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Gita Lesson - 1812: Using Illusion

Bhagavad Gita
Unit - 18
Lesson - 1812: Using the Illusion
By Raja Subramaniyan

Lord Krishna suggests that we use the Illusion to gain liberation from it. It is not possible for us to go beyond Illusion. It is like expecting an imaginary person of our dream to step out of the dream into the real world. We need to understand the three elements of Illusion and use each one of them appropriately in our path to Joyful Living.

By nature, the proportion of AEM will keep changing.

Example: A flame in the candle has to keep moving and changing in order to be present. It may appear red, yellow or orange.

Similarly, the AEM in our mind will continue to be present and the proportion in which they are mixed will continue to change. At a particular time, one of the three will dominate the other two and we need to understand how to bring them to an ideal proportion.

The universe is made up of AEM and the division between the observer and the observed is an artificial creation.

Example: There are many states in the country.

The borders between the states exist only in maps. The land is one continuous earth mass and there is no natural demarcation separating the states. Similarly, there is no real difference between the observer and the observed. However, due to ignorance, we say, 'I see him and therefore I am different from him'. The fact is both are illusions that appear in the dream of Brahman. One who has the right proportion of AEM will be able to comprehend this truth.

Everything in the universe is made up of AEM, the interaction between the various objects in the creation includes the actions and results of the actions of the living beings. Only a pure mind can gain this knowledge so that it is liberated.

Our minds are generally impure due to our accumulated preferences. We need to do Karma Yoga and Upasana Yoga to make it pure and then gain knowledge on the truth using Jnana Yoga.

For doing Karma Yoga, we need to leverage the positive aspects of the Energy Element.

For doing Upasana Yoga, we need to leverage on the positive aspects of the Aura and Matter elements.

For doing Jnana Yoga, we need to leverage on the positive aspects of the Aura Element.

Thus, by using the positive aspects of the three elements we can achieve liberation. We suffer in life because we give reality to the illusion. Once we gain the knowledge of the truth, we understand that the life is an illusion and therefore life becomes joyful.

It is possible for us to control the proportion in which AEM constitutes our mind. For example, if we eat full stomach in the morning, we are inviting Matter Element to dominate us for the next two hours. If we want to be active, we have to seek Energy Element by having a light breakfast.

Thus, our action shapes the composition of AEM in our mind. The proportion of AEM, then determines the quality of our actions. If we are Matter dominant after a heavy breakfast, we may not do our work efficiently. Therefore, the results of the action will be substandard. The results of the actions, determines our future environment. Our environment facilitates our further action. If we create a hostile environment, it will be more difficult for us to achieve the desired result, compared to functioning in an environment that is conducive.

Thus, we create our future through the right proportion of AEM. It is like a pole valet. A pole is required for jumping high to cross the barrier. Once sufficient height is gained, one should leave the pole to cross over. Similarly, we should use the AEM and then live beyond it so that life is joyful.

Teaching 134: We need to use AEM to gain freedom

We need to use the Energy Element supported by Aura, to do Karma Yoga so that the first step is performed through physical action. This is similar to running with the pole prior to jumping.

We need to use the Matter Element supported by Aura, to do Upasana Yoga so that the second step is performed by purifying the mind. This is similar to mentally focusing and concentrating on the jump.

We need to use the Aura Element supported by Energy, to do Jnana Yoga so that the final step is performed to go beyond the influence of AEM. This is similar to jumping and then leaving the pole at the right time.

Theoretically, it may sound that it is very easy to change our personality through the right actions described above. However, in practice, it takes long time and depending on where we are, it takes many lifetimes to reach the goal of going beyond the influence of AEM. Our accumulated preferences and impressions do not permit us to change the proportion of AEM overnight. We need to continuously work and move forward in our journey towards Joyful Living.

After death, the journey will continue from where we left. This does not mean that we will not be rewarded for our efforts. It is like drinking water to quench our thirst. Every sip of water we drink helps us. Our mind will become progressively matured. Thus, we can see benefits of our efforts, within our current lifetime.

We should assess our current personality and then move forward through the steps described below.

Step 1: Matter Dominance (Minimum action and minimum knowledge just sufficient for surviving)

Step 2: Matter Dominance supported by Energy (Action to follow the religious rituals to fulfill selfish requirements)

Step 3: Energy Dominance supported by Matter (Lots of selfish action to gain property, wealth and such for self and family)

Step 4: Energy Dominance supported by Aura (Lots of selfless action to gain name, fame, recognition and such)

Step 5: Aura Dominance supported by Energy (Less action and more reading, listening, thinking and reflecting)

Step 6: Aura Dominance (Minimum action for survival and more effort for gaining steady knowledge)

Step 7: Beyond dominance of any element (Less or More action depending on the accumulated preferences)

We should consciously involve in required action to move forward through these steps and reach the final step of liberation.
Suggestions for actions
1. The books we read, the company we keep and the places we visit influence our personality.
2. The types of entertainment we indulge in limit our progress. Drinking alcohol, gambling and such activities severely restrict our progress.
3. Extraverted activities increases Energy
4. Introverted activities increases Aura and reduces Energy
5. Moving away from selfish actions to selfless action will increase the Aura Element and reduce Matter Element.
6. Taking up new projects voluntarily will increase the Energy Element and reduces the Matter Element.

