Chapter 4: From Dreams toward Truth
Those who know say that which is to be, already is. If life is going to be extinct, it already is. If it is to turn to dust, it is dust already. Life is a dream, a short dream, but it looks as if everything is real.
If we try to look deeper, we find that everything gets lost - everything turns to dust. And what is the reason to accept the reality of that which turns to dust? We might defend ourselves by saying: “A dream lasts a few moments, whereas life is spread over a number of years.”
If we were to look more deeply, we will find that in the vast expanse of the universe a hundred years is a very infinitesimal space of time. It is four thousand million years since the earth came into being. It is six thousand million years since the sun was born; but the sun is comparatively a new member of the universe. There are stars so old in the universe, it is difficult to calculate how old they are. So in the passage of time, what meaning do a hundred years have? None whatsoever. A hundred years pass, and the moon and the sun are none the wiser for it; for to them it is no more than a tick of the clock. In terms of the infinite, a hundred years are but as a moment.
A miser died. All through his life he had stored away every single coin he had. Before he died, he had read a book in which it was said that, in heaven, the coin of the least denomination was worth millions of rupees. So when he died, he died with a wish to obtain one single coin of heaven. As soon as his eyes opened in heaven he began searching for the coin. The devatas asked him what he was up to.
“I am looking for a coin. I have heard that a coin of heaven is worth millions?”
“So it is,” they said. “Wait a moment. We shall give you one.” The man was pleased - a moment would pass with the flicker of an eyelid. Soon the moments changed into hours and hours into days; and the days began to roll into years, but no sign of the coin. When will your moment end?” he called out in anguish.
“Don’t you know?” came the answer. “Where one coin is worth millions, one moment is made up of millions of years. Wait a moment and you will surely receive.”
The scale of eternity is very vast. What significance can a hundred years have in this infinite scale? How endless is this scale? It is difficult to tell when time started, or to know when it will end.
There is a story told by Bertrand Russell.