Is this a dream I live in ?

” Is this a dream I live in ?” you asked me as we travelled in the car back from your tennis lesson. “But how would I know, for the word ‘dream’ does not come when I am really dreaming. What happens when I wake up ?” I was completely taken aback by your question, for you are still just 7 years old. Taken aback because for centuries the mystics and the wise ones have been grappling with this question. Except they may not call it a dream. They call it Maya, the illusion. Life is an illusion. It means the same thing.
Problem today is that many philosophers and mystics look down upon the ‘dream life’. Like ‘because it is an illusion, therefore it is something silly’. Not to be taken seriously. No my love, life is to be taken very seriously, for every thought, every action, every moment, every passion dissolves into a great churning that is your life. What is called your karma. And your karma is the connection between your universal self, your atman or soul, your god self, or anything you would like to call it, and your ‘maya self’, or your ‘dream self’. It is what you experience when you wake up !….

The ‘maya self’ is an essential part of your being though , a ‘created reality’ based upon your five senses and your desires, or as some describe it, based on your Ego. There is also much controversy about the word Ego. But because language can sometime sbe so limited, the Ego sometimes is defined in it’s very obvious way – ‘like so and so is egoistic’. But Ego but also has a deeper, more subconscious meaning often described as the super ego. Fundamentally we need to know that that the Ego, fueled by its own imagination and yearning is what provokes us to look for, and yearn for the Universal Ego and our the sublimation of the individual Ego to higher and more universal self.
If this all sound like a lot of words and complex and worthless intellectual indulgence, then it is my inability to somehow put together in language and words that which can only be understood by experience. That is why faith, prayer, meditation, art or any other creativity etc (like the wonderful evocative painting you do) can sometimes give you and insight in the universal self, or God inside you, what lies outside your dream life, what exists when you wake up.
So while it is really important to be aware of and nurturing your spiritual, creative and Universal self, , it is equally important to nurture the ‘dream self’. One does not deny the other, but they should come in harmony to complement each other.
And the one way to do that is to always question. Like you are now. I hope you never lose that quality. Your Dream self and your universal were in complete harmony when you were born. You would speak of Angels existing in your imagination and in reality in the same vein. You understood that both the world’s co exist. And really are one. Education, trying to come to terms with social behaviour patterns and just the daily challenges of living and being sometimes shake that belief in the oneness of the two existences. But keep asking these questions.
When the Buddha was dying, his disciple asked him – ‘Who are you ?’ and Buddha replied ‘ I am awake’. He finally came out of his dream world into a completeness that encompassed and dissolved his whole existence into eternity.

30 thoughts on “Is this a dream I live in ?

  1. shekhar…………that was hauntingly beautiful !
    it is definately one’s dream world that keeps you tender too……. coz it can be as sweet as your thoughts and dreams permit !

  2. Dear Shekhar,
    Thanks a lot for this wonderful post. I also never think of the word dream when I do think about life and I have always learned to look at everything as a task at hand, as something to be executed, and other goals as tasks in the future. It may be maya but as far as I am concerned, it is real, ever-changing, highly pleasurable and a lot of fun – but you have to make it by living the dream and not dreaming the dream. Often later in life when you’ve reach an elevated stage and have accumulated enough karma to be called close to “awake” you will automatically dissolve your individual ego into the universal ego, as you will become one with it.
    Life has to be taken seriously, even the “maya self,” and we should try to monitor every thought, word and action to take us to a higher state of consciousness and love – the way to generally do this is to have more compassion and devote yourself to doing something you love, constantly learning more about it and working on it like a spiritual task given to you by god.
    I think Kaveri is blessed to have a father like you and I’m sure she’ll have a great upbringing. And we get all answers only by questioning and questioning more and more, thinking deeply about the nature of things and the patterns in which life flows, the importance of other people in our lives in this global family and their contribution to our happiness – that’s how we’ll become aware and awake to some extent.
    3 quotes on Maya and Self-actualization
    ” When one wakes up in the morning, one’s whole life is neatly laid out, consistent with the past, to the degree that we even (apparently) remember the same language spoken the day before, suggesting previous experience had simply entered a dormant state.”
    James Swartz
    Source: Chinmayanda, Shankara
    When you can see through the mist of Maya to the Self, that mist has not disappeared. You have just learned to see through it. ”
    As we raise our consciousness and activate our lightbody, we realize we are our own creators made, or making ourselves, in the image and similitude of the one Creator. Indeed, since in a hologram the part contains the whole, we are the one Creator. By learning this truly transformative lesson, we return to unity consciousness while mastering physicality. In other words, we achieve god-realization as the light of soul descends into a divine or soul body healed of duality and freed from the instructional cycle of karma.
    Sol Luckman
    Source: Conscious Healing: Book One on the Regenetics Method, Page: 147..148
    Best Regards,