Benefits of the actions
1. Increase in the Aura Element increases calmness in mind. One will feel more relaxed. Peacefulness and contentment are the results of increase of Aura Element.
2. Increase in the Energy Element will make one feel dynamic and energetic. Great achievements in life are possible results of Energy Element. Name, fame, power, position, wealth and such material success often brought about by the Energy Element. However, after gaining sufficient success one should not continue to be bound by Energy. If they do so, it will lead them to sorrow and suffering. Energy dominant people slowly tend to get impatient because they want to achieve more in less time. This will lead to intolerance and anger. It may possibly lead to violence in thoughts, words and action. Therefore, prior to desires becomes greed one should abandon Energy Dominance and try to become Aura Dominant.

Beyond dominance of any element
AEM binds us to our ego. We think that we are the body/mind complex due to the influence of AEM. AEM drives the ego into action to create an environment that is conducive. Thus, ego becomes a powerful doer and enjoyer. Until we go beyond the influence of AEM, the ego will continue to suffer since it is not always possible to have a desirable environment.

Ego strengthens the feeling of 'I' and 'mine'. The truth is just the opposite. There is nothing that belongs to me and the word 'I' should refer to Atman.

When we increase the Aura Element, we will progress in Jnana Yoga. It is the process of separating the ego from the Atman. When we drop our ego, the feeling of 'I' and 'mine' will go. It is like living in the same house after selling it. A crack in the wall will not hurt us anymore. It is not our problem since we have already sold the house.

Similarly, if we surrender back everything to God, our ego will be weakened and we can let go of all our possessions. We are under the wrong impression that we are responsible for our future. The truth is God runs our life. However, our ego is so strong it will not let go due to the wrong proportion of AEM.

Example: It is very difficult to pluck a mango, which is not fully ripened. Similarly, unless our ego is fully ripened, it will not let go of the possessions.

Until we make this complete surrender, we will continue to suffer because our ego is wrongly assuming that it is the doer and it is the enjoyer of the fruits of action. Therefore, the focus is to bring the composition of Aura, Energy and Matter to the right proportion and then go beyond their influence.

Teaching 135: Only fully ripened ego can be surrendered to God

It is natural for the nature to keep changing since the very process of projection of Illusion is through change.

Example: Continuous movement in light creates an illusion of movie on the screen. If there is bright, white light on the screen there is no movie.

Similarly, the AEM by nature is always changing. Therefore, the entire creation is in constant movement. There is nothing in the world that is permanent or changeless. If the ego escapes the grip of AEM it will see that change in the environment is natural. One will no longer complain that summer is hot or winter is cold. Old age is a natural phenomenon and not construed as a problem.

There will be no more sufferings for those who go beyond the influence of AEM. While they are still bound by the changes in the life, they have become wise to see them in the right perspective.

A wise person does not give reality to the events in the life. A dream tiger cannot harm the person sleeping on the bed. Similarly, a wise person knows that his real identity is Brahman and he is no longer affected by the changes in life. Others are still under the influence of AEM and they give the status of reality to the illusion.

Thus, one should use AEM and go beyond it and become wise.

Chapter 14: Analysis of the three elements [Verses: 14 - 20]

14.14 When one dies in the mode of Aura, he attains to the pure higher planets.

14.15 When one dies in the mode of Energy, he takes birth amidst those who are attached to action; and when he dies in the mode of Matter, he is born in the wombs of the deluded

14.16 By acting in the mode of Aura, one becomes purified. Works done in the mode of Energy result in sorrow and actions performed in the mode of Matter result in ignorance.

14.17 From the mode of Aura, real knowledge develops; from the mode of Energy, greed develops; and from the mode of Matter, negligence, delusion and ignorance develop.

14.18 Those situated in the mode of Aura gradually go upward to the higher planets; those in the mode of Energy live on the earthly planets; and those in the mode of Matter go down to the hellish worlds.

14.19 When the seer understands that the doer to be none other than these modes of nature and knows Brahman is above all these modes, he attains My nature.

14.20 Having gone beyond these three modes, which are the cause of rebirth, a person becomes free from birth, death, old age and attains immortality.

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