Many questions are before me. One friend has asked: ”If the soul cannot be seen, then why is so much importance given to something invisible? Why do you also talk about this same unseen atman?”
The trees are visible, not so the roots that lie hidden in the ground beneath. That does not mean that they are of less significance. Rather, the visible tree is entirely dependent on the invisible roots for its existence. If we tend the tree and neglect the roots, the tree is sure to die. No longer will it give out flowers and fruits, for its very life-breath lies hidden in the roots. Whatever is of consequence in life, is always hidden from view.
What is manifest is the outer cover; what remains unmanifest is the soul within. The body can be seen for it is the outer covering; that which is within the body, is not open to view. This does not decrease its value however. Its quest becomes all the more necessary because it is invisible.
May it not happen, that we go through life mistaking the apparent manifestations of life as the be all and end all of existence. May it not happen that we live through life, taking the apparent world as real and of consequence. That also exists, which is imperceptible and invisible – in the sense that it cannot be seen with the ordinary eye. But he who develops his insight and cultivates his understanding and power of discretion, soon begins to see That which is.
There is a continuous movement of thoughts within us; but if the skull is opened up for dissection, there is no sign of them within! The scientist will declare, that technically speaking, thoughts do not exist; but we all know that thoughts are very much there, for we experience them.
If thoughts cannot be proved in a laboratory, it only means that the apparatus used, are too coarse to detect the subtle element of thought. Some experiments have been conducted of late however, and very soon we shall be able to develop the method of detecting thoughts.
One university in America has carried out a test in this connection. A man was made to sit before a very sensitive camera and he was asked to concentrate with all his energy on a single thought. The camera was loaded with an extra sensitive film and it was hoped that if a thought was projected with full concentration, this film might be able to catch its reflection.
The man fixed his mind on a knife, with one-pointed attention and to the wonder of all, the film showed the picture of a knife. The camera was successful in catching the subtle waves of the mind. This was the first time that thought was ever photographed.
There is a great scientist in Soviet Russia by the name of Fiadov. He carried out an experiment in telepathy over a distance of a thousand miles. Sitting in Moscow, he sent a wave of thought- vibrations, without the help of any instruments, to a place called Tiflis, a thousand miles away. A few men were stationed in a garden in Tiflis to keep watch over a bench that bore the number ten. Soon a man came and sat down on this bench. Fiadov was informed that the seat was now occupied.
Sitting in Moscow, Fiadov began to concentrate on him and send him suggestions: ”Go to sleep, go to sleep”… The man on bench number ten fell fast asleep in three minutes! Fiadov was duly informed but he was told to give more proof of his experiment. It could have been that the man was tired and had gone off to sleep. He was asked to wake him up in five minutes.
Fiadov sent a fresh wave of suggestion to the sleeping man: ”Get up! Get up within five minutes…” Within five minutes, this man, a thousand miles away, awoke from his sleep; and to the astonishment of all the observers, he looked anxiously from side to side, as if he were looking for someone. They went up to him and asked him what had caused him to get up so startled.
”I am puzzle,” said the man. I came and sat here, as I normally do every day. Then it seemed to me as if someone was coaxing me to go to sleep! I thought perhaps I was tired and it was my mind telling me to rest. So I went to sleep; but hardly five minutes had gone by, when the same voice ordered me to get up. ’Get up’ it said, ’Get up within five minutes. I am so intrigued – who could it be?”
Fiadov has carried out very many experiments in telepathy and given proofs thereof. Thoughts cannot be seen but they are very much there; the soul is even more invisible but it is very much there.
Those who enter the depths of meditation are, in a manner of speaking, able to ”see” the soul. The roots of the tree are hidden but if we start digging around the base of the tree. roots can be seen. It is a similar action when one concentrates and tries to separate the living consciousness from the gross body. This leads to the seeing of the Self within.
There was a Muslim fakir by the name of Sheikh Fareed, People came from far and near to touch his holy feet. One man asked him: ”It is said that Jesus was smiling when he was being crucified. How could this be? And it is said that when the limbs of Mansoor were being cut off, he too was laughing. When they pierced his eyes, there was not a twinge of pain on his face! This is impossible.”
Fareed picked up a green coconut near him and handing it to the man, told him to break it for him without injuring the kernel.
”That is not possible,” said the man. ”The coconut is tender, and the kernel is stuck fast to the shell, When I break the coconut, the kernel is bound to break.”
Fareed picked up a dry coconut. ”What about this one?” he asked.
”There is no problem with this one, for the fruit is dry and the kernel is free of the shell,” replied the man.
”Exactly!” said Farced, ”and you have got your answer. There are people who are attached to the shell of the body. If the body is hurt, they are hurt. There are others who so detach themselves from the body, that even when the latter is severely castigated, they are not affected. Jesus and Mansoor were like the dry coconut and the likes of you are green coconuts – that is what I wanted to tell you.”
‘ The real question is not whether there is life after death.
The real question is whether you are alive before death.’