No Need for Questions

From May I Answer That, Swami Sivananda Saraswati

Swamiji, how did Maya arise in Brahman?

This is an ati-prasna or transcendental question. You will find this question coming up to your mind in various forms: When did Karma begin? When and why was the world created? Why is there evil in the world? Why did the Manifest manifest itself? And so on.

The same question is asked by Rama in Yoga Vasishtha and Vasishtha says: “You are putting the cart before the horse. You will not be benefited by an enquiry into this question at all. Meditate and realize Brahman. You will then know the answer to this question. The problem itself will have dissolved by then.” No one can answer this question. When knowledge dawns, the question itself vanishes. Therefore there is no answer to the question at all.

The Brahma Sutras says: Lokavattu Lila Kaivalyam – This world is nothing but divine play. It is only to pacify your doubt. It is really not an answer, for there can be no answer. Yet, the question will arise in the case of every seeker after Truth. You cannot help it. You will have to use your discrimination, pacify the doubt, and then through intense sadhana and meditation, realize God. Then the doubt will vanish.

A great yogi and jnani was worried with this doubt for twelve years. Then he told me: “The worry is over now. It troubled me for twelve years. I could not find an answer. So I have given up that pursuit and have taken to meditation, japa and kirtan. Now I find peace and progress.” Faith in the Guru, in the Granth Sahib, kirtan, japa, meditation and the practice of righteousness will enable you to progress on the spiritual path and will take you to That where there is no questioning possible.

Life and death – which is more dreadful?

Life and death are both processes of gaining more and more fresh experiences in the progress of evolution tending towards the fruition of the wishes of the experiencer. Life is a scene where the individual puts on the dress or the form of a certain amount of desires which can be fulfilled in the special environment afforded by it. Death is the time when the individual goes behind the screen and puts on a new dress to appear in another scene of life and fulfil another quality of desires which cannot find the required atmosphere for fruition in the present life, but demand a fresh suitable environment. Hence, when properly understood, neither of them is dreadful. Both are necessary processes of breaking barriers and tearing the veils on the path to perfection. To the ignorant man, however, both are dreadful experiences. He imagines death to be more dreadful.

Do you believe in heaven and hell existing as some independent planes apart from this earth-plane of ours?

Why not? They are also planes of existence just like ours. They are as real as the earthly plane. All the worlds, lokas, and all the tirthas, sacred rivers, are existent in the human being himself, if he has belief in the scriptures.

One can enjoy heaven or hell in this birth if he so wishes. The greater the grossness, the more intense will be the torture and suffering until such time as the individual is refined and ft for the descent of the Lord’s grace by repeated calcinations or purificatory processes.

If you want to enjoy heaven on earth, go on purifying yourself by controlling the lower mind, the desires and cravings. All is bliss, all is joy, all is happiness then. If you allow a free rein to the horses of the senses and yield to the prompting of the devilish mind, if you follow the path of adharma, hell itself will prevail, not elsewhere in some incredible region, but here on this earth itself.

I would like to know why we are all created and put to this miserable and pitiable plight. You would argue that we are never created and never would die. Then why are we not all in that all-pure, omnipotent state without being entangled by samskaras and maya?

Questions like these are ati-prasnas, transcendental queries, for which you will not get an answer even if you rack your brain for millions of years. Intelligent people leave questions such as the ‘why?’ and the ‘how?’ of the universe. If a small son questions his father, “Papa, how did you procreate me?” what answer will Papa give? He will simply say, “Wait. When you become a man, you will understand this point.”

This is exactly the case with you and several other new aspirants in whom the light is trying to shine forth. Do not put the cart before the horse. Realize the atma. Then you will understand these matters. At the present moment, apply yourself to solid sadhana in earnestness and remove mala, impurities, vikshepa, dissipation, and avarana, ignorance.

Do not enter into vain discussions and arguments on such matters. You can ask me questions on other points of philosophy. Wherever you go, you will get the same answer. Have you grasped my point?

What is the feeling of a jnani when he eats a mango or some delicious food?

He has not the idea of bhokta, bhoga and bhogya, enjoyer, enjoyment and enjoyable. The eating of a mango will not produce any samskara in him. He will not think again at a certain time, “I ate a delicious mango at Mr Raman’s bungalow last year.” He is free from the bhav, the feeling, “Aham Bhokta” or “I am the enjoyer.”

He is aware of the hunger. He is aware that hunger is the dharma of the pranamaya kosha and that something or the other should be thrust inside the stomach to appease this hunger.