The pleasure which arises from the contact of the mind and sense organs with objects, cannot, in fact, eradicate your pain. Lord Krishna says: “The bliss that is eternal, self-luminous and all-pervading is true happiness.”
As dream is imagined by the intellect, happiness of the dream is not real but illusory. Similarly, grief, infatuation, pleasure, pain and the world appearance are illusory, not real because they are imagined by the intellect through the power of maya.
The world is illusory; hence the body is also illusory. The intellect also springs from maya; that is why grief, sorrow, worry, etc., arising in the intellect are also illusory. Until this kind of Vedantic inquiry comes into your life, all the friends of the world together cannot remove all of your pains forever. If you are established in Vedanta, then even if all the people of the world become your enemies, and try to give you pain, still they cannot cause any harm to your true nature, Atman.
Thus pain is not real, worldly pleasure is also not real. They are illusory. If we know maya as maya (illusion), then the world does not exist for us. Just like if a rope is known as rope, then the snake disappears. If a mirage is known as a mirage, then the water disappears.
Just like different kinds of utensils are made of the same clay and different kinds of ornaments are made of the same gold, similarly many kinds of imaginations arise from the same Sachchidananda (Truth absolute, Consciousness absolute and bliss absolute), Supreme Brahman, Supreme Self.
The man loves his son very much, but he loves his body more than his son, and loves his senses more than his body, and loves his mind more than the external senses. In other words, one loves things that much more, according to how close they are to him. That is why, when the head is hurt, the hands immediately react and try to save it, because the mind and the intellect are closer, hence are dearer. But the prana (Life Force) is even closer to man than these. And one’s own being, bliss personified Self is even dearer than the prana. That is why, when ones becomes restless and disturbed, he gives up his life, kills his body, but one does not kill his bliss personified Self, his true being, Atman as it is dear to everyone. Because of foolishness man becomes trapped in maya and suffers from sorrow.
Our mind enters into sense objects and the latter influence us. The mind has developed the habit of getting attached to sense objects for many past lives. So the mind does not get situated in consciousness nature, Para Brahman, Supreme Self.
Once, Sanak and his brothers asked a question to Brahmaji (the creator), “The eyes are attracted to things for seeing them, the ears are attracted for hearing, the tongue becomes eager to taste, and the nose becomes impatient to smell. Thus, sense objects keep attracting the jiva.
- How can the jiva get liberation?
- How to get liberated from the cycle of repeated births and deaths?
- How can one get repose in one’s consciousness-nature, Supreme Self?”
Then the Lord Brahmaji invoked Lord Adi Narayana who appeared in the form of a swan. The sages asked him, “who are you?”
Lord incarnated as a swan replied, “Who am I? Your question is meaningless. In terms of the body, I am composed of five elements as you are. (There can be no distinction between elements in one person and another person). In terms of the Tattva (absolute reality), I am the same as you are.”
On hearing this reply the sages asked him a question about the science of Brahman.
Hamsa Avatar (Incarnation in the form of a swan) said, “ This visible world perceived by eyes is nothing but an illusion (maya). It has only apparent reality. This maya cannot be said to be real because it is momentary and ever-changing. It cannot be said to be even unreal because it is functional. Hence this maya is illusory. The world appears through maya. One, who does not reflect on his true being and considers this maya to be real and the body as ‘I’ consents to enjoy sense pleasures, becomes bound by his strong senses. But the one who reflects on the unreality of the world repeatedly, tries to get bliss in his witness personified consciousness, does not have egotism and attachment to contact based (pleasant) conditions, attains the Supreme state.”
Thus Lord has instructed on Tattva Jnana in the incarnation of a swan.
Saint Narsi Mehta has also said,
“As long as one does not realize the truth of Atman, all sadhanas (spiritual practices) are false.”
You may make any number of pilgrimages, do fasts but be sure, all these sadhanas are futile until you attain Self-Knowledge.
Shri Vasishtha Maharaj says in Shri Yoga Vasishtha Maharamayana. “Eat whatever food you get, wear whatever clothes you get and sleep in any place you find but if with all these you get Satsang (Guru teachings) on Self-Knowledge it is better than all other things.”
One may become a devotee and play cymbals (while doing kirtana), one may become austere and practice penance, one may become a student and undertake studies, one may become something to attain something but all the knowledge one has attained becomes worthless in the end if one has not attained Knowledge of Brahman.