Sastras advise Santa Upasana, i.e., peaceful meditation on the Brahman as a means to realisation. But it is difficult for the Jivatma to remain peaceful when involved in worldly affairs. The tendency to give in to likes (raga) and dislikes (dwesha) makes us either get attached or remain distant to people, places and objects. This causes turbulence in our minds and prevents us from being peaceful.

That is why they suggest that our minds can be peaceful to a certain extent if we try to internalise the truth that the entire universe is only the manifestation of Brahman, pointed out Sri Mani Dravid Sastrigal in a lecture. One should understand that Brahman creates this universe with Maya, a subtle aspect of His power.

Vishnu’s Maya leaves the entire universe in a deluded state, say the scriptures. Maya is that which cannot be described in tangible terms. We cannot say for certain it exists. Nor can we say for certain it does not exist. Maya can show the Brahman or can cheat us from knowing the truth.

“What is seen as real is not real,” is the understanding that has to take root in our consciousness. This happens when we understand that Brahman alone exists and there is no second to Him. Out of His will He has created the entire universe and also entered it to give it life. But He remains unaffected all the while. So Brahman alone is real. This perception of the world gives the individual the necessary detachment towards it.

A rope that is seen as the serpent leads to mental and emotional disturbance. This continues until one realises that there is no serpent at all and only the rope exists. It then becomes clear that the snake was only a faulty perception on our part. When only the rope is seen, the snake does not bother us; when only the snake is seen, the rope does not enter the mind and the delusion continues.

As long as one thinks the worldly existence as the ultimate and engages in its affairs, he is subject to likes and dislikes and he remains agitated and restless. This is the veil of ignorance that we have to tear asunder if we wish to get trained in peaceful meditation.

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