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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Published by

Sumi Nath

I strongly believe in the maxim 'I am what I think'. A Business degree holder taught to pose 'What's In It For Me?', is now seeking to understand the Real Self. My journey is what you will read here.

6 thoughts on “Web Of Illusion”

  1. I have read that story. It’s great.
    But, don’t you think it’s tough for a human being who lives in a city to overcome illusion .
    I’m bit cognitive, I like to find reasons of the problem and don’t get satisfied till i reach the root cause. I can’t rely on faith.
    But, I have experienced in my life that imagination and feelings do play with a human Being’s reality.
    Like for example if I sitting on bed, imagine myself to be in mountains then I would have ignited a desire in my heart and that desire will propel me to go, now even if i have gone there, I feel like that it is not as worthy as it was in imagination.
    It ain’t like that?
    It’s just emotions and voice in our heads and imagination, which plays with our mind and create a different reality.
    I hope someday you would write about emotions, like I have emotions and i get scared of them. And feel like running away from my actions even knowing its wrong to do so.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You are absolutely right on how desire propels us to pursue an imaginative reality to only realize that it exists only in our head.
      If there is any truth beyond this worldly things then we should be able to realize IT from where we are.
      Faith is also required, maybe not a blind one. But you do realize that there is something which is driving us and deluding us into the idea of multiplicity of things. Also however cognitive we may get, we will never be able to explain anything here in totality. For example we experience water and space everyday however, if we had to understand one aspect of it in totality, we might expend our whole life with no legitimate answer.
      And coming to these emotions..Who isn’t scared? Despite knowing that it is just in our heads,it still can repossess the mind of even the most disciplined seeker.
      But the seekers will tell you this- what is it that which is observing the mind getting scared? What is it that which is observing the mind wanting to run away from its duties/actions?
      There is something which is quietly observing even the subtlest mind.
      Who is that? What is it? How am I related to it? Why is it observing me? Is it superior to me? If the mind engages in these questions then it would get fascinated with that which is more subtler and superior.
      Of course, this takes practice. Each time the mind runs the other way bring it back to that which fascinated it. The scriptures say that one day the fear or everything inferior to IT will automatically wear off.
      There isn’t a easier way out. Each time I think I could take another route it only brings me back to where I started.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Yeah. You are right. Well, what I have experienced that when we have a desire, we know its wrong to indulge in it and even indulging in it would aggravate the situation. But, the feeling of desire is lot different from being sad or anxious, the feeling which accompanies with, like something like a drug, which feels so pleasurable but it isn’t like that.
        I think we can control the thoughts or anxious feelings, but when it comes to desire, even knowing its wrong sometype of delusionic power conquers us.
        I agree. It’s a everyday practice. And doing it consistently will certainly lead to freedom.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. True..the feeling associated with desire is indeed different. the stronger the attraction on the object of desire the higher the levels of adrenaline..it is a proven theory 🙂
        What I understood is this- that I wouldn’t just aim towards a desire less state but I would focus more on not identifying with that which is constantly desiring things(mind)..in other words, discovering that ‘real me-that Observer’ who is neither the act nor caught in it.

        Liked by 2 people

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