In the book Conversations with Maharishi, Vol. 1, Vernon Katz has transcribed some of the side conversations he had with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi while they were translating the Brahma Sutra in the late 1960’s. (p 283-4) Another good point Maharishi raised:
“If a man remains established in the sense of ‘jagan mithya’ (the world is unreal), then he will never see the jagat [world] in terms of himself, and will never get into Unity. And then again, he has to forget even the distinction between Jagat (world) and Brahman [Atman]: that the two are different – that one is satya (real) and one is mithya (unreal), and that I-am-this-satya and I-am-not-this-mithya. If one has that division established in the mind, then this in itself will become a resistance to the dawn of Unity…”
In other words, if one is identified with the experience of the world being unreal or illusory, that can be a barrier to the recognition of Unity. The idea that the world is illusion is strong in modern non-dual circles. It is a very valid experience during an unfolding but it should be seen as transitory rather than The Reality. There is many teachers who are very well established in Self Realization but have not moved further. Some even deny there is anything else.
Ironically, true non-duality doesn’t really flower until after the Unity shift. If there’s a separate illusory world, that’s two things or dvaita (duality), not Oneness.
The solution is to raise the level of sattva (purity or clarity). It is rajas (fire, transformation) that gives the world an illusory sense. Sattva shifts perception of the world to Lila, the divine play. Then it is easier to see the Self beyond that.
Note that this shift is on a deeper level. Eating sattvic foods and having a sattvic lifestyle is good for you, but that’s too superficial to change your perception of self and the world.
Unity is a recognition by the intellect – it recognizes the Self underlies the world just as we previously recognized it underlies oneself. It’s like we discover there is a movie screen behind the world display. Then we recognize that is also mySelf. Then through life experience, we recognize it in all things.
“The world becomes more real as Unity dawns; it becomes as real as one’s own Self. The world was a mirage only in so far as it was experienced as different from one’s Self.”
After the Unity shift, objects in the world can take on a solidity and concreteness that is greater than it ever had before we woke up. The world is made of eternal being. But that too is a phase.
A little right understanding can go a long way in supporting a smooth unfolding. That’s the purpose of this blog.