A Dream of Brahman

In the beginning there was Brahman. In the end, which might have been perceived differently but was essentially still the same, there was Brahman too. And all there was, is and ever will be is Brahman or manifestations of Brahman.

Brahman thought, “Here I am – everything, all-encompassing, all-pervasive, with no end and nothing unknown. I am indeed the One. And how fortunate it is to be in such a privileged position. How easily it might have been otherwise. What would it have been like to have been otherwise? How would it be, what might I feel, if I was a mere part of this universe, rather than the Universe.”

And at such an aberrant time, and in order to quell his curiosity, Brahman dreamed the Universe. This was a perverse thing to do, because Brahman knew he was everything, that there was nothing other than Brahman. But being All was a heavy burden. In a moment when he was imagining what it might be like to put aside his Oneness he dreamed the Universe. In this great creative act he projected something outside himself. In this marvellous alchemy all at once the stars, the constellations and all the bodies of the firmament came to be. This was an outcome of nothing more than the blink of Brahman’s eye – instantaneous, and the outcome of a marvellous thought experiment.

And out of his omniscience this thought placed sentient beings into the universe. They evolved into human beings who occupied some of the illusion of space. In his dream Brahman forgot that he was Brahman and identified with these separate bits of his consciousness in order to know what it was like to be separate. And of course, the human beings not being aware that they were all in their essence Brahman, believed that they were all separate and thus somehow special. Thus ego was born. And now, as a result, all these little bits of Brahman were competing with each other to assert their superiority.

And all this time Brahman dreamed his dream knowing that essentially “All is One” but trying to get to understand what it might be like if that was not the case. And as he slept the fragments of himself that he had set free were up to all sorts of mischief. They invented racism, tribalism, nationalism, religious intolerance and all forms of competition where individuals tried to assert their specialness and their primacy.
They found all sorts of ways to accentuate those minor discrepancies they had which somehow seemed to make them seem different from their fellows. And from this arose misery and war and all manner of dissatisfaction and suffering.

One such being, carrying a shard of the consciousness emanating from Brahman, sat on the rocks by the sea, trying to understand what life, his life in particular, was all about. Rhythmically the waves crashed on the rough shore. The crashing of the waves on to the hard surface caused the spray to fly up and spread over the adjoining rocks. He watched the spray depositing on the surface of the basalt, condensing into droplets that slowly ran down its face.

He looked out on the mighty ocean which extended all the way to the horizon, which from his vantage point, might for all intents and purposes, be infinite. And there was so much of the ocean that was unknown to him. He could only see the surface where the waves formed and surged. What depths lay beneath he could not tell.

The droplet of water running down the rock face seemed to be liberated and free but it was inexorably under the influence of gravity running back to the ocean. Even if it had been flung further afield it would evaporate in the sun join the transition of other such individuals in the clouds and then through precipitation fall onto the land and run off into the ocean or even fall directly into the ocean.

In some very direct way, the droplet was always part of the ocean. It came from the ocean, was temporarily separated and then returned. If it were conscious, the thinker wondered, would the drop believe it was a separate entity? If its tumultuous birth as a droplet caused from a wave being dashed on the rocks had obliterated its memory of the past, so that it did not know where it came from, it would undoubtedly believe it led a separate, independent existence. From his vantage point it was evident to the observer that all the droplets emanated from the ocean and would inevitably return to the ocean. In this way its notion of separation was largely an illusion.

Than the thinker wondered, what about himself? He also had the perception of separation and independence. Would it appear different from a vantage point where his whole existence could be observed in relation to all other beings? What if the consciousness that seemed to pervade him, and from what he could tell was present in other human beings was but a spark of the eternal consciousness? What if his conscious existence as a separate entity was merely an illusion in the same manner as it appeared to the water droplet? Thus his perception of separateness was but a temporary illusion also. Then (just as in the conversion of Saul) the “scales fell from his eyes” and he knew at once that he was also Brahman.

Brahman had awoken from his dream and in that instant his thought experiment was complete and the universe disappeared. So then there is only One and it is All and every manifestation of matter, and time, and separateness is but an illusion emanating from the playfulness of Brahman who is the fundamental source of everything and to which everything must inevitably return.

22 Replies to “A Dream of Brahman”

  1. Watching the 5th day of the Test Cricket I was quite excited by your email A Dream of Bradman. Just what we need I thought.
    But reading further I understood who I should blame for my partisan angst.
    It was Brahmen who gave life to racism, tribalism, nationalism……. and all forms of competition where individuals tried to assert their specialness and their primacy.
    So it is he who is to blame for the agony of the Ashes!

