its location is known. So, a thing that is currently
perceived nowhere has a potential to be located anywhere in the future. And as long as you have not found
it to be limited at any certain location you cannot rule out any other location nor limit its magnitude,
therefore, such a thing is just a potential. And mind is no more than a potential.
You may say that you have located thoughts to be somewhere inside your head. But that is not same as
locating mind. And if you say thought is mind then what have you located? It will change the next moment, it
won't be there when you are asleep. And once it has changed can it be called the same mind? Even to say that
you have located the mind you need another thought, which is different than what you had recognized as
mind. And if you say that the statement “I have found the mind” is the mind itself then after this statement
has left your lips and has been heard, your mind is no more. And if you say that change is the very nature of
mind then I would reply that it is only an assumption. Because what you perceive is a thought, you never
perceive anything that can be called mind, if you never perceived it how can you say its nature is to change? In
saying that thoughts keep changing what new would you be saying? The act of locating a thought is actually
the thought locating (manifesting) itself so definitely you didn't locate anything. By mind don’t you mean a
reservoir of thoughts? But if you don’t know that reservoir how can you claim to know its nature? So, all we can
say is that there are thoughts, which we mistakenly call mind. And thoughts are merely images. Since images
have no other capability then to manifest, thoughts or mind cannot be considered the intelligent principle.

And again, as we have already proved in this book, the point of origin of a thought cannot be located at any
cost. But if you maintain that by the mind being inside the head you mean that thoughts manifest (and don't
originate) inside the head, even then you won't be justified in saying that the thought is inside the head
because as has been proved before it is potentially also present at many other locations. That is why I say
there is no mind. Saying that the mind exists everywhere is just for the purpose of explanation. If you insist on
necessity of a mind then you can always consider the consciousness to be that.

There is no intelligent principle apart from the consciousness. Thoughts, being perceivable, are only objects.
And being objects, in isolation they cannot be considered the thinking principle but only inert entities.
However, when considering that every object being but a form of consciousness partakes of the innate
intelligence of consciousness then thoughts may be considered the intelligent principle. But then everything,
including the physical things which are objects of our thought will have to be taken on the same footing. And
when everything is same, again there is no mind. So, as is quite clear, there is simply no mind at all. It is just
a myth, a bugbear to frighten the gullible. There is just one omnipresent and eternal consciousness with
numerous illusory forms rising and falling in it all the time.

Nobody ever acts


If you don't consider his background and his location in that background, a person is, relatively, quite an
enduring image in the vast reservoir of pure consciousness. A person standing on the earth doesn't know he
or she is moving although the earth is moving, similarly since you think you are located in a body you believe
in the continuity of your personal identity, despite the fact that you know your body is always changing. This
is only because you know there is something immutable which is the real you, but you confuse it with the
body. If you were to see the body and the world from the point of view of a neutral observer you would find
that the world is one vast image in which various elements, like your body, keep changing form and location
within the frame.

The person thinks about closing his eyes. That thought is another image at par with the person himself (in
terms of being yet another perceivable object just like the body). Then the eyes are closed. The event of
closing the eyes and finding the eyes closed are yet more images. The person knows he has his eyes closed.
Knowing so is yet another image. The person sees a blank inside his forehead. The blank and his seeing the
blank are yet other images in consciousness. If you have read this carefully you have realized that the
thought, the perception and the recognition of object perceived are just three different images that come
forth in rapid succession. For example, when a person sees a flower and recognizes it as a flower the situation
is something like this: an image (flower) is interrupted immediately by another image (the recognition of
flower) which is in its turn followed up by several other images (like feelings, words of appreciation, actions
involving the flower etc.) in quick succession. This means that actually there was no thinking and hence no
mind.

Now, since the first image in the sequence was like a desire or thought of closing the eyes and the last image
was like a thought of knowing the eyes to be closed (meaning the cause was matched by an effect) a sense of
doer-ship is felt. However, the truth is -his thought of being the doer is yet another perceivable image and the
sequence of images was predetermined but not by him.

For after thinking that he wanted to close his eyes the subsequent events might equally have been different.
Instead his eyes might have caught sight of some object or another thought might have intervened. Or a speck
of dust might have fallen into his eyes triggering non-planned actions like rubbing the eyes, and so on. And you
will agree that things like this happen very frequently. In fact, you may not notice it but it literally happens all
the time. There is hardly any moment when you think of doing something and do it right then as the very next
action of yours, exactly in the same way you intended to. And even if you tried and succeeded in simulating
one such sequence you cannot do that all your life. Forget about the entire life, you cannot do that even for a
period of half an hour. And even if we consider the unlikely possibility of you doing it successfully for half an
hour, your accomplishment apart from being a direct effect of these my words (not your plan!) will be like a
song in a movie, which while has its own character, is not yet apart from the flow of the movie.

