The Shattering of Illusion
There was a young lady who on receiving excellent A level results went to a University to pursue an academic career. During her first year at the University she entered into a secret intimate relationship with a staff member. Meeting a young man on her course she later developed a relationship with him although she continued the first relationship in secrecy. The young couple were engaged and later married. They both carried on to Ph.d level and got jobs at the university. They then started a family. The secret relationship continued through all this time. They had three children and when the last one had just started University the husband found out about the affair and the history of it. He was devastated and felt that his whole life was a kind of illusion.
Contemplate being this man. What would you do in his position?
Yoga is a teaching for those who can take the shock of waking up from the illusion of the apparent self. This is not easy and as my teacher Srivatsa Ramaswami says, “This teaching will shake you from within” and “Yoga is an inconvenient Truth”.
The receptivity of a person to yoga is based on what Vyasa calls the Citta Bhumi (mental levels) which can be in five states. The first two states will repel yoga teaching if it is presented. The third state will be ready but there will be a struggle between the old mental habits and the new knowledge. This is portrayed in the Bhagavad Gita as a battle between the Spiritual forces and the armies led by the ego, senses and established habits.
In the Bible the Exodus is an allegory of the movement from Tamas (bondage in Egypt) to Rajas (the time in the desert) to Sattva (the Promised land). When Moses called the people of Israel (Children of Light) some preferred to stay in the comfort of bondage (slavery in Egypt) than make the difficult transition through the Tapas (time in the desert, Sadhana) of practice to attain Sattva.
The Gita and Bible stories represent the inner quest; we do not have to go to India or Zion to fulfill this quest. A Zen Master exclaimed his surprise that people travel all over the world to experience wonder, while the greatest wonder within them goes unexplored. Forget the Seven Wonders of the World and look for The First Wonder. Start where you are. Why not start now?
Or you can stay in Egypt…the choice is yours.
The Katha Upanishad instructs us….
When all the senses are stilled, when the mind is at rest, when the intellect wavers not – that, say the wise, is the highest state.
This calm of the senses and the mind has been defined as yoga. He who attains it is freed from all illusion.
In one not freed from delusion this calm is uncertain, unreal: it comes and goes. Brahman words cannot reveal, mind cannot reach, eyes cannot see. How then, save through those who know him, can he be known?
There are two selves, the apparent self and the real Self. Of these it is the real Self, and he alone, who must be felt as truly existing. To the man who has felt him as truly existing he reveals his inmost nature.
The mortal in whose heart desire is dead becomes immortal. The mortal in whose heart the knots of ignorance are untied becomes immortal.
These are the highest truths taught in the scriptures.