The Master Of Illusion

[Sita-Rama]“Good and bad, which are part of the illusion created by Hari, cannot be removed without worshiping Hari. Keeping this in mind, worship Rama and renounce all desires.” (Dohavali, 127)

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हरि माया क्।र्त दो।स गुन बिनु हरि भजन न जाहिं ।
भजिअ राम सब काम तजि अस बिचारि मन माहिं ॥

hari māyā k।rta do।sa guna binu hari bhajana na jāhiṃ ।
bhajia rāma saba kāma taji asa bicāri mana māhiṃ ॥

“One of the early confounding issues after the initial immersion into the bhakti culture, with respect to learning the principles that serve as the foundation to the philosophy, is this idea of equivalence between good and bad.

“Pious and impious. Righteous and unrighteous. Aligning with religious principles and those acts which are sinful. They are ultimately the same, you see. Actually, I don’t really see, but I am open to persuasion. If you can thoroughly convince me, I am ready to believe.

“Okay, the material world is not our permanent home. We are spirit souls, part and parcel of God. Whatever we do that results in future development of a material body is known as karma. You can say that something is good karma and something else is bad karma, but all karma is actually bad in the long run.

“Except someone might not see things that way. How can you say that the police officer defending justice and the criminal stealing from others are on the same level? One person enforces the law, while the other is in violation of the law. One person lives with the freedoms associated with pious behavior, while the other person suffers under forced incarceration.

“How can punya and papa be the same? How can guna and dosha be identical? How can you say the daytime is the same as the night? How can up also be down? Do you see what I am saying?”

One of the best ways to understand the key to the principle is comparing to a dream. This comparison is often used by saintly people when comparing and contrasting material life to taking shelter of the Divine.

Let’s say that last night I had two different dreams. In one of them, I was suffering. I was falling behind others. I was the loser. I failed in a particular task. I was the last place finisher in the race, so to speak.

[finish line]My defeat led to extended lamentation. It was this intense hurt that I rarely experience while awake. It was as if the emotion in its purest form was extracted from deep within. Awoken from its slumber, that regret really did its number on me.

In the second dream, I was the victor. I was enjoying with another person. I could not believe that they were so interested in me, that they were treating me so well. I have never had a similar experience in life, up until this point. It felt so wonderful. It was like I was on top of the world.

The emotion from the experience is real, but nothing else is. Upon waking up, both situations dissipate, like the sunlight removing the darkness. There is only the memory remaining, but even that will slowly fade away. As an example, who actually remembers what they dreamed during the nighttime on this same day ten years ago?

The entire experience of material living is the same kind of dream. Goswami Tulsidas explains that it is Hari who creates this dream, which is illusion. It is only Hari who can remove it. We would only want out once we realize the temporary nature to the experience. Only a wise person, approaching with a sober mind, deliberating on the options available, sees the folly in remaining in illusion.

Tulsidas says that bearing this reality in mind, it only makes sense to worship the Supreme Lord. At the same time, give up all other desires. I do not need to be the wealthiest person in the world. There is no benefit to getting revenge on that person who wronged me. I do not need to eat very sumptuously or forever retire from activity.

This does not mean that the servant of Hari will abandon right and wrong. They simply understand the illusion to the associated gains and losses. The benefits and the punishments will dissipate in the manner of the dream at night.

[Sita-Rama]Hari is here to stay. He is the lone reality to this world. As He can remove the illusion, He can also return us to a permanent situation, which is His shelter. Saintly people strive for that association, and the ocean of mercy, kripasindhu, reciprocates in kind.

In Closing:

Like dream the experience so far,
Like last night in speeding car.

Or finishing worst in the race,
The morning everything to erase.

With entire life journey apply,
Hari the illusion to supply.

Same who can remove,
When His association to choose.

Categories: dohavali 121-160, questions

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