  3. Very touching with lots of questions and forethoughts…
    What is a man but a bunch of questions and what is the dream but illumination of the man itself…yet
    yet…and yet…one must not stop wondering and questioning

  4. Dear Shekhar,
    I love what you have said to our son. Warms my heart completely and completely. Lots of love.
    Amit Singh

  5. FOUR SEASONS OPENS IN MUMBAI in a place that housed a slum some years back. Some may call it disparity and some may call it rapid advancement. I call it advancement and I’m sure Ritz is already scouting for a location. Way to go Mumbai!
    Seven years ago, the Jatias, a Mumbai hotelier family, bought land in the city’s derelict former textile mills district that was partly occupied by slums and was faced by a large shanty town – hardly where most would site a five-star hotel.
    But this week, after years of navigating red tape, the 202-room Four Seasons Mumbai became the first luxury hotel of its size to launch in the city’s south in about 20 years.
    “In hindsight, the choice of this location seems quite straightforward but at that time this wasn’t an obvious site for a hotel,” Adarsh Jatia, a director of the family company, Magus Estates and Hotels, says.
    Guests arriving at night at the Canadian chain’s first hotel in India will see slum-dwellers sleeping on one side of the road and on the other the glittering glass tower of Mumbai’s newest symbol of luxury.
    In India ‘s financial capital, engine of the country’s rapid economic growth, such scenes are increasingly common as high-end developments sprout up among the sprawling huts that house more than half the city’s 18m people. With land prices in Mumbai reaching record levels, the state government of Maharashtra, which controls the city, has been pushing an ambitious plan to rehabilitate its legendary slums. The idea is to move slum-dwellers into apartment blocks occupying a corner of the area over which they sprawl and redevelop the remainder, in developments of hotels, offices and apartments.
    The Four Seasons slum-dwellers living on the site were compensated for the loss of their homes and the government wants to use the model for two big slum rehabilitation projects that will transform the city if they are realised.
    The first is Dharavi, said to be Asia’s largest slum, and home to 60,000 families. The second is on the grounds of the city’s airport where 80,000 families live. The two will involve moving between 5 per cent and 10 per cent of the city’s population.
    “This will be the way of the future,” Mukesh Mehta, the consultant for the Dharavi project, says. “Especially in the prime part of the city of Mumbai and in Parel (the mill district) and all those areas that are the upcoming areas.”
    The result is not lost on those selling the new Four Seasons. “You’re seeing Rolls-Royces on one side, luxury hotels on the other and slums in between – that’s why they call Mumbai the Maximum City,” Jason Stinson, marketing director at the hotel, says.
    There are good business reasons behind the development. Property analysts estimate there is a shortage of 100,000 hotel rooms in India – more than the existing supply. Archaic restrictions that have prohibited the construction of high-rise buildings and sky-high land prices have contributed to the shortage, Vincent Lottefier, chief executive of Jones Lang LaSalle Meghraj, says.
    Bureaucracy and a shortage of skilled workers make building hotels difficult – the opening of the Four Seasons was delayed by at least two years. The hotel needed 165 government permits – including a special licence for the vegetable weighing scale in the kitchen and one for each of the bathroom scales put in guest rooms. In the end, the hotel cost $100m (euro 64.5m, pound 51m), or about $500,000 per room, and prices – which start at $500 per night rising to more than $1,000 – reflect that.
    But there is little social envy. Vishal Doshi, whose shop sells samosas in the slum, says the hotel brings prestige. “Everyone can now say: ‘I’m living near the Four Seasons’,” he says.
    He is under no illusions that he will be a guest there any time soon. “This side of the road is for servants, that side for bosses,” he says.