I don't deny a possibility that someone might have actually tried such a thing although he never read this book.
But as always there must have been some other thought that preceded his action. And just like this book is an
image in the consciousness which might actually lead a person to doing that activity I suggested, similarly the
thought of a person which leads him to do something is yet another image, at par with this book.
An apparent cause of the activity but in reality a mere image perceived before another image called
the activity.

You look at the bigger picture. That is quite practical. But while this makes everyday life easier it as easily
hides the details and the ultimate truth. And admittedly, this truth seems to hurt the ego. But I would have
wanted the ego hurt, if only it existed!

I hope you now know the destiny. It is just a predetermined sequence of images. It looks like cause and effect
but it is not, and I say it is predetermined only because it is not determined by any living entity, although it is
entirely random and not determined by anyone or anything at all. You only see one image following another
and say that the first image caused the next one. If there is more than one picture in a sequence and you don't
know who is showing you the sequence or how they are being shown to you then what else are you going to
think, especially if the images involve people in action, shown rapidly within a single frame called life, seen by
a seer who thinks he is within the image?

If there is more than one image in the sequence, what else would you notice but continuity and the so-called
effects caused by some elements of the image upon other elements? But that is no reason to say one image
caused another or one element of the image caused a change in another element. It is more reasonable to say
that one image transformed into another. Since the first image transformed itself into others, it is basically the
same thing after all transformations. Of course, you may see a previous image again. But as you might have
realized, that doesn't change anything.

Here is another way to think about it:

Suppose you are watching a movie. In the movie you see two kids. One of them has loving and intelligent
parents who tell him that everyone is essentially good and hence he should be friendly towards all; and he
acquires good habits. The other kid has wealthy but morally corrupt and careless parents and he becomes a
criminal. Both kids grow up. The first kid grows up to become an attractive and successful businessman while
the other one, although similarly attractive, earns his living from robbery and drug-trafficking.

In due time, as destiny would have it, the good kid strikes a friendship with the bad kid, thinking the latter to
be ill-mannered but not a bad person. Also, one day the good kid comes across a beautiful maiden who
instantly falls in love with him because of his generous and friendly nature. During their meetings the bad kid
also sees the heroine and falls in love with her. But she is disgusted with every action of his. The bad kid,
bound by his nature, one day behaves in a wrong way towards the heroine. The good kid comes to know of the
incident and confronts the bad kid. The bad kid is a deceiver and assures his friend that he would be respectful
towards the heroine in future. The good kid dismisses the matter. Seeing a good opportunity the bad kid kills
the good kid and captures the heroine.
The good kid, before he breaths his last, blames his parents for his condition. The bad kid asks the dying good
kid not to take it personally, because he could not help it if his nature made him do something wrong. He also
says that the hatred of the heroine towards him made his cruel resolve even stronger (bored with pathetic
movies they make these days I have tried to create a less regular scenario, sorry for that!).

Now, within the movie a lot of events have happened and from the point of view of characters one event
causes another. The respective teachings of good and bad parents cause acquisition of good and bad characters
by the protagonists. The good nature of good kid causes him to be an all-round success. His coming in sight of
the heroine and acting in a friendly manner causes her to fall in love with him. Her coming in sight of the bad
kid, and appearing hard to get causes the latter to fall in love with her. Her hatred towards the bad kid causes
a deadly resolve to be born in the mind of the latter. The ever-trusting nature of good kid causes him to
believe in the bad kid. The cruel and selfish nature of bad kid causes him to kill the good kid. The memories of
both kids cause them to judge the moment accordingly.

But for you, the viewer, there was no cause and effect as far as the movie was concerned. It was just a
sequence of images and sounds. If anyone has to worry about the causes and effects within the plot of the
movie it was those characters, or maybe some narrator within the story, or other minor characters. You just
watched it, and so, to you the knife first appearing in the hand of the bad kid and then appearing stabbed
into the stomach of the good kid are just two images in a sequence; not a chain of cause and effect that
could hurt you in any way.

