Bhaja Govindam 24: Through Self-analysis understand this world is unreal (Verse 23)

kastvaṃ kohaṃ kuta āyātaḥ kā me jananī ko me tātaḥ |

iti paribhāvaya nija saṃsāraṃ visvaṃ tyaktvā svapna vicāram || 23 ||

Meaning – ‘Who am I? Who are you? How did I enter this universe? Who is my mother? Who is my father?’ Learn to contemplate in this manner. Understanding that this entire life is a dream that is devoid of essence, discard it and instead engage in Self-analysis.

Each living being goes through 3 states of existence- waking state, dream state and deep sleep state. Every moment of our waking time comes under Jāgrat avastha. All our daily activities take place during this waking state itself. Akin to the waking state, in the dream state, we enjoy joys, sorrows and sensory pleasures. Upon waking up, we are able to explain the dream experienced. Suṣupti is a deep sleep state in which we are not even aware of our existence. There are no dreams in this state.

Even though a person may enjoy endlessly or suffer horrendously during his dream, upon waking up he realizes that it was untrue and unreal experience. With this understanding, he does not take it seriously.

This stanza asks us to adopt this similar approach towards events of the waking state. When seen from the spiritual point of view, even this entire waking state is unreal.  Although in experience, waking and dream states appear distinctively different, as per the theory of the Self they are indistinguishably similar and overlapping. The knowledge of the objects perceived during the waking state as well as those experienced during the dream state are all illusory.

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