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Dialogue XVII

Bhaktha: I have been anxious for a long time to ask You some things and to learn the answers from You. Today, I have the chance. This Manas and its principle are unknown categories. Their meanings do not get fixed and clear without actual experience. But, Swami, this delusion of Samsara, it overpowers us, thick and strong, like the darkness of clouds in the rainy season. What is this mighty force that drags us along? This is what has been bothering me. I feel persons like me should understand these things clearly in the very beginning. Will you kindly enlighten me?
Swami: Well, my boy. What am I to say? You are suffering from fright, imagining a tree-stump seen in the park to be a man. That is you are mistaking the non-dual, the full, the Adwaitha, the Purna, which is Brahmam as a separate incomplete Jiva and... suffering from that error. That delusion is the cause of all your sufferings.

Bhaktha: How, then, did this delusion come about?
Swami: You slept and so you dreamed. You slept the sleep of Ajnana and Moha and so you dreamt this Samsara. Awake, and you will have no more dreams. When the dream is gone, the delusion also goes.

Bhaktha: Swami, what is this ignorance? What are its characteristics? How does it operate?
Swami: That which is attached to the body and feels, as "I" is the Jiva. The Jiva is outward-faced; it believes all this mutable Jagath and Samsara; it is immersed in both. When the Jiva ignores its Adwaithaswarupa, and forgets it we call it Ajnana. Is that clear?

Bhaktha: But, Swami, the Sastras, all of them, say that Samsara is caused by Maya. You are now saying, it is due to Ajnana. What is the distinction between the two?
Swami: Ajnana itself is known variously as Maya, Pradhana, Prakriti, Avyaktha, Avidya, Thamas, etc. Hence understand this well, Samsara is the consequence of Ajnana.

Bhaktha: How can Ajnana produce this Samsara, I want to know, Gurudeva from you.
Swami: Know that Ajnana has two powers: Aavarnasakthi and Vikshepasakthi, the veiling power and the projecting power. It veils the reality and projects upon it the unreal. The Aavaranasakthi also acts in two different ways: Asathavarana and Abban-aavarana. When a Jnani and an Ajnani meet, though the Jnani teaches that the Atma is one and non-dual, the Ajnani denies it; he cannot grasp the reality so easily. Even when he hears the truth, he has not got the faith and the steadfastness to imbibe it and he will dismiss it with a shrug of indifference. This is the Asath-aavarana. Now about the Abhan-aavarana. Even when the person believes by his study of the Sastras and by the grace of providence that there is non-dual Atma, he dismisses it as nonexistent, carried away by cursory and superficial arguments. Though he has Chith or the consciousness, which is aware of that very thing which he denies, the Moha makes him declare that it is nonexistent. This is the sinister role of Abhan-aavarana.

Bhaktha: You spoke of the Vikshepa Sakthi also. What is meant by that?
Swami: Though you are formless, changeless and your nature is Ananda or bliss, you are deluded into believing, feeling and acting as if you are body, which has form, which changes and which is the seat of pain and grief. You refer to yourself as the doer and enjoyer; you speak of I, you, they, this, that etc., deluded into believing variety and multiplicity, where there is only one. This illusion projecting many on the one is called Vikshepasakthi or Adhyaropa, superimposition.

Bhaktha: What is that?
Swami: When you superimpose the object 'silver' on mother-of-pearl, when you see not the stump but the human form, you have superimposed on it; or when instead of the stretch of desert you seek a lake, you have superimposed the unreal on the real! This is Adyaropa.

Bhaktha: Well, Baba. What is the real, what is the unreal? Please explain that too.
Swami: The one and only, non-dual, Sath-Chith-Ananda Parabrahma is the real. Just as the name and the Rupa of the snake are superimposed on a rope, this Jagath (inclusive of everything from Brahma to a blade of grass, all creatures, all inert objects like the earth) is superimposed on the Parabrahmavastu. The Jagath is the Avastu, the unreal, that is the superimposed thing.

Bhaktha: This superimposition of the Nama Rupa Jagath on that Adwaithavastu, how is it caused?
Swami: By Maya.

Bhaktha: Maya means...
Swami: The Ajnanasakthi of the above said Parabrahmam...

Bhaktha: Ajnanasakthi means...
Swami: I told you, did I not? The incapacity to understand Brahmam... though you are fundamentally Brahmam. That is Ajnana.

Bhaktha: Well, how does that Ajnana produce all this Jagath?
Swami: The Ajnanasakthi does not allow you to see the rope; instead it imposes the snake upon it; it makes you see the Jagath, where there is only Brahmam.

Bhaktha: Swami, when there is only the Adwaitha non-dual one, how did the creation of all these worlds happen?
Swami: You have come back again to where we started from! Even if I tell you now, it is very hard to grasp. Still, since you have asked, I shall tell you. Listen. The Ajnanasakthi exists in the latent form in the rope itself. That is to say, it is latent, unmanifested in the Brahmam. This is also called Avidya. It has as its base, Brahmam, which is Chith and Ananda. Of the two powers that Maya has, the Aavarana and the Vikshepa, the Aavarana veils the Brahmam and the Vikshepa makes it manifest as Manas. The Manas creates all this panorama of name and form through the exuberance of Vasanas.

Bhaktha: Wonderful, Swami. How wonderful is this Prakriti! What is the distinction between the waking stage and the dream stage?
Swami: Both are of the nature of illusion; in both, we have the Vasanas operating. The Jagath is the stable illusion; the dream is the unstable illusion. This is the distinction, there is no other.

Bhaktha: Swami, how can it be said that this Jagath is unreal, when it is concrete and capable of being experienced in a variety of ways?
Swami: It is a delusion that hides the reality from the understanding, the Jagath is as much a superimposition on Brahmam, as a series of pictures on the wall.

Bhaktha: Avidya is said to be Anaadi, isn't it? Why then is it blamed so much?
Swami: The beginningless Avidya is ended when Vidya dawns. This is only logical. Darkness is destroyed by light. Every object has five parts: Origin, nature, function, period, result. But in the case of the Paramatma these cannot be enunciated, though everything that has evolved as if from Him, has them. Maya alone has no explicable origin. It is its own proof. It is there in Brahmam, with Brahmam: It is An-adi. No cause can be given to explain how it manifested itself, so luxuriously. As a bubble rises through force of its own nature, up from the water, a force which takes the form of Nama rupa emerges from the limitless, the full, the Paramatma. That is all. It is only the ignorant who will speak ill of Avidya: really there is no well or ill.

Bhaktha: How can it be said the Maya has no origin or Hethu? Just as the potter's handiwork is the Hethu for the clay to take the form of the pot, the Sankalpa of Iswara is essential for the force latent in Brahmam to become patent.
Swami: In the final dissolution, or Mahapralaya, Iswara too will become nonexistent. Brahmam alone will exist, isn't it? Then, how can the Sankalpa of Iswara be the Hethu? It cannot be. While considering this subject, you should not take Brahma, Vishnu and Iswara as three separate entities. These three are forms shaped by the three Gunas. All three are one Paramatma. But, since it is difficult to understand the working of the world, it is explained and grasped as three; three forms engaged in three types of actions, bearing three names. At the time of creation, dissolution is absent. Both can coexist only beyond time. Man who exists in time, action and cause can never hope to grasp it. When you transcend the three Gunas, you too can attain that, but, not till then. So, without spending time in such un-understandable problems, engage yourself in the things you urgently need, traversing the path, which will lead you to the goal.