One 2 One, No. 8 – The Grand Illusion (Part 1)

“Besides this acting, besides this stage, besides the audience, the lights, the orchestra, the director, there is something else going on—you’re alive. And that’s your reality. That is why you need to know yourself.” —Prem Rawat

Prem Rawat:

All stories begin with “Once upon a time.” The story that I really want to tell you also begins like this, but there is a small difference—and the difference is, “Once upon this time there lives you.”


Once upon this time there lives You.

NO. 8

Prem Rawat:

Hello everyone; I hope you’re all doing well. I have returned; had a really nice event, two days in Munich, Germany. And I’d just wanted to say a few things. As you may have heard from some of the other broadcasts that I put together, (One 2 One), that I’ve been talking about the three things.

And this power, this energy that is everywhere, a very nice way to describe it, (a very beautiful way, indeed) is that “it was; it is, and it will be.” It has no end. Nobody can trace back its beginning; it’s been there. From that everything comes—and to that everything goes.

And in a way, it is the quintessential merging of the three powers, the creator, the sustainer and the destroyer. Everything is within that.

And then there is the little old “us.” Not so little and maybe not so old, but there we are. And I guess the most appropriate way to describe us in that context is that we weren’t. Now we are. And there’ll be a time where we won’t be. So, “Wasn’t, is, won’t be.” It’s simple. It’s beautiful. And it’s always putting everything in the context of “Was, is, and will be.”

So, there is that that was—is—will be. Then us: “Wasn’t, is, won’t be.” And this is, for us, everything.

Now, let’s switch to the third thing—that what is the third thing? The third thing is that one thing that we dramatically engage with—this world. And now, but what is this world?

I mean, if I started going through the list, it would be simply a very, very, very long list. All the things that we have created. All the things that we have made possible for ourselves. The bridges that we have built, the roads that we have built. The systems that we have created, the farming systems that we have created. So many things that we have made, that we have created.

Those things that this whole world is all about, our lives in this time of “is,” everything that we have generated—this world that we have created for ourselves because we exist; we are—the relationships, giving a name to relationships, defining relationships. Who’s dear to us, who is this way, who is that way? What we do; what we don’t do; who does what? Level of importance….

I mean, you know, the whole gamut—the cars that we have created, the bicycles we have created, the motorcycles we have created. Trains we have created, the ships we have created, the tugs we have created, the airplanes we have created, the gliders we have created, the helicopters we have created. I mean, on and on and on and on.

And other things too, that we have created in our minds, (maybe not physically) and we’re working very hard to create them. I mean, incredible fantasies—I mean, it’s, if you look at it, in a way, we are this genie that tries to make fantasies come true. So, whatever we fantasize about, we try to make it happen.

And there have been people, very wise people, who have said that the nature of this world that we heavily engage with, that heavily influences us—the world that we have created, “It wasn’t. And it isn’t!”

Now I know that this is where the big debates begin; everybody wants to go their own ways. It’s like, you know, there are people who absolutely will agree with me, “Yes, that you’re right. There wasn’t, isn’t, and won’t be.”

And the other people, it’s like, “What are you talking about; this is the only reality there is. And you know, this infinite that you talk about, that’s not a reality. This is the reality; this is what we can touch; this is how we interact.”

So, here it is, this world that we have created. Whether it addresses our needs…? And I can certainly say there are some things in this world that we have created; perhaps they address our needs—but most of it addresses our wants, our desires. And one of the things that this world does produce is a very high level of anxiety for us, one way or the other way.  

So, today I was thinking about this. And I had, well, an epiphany of sorts, so I’d like to share that with you. And here is the epiphany that I had. That imagine you as a human being are doing a play. And many times I have said this; it’s like “You’re here—and you’re an actor. You’re on a stage, a stage called ‘earth.’ The time is your time, your lifeline, your life.”

Now, here’s the issue with this play. You have to remember it’s a play. You have to remember it’s a play. It’s acting. If you die in this play, you don’t really die. If somebody wounds you in this play, you don’t really get wounded. If somebody insults you in this play, you don’t really get insulted. If somebody makes you angry in this play, you don’t need to get angry.

If in this play you lose everything, you don’t actually lose everything. That those people you hate, (or those people who cause you to hate them) are also in this play, and they’re playing their part; you play your part. And when the play is over, you go back to being who you truly are.

Hence, the importance of knowing who you are becomes quintessential because if you do not know who you are, it will be very easy for you to get confused with your role-playing as an actor. And when you get confused between that role and the real you, life is going to be a bit problematic.

