Not so recently had an opportunity to experience virtual reality in a shopping mall. The virtual reality setting was a roller coaster and a giant swing ride. With no prior experience as to what to expect and how the impact would be, I assumed it to be a shallow experience not worth the money. I was barely right for it was one of the most scariest experience of my lifetime. As the virtual headset and earphones were connected and scenery came into view, my mouth went dry and the throat parched as I found myself hanging in midair. I turned to the sides to see animated people smiling and excited. My heart started pounding and I could hear my own heartbeat when the ride started. Sweat broke out on my forehead and behind the ears. I knew this isn’t real, I am sitting on a chair which moved according to the ride in the VR in a mall but my mind refused to believe for it couldn’t override the input signal from the VR and believed itself hanging midair hundreds of feet from the ground. As the pace of the ride increased, I could clearly percieve – The senses receiving the signal, the mind agitated waiting for the ride to get over, the subtle mind reacting to the signals with sweating and palpitations, the intellect signalling my mind, ‘we are sitting in a chair, in a mall, you can hear the children shouting even, why are you scared?’ but to no avail. The final witness calmly looking at the entire events as it unfolded. A bad headache started as it wasn’t real but the mind and body went out of control doing what it had to reacting to the ride as the scenery unfolded. Finally, as the ride got over, gave a sigh of relief but it was one of a kind experience.
At present am reading this book, I was amazed at the coincidence of my VR experience and Swami Rama’s commentary on Mandukya upanishad about the jivatman and the paramatman. I am quoting verbatim, the verse 3 of Mandukya Upanishad with Swami Rama’s commentary:
“Jāgarita-sthāno bahiṣ-prajñaḥ saptāṅga ekonaviṃśatimukhaḥ sthūla-bhūg vaiśvānaraḥ prathamaḥ pādaḥ.”
The first aspect is the waking state, vaiśvānara. In this state, consciousness is turned to the external. With its seven instruments and nineteen channels, it experiences the gross phenomenal world.
Commentary – “Consciousness in the waking state (vaiśvānara) experiences the objects of the external world. This is the state of consciousness that identifies itself with the physical and pranic sheaths. Its seven instruments are the five elements (earth, water, fire, air, and ether) the breath, and the ego, which identifies itself with the body. Its nineteen channels are the five active senses (speaking, grasping, walking, reproducing, and excreting); the five cognitive senses (hearing, touching, seeing, tasting, and smelling); the five prānas (prāna, apāna, samāna, udāna, and vyāna); and the four antahkaranas or inner instruments (mind, ego, intellect, and chitta—the storehouse of memories).”
Doesn’t it sound similar? Just like a person wears a VR console and experiences a virtual world which the mind believes it to be true. The purusha as consciousness – – with help of prakriti and it’s seven instruments and nineteen channels experiences this cosmic reality which appears as real but not so!
Is this why krishna says throughout The Gita – who kills and who is killed, you are the atman the imperishable. No one dies in VR so also no one dies in CR. The atman wears the body as a VR and experiences this world and when the body wears out removes the body like we remove the VR and exist in our own real state.
With only one instrument of VR console, the mind is unable to take control of itself. Imagine the self as jivatman, with seven instruments and nineteen channels, no wonder enlightenment is very difficult.
According to the VR experience and reading the CR experience, my inference is this ( I may be entirely wrong here):
1. Beyond maya we exist in our true state as jivatman in perfect harmony with other jivatmans along with the paramatman. (eg. Goloka, Shiva loka, Vaikunta, Ramakrishna loka, Om Swami loka, Chinthamani loka etc)
2. Within maya we are experiencing a CR, like a VR with the feeling of separation from the fellow jivatmans and also the paramatman.
3.Meditation and enlightenment are tools to get the CR console which is attached to the jivatman.
In a nutshell, this world we perceive as real is nothing but a Virtual reality which the atman is experiencing!!!!