Destiny is similar, with just a few differences. In case of movies, some people know what is going to happen
next. These include the production team, someone who has read the storyline and some viewers who have
watched the movie before. However, the characters within the movie do not necessarily know what is going to
happen next. Also, in case of a movie there is the duality of subject (viewer) and object (movie). In case of
destiny, however, nobody knows what is going to happen next, the reason being that everybody is a character
within the movie of destiny and so there is no viewer outside it.

There is no duality of subject and object because it is all just pure, undivided consciousness. It is just a movie
that nobody is watching but everybody is living. I don't mean to say that there is actually no seer, there is a
seer but for that seer there is no inside or outside, for that seer there is no seeing, only being.

And there is really no point in even trying to know what is going to happen next, because just like in movies if
there is any character within the story who knows what comes next (for example, an omniscient being, a witch
or a narrator) the role of that character has already been fixed. So, a person who is bound to know the real life
future events beforehand won't need to make any conscious effort to acquire that faculty, he will be led on by
his destiny. And that is just another way of saying (only in a more poetic way) that in the sequence of images
composing his life an image will ultimately come forth depicting him as a prophet.

Past lives and déjà-vu


Then there are people who claim to know their past lives. Relatively speaking, that is a person who
experiences a déjà-vu. I say “relatively speaking” because in reality there is no one who experiences déjà-
vu. An image just becomes conscious of itself once more.
When you feel as if in the past you had seen something exactly in same situation and with same state of mind
as you presently have, you think you really did have the same experience in the past. The experience may be a
repeat performance but there is actually no guarantee it was you, the individual, who experienced it in the
past (unless of course, you know yourself to be no other than pure consciousness or an entity that continues
since the unknown time when the experience represented by that déjà-vu was first felt). When someone says
he remembers his past life he may be being truthful in saying that he does remember something, but his
assertion that what he remembered was HIS (the individual's) past life is not necessarily true. He might be
remembering a past life of any individual (or even current life of an unknown living individual). From the point
of view of reality all lives are lived by one entity. From the point of duality, even the life you consider yours
might not be yours. You may even be sleeping somewhere and dreaming the life of a favorite character of
yours from a book you were reading before you dozed off. Or you may be some other individual experiencing in
form of an over-stretched déjà-vu past experiences of some other individual.

The creation is like an ocean of ideas


All these impossible-sounding conclusions may also be reached with the help of the story I told you earlier. As
is my finding, and the conclusion of the story of Queen Lila, there is no break in consciousness. The
consciousness, despite numerous appearances in it, is pure, homogeneous, all-pervading and eternal. It can be
compared to the limitless empty space. Numerous images are rising and falling in it incessantly. These images
may be thought of as prototypes of objects. Or you may think of them as files in a computer. You may make as
many copies of the file as you want, but essentially it is the same file, the only thing that distinguishes them,
if not otherwise modified, is the time they were copied and the location they were copied to. However,
changes are always possible in one or more or even all of the copies.

Now, a person is an image in the consciousness. Even after the image has seemingly died it can be located
somewhere else in the vast reservoir of consciousness (because it was actually made of knowledge and not of
some destructible substance). That is why it is possible to remember a past life, no matter of whom. And it is
not at all impossible to remember something and think that it was your past life although actually it was a
past life of some other individual, because the seer is really just one and so he is capable of feeling like any
individual. Lila experienced the same when she for the first time entered the sphere of pure intelligence. She
saw all the objects of her ordinary world intact in the sphere of pure intelligence. In fact, I removed
references to heavenly beings and bodies and numerous other objects in order to shorten the story.

The sphere of pure consciousness contained everything that existed in the universe, from stars and planets
down to humans and other physical objects like the royal throne and the palace. She even saw her husband in
the sphere of pure consciousness, which was quite natural. She could see same set of people in two states of
being and in two separate places only because those people were forms of knowledge derived from their
prototypes.

Also, it is not a certainty that the husband of Lila first lived as king Padma who died of natural causes and then
lived as king Vidurath who died in a battle. There being no break in consciousness, the space of pure
consciousness being inseparable from other kinds of space and the king Padma and King Vidurath as well as
their respective domains being equally imaginary it is impossible to say which state of the king came first and
which next. If Lila saw same set of people at the court of king Vidurath and in her own palace and if all those
people were contained within one vast reservoir of consciousness (according to the goddess' statement and my
experience) then there is no question of a chronology of events.