  2. I hope to live along enough to see the olympics abolished.

    Not as a personal achievement.

    But on a medal count of countries.

    But doing the best as you can as an individual will always win the Gold Medal.

  3. This story plausibly explains it all. But then again so does God creating the world in six days or any one of many creation stories around the world. This story though is a little different in that it is in a way common to many or all of the spiritual traditions. If you read some of the writings of Christian saints for example they talk of a unity of all. This conclusion seems to come from contemplation, meditation or a simple unexplained knowing that comes suddenly and with great certainty. It seems a fairly uniform conclusion and often comes from the most highly respected people at the highest levels of their spiritual order. Perhaps it is because these people are the most dedicated with their contemplation and meditation.

    The part of all this that I am still uncomfortable about though is we seem to place in Brahman the weaknesses of humanity. Why would Brahman want to experience separation and have the dream and why once dreaming is there a need to wake up? We have created the model and have done so based on the way we see the world, ego and all.

  4. In relation to Bradman. I’d swap him for 1 top strike bowler at the moment. Average bowling equals draw. Or is it a paradise pitch?

  5. Phil Harker made this insightful comment:

    Everyone, without exception, protects their ‘I’dentity, and every negative conflict, from the smallest disagreement, to the greatest world war, arises out of the fear driven need to protect one’s ‘I’dentity. Fear arises when one’s ‘I’dentity has a boundary and this fear arises from the awareness that a boundary implies the potential for vulnerability to what lies ‘beyond’ the boundary. The smaller the ‘bounded’ ‘I’dentity the greater the sense of existential fear due to the fewer perceived supports for sustaining the ‘I’dentity and the greater the potential forces against it – the paranoid psychopathic killer has the smallest ‘I’dentity but national and religious identities also give rise to fear which is potentiated by its reverberation within the collective. Except for ‘local’ definitions, there are no good or bad identities and socially rejected maladjusted ‘I’dentities are just as much protected and defended as are socially acceptable well-adjusted ones. All ‘I’dentities grounded in perceived phenomena are vulnerable and induce some form of fear.

    Only an unbounded ‘I’dentity can be free of existential fear. Unbounded ‘I’dentity ‘arises’ as a peaceful awareness within the ‘local mind’s’ arena of consciousness that the subjective starting point from within which all perception is projected is unbounded ‘I AM that I AM’! Any separating category-related concept or phenomena placed after ‘I AM’ and included in one’s ‘I’dentity must, to some extent, give rise to the experience of existential fear. ‘I AM’ is Brahman and ‘I AM’ is Our shared ‘I’dentity! ‘I AM’ is ‘above all local perceiving minds; through all local perceiving minds; and in all local perceiving minds’ and all shared perceived phenomena arising within the collective arena of consciousness is witness to the ‘common journey’ that ‘I AM’ undertakes as We ‘dream’ Our collective ‘Cosmic’ dream of separation from timeless Singularity. Perhaps the existential question is “who am ‘I’ and what ‘choice’ do ‘I’ have” and perhaps the answer to that question is “I AM that I AM” and ‘I’ can stay asleep to the awareness of that ‘fact’ or allow such an awareness to ‘arise’ within the local arena of consciousness. Perhaps the projection of the ‘Cosmic dream’ will cease to have been when its ‘background eco’ is no longer ‘revisited’ within any remaining node of local consciousness! So, does the present temporal ‘journey’ have any purpose? Yes, to foster the collective awareness of ‘I AM’ through the rejection of all pressures to establish and protect local boundaries to one’s Own ‘I’dentity! If ‘I’ ‘see’ separate interests ‘I’ will protect those separating interests. Families, organisations, nations and humanity itself only survive to the degree to which the debilitating effects of separate interests can be ‘overcome’ by the healing effects of shared interests. The ebb and flow of this process is the stuff of history. IMHO

  6. I responded individually to some of you. My response to Peter was similar to Greg’s.

    “Yep – you got it right – Brahman’s to blame for everything. But your excitement was misplaced. Given the current circumstances I think it might be more appropriate to dream of a Dennis Lillee , a Glen McGrath or (heaven help us) even a Shane Warne!”

    Anne of course found my little essay beautiful because she has an inner beauty that would resonate with it.

    And Father Robin is now decrying all sports because he couldn’t keep up with the geriatric jogging of another power station manager. (I know why you are against competition, Father Robin.)

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