Hello and welcome to episode 126 of The Ask Sri Vishwanath Show. Today I want to talk about maya and how ignorance of maya can rob us of happiness. We will also talk about Krishna’s message regarding maya.
Today’s question comes from Christine and she says “I’ve seen your other videos about maya and I am very intrigued. However I have been having trouble applying it to my daily life. Can you help?”
Thanks for the question Christine. I’m glad you are enjoying the episodes, thanks for watching. We have spoken about this journey and how you need to have eligibility and persistence and how you also need to practice.
I want to start with a story that Ram Krishna used to share. There was a farmer who lived in a village who had great knowledge of Brahman. He had made the transition from knowledge to realisation.
They had no children but they wife prayed to god for years and years and eventually they were blessed with a son. The family was loved throughout the village.
One day as the farmer was working a neighbour came and told him that his son was bitten by a snake. He called for the doctor and they all ran to his son. Unfortunately the son died before they were able to do anything to save him. The whole village was in mourning. His wife and everyone else in the village cried for this little boy but the farmer, he never shed one tear.
The next day he continued on with his work as if nothing happened. When he returned home the next evening he found his wife still crying, unable to move with grief. She looked at her husband and told him he was heartless, that his heart had turned to stone. She could not understand why he had not shed even one tear for their son.
The farmer said that yesterday night, the night before the son was bitten he had a dream. In the dream he was a king with a queen and eight sons. He woke up and the dream disappeared. He said he was confused. He wasn’t sure if the dream with the king and queen was real or of this life was real. The dream state seemed just as real to him as the life with the boy and the snake. So should he be weeping for the eight sons in the dream or for his one son . This is why he did not shed a tear.
Dream or awake?
Most people will say that the waking state is real but that is not true. A wise person knows that even the waking state is not real; it is full of gunas. The only thing that is real is the consciousness state. Therefore the dream state is as ‘real’ as the waking state. Only when seated in the consciousness will you see that both of these states are un-real.
The key is repetition. You need to read this story over and over. I’ve read it at least fifty times. It’s only when you pause a scene and study it again and again that you will begin to notice the minute details. If you don’t do this you will miss the important details.
So when we think something is real we only think so because of our limited intelligence. The great ones say that happiness is the only thing that is real. Krishna says because we give importance to those waking stages we are giving importance to the sattvic, rajasic and tamasic gunas and not to our consciousness. Happiness is the only thing that is real and that can only come from the consciousness.
Ram Krishna says that he once knew a great man who never saw anything twice. When you see something twice it is maya. If a man sees a woman’s beauty twice he will seek it and if he doesn’t get it, it will become a craving. If you only see something once; maya and form will not delude you.
Krishna says “Attachments to objects develop when the mind ponders over it. Out of attachment develops craving. Out of craving comes wrath and out of wrath, delusion. When this happens memory fails, intelligence perishes and destruction reigns.” Once you see something more than once there will be a craving to see it again. Then you will want to possess it and if you can’t you will become angry.
Krishna then says “Approaching objects with senses that are free from attachment and aversion one wins serenity.” This means you should approach the world through the consciousness and not the gunas. We can apply this to things like sadness, hatred, pleasure and doubt.
Now I don’t mean that you should not look at your computer twice to do your work. That is silly and that’s your worldly intelligence speaking. This is about maya and knowing what we can see twice and what we can’t.
It’s about not giving importance to anything not seated in the consciousness, by not looking at it twice and becoming deluded.
Thinking something twice is also maya. If you have a hateful thought towards someone be aware of it and stop immediately. Know it is unreal and do not focus on it. Otherwise it will take over and you will be deluded by it. If you don’t do this you will move down the steps of gunas from sattvic to rajasic and then tamasic and you’ll end up with so many hateful thoughts. You’ll then be miserable. Do the same for other emotions such a pleasure and doubt.
Cut them off after the first thought and they will not develop into anything that will threaten your happiness. Know your boundaries and don’t dig your own grave with your emotions.
Remember that maya is that which makes the real appear un-real and the un-real appear as real. So it will try to make you think that the body, mind and intellect is real because we see and think about it again and again. It will try to make the consciousness appear un-real because we are not seated in it and do not fall back to it.
Touch and hearing twice
Another sense is touching. If you touch something twice this too is maya. The more you touch the more you will want to touch and the more real it will seem. It’s deceptive and again you need to cut it off after the first touch.
The same goes for hearing. If you hear something over and over it will appear as real. The only thing you should hear again and again is the fact that happiness is the only thing that is real.
Be aware of the senses and have your sword of discrimination with you at all times. Have it in your heart. Krishna says “The ignorant, unfaithful and the doubting self perishes. Neither in this world or another does happiness occur to him. He is not bound by works who is vigilant who through yoga has given up the fruits of work and who has slain all doubts with knowledge. Thus with the sword of knowledge destroy the doubt in your heart. Stand up and resort to yoga.” This means the un-real only appears as real because of the gunas and we need to destroy it with the sword of knowledge and discrimination.
If you approach the world through the consciousness you will be safe because you will only see it once and you will only do what is necessary for karma. You will not be deceived and your consciousness will not be clouded.
People struggle with happiness because they consider unhappiness to be real. Unhappiness is nothing but maya and you need to be able to discriminate. We need to focus on happiness and we achieve that by forming the gold image, packing our bags and leaving. This is why we are here. Not to change the world but to be seated in the consciousness.
Remember unhappiness is the inability to experience happiness. Happiness is always available but we are so focused on events that we cannot see it. We are deluded. It is like a plague that we need to wipe out because this is the only thing that blocks our happiness.
Start with small things. When you start to feel that first spark of hatred, maybe when you have an argument with a friend, cut it off immediately. Do the same with other emotions in your daily life and very soon you will see a big change. You’ll realise that these emotions are just maya and you will not give them the same importance.
I will leave you with this. Ram Krishna says if we want to master archery we must first aim and hit at a tree, then at a reed, then at a wick and then at a flying bird.
Start small and work your way up and you will make the change from knowledge to realisation. Happiness is a choice so go back to the shore and embrace it.
I hope I answered your question. Remember you keep asking questions and I’ll keep answering them.