A well-educated North Indian came forward, prostrated to Sri Bhagavan and sat in the front line. He asked in excellent English:
Visitor - What is the cause and origin of the universe?
Bh. - Have you no worries of your own?
V. - Of course I have; that is why I want to know about Life, Death, Consciousness, etc.
Bh. - Begin with the beginning: who has Life, Consciousness, etc.? Have you, for instance, life?
V. - Of course I know I am alive, for I see my body.
Bh.- Do you always see the body? What happens to it and to the universe when you go to sleep?
V. - I don’t know, it is a mystery.
Bh. - You may not know what happens to them, but do you for that reason cease to exist?
V. - I don’t know.
Bh. - How do you then know that you exist even now?
V. - Now I have awareness and see my body moving and thinking.
Bh. - But you see your body also moving and thinking and being in all sorts of places while it is actually lying fast asleep in Tiruvannamalai.
V. - It is a mystery. Can I say that I, the permanent, am ever present and only my ego changes?
Bh. - So you think you are two persons: the permanent ‘I’ and the ego. Is that possible?
V. - Then please show me the way to the Real.
Bh. - The Real is ever-present, like the screen on which all the cinematographic pictures move. While the pictures appear on it, it remains invisible. Stop the pictures, and the screen, which has all along been present, in fact the only object that has existed throughout, will become clear. All these universes, humans, objects, thoughts and events are merely pictures moving on the screen of Pure Consciousness, which alone is real. Shapes and phenomena pass away, but Consciousness remains ever.
A few days later Sri Bhagavan gave a different answer to a similar question asked by Dr. Godel, a French Medical Officer of the Suez Canal. He told the doctor: “You must distinguish between the ‘I’, pure in itself, and the ‘I’- thought. The latter, being merely a thought, sees subject and object, sleeps, wakes up, eats and thinks, dies and is reborn. But the pure ‘I’ is the pure Being, eternal existence, free from ignorance and thought-illusion. If you stay as the ‘I’, your being alone, without thought, the I-thought will disappear and the delusion will vanish forever. In a cinema-show you can see pictures only in a very dim light or in darkness. But when all lights are switched on, all pictures disappear. So also in the floodlight of the Supreme Atman all objects disappear.”
Dr. G. - That is the Transcendental State.
Bh. - No, transcending what, and by whom? You alone exist.
The article is taken from the book Life Beyond Death by Anil Sharma