  6. You question and you get an answer. From the answer you will get few more questions and it’s just goes on and on and on till you realise that there is nothing worth questioning and no answer is good enough rather just admiring and enjoying the mysteries of life.

  7. Reading your writing, not for the first time am I reminded of Hermann Hesse’s “Siddhartha”. I wonder, what do you think of this novel? For me, reading it as a young man was a chapter in my own awakening.

  8. Dear Shekharji,
    Can you be of opinion that the quality of a person’s life depends upon the quality of questions that a person asks? Can you throw some light onto this please?

  9. Dear Shekhar,
    I have written a script which very well connect present world to the spirituality.It also defines the position of India in the world.
    I would like to share same with you.

  10. Hey Shekhar,
    U words are so beautiful…your daughter is truly blessed to have a father like you xxxxxxxx

  11. Hi Shekhar
    I am visiting your blog after many months. And straight away , I bumped into this topic.
    To be honest , its very simple. It has been stated by our rishis and yogis and it is this . What we call creation and the world is NOT.
    It simply is NOT. All the complications and intellectual gymnastics only beat around the bush. What is , is THAT.
    The bodies and actions and works are all created and driven by DESIRE.
    So , NO DESIRE implies YOGA , DESIRE differentiates and we lose THAT.
    Thats it really.

  12. Hmmmm
    What is going to happen when I wake up from this dream?
    What will I know and feel?
    What will it all be?
    Tell me!!

  13. Dear Shekhar,
    Touching, poignant
    Beyond words…and beautiful…
    If this is illusion…
    I like to be dreaming forever!!!
    My best regards,
    Anku Bakshi Sharma

  14. Hallo
    I must agree with James Phelan who commented on your blog earlier. Your words do remind me of Herman Hesse’s ‘Siddhartha’.
    However, the questions and the answers that you provide to your daughter here makes me think of another-another book.
    There is another story which I feel, is more aligning with your thoughts.
    If you’ve not read it already, I suggest you must read “The book of Mirdad” by Mikhail Naimy. It is like a beautiful poetry, like music spread on pages.
    I just heard your interview on World Space Radio where in a short sentence you expressed your feelings about your daughter. It touched me especially today, as I’d seen a father berate his daughter in public today; not something I could imagine ever seeing.
    My family thinks I live in a dream- a glass shell. Mayhap that is the truth but at least I am away from all the violence this world seems to be thriving on!
    Your interview today, and that short sentence dedicated to your daughter was the reason for my entry on your blog today.
    Wishing you good health. You’ve got a lot of work to do before you say “adieu” to this world Mr Kapur.
    I look forward to your best, which is yet to come.

  15. looks like life has been unfair with you and you regret your divorce with suchitra
    you seem to be a good man a loving husband and a responsible father.
    can i get an oppurtunity to act in your films.
    am a simple middle class girl dreaming to make it big in acting.

  16. I have never in my whole life taken anything seriously because I don’t see the point, why one should take things seriously. Life is really such a joke, so hilarious.
    I have heard of a man who was sitting in a railway station waiting room; sometimes he was sitting alone, sometimes there were other passengers also. Sometimes he would gesture as if to throw something with his hands. Everybody was interested in what he was doing because there seemed to be nothing that he was throwing away. Sometimes he would giggle and sometimes he would even laugh. Finally he was driving everybody crazy — although it was nobody’s business. It was his hand; if he wants to make some gesture, who are you to be bothered by it? And if he wants to giggle, that is his business. And if he wants to laugh ….
    But the whole place became very tense, hot. Only that man was enjoying, with his eyes closed. Finally it was too much: one man stood up and he said, “I have to ask, because he is driving us crazy, what he is doing.” So he shook him and told him, “You are driving the whole waiting room crazy; nobody can take his eyes off you. What are you doing? Why are you giggling? There is nothing happening here, on this ugly platform, in this dirty waiting room — and you laugh?”
    The man said, “It is something … just an old habit. You need not be worried. I am in the habit of telling jokes to myself. When some very old joke that I have told many times comes by, I just shake it off: `Get lost again!’ And when some juicy one comes, I have to giggle — although I know the joke, it is an old joke, but so juicy that even to hear it a thousand times … still, I have to go the whole way.
    “I know everything that is going to happen in the joke but that doesn’t matter, it is so juicy. And sometimes the joke is so great that I cannot just giggle, I have to laugh out loud. I know that perhaps it may disturb others, but what can I do?”
    I think this man is no one but me; because this is how I have lived my whole life. I have never taken anything seriously. This was not a decision on my part; otherwise that decision would have become serious. Just looking at life I found it was so humorous, so ridiculous, that if you cannot make yourself giggle and laugh you are just an idiot, and missing such a great opportunity.
    – OSHO

