What is Illusion? How can we recognise It?

Thursday, March 1, 2001 

After the evening interviews, Swami came to the Ganesh portico.
Swami: (To Prof. Anil Kumar, pointing to the students) Who are these boys?

Prof. A. K.: Swami, Your children.

Swami: (Jokingly) Some are Veerapan’s association members and some are Maarappan’s associates. (Swami then took a letter from a student and told him that the letter was too long.) I am not lazy. (Swami meant that more than reading letters, He has to do other work also.)

Prof. A. K.: Yes Swami, it is like an application form. Swami, in U.S.A., an earthquake struck, but there was not much damage.

Swami: It is called ‘gili’. (One feels that something has happened. Actually nothing has happened) Is your house safe?

Prof. A. K.: Yes, Swami. It is quite safe. Swami, morning speech was very good. Dr. Ganapathy, a student of J. N. P. Mahadevan (a famous Professor of Philosophy) spoke, quoting many good examples.

Swami: What did he speak on?

Prof. A. K.: Swami, about religion. He said that religion is related to love and we have to practice selflessness and unity. He also told about secularism.

Swami: (Smiling) I told all this long back. You prefer other’s dishes to your own (homemade food).

Prof. A. K.: Swami, not like that. He spoke everything from Sai literature. He took a train as an example to explain the value of time.

Swami: (To a student) How was the speech? (Pointing to Prof. Anil Kumar) Is he your classmate or a teacher?

Student: Swami, Awareness teacher.

Swami: (To Prof. Anil Kumar) What is the meaning of religion?
Prof. A. K.: Swami ‘re’ means to unite. That which unites or brings together is termed religion. Swami, what is realisation?

Swami: Being oneself, and knowing about oneself is realisation. 

Prof. A. K.: Swami, is the body, the cause of ‘Bhinnatwa’ (sense of duality)? 

Swami: Yes. Body is the main cause for this. Identifying oneself with this body is only ‘Bhraanti’ (illusion).

Prof. A. K.: What is the difference between Dehatma, Jeevatma and Paramatma?

Swami: Jeevatma (individual soul) has ‘Chaitanya’ (consciousness). It includes the mind and senses. Dehatma (physical being) has no identity. It is inert. Paramatma (the Supreme Divine Principle) is beyond these two. In Sushupti (deep sleep) stage, you are close to Paramatma. In the above three stages, Atma is the same. But Jeeva, Deha and Parama are different. 

Prof. A. K.: Swami, what is the meaning of Atma-Chaitanyam?

Swami: With Chaitanya, Atma lives in the body together with the Jeeva. Before operation, they give anesthesia and make the body and Jeevatma separate. Medicines can be used only when they are within the expiry date. After that, we can’t use them. Similarly, Jeevatma also works within the period of expiry. After that, it leaves the body. This body is made of five elements. In the word ‘Prakruti’, ‘Pra’ means ‘Vikasam’ (expansion), Prabhavam (effect), Prakasham (effulgence). Prakruti is effulgent with the five elements. 

Prof. A. K.: Why does Bhrama (illusion) come again and again?

Swami: You eat today and also tomorrow. All this is Bhrama. Food and stomach both are Bhrama. Atma does not experience them. But Bhrama accepts everything. If there is Bhrama, Brahma (Divinity) will not come. 

Prof. A. K.: How will Bramha come?

Swami: The person who wants Brahma does not have Bhrama. If you leave Bhrama, you can find Brahma. If we have control over our senses, then illusion will go away. If you leave Bhrama, Brahma will catch you. (Bhramanu Veedithe, Bramha Padathadu). Panchangam (Indian almanac) also came like this only. The one which explains the principles of the five organs (Pancha-angam) is Panchangam. Just to delude, other things Tithi, Vaara, Nakshatra (day, date, constellation) are included. Actually, Panchanga does not have any relation with these.

Prof. A. K.: Swami, how can we remove Bhrama?

Swami: You have built a house, and you have divided it into many rooms like bathroom, dining hall, kitchen, etc. Once you remove these walls, everything becomes one hall. These Godalu (walls) are the Golam (troubles). Once you remove these Golas, then Bhrama (illusion) will go away.

Prof. A. K.: In today’s life, are science, technology and other things Bhrama?

Swami: Yes, everything is Bhrama. This world is Bhrama. But you should keep reminding yourself that it is Bhrama. If one does not remind oneself that it is Bhrama, he will leave Brahma and fall into the Bhrama. The heart is filled with worldly thoughts. The one who realises that everything is Bhrama, will be able to attain Brahma. 

Prof. A. K.: Swami, in family life, it is difficult to remind oneself that everything is Bhrama.

Swami: No. It is not difficult. Even in family life, one can get Vairagyam (renunciation). Rajayogi Janaka Maharaja is an example for being like that. Even in family life, one should act, keeping in mind that every act is Bhrama. One day, while Shuka (a great sage) was leaving his father (Vyasa), his father expressed his affection for him. At that time Shuka told him, “You are the father-body and I am the son-body. But the Atma in us is the same. To have individual identity is Bhrama.” Shuka conquered his senses, except Vaasanaa-Trayam (three types of Vaasanaas). He kept that with him to experience the fragrance related to wisdom.

Prof. A. K.: In Mahabharata, is the annihilation of Karna, Saindhava (King of Sindhu - Jayadratha), Shishupala also Bhrama?

Swami: Krishna made others to experience illusion. But, He did not experience it.

Prof. A. K.: If everything is Bhrama, then who is Krishna?
Swami: Krishna is the Saakshibhutam (witness). He is like the current in the switch, wire and fan, which makes them run. The current makes the fan rotate. That current is the witness. Similarly, Krishna is also the witness. 

Prof. A. K.: Was Karna’s chariot getting stuck and Arjuna killing Karna also Bhrama?

Swami: Yes. Arjuna’s charioteer was Krishna, who is the Saakshibhutam. Karna’s charioteer was Shalya (the king of Madra kingdom). He did not control the chariot properly. The chariot getting stuck in the Earth is not true. Because of lack of control, Karna fell down. It was his mistake. Krishna did not create the Maya (illusion) of the chariot getting stuck. 

Prof. A. K.: In Ramayana, there is abduction of Sita. Is that Bhrama?
Swami: Once Rama and Sita were talking with each other. That time Shurpanakha came there. Seeing her, Rama told Sita, “The drama that we have to enact is coming near. Leave your Tejas (effulgence) safely with Agni (the presiding deity of fire).” After that, Rama sent the Maya-Sita (shadow/illusory Sita) to Lanka... He enacted all this drama with full awareness. When Vasishtha told Rama that He was really God and not the son of Dasharatha, Rama, as if He did not know, asked him, “Is it so?” Like this, He created the Bhrama. 

Continued in Part 2…

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