A visitor told Bhagavan, “Even in my dream I sometimes feel that I am dreaming, i.e., I am conscious that it is a dream and that a fall for instance there cannot hurt me and so on. How is that?”
Bhagavan: How can that be? Even in a dream there must be hurt consequent on a fall. On the other hand, if you are aware it is a dream, you are no longer dreaming. At the best, it may be the transition stage when you are awaking from the dream state.
Another visitor told Bhagavan that some of his dream experiences stood very firmly rooted in his mind, while others were not remembered at all. Bhagavan remarked, “All that we see is a dream, whether we see it in the dream state or in the waking state. On account of some arbitrary standards about the duration of experience and so on, we call one experience dream experience and another waking experience. With reference to Reality, both the experiences are unreal. A man might have such an experience as getting anugraha (grace) in his dream and the effect and influence of it on his entire subsequent life may be so profound and so abiding that one cannot call it unreal, while calling real some trifling incident in the waking life, that just flits by, is casual, of no moment whatever and is soon forgotten. Once I had an experience, a vision or dream, whatever you may call it. I and some others including Chadwick had a walk on the hill. Returning, we were walking along a huge street with great buildings on either side. Showing the street and the buildings, I asked Chadwick and the others whether anybody could say that what we were seeing was a dream and they all replied, ‘Which fool will say so?’ and we walked along and entered the hall and the vision or dream ceased or I woke up. What are we to call this?”
Next the talk drifted to the Self being pratyaksha (self-evident) and Bhagavan then related how the song “Atma Vidya” was composed. He said, “Any vidya is for the purpose of knowing something. If it is so self-evident as to render the well-known classical example of hastamalakam or a gooseberry on the palm a false analogy, as Muruganar had put it, where was the need for atma vidya, whether you call it easy or not? What Muruganar meant to say was : ‘In the classical example, a hand is necessary, a hand that will and can feel a fruit on it, a fruit, an eye that can see, a person that has already known what fruit it is, and so on, and so forth. But for knowing the Self, nothing at all except the Self is needed.’ In sleep for instance nothing at all exists for us except ourselves and we admit we existed during that sleep. On waking we say, ‘I slept and none of us believes there are two ‘I’s, the one that slept and the one that is awake now. In the classical example all these must exist to make the fruit selfevident. All these depend on or derive from the Self and make the fruit self-evident. How much more self-evident must the Self itself be? Anyhow there it was, Muruganar had written the pallavi and anupallavi and wanted the charanams. He said he could not possibly complete the song, as somehow no more lines would come to him, and so requested me to complete it. Thereupon I wrote this song. First I wrote only one stanza or charanam. But Muruganar wanted at least four. Thereupon I made three more. Finally I recollected, I had not made any mention of Annamalai and so made a fifth charanam also and made mention of Annamalai in it, as Ponnambalam is mentioned in the stanzas of the song in Nandanar story on which our song is modelled.”
A squirrel came to Bhagavan and he was feeding it with cashew-nut pieces as usual. Turning to me, he said, “Shroff sent some cashew-nuts yesterday and said ‘They were intended for my dumb friends’.” I said, “Probably Bhagavan would object to our calling these squirrels dumb.” Bhagavan said, “They communicate with me. Sometimes I am in a nap. They come and draw attention to their presence by gently biting my finger tips. Besides, they have a lot of language of their own. There is one great thing about these squirrels. You may place any amount of food before them. They will just eat what they need and leave the rest behind. Not so the rat, for instance. It will take everything it finds and stock it in its hole.”
I remarked, “Possibly it would be said that the squirrel is a less intelligent creature than the rat, because it does not plan or provide for the future but lives in the present.” Bhagavan said, “Yes. Yes. We consider it intelligence to plan and live wretchedly like this. See how many animals and birds live in this world without planning and stocking. Are they all dying?”
Bhagavan then began speaking of monkeys and said, “They too don’t build nests or stock things. They eat what they can find, and go and perch on trees when night falls. They are quite happy. I have known something about their organisation, their kings, laws, regulations. Everything is so perfect and well-organised. So much intelligence behind it all. I even know that tapas is not unknown to monkeys. A monkey whom we used to call ‘Mottaipaiyan’ was once oppressed and ill-treated by a gang. He went away into the forest for a few days, did tapas, acquired strength and returned. When he came and sat on a bough and shook it, all the rest of the monkeys, who had previously ill-treated him and of whom he was previously mortally afraid, were now quaking before him. Yes. I am clear that tapas is well known to monkeys.”