RV: What do you have to say about the world…I mean, Hindu philosophy says that the world is unreal. How can it be unreal when you and I see the same things? They say the world is a suffering. How come? And also that for a Self-Realised person, the world disappears. What rubbish! How can it ever make sense? Are they saying that a Self-Realised person see the world something like how Neo saw in numbers in the movie Matrix? What’s your take on this?
VR: These are some questions that every seeker must have asked at some point or the other. They are quite confusing questions indeed. However, they would have been less confusing if one would ask these questions in Sanskrit. E.g. for the term ‘world’ in English, we can call it only ‘world’. Since we all see the world as it is, we cannot think of it as unreal. In Sanskrit, a word for ‘world’ is ‘Jagat’. Another word we come across is ‘Samsaar’. ‘Samsaar’ is also the world, but perceived through relationships. A car is seen as a car in ‘Jagat’; but in Samsaar, it is seen as ‘my car’ or ‘Mr.X’s car’. In Samsaar, a relationship is added to everything and then they are perceived. When this beautiful creation is perceived through relationships, then it causes miseries to us. E.g. If a person sees a wave washing away a pair of shoes, it will not cause any sorrow for him. But when he realizes that it was ‘his brand new shoes’, then he’s unhappy. If an 80 year old man dies in the nearby building, we say – ‘he was very old and sick. It’s good that he got freed from his miseries.’ But if it’s our own father, then we weep. So, what is it that ultimately brings sorrow to us in this world? It is nothing but our relationship with everything we see.
When we say the world disappears for a Realised Master, he doesn’t see the world how Neo did in the movie Matrix (after he realizes what the Matrix is). He too sees the world as we do, but without any relationships and bondages attached. This is what makes him a liberated soul – Jivan Mukta.
The Lord is described as ‘Jagat-atman’ – one who is the Self of the world. If the world is unreal, then how can the Lord be called Jagatatman? The world (Jagat) is Real, but seen in terms of relationships (Samsaar) is unreal.
RV: Hmm…That’s interesting. I cannot fully agree upon what you are saying, but whatever you had said looks logical. Probably, if I think over it then I can counter you with more questions.
And by the way, do you mean that Vedanta cannot be learnt through English? What’s the big deal about Sanskrit anyways? It’s just a language.
VR: The scriptures say, after Sravanam (Listening) Mananam (Reflecting upon what we have listened to) is very important. Nothing should be accepted without critical analysis.
Vedanta can be understood through English. We both are communicating in English and I’m making my views clear too. But English or for that matter any language (other than Sanskrit) has got its limitation. Sanskrit is not just a language; it is an ‘evolved language’. Let me explain why. The person who teaches is called a ‘Teacher’ in English. Why? Why is the word ‘Teacher’ used? Why not use some other word like ‘asdfjio’? You might say – because he teaches. In that case, why the word ‘teach’ is used to convey the meaning of teaching? There is no answer, or rather; there is no reason why a teacher is called a teacher. As English language (like most of the other languages) developed these words came into existence. But in Sanskrit, there are many reasons why teacher is called a ‘Guru’.
Every letter, I repeat, every letter has got a meaning in Sanskrit. ‘Gu’, in Sanskrit, means darkness and ‘Ru’ means remover. Darkness represents ignorance. So, one meaning of Guru is ‘One who removes or dispels darkness of ignorance. Another meaning of Guru is ‘One who reveals Guri (target) to the disciple’. Guri refers to the Self or the All-Pervading Consciousness. Yet another meaning of Guru is…’Gu’ stands for ‘Gunateetha’ – one who is beyond the three Gunas (Satva, Rajas & Tamas); and ‘Ru’ stands for ‘Rupavarjitha’ – one who is formless. So Guru is the One who is beyond all the Gunas and forms, who is none other than the Supreme Self, who resides in each one of us.
In Sanskrit, for every letter there is a meaning. For every word, there is a reason why those letters were used to make the word. In Sanskrit – Nothing is for no reason.