from Prema Vahini
Understand that the objective world is as unreal as the dream world
Mud alone is real. The pot-consciousness is born of ignorance regarding mud; mud is the basis, the substance of the pot. How can a pot exist without mud? How can effect exist apart from the cause? The world appears as multiplicity only to the ignorant. To wise people (jnanis), Brahman alone exists, Brahman upon which all else is superimposed. The Atma alone is cognised by them; there is nothing else. That is the nondualistic (a-dwaithic) experience.
If the world is real, it must be cognised even during the stage of dreamless deep sleep, but we are not conscious of it at all. Hence, the visible world is as unreal as the dream world. The world is imposed on Brahman just as a snake is imposed on a rope through illusion. The snake and the rope are not seen at the same time; the entire rope is the snake. So too, Brahman is all this world, all this vast variety of name and form. But this imaginatively conceived variety is fundamentally false. Brahman alone is true.
The sky might be reflected in a pot of toddy but does not defile it. Similarly, in this vehicle —the body— the Atma dwells pure and undefiled. The fruits of action, good or bad, fair or foul, adhere to the vehicle and not to the indweller, the seer.
When such wisdom (jnana) dawns, the dark shadows of the three types of actions (karma) flee before it: present actions, which affect the future (aagaami), accumulated (samchitha), and commencing (prarabdha) actions. Yes, even present (prarabdha) karma can be overcome. For the will of God is omnipotent, and for omnipotence there can be no limit or exception. When, through spiritual practices (sadhana), you win the grace (sankalpa) of the Lord, you can achieve victory over commencing karma also. Don’t be discouraged on any score.
The suffering and travails of this world are illusory and transitory. Fix your mind firmly on this great fact and set out bravely on the path of spiritual practice, the practice of devotion.
The journey of life depends on inborn desires
People are immersed in many activities and engaged in various undertakings. This is a well-known fact. They are so many in number that sometimes one may feel that the span of twenty-four hours is too short for daily activity. Drinking, eating, reading, walking, sitting, and also hating, dreaming, boasting, praising, weeping, laughing, moping, hoping —all types of activities go on without end. They fill up the span of life. These activities are all intimately attached to the mind. This makes life a mere collection of inborn desires (samskaras), which make an impact on character and personality.
There are two types of activities, good and bad. The effect of both on the life of a person has to be considered. The acts of a child during that tender age fade away like the writing of that child on slate. When the events of one’s own childhood are thus consigned to oblivion, how can the events of the past life be retained in memory?
Leaving this point aside, it would be wrong to infer that only remembered events have shaped character. The acts and activities that have transpired and that have been thrust back into forgetfulness by subsequent events have left a trace of their consequences in the mind. The residue is there. When you try to bring back to memory at bedtime the events of the day, not everything that happened, from the insignificant to the significant, will answer the summons. Those that are meaningful, that are deeply embedded inside —only these can be recalled.
When such is the case with the happenings of a single day, when we forget all events that are not associated with joy or pain, what shall be said of the events of last week or month or years? Most events turn hazy, recede, and disappear. Only the chief events are registered clearly and remain; these few are the inborn desires (samskaras).
Performing innumerable deeds, gathering vast experience and knowledge, learning a wide variety of lessons from a wide variety of activities, one retains as capital only a mere four or five of them, strong, deep-rooted, vital.