The Hallucinating Human
So, I was watching Bajirao Mastani last weekend and just when I was about to doze off, as the climax approached, the last scene of the movie really connected with me. Now, before some of you start to defend the movie, let me just clear the air by saying that I am not going to write a review of the movie. This article is not about that. I respect your opinions if you liked the movie (I am not intolerant, you see?) and agree with you if you think a 30-minute story was over-stretched into a 2 and half hour movie. So, let’s get to the point, shall we?
In the last scene, the sick Bajiraoruns in the river (I think the Godavari)on seeing a cavalry approaching to kill him. The horses are running on water like it’s a small puddle and suddenly there are even flaming arrows coming from the skies. Bajirao is hit by a few of them and they light a fire on water. He is also cut with swords by the men on horses. It’s real, quite real for him. He has in his hand his metallic belt like sword swaying and is fighting the cavalry but in vain. His attacks have no effect -on neither the horses nor the men sitting on them. He swings his weapon on one of the enemies and the horse just passes through to an unclear destination, like the warrior in the river didn’t exist. Bajirao tries to fight and avoid the flaming arrows but they hit him but don’t really hurt him. He stops swinging after a while. At a distance, his wife, Kashi, looks at her husband swinging his sword madly at an invisible object. The whole world is peaceful except her husband. Bajirao soon realises the truth and the cavalry disappears. The arrows and the fire on the river disappear too. Bajirao is laughing. He is laughing as crazily as he was swinging his sword at, well, nothing. He’s realized the truth and that how crazy he was before. He is liberated and quite literally soon after, from life. Wouldn’t you feel liberated too? What if the job that you hate so much but have to do it every day, was a hallucination? Would this knowledge liberate you? What if the fact that your father doesn’t understand you, is just a hallucination you’ve been making real? What if your financial problems were a hallucination? What if that nagging girlfriend was a hallucination or that insecure boyfriend was? Not only your problems but the good stuff in life can be a hallucination too. That iPhone worth almost half a lac, your dream house, your bank balance, the carefree life that you enjoy, it’s all a hallucination.
So why is it a hallucination? Feels pretty real, doesn’t it? It feels real to everybody else too, so how is it a hallucination? The answer to this is in the question, what’s real? Nothing is real. Nothing is the absence of everything. I know it’s a basic definition and there’s nothing epiphany-like in it but have we really tried to understand this definition? Do you know when you get nothing? Alright, I’ll give you nothing right now. You ready? Just imagine this and go slow. The chair or bed that you’re sitting on isn’t there. There’s no table either. There are no walls around you. The clothes that you own, including the ones that you’re wearing right now, don’t exist. Your glasses (if you use a pair) don’t exist either. There are no bed sheets, pillows, blankets, footwear, bathroom supplies, food, trees, plants, animals, other human beings, grass, insects, birds, buildings, vehicles, not even air. There’s no Earth or other planets and satellites. This computer isn’t there either. It’s just you in this entire universe. You look around and it’s all dark, black. There’s no sense of direction or speed as there’s nothing to compare these two dimensions with. There’s a blackout and that’s all there is, forever. You’re floating but you don’t know whether you’re moving or not and if you are then towards what or in which direction. Is this Nothing? No. Now, imagine that you don’t exist either. Now we have –Nothing. Everything is absent, nothing is present. This is real – a blank canvas, an empty notebook. The moment you paint, the moment you write is the second stage of hallucination. The first stage is, your existence. The moment you acknowledge your own existence, you start to hallucinate. This is because, you start to create meaning out of your existence. Of course, you’re a baby initially so you accept the meanings that are told to you by others and as you grow, the basis of meanings created by you, are the ones that you had accepted before. Nobody is born an Indian or a Hindu or Muslim but these identities are labeled upon us and we are taught, really well, how to hallucinate. Some hallucinate about engineering, some about medicine, some about flying a plane and more. We create meanings as if they are permanent, we create rules as if they have been the governing force of all mankind as if the ‘Gods’ want us to follow these rules. We also create a God and worship our creation as if it is our creator. It is all a hallucination.
So, if this is so and nothing is real, then how do we get out of this hallucination and reach that reality? There is just one way, death! All the great saints, sadhus, and babas are aware of this hallucination but are still a part of it. This is so because we are not meant to escape this phenomenon and neither should we try to. We are meant to realize that we’re hallucinating but we can’t escape it. But the realization does put our hearts at ease, doesn’t it? Knowing that everything around us is not real, it is all a figment of our own imagination and creation, gives us some degree of power. The fact that your partner is upset with you, is your own creation and thus you can change this fact. How? That’s a question only you can answer as it’s your creation but nothing is permanent. You create everything and you have the power to create whatever you want, it’s your blank canvas, your empty notebook. You may not know how to paint and write yet, but practice and you will be a great painter like Buddha or a great writer like Krishna, Christ or the Prophet. We call them Gods but they were all just normal humans like us, hallucinating but always aware of this fact and they created what we know about them today. They knew that they can’t escape the hallucination but what they could do was hallucinate about what they desired. And this is exactly what we need to do today. This doesn’t mean that we sit all day just imagining stuff. When you hallucinate, the hallucination is so real that it alters your actions. Therefore, whatever we desire, should reflect in our actions. If you want to be rich, your actions should be such that you’re getting richer. Rich people work hard (unless you’re Mukesh Ambani’s son) and they plan everything amongst a lot of other actions that they take. If you want to be famous, do something that makes you famous. Whatever it is that you want, take actions to hallucinate about that reality. In the end, none of it is going to last but for as long as you’re lasting, create for yourself that you wish could last forever.