Chapter 4: The Four States of Existence
In the story of Majnu and Laila, when Majnu is telling someone that Laila is very beautiful, he is not only saying something about Laila, he is saying something about Majnu also. In fact, it is the eye of Majnu that is able to see Laila as beautiful. It is not necessary that Laila look beautiful to everyone. Those who don’t see Laila as beautiful and those who do see her as beautiful are describing the same Laila, but the mediators, the mind and the senses through which Laila has been seen, are also included in their descriptions.
So when a person informs you about someone, “He is a very good man,” then this information is not only about that man, he is giving an interpretation of himself also. And when a person says of someone, “He is a very bad man,” it is not only about that man, it is also about the person himself. And it is possible that his information about the other may be wrong, but it cannot be wrong about himself. Our senses include their own interpretation. They are not inactive, indifferent mediators, they are active by projecting too.
So this is one way - through the senses - to know the vast manifestation of reality. But those who have transcended the sense-organs and seen the world say that this knowledge of reality is illusory, maya. When a man like Shankara says that this world is illusory, do not misunderstand him and think that he is saying that this world is nonexistent. Shankara cannot say such an insane thing - that this world is nonexistent. The world does exist, but it is not the same as what you are seeing. It is your vision that makes it look like that, it is your way of looking at it that makes this world illusory; the world as you see it is your own projection, it is your own interpretation.
It will be better to say that there is not one single illusion, there are as many illusions as there are people in this world. Everyone is living in his own created world; everyone has a world around himself. You are living surrounded by your own world, your neighbor is living surrounded by his own world: there is no harmony between the two worlds. And whenever we put the two worlds together there is a struggle, there is a collision. The struggle between the husband and wife is the struggle between two worlds; the struggle between the father and the son is the struggle between two worlds. The son is creating his own world, and the father has already created his world; collision between the two is unavoidable. It cannot be otherwise. We live surrounded by our own interpretations.
The sage says that the state in which the world is known through the senses is called the waking state. The state in which this world is known through the senses as mediators is called the waking state. A few more things are to be understood.
The sage has said:.the sun and the other gods. The sun is the center. Whatever we see around us, if we search for the center of it all, the sun is the center. If the sun cools down, immediately our whole world will be reduced to ashes. The sun is life. Whether it is green leaves on the tree dancing in bliss, or clouds moving in the sky, or someone singing a song on earth, or playing on his flute, or a seed sprouting, or a waterfall falling from a mountain and flowing towards the ocean - the sun is at the root of all these. If the sun cools down, all our lives will cool down and vanish.