Because it is just a play. It’s not real! It is just a play. In this play, you may become rich—and you may become poor. And if you know who you are, you are who you are, and it does not affect your real riches. Because it is not the sense of what is going on in the play—but you understand the reality. And the reality is who you, as a human being, are.

So, there is that that was, is, and will be. There is that that is you—that wasn’t. But is. See, that “is” is that same “is,” as that “was, is, and will be.” And you don’t share the first one (which is “were,” that you were). But you are; you, the “is” is still there; “is” is still there. And as that infinite is—and so are you for this moment—the only difference is, the infinite will be; you won’t be.

But the play, aha, see? And now it makes sense, right? That it wasn’t, isn’t, and won’t be? Because it’s just a play. So, but it’s just a play? Then “Wasn’t; isn’t!” It is not the reality. And it won’t be. The play will be over; the curtain will be drawn; you will take your bow—and done!

But the sense of understanding and knowing yourself then becomes so important—so that you don’t get dragged into this other thing, into this other sphere which is all about what people have called “the grand illusion”—because it’s just a play.

I’m putting it as “a play”—and that perhaps makes it very simple to understand. In this play, you may be a king. In this play, you may be a pauper. And in this play, one day you may be a king and the next day you may be a pauper. And the reality of it is that you are neither a king nor a pauper—only in the play. When the play is over, you are who you are.

That your sense of relationships is not the relationships that are in the play, but the relationships that truly are yours, the connections that you have that have something to do with you. You can only know this; you can only understand this if you know yourself. If you don’t know yourself, it’s going to be very, very easy to get confused.

Now, what got me thinking about this, that it’s just a play? It is the questions—a lot of questions that I received, and I wanted to answer them. So, how do you answer them? And now look; here is the issue that I have.

A lot of the questions…. Some of the questions, yes, I can just answer very simply: “Yes, no, whatever.” But most of the questions require a dialogue. I need to talk to you; I need to ask you some questions.

Because simply saying, simply stating “Oh, my car is broken”—I can’t help you. I need to know what is broken. If you in your life don’t see any hope, and I’m trying to show you hope, question is, “Do you want to see hope, or do you want to see despair?”

Hence, the play. In this play, you’re going through this. And this, there is that story—that I think it’s a beautiful story; it’s a wonderful story.

That there is this king. And this king has this incredibly vivid dream, vivid—that he is preparing for this battle. And he goes; he goes onto this battle. And the battle is horrendous. I mean, he has to fight and fight and fight and fight and—amazingly enough he loses the battle. And when he loses the battle, he has to flee for his life.

See, it’s taking on the nightmares—and nobody likes the nightmares. And he’s running and running and running and running and running and he goes into this really dense jungle, and he realizes he’s really hungry…. And it’s drizzling rain and it’s cold and it’s miserable and he’s really, really hungry and he would like something to eat. But what does he eat? There’s nothing there.

And he sees a hut; he goes over to the hut; he knocks—and he says to this old woman that lives there, it’s like, “Do you have something to eat?” And she goes, “No, I just finished cooking and I ate it—but I have some rice; I have some lentils. Here is some salt. Maybe you can make yourself a dish with this and eat and be satisfied.”

The king is very thankful; he takes these. He gets a little pot together; he gets a little fire together. And it’s very difficult for him; you know, he’s blowing, and the smoke, all the wood is wet.

Anyways, he finally manages to get some water, put the rice; put the lentils, put the spices in and he has made a dish. And you know, he’s looking forward to having it—it smells nice. He’s looking forward to having it. He gets a big banana leaf; he puts it down and he’s waiting for this to cool off so he can have it.

And at this point, two bulls come fighting with each other and take everything that he has made and completely, with their hoofs, trample it into the mud.

And at seeing this, he is so heartbroken; he’s so broken that he starts to cry—except he’s now crying in real life. He’s—even though he’s asleep on his bed, he’s crying. And as the tears roll down his eyes, he wakes up.

And when he wakes up, he looks around. And everything is there; he’s the king; no doubt about it. He’s lying on his beautiful bed with silk covers, beautiful curtains; there are guards waiting for him. You know, he’s got a beautiful lamp, gold this, that, the works.

So, immediately he has a question, “Which one is it; which one is real? Me being a king—or me having lost the battle?” Knowing yourself becomes more important now, doesn’t it?

I have taken that battle scene out; I have taken all of that out and I have made you an actor—because this is what I feel I am too; I am an actor. And yes, I have relationships; I have people around me; I have to do this; I have to do that; I do this; I do that; I go here; I go there; I talk about this; I talk about that.

