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New dimensions and time: Understanding perception

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Sir, you said that ‘nothing is real’. Please explain what you mean by that?

I didn’t say that ‘nothing is real’. I said, Vedanta says that ‘nothing is real’. Of course, I subscribe to it. Now, I also say, that when Vedanta says, ‘nothing is real’, it’s not that nothing exists. It does not mean that nothing exists.

Obviously, something exists but it may not be what we think it is because we have a set of sensory organs through which we perceive the objects around us, the so-called real world. And, we understand the real world through our senses; rather, we say something is real based on the senses, experiences that come to us through the senses.

Let’s suppose, I am looking at an object. What happens actually, what is the process of perception? The process is that light falls on that object, reflects from it and falls on my retina, and then I see a small image. Let’s say I am looking at a tree; I would see a small inverted image of a tree fall through the lens on my retina, right? Just like a camera. You look at the camera, you see the same thing happens but that is not the end of perception.

The world is only the perception or impression we have about it through our senses and since our sense organs are limited and also imperfect sometimes, our experiences of the object and the reality of the object, which we conclude based on our experiences, may not be the reality of the object, that’s all.


Then, the brain begins to work. The centres of perception in the brain begin to work, and the object classified and recognised and then, the reaction to it takes place after that. We say that, therefore, we know an object. The world is only the perception or impression we have about it through our senses and since our sense organs are limited and also imperfect sometimes, our experiences of the object and the reality of the object, which we conclude based on our experiences, may not be the reality of the object, that’s all.

It exists, of course, but it does not exist as we think it exists. The yogi or the meditator can penetrate through the sensory perceptions and see the object or the outside world as it is and that’s the reality and not what we think it is. That’s what I mean.

Since everything is constantly changing, how do we come upon the changes?

I’d like to put it in a different way. Since everything is constantly changing, which is true, what am I to do? Maybe there’s a better way to phrase it because when you say, “How do we come upon the changes?” if we don’t recognise the changes that have already taken place, then we do not know that everything is constantly changing.

The fact that we see everything as constantly changing indicates that we recognise it or does the question mean how do we come upon something that does not change? Is that what it means?

If that’s the question, then we come upon something that’s changeless, by first realising that everything else changes, which means anything that the mind can conceive of changes and, therefore, that which doesn’t change must be that which is beyond the mind. I think that’s what it should be.

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