Web Of Illusion

There was this story from a book by Sudha Murthy that I was reading which was thought-provoking. While reading this, it also reminded me of a shloka from the Gita which addressed the same problem wherein  Krishna acknowledges that it is indeed difficult to overcome his web of illusion(Maya) unless we surrender our mind unto him/Truth.

When this comes from the God himself, it just goes to reinforce the gravity required when dealing with his illusion which is spun by none other than God himself. This should break the shackles of ignorance of knowing it all. The idea of ‘knowing it all’ is itself rutted in avidya, isn’t it?

Daivī hyeṣhā guṇa-mayī mama māyā duratyayā
Mām eva ye prapadyante māyām etāṁ taranti te// 7.14

Anyways, let’s get to the story. Will try to make it as short as possible.

So, it begins with Sage Narada being reprimanded by Brahma for poking his nose in common man’s business and advising them to become a sage like him.

Brahma thought this wasn’t right as Narada had no understanding of mortal life. However, this didn’t go quite well with Narada and therefore he approached his mentor Vishnu for some advice.

As always Vishnu had that mischievous smile on him which Narada couldn’t understand. While Narada went about explaining his stance, he was interrupted by Vishnu for a glass of water. Now he didn’t have any water left in his kamandalam so Vishnu advised him to fetch some from the nearest lake.

While Narada dipped the pot into the lake, he saw a series of white steps below the surface of the water and he couldn’t resist going down the stairs. He went deep under the water and came across a beautiful maiden.

Their eyes met and they got talking. They had a lot in common and what swept him off was her deep devotion towards Vishnu. By the end of it, he had fallen in love with her and they got married.

Decades went by, and Narada became the father of sixty children. Life was utterly blissful. But one day, a terrible storm destroyed all that he cherished. One by one, he saw all his children die before him. He and his wife wept bitterly at their helplessness.

Suddenly, a big wave emerged and his wife was swept away by it too. Still holding on to a tree he cried and remembered Vishnu and chanted with all that he had.

And then he felt someone tapping on his shoulder. He opened his eyes and found Vishnu with the same mischievous smile. Narada couldn’t understand where the storm disappeared and still sobbing he told Vishnu what went by.

Vishnu chuckled. Then he finally admitted that he was the one who created that Maya for Narada. For Narada had never tasted attachment-he absolutely had no understanding of the illness(attachment) and yet he advised medication(detachment) to the common man.

So, Vishnu said to Narada that if an accomplished sage like him can get caught in this web of illusion, then how hard it is for the men to stay detached.

Web of Illusion

So, that is the story and poor Narada had to go through all that to understand what it means to lose whatever he gained here living. The only way out for Narada or for anybody is total surrender. The moral of the story is to remind us of the impermanence and to seek refuge in him who is busy spinning 🙂

As much as we think we understand Maya- it further fools us into believing that we are in full control. Just like the storm, it comes from nowhere and hijacks our mind into illusions of fantasy. Without any difficulty, it can keep us occupied with it for decades together.

We all have an experience of how our thoughtless state can be swept into a never-ending wreck of drama with a simple idea of either raga(love) or dvesha(hatred). I am sure no one is devoid of this experience. I believe from this experience should arise the knowledge that Vidya and avidya are two faces of the same coin. If we understand one, we will eventually understand the other.

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Religious/Spiritual Advice & Scrutiny

Every advice should go under scrutiny, whether it is religious, spiritual or life advice. Perhaps the word ‘scrutiny’ sounds a bit negative but trust me when not practiced, it will reflect in our personality and can make us stand out even in a crowd(of course, for all the wrong reasons).

When we are not taking pieces of advice then we are busy copying others. Besides, Copying is not a coping method.

If something worked for someone does not mean it should work for us. And maybe it just worked because the time was right. Haven’t you heard: the story of a bird which sat right on the branch that carried the ripe fruit?

Bird is not only responsible for the fall, the fruit was ripe anyway

The ripe fruit would have landed on the ground anyhow as it reached its prime stage even if the bird decides not to sit on it. And, no two people are alike and do not believe that someone, who promises to help you more than what you could do for your self.

But yes, there can be terrible times when the mind is troubled and we just can’t listen to that inner guide.

Then, who should we listen to?

I think the emphasis should be more on picking that right advice than the right person. What I mean is, the question should rather be- Which is that right advice?

According to our seers, we should only take an advice that is consistent, comes with the right objective and good reasoning. We should listen to it even if it comes from a little kid. It doesn’t matter who delivers it if it meets those three parameters.

However, we should learn to quieten that troubled mind which is hopping everywhere and destroying everything it comes in contact with. And only then we could use that God gifted intellect and free ourselves from blindly following someone else’s view.

Trust me, the intellect only gets better as we use it and we sure don’t want to hit the grave with that one left unused, do we?

we balance the scale when we take responsibility

On the way, if we err, let’s take responsibility and learn and move ahead. Because when we take responsibility for our actions, we tend to balance the scale better. We shouldn’t let a blind belief, person or a thing run our lives for us.

So take responsibility and let every action of yours be yours. And Live and Don’t Outsource Life.

Everybody is blind here, trying to understand life in their own way and therefore we should listen more to the ones which are troubled(body & mind) and work from there.

Images: the Internet

Be That Lucid Dreamer…

If you are a lucid dreamer then basically you would know you are dreaming while dreaming. Science would tell you that this has its benefits & disadvantages. But let’s look at the bright side of being one.

  • Jealousy and hatred cannot take you in as your dream characters are all YOU in different forms and shapes.
  • Fear cannot possess YOU as there is nothing to lose or gain in a dream.
  • You can steer your dream the way you wish.
  • You could take risks.
  • While the mind creates different schemes; you still will have control over the way you feel about it.

If you research more on this, they also tell you how to become one(if you aren’t one already 😉 ). But do we know this very life is like a dream?

We have to pretty much remember this when we are wide awake. We came in from something whole and we become something in between and we leave all our identities back here when we exit into which we came from(just like a dream).

Even while we are here we move from infancy- adolescence-adulthood-old age and finally to death. What we think we are is constantly changing, isn’t it?

Life is just like a dream and they say the time we spend here is the least/temporary compared to the eternal time. How can we say that this world isn’t real/permanent? Because anything ‘real’ doesn’t come with an expiration date. Nor would it change. Just like how a ‘fact’ remains a fact at all times.

Although we say we love Krishna and are ready to wage war against those who think otherwise, yet we don’t wish to be Him, do we? We treat him like a God because he lived like one. In spite of him giving away his secret, we still don’t ponder over it. What a shame.

Nāsato vidyate bhāvo nābhāvo vidyate sataḥ
Ubhayorapi dṛiṣhṭo ’nta stvanayos tattva-darśhibhiḥ// B.G. 2,16

Image: Internet