Self-enquiry – Vichara Sangraham (10)
If the entire universe is of the form of mind, then does it not follow that the universe is an illusion? If that be the case, why is the creation of the universe mentioned in the Veda?
There is no doubt whatsoever that the universe is the merest illusion. The principal purport of the Veda is to make known the true Brahman, after showing the apparent universe to be false. It is for this purpose that the Vedas admit the creation of the world and not for any other reason.
Moreover, for the less qualified persons, creation is taught, that is the phased evolution of prakriti (primal nature), mahat-tattva (the great macro intellect), tanmatras (the subtle essences), bhutas (the gross elements), the world, the body, etc., all proceeding from Brahman.
But for the more qualified, simultaneous creation is taught, that is, that this world arose like a dream on account of one’s own thoughts induced by the defect of not knowing oneself as the Self.
Thus, from the fact that the creation of the world has been described in different ways, it is clear that the purport of the Vedas rests only in teaching the true nature of Brahman, after showing somehow or other, the illusory nature of the universe. That the world is illusory, every one can directly know in the state of realization, which is in the form of experience of one’s bliss-nature.
Self-enquiry – Vichara Sangraham is the first set of teachings that Ramana Maharshi ever offered. It was offered at about 1901, when he was a young man of about twenty-two. He was already a Jnani (Sage) in perfect Realization of the Self, in the resplendent bliss of Divine Knowledge. At that time he was living in Virupaksha Cave on the hill of Arunachala.
A number of disciples had already gathered round him. Although he had not actually taken a vow of silence, he seldom spoke, and so wrote his replies to certain questions put to him by Sri Gambhiram Seshayya, one of the earliest devotees. Sri Seshayya copied them in his diary. After his passing away, this diary was obtained from his brother. This was edited by Sri Sivaprakasam Pillai and was later put into Question-Answer form by Sri Natanananda. It was published under the name of Vichara Sangraham, or Self-Enquiry.