Sometimes things go well in my life; sometimes things don’t go well in my life. But you know something? I do understand one thing that I have to do—is I have to keep the acting part separate from the reality that I am, that reality that is inside of me, that divine that is inside of me that was, is, and will be.

An opportunity has opened up for me in that “is”—because I wasn’t; I am, and I won’t be. That opportunity that has opened up in “is” is to understand, recognize, feel that infinite that is within me.

I am too busy playing my part? If I don’t know myself, then I cannot distinguish the role from the reality? There’s a role that I am playing? The role will end—and I don’t know who I am? And all of a sudden, this role becomes real.

And one day I am playing a pauper; I am a pauper! (Oh my God, I have nothing.) And one day I have everything; I’m a king! One day I have this; one day I have that.

Isn’t this play kind of like that? Isn’t that what happens in this play? Sometimes you have pain? Sometimes you have joy? Sometimes things are really wonderful?

Sometimes things are horrible? And when they are horrible, we get shaken—to our core? And so many of the questions that I get, they’re rooted in that—and they’re rooted in that. Because there is little or no understanding of what the self really is.

Somebody even asked, “You know, you talk about feeling that, experiencing that infinite that’s inside of you”—or the, “Who you are? Feeling that? Experiencing who you are? And conquering…?”

Yeah, but when you get to know yourself, there are things, there are parts of you, you have to conquer. This habit that you have of confusing yourself with your role-playing, with being an actor, has to be conquered. It has to be controlled.

You always, always need to know, “That’s just my acting bit. And the reality, who I am, what I am, what I—how I exist. This opportunity that I have, what this is, and what it means to me.”

Why am I fascinated with which is all about “I wasn’t”? I’m fascinated by that—when I won’t be, and I’m fascinated by that too! But I’m not nearly as fascinated with the “is,” when this is, all I have is the “is.”  

So, yes, I am an actor, and there is a drama afoot. But I am more than an actor. And that is who I truly am. This actor playing the roles—scripts will keep changing, my friends; scripts will keep changing. We just saw the script change. Wasn’t everything kind of set up to go a certain way—and then somebody just rewrote the script?

And the script changed—and nobody saw it coming. I mean, people who supposedly, you know, can foretell the future—could not foretell the future. So the scripts will change! Sometimes this will happen; sometimes that will happen. Sometimes a doctor will hand you a script: “And you have six months.” And there are doctors who tell that to people.

Then I know and I respect these doctors who say, “It’s not written at the bottom of your foot, ‘You’re going to expire in one month or two months or’—there is no expiration date. Let’s work with it!” I admire them. I admire them because they’re right!

Hallmark of a very good doctor: “You are not just your script. You are beyond that script. You are alive—and that’s everything.” And it’s powerful. And it should be attracting all your attention; you should be fascinated by that.

But what are you fascinated with—“Oh, what’s happening here; what’s happening…?” But those are all scripts. “So-and-so is doing this; so-and-so has become this; so-and-so is this; so-and-so is this. And now so-and-so is going to do this, and so-and-so is….” And we’re all fascinated.

But it’s just acting and acting and this is another script. And, you know, some people play their role very well. Some people are very good at playing their role. What about you?

What I am saying, though—it’s not about your role, (but and you, how well you want to play it, that’s up to you). But there is a distinction between your role and yourself. That all the ups and downs of your script that you read, the words that you memorize—they’re just a play. Sometimes people will applaud because you have done well. Sometimes people won’t.

Sometimes you’ll become a better actor; sometimes you’ll become a worse actor. Should you become a better actor; should you become a bad actor? It’s up to you, whatever you want, whatever you choose.

But—I want to remind you, and I want you to know—that besides this acting, besides this stage, besides the audience, besides the lights, besides the orchestra, besides the director, there is something else going on—and you’re alive.

And that’s your reality. That is your reality. That is why you need to know yourself. That is why you need to live this life consciously, always knowing the difference between the reality and the play.

And then there is the gratitude. Not the applause of the audience, but the applause of a singular heart, your heart filling up with gratitude, applauding you, applauding your existence, applauding your remembrance, applauding your clarity, applauding your simplicity, applauding your fulfillment again and again and again.

I wanted to share that with you. I hope that answers some of your questions. I hope that somehow it makes your life easier, understanding, going forward. I know these are difficult times. But it’s up to you. It’s up to you how you look at it.

You know, you can make it enjoyable—because still, the breath comes into you and goes out of you. You exist—and you are very real. You won’t be. But so far you are, you are very real. The rest is a play; scripts will change—always do, always have. It’s not about that. It really isn’t about that.

So anyways, I hope you feel good. Take care of yourselves—and I’ll talk to you soon. Thank you.


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