In his new incarnation king Padma saw himself as king Vidurath who was already a matured person when Lila
first visited the space of pure intelligence, so the idea of time that Lila had was dependent on Lila. According
to Lila she saw her reincarnated husband just after a few days of his death but according to king Vidurath he
was already that king for several years now, when he was told that previously he was king Padma he must have
thought that the death of king Padma happened many years ago. Lila thinks she first came to know about the
space of pure intelligence only a few days back while the king had already spent many years in his new
kingdom, and so, in a way king Padma was still alive while king Vidurath was ruling a new empire (and this fact
and the opposite of this fact would become even difficult to ignore if king Vidurath was to accompany Lila and
the goddess of learning to his former palace, because then he would know that the two kingdoms and two lives
were actually just a few moments apart in time).

Actually there is not even a separate ego called the king in any of those scenarios. There is just the
consciousness aware of various images, itself also being same with the images, and these images involve
various ideas of time which manifest according to various manners in which these images are arranged. All of
these images always exist in the consciousness and seem to appear earlier or later only when looked at from
perspective of an image.
In short, the whole creation can be compared to one vast space or reservoir full of images (objects, or
prototypes of objects), and the time of their existence is dependent on where they appear. An object that
currently does or doesn't appear in on dimension (or location) might be visible in some other dimensions (or
locations).

There is no break in the consciousness because consciousness being synonymous with existence nothing can
exist beyond consciousness. A break, like an empty space, or a state of so-called unconsciousness must be
known nowhere else but within the sphere of consciousness and so it means no break.

I see the creation to be a vast empty space filled with a homogeneous expanse of light. This light may depict
different or the same hue at various locations, nevertheless it is the same light. If the same person is found to
live in two different planets simultaneously, it is just an appearance of same color at two different locations.
At both locations that person may have a different idea of time, but an observer may have an idea of time
entirely different from the ideas of both versions of the person under study. After all, the observer will need to
make a journey and experience two localized time-frames while each version of the person under study only
experiences one localized time-frame.

(Please remember to not to take images in the strictly ordinary sense you are accustomed to. Since we are
dealing with the topic of consciousness, by image I mean all perceptions created by consciousness. You may
consider a person sitting still to be an image but you will be equally justified in considering a moving bus full
of passengers, chatting or otherwise occupied; a tsunami in the ocean or even entire cosmos to be an image.
The image may be visible, audible or perceivable in any other sense. Here is a relatively clearer definition of
an image in this context -it is all that one is conscious of at a particular moment. What I mean is that if you
see two things at the same time then those two things, your body, your identity and any thoughts or feelings
you may be conscious of at that moment form a single image from your point of view. And frankly, you cannot
separate one moment from the subsequent moment, and therefore the whole life is just one image.)

Previously I gave an example of manifestation of words within the head, in audible form, and in form of
recordings in order to explain that a thought is not necessarily born where it is manifested. Similarly, a
painting that was earlier supposed to be in the mind of the painter later appears on the canvas. And when
another person sees the painting he can recall it anytime meaning that now it is also in the mind of that
other person. Now, while the substratum of the painting is the canvas and the colors on it, you see the image
(which is nothing more than some thoughts manifesting in a specific way). Similarly the consciousness is
substratum of an empty canvas (and of everything else) but you see the image of that empty canvas (and of
everything else). These images called canvas and everything else are nothing more than some thoughts
manifesting in a specific way. And when you have seen a painting your brain merely acts as yet another canvas
(if the image is stored there at all).
So, while a thought does appear within a brain, or in form of a physical object; its place of origin could be
anywhere within the vast sphere of consciousness. But you still feel as if it originated in your brain. That is but
natural, because although you are unaware of this fact you and the supreme consciousness are not two
different things and so the thought that is originating within consciousness appears to originate within a
person. Maybe an illustration will make this clearer.

Imagine three concentric circles. The outermost circle represents the supreme consciousness, the middle one
represents the world and the innermost circle represents the body. The thought is represented by the dot that
is the center. Now, that dot is within the circle representing the body (meaning the thought appearing to
originate within the body), and this dot is also contained within the middle circle representing the world
(meaning a thought may also appear in other places in this world, just like the painting appears in the minds
of the painter and that of the connoisseur). But the ultimate container is the outermost circle (meaning that
everything is within the vast sphere of supreme consciousness). The only factor that distinguishes this
illustration from the real picture is that in reality boundaries defining the world and the body are illusory and
do not exist apart from being that same consciousness (as proved in the beginning of this book). And hence
you are same with the supreme reality.

