That Thing Called Love

“The more you understand this world to be unreal like a mirage or a dream, the less you can take anything seriously in life, including that thing called love.”–D. Samarender Reddy


  1. This sounds like dissociation, sir. The world doesn’t exist as it appears to the sense organs. It doesn’t mean it’s a mirage. It’s unreal only in the way how we interpret our experiences through thoughts and emotions. The Ten Thousand Things by Robert Saltzman is a good book.

    Much love.


    1. from Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi

      Talk 33

      A visitor: “The Supreme Spirit (Brahman) is Real. The world (jagat) is illusion,” is the stock phrase of Sri Sankaracharya. Yet others
      say, “The world is reality”. Which is true?

      Ramana Maharshi: Both statements are true. They refer to different stages of development and are spoken from different points of view. The aspirant (abhyasi) starts with the definition, that which is real exists always; then he eliminates the world as unreal because it is changing. It cannot be real; ‘not this, not this!’ The seeker ultimately reaches the Self and there finds unity as the prevailing note. Then, that which was originally rejected as being unreal is found to be a part of the unity. Being absorbed in the Reality, the world also is Real. There is only being in Self-Realisation, and nothing but being.

      Again Reality is used in a different sense and is applied loosely by some thinkers to objects. They say that the reflected (adhyasika)
      Reality admits of degrees which are named:
      (1) Vyavaharika satya (everyday life) – this chair is seen by me and is real.
      (2) Pratibhasika satya (illusory) – Illusion of a serpent in a coiled rope. The appearance is real to the man who thinks so. This phenomenon appears at a point of time and under certain circumstances.
      (3) Paramartika satya (ultimate) – Reality is that which remains the same always and without change.

      If Reality be used in the wider sense the world may be said to have the everyday life and illusory degrees (vyavaharika and
      pratibhasika satya). Some, however, deny even the reality of practical life – vyavaharika satya and consider it to be only
      projection of the mind. According to them it is only pratibhasika satya, i.e., an illusion.


    2. Q: So the world is not really illusory?

      Ramana Maharshi: At the level of the spiritual seeker you have got to say that the world is an illusion. There is no other way.
      When a man forgets that he is Brahman, who is real, permanent and omnipresent, and deludes himself into thinking that he is a body in the universe which is filled with bodies that are transitory, and labours under that delusion, you have got to remind him that the world is unreal and a delusion. Why?

      Because his vision which has forgotten its own Self is dwelling in the external, material universe. It will not turn inwards into introspection unless you impress on him that all this external, material universe is unreal.

      When once he realizes his own Self he will know that there is nothing other than his own Self and he will come to look upon the whole universe as Brahman. There is no universe without the Self. So long as a man does not see the Self which is the origin of all, but looks only at the external world as real and permanent, you have to tell him that all this external universe is an illusion. You cannot help it.

      Take a paper. We see only the script, and nobody notices the paper on which the script is written. The paper is there whether the script on it is there or not. To those who look upon the script as real, you have to say that it is unreal, an illusion, since it rests upon the paper. The wise man looks upon both the Paper and script as one.

      So also with Brahman and the universe.

      Q: So the world is real when it is experienced as the Self and unreal when it is seen as separate names and forms?

      Ramana Maharshi: Just as fire is obscured by smoke, the shining light of consciousness is obscured by the assemblage of names and forms, the world. When by compassionate divine grace the mind becomes clear, the nature of the world will be known to be not the illusory forms but only the reality.

      Only those people whose minds are devoid of the evil power of maya, having given up the knowledge of the world and being
      unattached to it, and having thereby attained the knowledge of the self-shining supreme reality, can correctly know the meaning of the statement `The world is real.’ If one’s outlook has been transformed to the nature of real knowledge, the world of the five elements beginning with ether [akasa] will be real, being the supreme reality, which is the nature of knowledge.

      The original state of this empty world, which is bewildering and crowded with many names and forms, is bliss, which is one, just as the egg-yolk of a multi-coloured peacock is only one. Know this truth by abiding in the state of Self.

      (Source: Be as you are. The teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi edited by David Godman.)


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