Friday, February 20, 2009

Ramana Maharshi : Is every thing Dream or illusory

Question : But we see pain in the world. A man is hungry. It is a physical reality. It is very real to him. Are we to call it a dream and remain unmoved by his suffering?

Ramana Maharshi : From the point of view of jnana or Reality, the suffering you speak of is certainly a dream, as is the world of which that suffering is an infinitesimal part. In a dream you have when you are asleep you yourself feel hunger and see others also suffering from hunger.

You feed yourself and, moved by pity, feed the others who are hungry. So long as the dream lasted, all this suffering was quite as real as the suffering you see in the world is to you now. It was only when you woke up that you discovered it to be unreal. You might have eaten heartily before going to sleep, but you still dreamt that you had been working hard in the hot sun all day and were tired and hungry.

Then you woke up and found that your stomach was full and that you had not stirred from your bed. But all this is not to say that while you are in the dream you can act as if the suffering you feel in it is not real. The hunger in the dream has to be appeased by dream food. The fellow beings you find hungry in the dream have to be provided with dream food. You can never mix the two states, the dream and the waking state.

Similarly, till you attain the state of Realisation and thus wake out of this illusory, phenomenal world, you must do social service by relieving suffering whenever you see it. But even so you must do it without ahankara that is without the sense of: ‘It-is-I-who-am-doing-it’.

Instead you should feel: ‘I am the Lord’s instrument.’ Similarly you must not be conceited and think: ‘I am helping a man who is below me. He needs help and I am in a position to give it. I am superior and he is inferior’. You must help him as a means of worshipping God in him. All such service is serving the Self, not anybody else. You are not helping anybody else, but only

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