So, as you can easily see, an image (or any other perception) is capable of manifesting at numerous places at
the same or different times. Just like numerous mirrors reflecting the image of one object.

While in case of a physical mirror and a physical object reflected in it there is duality in form of the reflected
and the reflector, the real order of things is not like that. Because everything is ultimately proved to be the
same substratum depicting different images (remember how even an empty canvas was proved to be just like
an image because the process of seeing it is no different than the process of seeing any other image).

I say that everything is proved to be the same substratum because after knowing its appearance to be a
superimposition the only truth left in it is that it exists. Looking at a canvas you can say that something exists,
which under prevailing conditions appears like a canvas. Listening to a sound you can say that something is
there which at the moment sounds like that sound. So while everything that is there seems to be accompanied
by some form (and/or touch, smell, sound, taste), what really exists in only that substratum in which that form
is appearing. And that substratum having existence as its only attribute is same everywhere. But since forms
are perceived in it so it must be illuminated, and since there is nothing beside itself so it must be self-
illuminated everywhere.

This brings us to the fact that two distinguishing features of the ultimate reality are that it exists and that
it is self-illuminated.
That is how we perceive.

We do not perceive. We just are. It is not seeing, only being. Not perceiving, only being.

Imagine you are walking. Let us observe any three steps you take in any direction. Although the position of
your body in space changes many times during even a single step let us consider each step as a unit. Let us say
that at the beginning of the first step you were at point A, and then you moved to point B, C and D. Now,
imagine the world to be the endless reservoir of pure, homogeneous, undivided consciousness, just like empty
space.

Your three steps appear as four consecutive images in that reservoir of consciousness. But those images are
themselves only consciousness. It is not like an image made with some sort of color, it is more like an
embossing, a mirage in the sky, or like a wave in the ocean which while having a specific form is nevertheless
only that water which we call ocean. So, what you see as your body during those three steps is basically waves
in the ocean of pure consciousness. It gives the appearance of being the same wave, or same body; but
actually it is a new wave at each point, a new body each moment. So, although there is no continuity of
identity in the body, the real you is the ever-changeless one consciousness, and since at every step it is that
real you who is seeing the body, you believe the body represents a continuous personal identity or ego. In
other words, the ego is the only good thing, but only if one knows what the ego is pointing to.

From this illustration you may get a feeling that perhaps there is a power apart from the supreme
consciousness that makes the forms appear, like waves in the ocean. But that is not the intended meaning.
Although I am using similes like the ocean and the waves, they are just similes. Words cannot completely
explain the unexplainable; they can only give you some hints. However, if something is unexplainable it is not
necessarily untrue, you may not explain it fully but you can experience or know it. While thinking about the
reality you should always remember that consciousness means pure knowledge, and hence the ocean of
consciousness is but a vast expanse of pure knowledge. Now, what you make of a wave in the ocean of
knowledge is up to you. As for me, it simply means, “Now this is known, and now that!”

~~~ Side-note ~~~

A painting may appear to be a masterpiece to someone and ugly to someone else. An eagle or an owl will see
the same painting in an entirely different form. And if you keep looking at the painting steadfastly, without
blinking your eyes and without thinking anything else then soon the entire painting will disappear from your
sight. Again, in darkness the painting will appear as an indistinguishable dark something and to a person with
sight disorder it will appear something else.
What this means is that the form is not what matters, what matters is the substance. Form is merely a fancy,
while the substance is existence without any form that it could definitely be said to possess. While a painter
sees an empty canvas and wants to paint something upon it, a rat sees the empty canvas to be yet another
thing to nibble away at.

And the opinion or view of the painter is in no way better than that of a sneaky little rat, nor is the creation
of the painter any better than the creation of the rat. The painter cannot see the canvas empty and is itching
to paint something on it, the rat cannot see the canvas stay intact and its teeth are itching to shred the canvas
to pieces (although the rat would do the same to a non-empty canvas, I think that only proves its generosity
and a willingness to improve). The pile of those pieces is the rat's masterpiece, and the rat has not been any
less hard-working than the painter. And while the painter is puffed with pride and thinks he has served the
humanity by painting, the rat is likely to be satisfied just by keeping its teeth in shape. But who knows, a rat
somewhere might be representing itself as a rodent Picasso to its companions and saying that the specific way
in which it has arranged the pieces of canvas and the unique sizes and shapes of pieces in reality represent the
height of rodent spirituality, and that those who cannot see it are just some stupid, lesser, intellectually
challenged rats having no taste! (So, if you do not see any point in this book, you will be justified in
considering it no better than a pile of junk.)

