Chapter 8: Attainment of the Way
If you say that it is a wandering for no reason, then there can be no way of attaining liberation. If the wandering is without rhyme or reason, then for what are you seeking liberation? If this wandering has no reason, then there can be no reason to be free of it either. If there is a reason for wandering, then that reason can be taken away - and then redemption, freedom, and liberation are possible.
Some say that it is all God’s play. But then the play seems to be very hard, it seems to be an absurd joke. What type of play is this, in which man has been made to suffer meaninglessly and without a reason for so many lives? A God who delights in causing such suffering seems to be a sadist, a tyrant. Otherwise, why does he continuously send so many souls through so many lives of wandering and suffering?
And in any case if he is the almighty, then he has the ability to redeem everyone. Such a long way.and that too of so much suffering! Certainly he must be taking some delight in putting people through such pain and suffering. His play is like that of a small child who has taken hold of a frog and is torturing it. Why catch hold of a man’s neck like this and trouble him?
There are some who say that all that we see is just a dream, an illusion. But even those who call all this an illusion try their best to find a release from it! If the world really is a dream, then what is the need to escape from it? What is the point of trying to escape from a dream state? Why be afraid of it? But the very people who call it an illusion are those who run away from the world. Obviously, they must be finding it a reality, otherwise they would not be running away. Will you run away from something if it does not exist? What is the point in running away from it? And if the world is an illusion then all renunciation is useless - because what will you renounce? Can you ever renounce something which is false, can a dream be renounced? How can you renounce what does not exist?
If the world is an illusion, then sannyas is meaningless. What could it mean? Only if the world is real will sannyas have some significance. And if the world is an illusion, liberation also becomes an illusion, because when the chains are an illusion, how can liberation be true and meaningful? If my prison is a false one, how can my release be a true one? The release depends on the prison being a real one. If the prison is not real, then my liberation is also false.
In this way many answers have been put forward, but not even one touches upon the question. And every answer creates a problem. Basically every answer seems to be an effort to explain, but it does not reveal the truth. And this is exactly the difficulty.
This sutra gives an answer which, to me, comes closest to the truth. It gives a scientific answer, not a philosophical one. It says that all experiences of life are dependent upon their opposite. This sutra does not bring any God into the picture, it does not talk about maya, it doesn’t hide behind any philosophical principle. It says that all the experiences of life are dependent upon their opposite.