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Home >> Seeker’s Solace  >> Know thyself: The illusion of life

Know thyself: The illusion of life


I have brought to your attention the contemporary trend in mainstream physical sciences that leans towards an uncertainty. One is not sure, unlike the Newtonian certainty that existed some years ago.

Having said this, let us now proceed to a critical understanding of the various illusions we live with. This is an exercise in self-discovery–sooner or later one has to face it, face oneself, face this truth–before one gets to the universal truth, whatever it means.

One of the deep-rooted illusions that we all have is the feeling or the belief that we are going to exist forever. Ask anybody; ask anyone for instance: “Everybody is going to die, right?” The answer would come pat: “Yes, of course, my grandfather died, my father died.”

There is a beautiful story of a great master who goes to an Emperor (who sits on a majestic throne in his opulent palace) and says to him, “Ha! Emperor, I see that you are sitting in a caravan. Wonderful! A luxurious caravan!”

The king replies, “Of course not, master, this is not a caravan, this is my palace.” “Oh!” says the master, “before you sat here, who sat here? It was my father.” “And before him?” “My grandfather.” “And before him?” “His father.” And so on and so forth. “And now? It is I.” Then the master says, “To me this looks like a caravan, but you say it is your palace. There seem to be many travelers–coming, sitting and going away–according to your answers.”

This is so because deep down, subconsciously, we all think that we will not die, that we will exist forever. But this is not true. We have to go. Now is that not an illusion?

See what happened there? You all know it, this life is not forever, and there is an ending! And yet, you ask somebody in a public place if everybody is going to die, they will say, ‘of course!’ What about you? It takes time, a little bit of time to reply. Me too! This is so because deep down, subconsciously, we all think that we will not die, that we will exist forever. But this is not true. We have to go. Now is that not an illusion?

I am not saying that we should cry and lament that we are going to die and, therefore, walk with a long face. No, no, no, I am saying, if you are going, you should be happy about it. I am only saying here, it is a persistent deep-rooted illusion that we are going to live forever. And this is not true–this is Maya, the illusion, thus says the Vedanta.

When a sick, terminally ill, cancer patient told my master (I am talking about my Babaji here) that he is going to die, and that the doctor also told him that he is going to die. Babaji smiled and said, “Don’t worry, my dear, we are all going to die; you, me, this man sitting next to you. Everybody is going to die.”

If you kind of finalised your date and say now I am going to die, Babaji will say, “It is great! It is wonderful! You know, many don’t. So, be happy and live peacefully and let me suggest some methods of meditation by which you can leave peacefully.’ He did not say, ‘Cancer cancelled!’ He said, “I will find you a way to live peacefully and go peacefully.”

Why is it that there is this deep-seated, deep-rooted feeling of existing forever and that I am not going to die. Is there something to it?


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