“For one who has taken his birth, death is certain; and for one who is dead, birth is certain. Therefore, in the unavoidable discharge of your duty, you should not lament.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.27)
जातस्य हि ध्रुवो मृत्युर्
ध्रुवं जन्म मृतस्य च
तस्माद् अपरिहार्ये ऽर्थे
न त्वं शोचितुम् अर्हसि
jātasya hi dhruvo mṛtyur
dhruvaṁ janma mṛtasya ca
tasmād aparihārye ‘rthe
na tvaṁ śocitum arhasi
Friend1: I like the comparison to a dream, with respect to the living experience in the material world. I think Goswami Tulsidas says that it is Rama only, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, who gives reality to this dream.
Friend2: The one thing of substance. That which lasts beyond the changes. Of course, we are reality, as well. You and I are experiencing the dream. We were here before and we will be around afterwards, as Krishna confirms in Bhagavad-gita.
न जायते म्रियते वा कदाचिन्
नायं भूत्वा भविता वा न भूयः
अजो नित्यः शाश्वतो ऽयं पुराणो
न हन्यते हन्यमाने शरीरे
na jāyate mriyate vā kadācin
nāyaṁ bhūtvā bhavitā vā na bhūyaḥ
ajo nityaḥ śāśvato ‘yaṁ purāṇo
na hanyate hanyamāne śarīre
“For the soul there is never birth nor death. Nor, having once been, does he ever cease to be. He is unborn, eternal, ever-existing, undying and primeval. He is not slain when the body is slain.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.20)
Friend1: Then there is the statement from the Mayavadis. Brahma satya, jagan mithya. The impersonal spiritual energy, Brahman, is truth. The rest is false. In other words, the dividing line is between Brahman and maya.
Friend2: “That which is not.” This is one translation for maya. Brahman would be, “That which is.”
Friend1: Okay, so do you not see a conflict? An incompatibility.
Friend1: What is the difference between the followers of the personal God and the Mayavadis, then? We are confirming that the material world is something like a dream. They are saying everything is false. We are in agreement, then?
Friend2: You referenced Tulsidas earlier. He says that Rama is the lone reality. This is God the person. He is more than Brahman. You could say, Parabrahman. His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada also explains the dreamlike experience differently.
Friend1: How so?
Friend2: That the dream is not false. The objects we see have no lasting substance to them, but the experience is real.
Friend1: Hmm, that is interesting.
Friend2: He is correct, if you think about it. The dream is a meaningful experience. We wake up sweaty. We could be frightened. We might experience tremendous bliss. Those are factual.
Friend1: Okay, but if I dream about flying through the sky, that is obviously not the case in real life. The setting of the dream is false.
Friend2: But we don’t know that while sleeping. In the same way, we don’t realize that everything will be gone in this world one day. We will be forced to exit. We arrived at some time. We stick around, doing some work. We then leave.
Friend1: What is the harm in thinking that this world is false?
Friend2: Because there is value to be gained from the experience. The human birth is everything. Our best chance to not have to live the dream again. We can use what is around to change consciousness. That is further evidence of the reality. If everything were false, then there would be no hope.
Friend1: I see.
Friend2: It is hopeless if I intend to keep enjoying. If I want to stay in the dreamlike experience, it is a fool’s errand. However, if I want to shift the consciousness towards the transcendental realm, through realizing Brahman and beyond, I have made the best use of this temporary stay. Follow the way of the saints through the chanting of the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
Everything not what it seems,
This experience like a dream.
Then what of it to make,
Of any substance to take?
That consciousness can shape,
And world of illusion to escape.
Since Bhagavan the reality lone,
Through Him the truth is known.