~~~ End of Side-note ~~~

It is obvious that the example of a walking man is nothing unique. You could easily compare it to a video. A
video is nothing but a number of images shown rapidly. If a video was made of your walk, at a slower speed
you could easily see the individual images of your body as it moved from one position to another. However, not
many people have tried to compare a video to the reality of existence only because they tend to take the
image separately from its background (some people might take it as a metaphor for life, but they never take it
for something which is exactly like real life). While everything that makes up the body and the clothes it wears
comes out of the earth, the body is taken to be a separate unit than its surroundings and that is why hardly
anyone thinks it might be something like a wave in an ocean. But in the real scheme of things, since there is
only one true substance there is simply no question of any differences.
But I can’t forget the body!

Now let us take up in detail the issue of an almost ever-present body consciousness or the awareness of being
an individual subject compared to other objects. Why are we almost always aware of our individual
personality?

The answer lies in those moments when we are not aware of our individual personality while perceiving other
objects. This is most prominent when one is deeply involved in a perception that is extremely beautiful,
surprising, interesting or even frightening. It can also be achieved by meditation. At such moments everything
stops. We forget our individual personality and our body, all thoughts vanish and only the object of perception
is the present moment. At such moments nothing other than the object of interest is known. At such moments
we literally and truly become another person (you might have seen a little photo of mountains in a previous
chapter, when I saw that place it was one of those moments when I was so taken aback that I forgot myself
for at least a couple of minutes, it appeared all of a sudden after a tiring hike). When for the first time you
see an extremely beautiful and extraordinary flower so that for a few moments you become totally engrossed
in the sight, you literally become that flower, for you are aware of neither yourself nor anything else but only
of that flower. This is when you are pure form. However, once you have seen that flower, for almost all
subsequent instances that flower becomes less interesting. The flower becomes less interesting to us not
because it has become ordinary or any less beautiful, it becomes less interesting because being already known
it doesn't surprise any more. It doesn't capture our attention so completely as to make us forget ourselves, we
are becoming habituated to it, and it is becoming boring. And so, now when we again look upon the flower we
do not forget ourselves and do not lose awareness of the body nor of our surroundings.

In terms of reality this is what happens:

Within the sequence of images called life image after image is seen (please note that by sequence I don't mean
a collection of images but rather something like an image transforming into another). Before I saw the flower
for the first time, the current image consisted of my individual body-mind awareness and awareness of other
things in the world. The moment when I saw the extraordinary flower corresponded with a new image
consisting entirely of the flower. At that moment the consciousness was just that flower. Now, after a few
moments of thoughtless perception the flower is recognized as a flower. This stage corresponded with the
division of subject and object. In terms of reality this simply means that current image now consisted of the
flower and my individual body-mind awareness. So, in the history of the sequence now there was something
like an image that depicted the flower and my body-mind awareness, the flower and me. The remaining
sequence corresponds with the consciousness showing itself as other images, each depicting the flower, the
world and my individual body-mind awareness.

As is everyday experience, some things are seen again and again. What it means is that images repeat
themselves. In reality most images do not repeat themselves but are more or less modified (for example, you
may see a thing again but remain aware that it is a different day), meaning several images are combined,
rearranged and otherwise modified and present themselves as a somewhat new image. However, I am talking
here about components of real image, a flower is just a small component of the real image, the real image is
just one and its various regions keep changing. That real image is all that you are aware of at any point of time
and it changes every moment, even a single moment is a huge change in it. Anyway, let’s go back to the
example of flower.
In case of the flower, now the originally seen extraordinary flower is a past image, whenever it is seen again it
is the old image that is being rearranged and shown anew. But that old image almost always involves other
components like your body-mind awareness that were associated with the flower the first time you saw it. You
may ask why not the very first image (that of the flower alone) is repeated again. Well, it does happen,
although not so frequently. It is not unusual to come across a thing that surprises you and captures your
imagination more than once. To be so surprised as to become one with the object of perception one needs to
perceive only that object, but since almost always there are images (moments) involving that object and our
sense of individuality so we almost always fail to become engrossed into an already seen object. If you could
achieve a level of meditation or concentration where you forget your individual identity then everything will
look surprisingly beautiful.

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