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What Is Real And What Is Unreal?

 

     

VI

Al's talk, relating to Yaani's story:

 
     

 

     

You are shown how to make that change and find a new purpose in your mind that is in alignment with God's will. When you do, you discover that nothing you thought before was real, is real. None of it was ever real. Even the feeling of guilt was not real. It was a falsely made-up idea to keep yourself bound. You have always been pure innocence itself. You are not from here. In truth, you are not even here. You are not a body. The body is a cover you have put over yourself to hide your truth. It is you who have chosen to keep yourself a dream character under assault by a world of your own making. But there is no world and there is no you as you have constituted yourself. Both the Dr. Jekyll and the Mr. Hyde characters are the outer dress and undergarments you have chosen to wear on a stage you made up, in a three-act play you have written, that you are enacting, are watching and identifying with. But, none of it is real. Take it all away and what is left is real. That is you; the true you. You alone are real.


Sai Baba tells a story that illustrates this. There was a good king in ancient times, King Janaka, who was a sincere seeker of truth. He was free of attach-ment to all the riches and power he commanded. He was a worthy candidate for self-knowledge. One particular day, he was occupied with his ministers through most of the day and evening. He didn't get back to his private quarters until quite late. A meal had been set out for him but he didn't touch it. He relaxed on a sofa, while the queen massaged his feet. Soon King Janaka fell asleep. The queen asked the various attendants present to leave the room and made sure that the king, who was extremely tired, would not be disturbed in his sleep. She put a cover over him and banked the light low, quietly remaining by his side. Shortly afterwards, King Janaka quite suddenly opened his eyes, sat up, looked around incredulously at his surroundings, and in a most peculiar way began to ask, "Is this real or is that real. Is this the truth or is that the truth?"


The queen became a little frightened by his bewildered look and strange question; she tried to find out what exactly he was asking, but he would not explain or answer any of her queries. He just went on saying, "Is this the truth or is that the truth?" She called for the ministers, counsellors, and other important officials. They all assembled and began questioning the king. "Maharaja, what is your doubt? What exactly are you asking?" But the Maharaja would not respond to them. Finally the ministers brought the great Sage Vashishta to the court. Vashishta asked the king, "What are you asking? What is your doubt? May I clarify it for you?" The king was replying to all the questions with the same query, "Is that the truth or is this the truth? Is this reality or is that reality?"


Sage Vashishta being omniscient closed his eyes and meditated for a while to find out the cause of the king's strange behavior. Vashishta realized that King Janaka had suddenly awakened from a vivid dream in which he had lost his kingdom and was fleeing for his life. He found himself in a forest, wandering alone, bleeding, weary, despondent and forsaken. He had been staggering through that forest for days without food. He was feeling terribly hungry and kept shouting, "O, I am so hungry, I am so hungry." It happened that there were some robbers in that forest. These robbers were just sitting down in a glade nearby to have their meal, eating from plates made of leaves. Seeing him and taking pity on him, the robbers made themselves known and invited him to join them, offering him a portion of their meal.


Just at that moment, a tiger came upon them and they all ran for their lives. The tiger devoured all the food. Again Janaka found himself staggering through the forest crying out, "O, I am so hungry. I am so very hungry." When he woke up he discovered he was in a palace, on a royal sofa by the side of the queen, with a silver tray filled with luxurious food and dainties sitting on the table nearby, and he began asking whether he was the starving, forsaken wretch begging food from robbers in a fearful forest, or whether he was a king living in a sumptuous palace surrounded by all possible luxuries. "Is this true or is that true?"


Sage Vashishta immediately recognized the king's confusion and said, "King Janaka, neither of these two roles is true. You alone are true. You, yourself, are the truth. Life during the daytime is a day-dream; during the night it is a night-dream. They are both illusions. They constantly change from one thing to another; so they cannot be real and they can have no effect on you. Only you who remain constant in all these states, free of all change and illusion are real. You are the one Self, the Atma. That alone is ever real and unchanging."


That was the realization Yaani was given in her experience. What appeared to have happened to the body did not touch her. Once she realized who she truly was, that she was not a body, she recognized that nothing in this world could affect her in any way. This is a monumental lesson, of incalculable worth. But that revelation in itself is not the permanent end of dreaming. The experience of oneness must deepen and strengthen until no trace of body-consciousness and separation remains. The express train to such a full awakening is the inner inquiry into the cause of what appears to be happening to you. A sincere asking will lead to the discovery that you yourself are the cause and not the effect.

 
         
     

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