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Chapter 1: The Great Illusion

Even now, sitting here, just breathing we are in a struggle. We are sitting, apparently peacefully, and there seems to be no struggle, no competition, but the competitor is there inside. Even friends are hidden enemies. If you maintain a separateness, this whole world is your enemy and you have to protect your life by fighting it. Thinkers like Darwin could come up with theories like “survival of the fittest” because basically they consider everyone to be separate. Then life is a conflict, a chaos, and violence is its rule. Destroying others is the only way to survive. Your death is my life; my death is your life.

In such a way of life, bliss is impossible. Where violence is the law, bliss is impossible. Where violence is the law, celebration is impossible. Where violence is the law, peace is impossible. Where every moment is a fight for survival, there is no way to attain the enlightened state of life. Where there is a battle for every breath and a need to become the other’s death, how can there be opportunity and room for rejoicing and celebration, and for gratitude? If I am separate - as we all believe - then enmity is all around, and how can you arrive at fearlessness amid such enmity?

The day this illusion of being separate drops, the feeling of “I am-ness” dissolves, the ego disappears; one instantly finds that one is a part - a part of a living universe. That tree there, the cloud wandering in the sky, and I, are all expressions of the same one original source, and are born of the same spring of life. Differences are of the forms; the original source is one. This difference is of the shape, not of the soul. Shapes are different; the soul is one. Forms are different, but the formless stream of consciousness running through all is one.

I am not separate - that is the meaning of the statement, “Existence is the only refuge.” My will is no longer my law now. Surrender is the law of my life; now I bid farewell to struggle and begin floating - that is the meaning of “Existence is the only refuge.” Instantly, the whole universe becomes a friend.

But it is not really right to call it a friend either, because when there is no enemy, how can there be friendship? The whole universe immediately becomes a family. Then there is an inner familiarity between all forms of life and existence in the universe. Then I am within all and all is within me.

This is what Hindus have been calling non-duality.

Don’t get confused by the word Ram in the statement, “Nahin Rama Bin Thaon.” It has nothing to do with the Hindu deity Rama, the son of Dasharatha. In this sutra, Rama means godliness, the absolute existence. Rama here means that phenomenon in which we are living, in which we are breathing and which we breathe, in whose existence is included our existence. Try to understand this. If this is true, if this experience of the mystics is true, that we are part of the whole, then there can be no such thing as death for us, because it is only people who disappear; the whole remains forever. It was when I was not, and it will be when I am no more.

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