MAGIC IS ILLUSORY BUT MAGICIAN IS REAL
When you go to see a magic-show, you are fully aware that it is only a make-believe. The feats are concocted for your diversion and entertainment. And willingly you suspend your scientific temperament and spirit of inquiry for the nonce as you watch with bated breath the variety of acts – flying birds being pulled out of a hat, coloured powders poured down from boxes shown beforehand to be empty and a phosphorescent ghost strutting across the stage on creaking joints and making gibberish noises. The magic show is a grand illusion, but the magician is there in flesh and blood, a very real person who makes his presence felt for added effect by keeping up a chatter (which is mostly puerile and in atrocious English!).
O ye humans, when will you realise that the panorama of the Universe spread out before you is no different from a magic-show which you have hypnotised yourself to believe it is real? And like the magician, the one and only Reality is the substratum of the Universe, which you are ignoring for the simple reason It is beyond the reach of your senses.
I mentioned the incessant chatter of the magician as he pulls his tricks. The only purpose of his monologue is to keep you bemused and oblivious to the reality. For example, he would place a girl-assistant in a coffin-like box and he would screw the lid on her tight, announcing that he is going to cut the box in two with a power-saw. However he would not straightaway proceed to do so but rotate the box for quite a while, all the time giving out gory details of the homicide in store. Actually he provides time to the girl to press open the bottom-side of the coffin and escape to safety, which he can confirm by the box being rendered lighter. The girl by now has darted through the verandah of the hall where you have not been looking and taken her place unobtrusively at the fringe of the audience. After getting the appropriate signal the magician operates the power-saw to cleave the coffin. In a sepulchral tone he now calls out to the girl by name and hey presto, she runs through the centre of the audience and mounts the dais, much to the relief of the spectators who had been keyed up to expect something macabre!
In the case of the Universal show the equivalent of the invisible magician's chatter is provided by the five effects in the functioning state of orbiting stars and planets – pressure, sound, light, taste and smell operating through the medium of the respective elements – ether, air, fire, water and earth. The sense-organs that serve to do the registering of the five effects are the skin, ears, eyes, tongue and nose in that order. It is the mind that identifies and tells you what is what. And so, the mind is the sixth sense reflecting all the imprints you have received through the senses as thoughts during your waking hours and as dreams during sleep.
The spiritually untrained mind limits itself to and is content to go the way of the senses. In contact with world-objects pleasure and pain sensations result and the mind gets mystified since it is hankering after pleasure and does not bargain for misery. Stagnation of Consciousness is the outcome and like an elephant that has slipped into a pit, the mind feels helpless and disabled despite its native strength and the two strong tusks of Dispassion and Discrimination. Is this not deplorable ignorance on the part of the mind, which is not aware of its own potential to escape and advance?
The way out is obvious. Do not be distracted by the chatter of the cunning magician but put in the self-effort to look beyond. Shed the slavery to the senses and coach the mind to be on the move to transcend pleasure and pain. The mind of man which can pierce through the eye of a needle one moment can also expand to the extremity of the sidereal Universe and stand on tip-toe there where it would touch and merge with the Substratum of the Universe, the Source and Origin, the One without a second.
When you look at the illusion of the magic-show, look through it also. That is jnaanam for you; and it has no substitute.
— Excerpts from the Sixth day Talk in Tamil on Tripura Rahasyam titled
''Limitation of Meditation" by Sage TGN
(A CD Album containing Seven Talks in Tamil by Master is being released
on 29th April 2007. For details contact :)