5 October 2012 - QA 1

Dear Gurudev, according to the Vedic scriptures, the whole world is an illusion, including the Galaxy, Universe, etc. I am not able to comprehend this. If you could please explain this further.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar:

Yes, it is obvious. If you study quantum physics, it says the same thing. The name and shapes of objects is not real, what is real is that they are all part of One Wave Function.

Everything is made up of One energy. This is what the Vedanta always said.

Illusion means what? It does not mean that it does not exist, it means that it changes. Every object here changes, and all that which changes is called Maya. All that can be measured is called Maya.

It is wrong to translate Maya as illusion.

You know, one of the greatest professors of our time, Dr. Hans-Peter Durr, he was here in the Ashram a few years back. Do you know what he said?

He said, ‘Gurudev, I studied matter for 35 years only to know that it does not exist. What exists is only energy.’

He also said, ‘When I speak it appears as though I am speaking some eastern philosophy.’

The eastern philosophy has said this thousands of years ago what modern scientists are saying today.

So what appears is not what is.

This flask appears like a solid thing, but a physicist would say, ‘No, it is just atoms.’ And he would go further on and say, ‘It is all just energy.’

Inside each item there is vast space, and the way we perceive, i.e., our perception, is not the reality. Our perception is through the senses, and scientists go beyond this perception to infer the reality.

See, an atom is not visible to the naked eye. You cannot see an atom and you can’t see energy, but you know it is there.

So the whole world does not exist means, just wake up and see, all the past, does it exist now? No! It is there only as a memory.

In the flow of time, events are dissolving, so events do not exist.

What is existing now, in the very next second, it is already gone. Like the river has fresh water every second. In the same way, the nature is always changing. And that which changes, is called Maya. That which can be measured is called Maya.

So, as a flow, it all exists, but not as a reality.

The whole world is name and form. Neither the name nor the form is permanent – this is the message.

Names can be different. You call something by one name here and you call the same thing by another name in some other country. And in another country, it is called by some other name. So names are not a permanent thing, it is for convenience. It is the same with the forms as well.