Unreality of the world: a further analogy

Gummuluru Murthy gmurthy at MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA
Tue Jun 17 10:11:25 CDT 1997

We know that the world and the associated pleasures and miseries are
illusory. Shri Shankara and other great sages and teachers have given
numerous analogies to make this point. Sometimes, and for some, it is
hard to recognize this fact. I try to give another analogy which shows
that this (illusory nature of the world) indeed is the case. This, or
a version of this, might have been discussed earlier by some great soul
in the voluminous literature on the topic.

During any day, many thoughts pass through our mind. Some of them are of
a fleeting moment and simply pass through. Some of them take root and over
a period of time become of such voluminous extent that one wonders how it
has grown to such an extent. We recognize that such voluminous growth (of
that thought) is because of our cultivation of that thought and because of
its repeated re-occurrence. There is no need for the mind to be burdened
with such voluminous growth. It is created by our own ignorance. If we let
go of that thought at the beginning itself, we would never have faced such
a burden. Even after such a voluminous growth, we can still cut it off. We
see that these thoughts are entirely illusory, created by us and
cultivated by us in our ignorance. These are all our imagination only.

The same is true not only of the mind and the thought-process but also the
artificial relations and the bandhas (entwinings) we create for ourselves.
We think this is a wife and this is a child for whom we have a special
affection. Why ? This is entirely created by us. The pain we suffer at the
loss of a "loved" one and the great happiness we feel at the
accomplishment of our "dear" child are all illusory and fleeting and are
created by our ignorance. Let us extrapolate this to what we call our own
"accomplishments" and "failures". We rejoice at our "accomplishments" and
feel sorry at our "failures". What are "accomplishments" and "failures" ?
Aren't they simply our mind's classification as such ? We have already
seen the illusory nature of our mind's activities and creations. Thus the
"accomplishments" and "failures" and the associated "happiness" and
"misery" are all illusory.

Now, let us take it one step further. What is the world, which we see in
the waking state ? We do not have it in the deep sleep state and we
already know the dream state is illusory. Even in the waking state, the
world is what we grasp through our sense organs. The sense organs are
simply feeders to the mind which weaves its maayavic web and presents it
to our buddhi. Buddhi can reject it as a maaya-generated illusion, or if
the buddhi is not perfectly developed and pure, accept it as real and go
through the sensual pleasures and miseries. But it is clear from what the
great sages have repeatedly said over thousands of years and from my above
understanding that the world and the feelings it causes in an individual
are all illusory.

I would be grateful for any comments, clarifications, or objections.

Gummuluru Murthy
Yadaa sarve pramucyante kaamaa ye'sya hr^di shritaah
atha martyo'mr^to bhavatyatra brahma samashnute   Katha Upanishhad II.3.14

When all the desires that dwell in the heart fall away, then the mortal
becomes immortal, and attains Brahman even here.

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