  17. Shekhar,
    you have written the reality about THIS and THAT.
    real THIS is only after THAT.
    Somebody asked Lin-Chi, ‘What did you used to do before you became enlightened?’
    He said, ‘I used to chop wood and carry water.’
    And then the man asked, ‘What have you been doing since enlightenment?’ Lin-Chi said, ‘I am doing the same — chopping wood, carrying water. But before I used to do it with great expectations. Now I simply do it — there is nothing else to do! I chop wood because I know how to, and I know how to carry water. The activity remains the same — the quality of awareness changes.’
    If tea-drinking can become a meditation, then anything can become a meditation — cooking or washing your clothes, any activity can be transformed into meditation. And the real sannyasin, the real seeker, will transform all his acts into meditation. Only then, when meditation spreads over all your life, not only when you are awake in the day — slowly slowly it starts penetrating and permeating your being in sleep too — when it becomes just part of you, like breathing, like your heartbeat, then, only, have you attained to the discipline, to the essential discipline of Zen.
    – OSHO
    Sw. Neeravo

  18. Dear Shekhar–
    I’m only 20 years old( though I often feel older) and I’ve recently begun to understand that reality really is an illusion. I’ve taken a break from school in order to get know myself & the world better. So far it’s been the most eye-opening year of my life. I have a better appreciation for life and see beauty in nearly everything. Everything is becoming so synchronized. This weekend I was working on some drawings and decided to put a movie in. It was a copy of The Four Feathers that my roommate had left with me. Sometimes I just put movies in for the background noise while I work. But I actually set down my sketchbook and watched the whole movie. I was hooked and couldn’t believe that it hadn’t received more recognition. It was one of the most powerful movies I’ve seen in a long time. Afterwards I watched the interviews with you and the screenwriter–it was like watching you affirm thoughts that have been swimming around my mind for the past year! I was so grateful and touched that I couldn’t stop crying. But it felt amazing. The next day I looked you up, and found this wonderful site where you continue to share insight with all of us. As well as many of the other posts and articles I’ve read on the site so far, this piece for your daughter is just what I need right now. I just wanted to say thank you for all that you share, and I’m looking forward to exploring your films!
    Much love,

  19. shekar u r indeed a genius we want to see some more of that in ur forthcoming ventures , have “Masoom”, “Mr. India” still etched in my memory, masterpieces indeed.Wishing u the very best, cheers! sharmishta

  20. Your blog picture is one of the most beautiful pictures i have seen..It moistens my eyes for various reasons but mainly because of the various colours of emotions it exudes..
    A picture truly is worth a million words.

  21. I so agree with what you say about our real world and ‘dream’ world being the same when we’re young.. and certain unreasoning forms of education, peer pressure and social stigma sort of pull the two worlds apart. Many people almost bury their dream world.. and its sad really.. coz it has amazing power!

  22. Sk, i wonder if u have read this book ‘am i a hindu?’
    i read it in the mid 90s, its in the form of Q&A,bet a hindu dad and his son born in USA,and is truly one of A kind!do read it if u get yr hands on this bk…and have the time
    ur post here reminded me of that!
    hmmmmm…now i luk fwd everyday to read ur blog with my cuppa coffeee:)
    thanks my E-friend!(E as in one who keeps enlightening me!lol!)

  23. Hi, Shekhar! I found your site surfing thru’ the 498a.wordpress blog.

    I find this letter particularly refreshing. It made me go back many years when my (only) son was a pre-teen. “Son,” I declared over breakfast, “I had a wonderful dream last night. I’d like to share it with you …”. My son, being one of those “No Nonsense, Type-A Personality Scorpio’s”, came back with, “Well, Dad; maybe it’ll stay that way when you wake up!” This threw me in for a loop. Was this a rebellious repartee? Was he being a smartass? Or was that “dream” reality, and breakfast with my kid a passing illusion?

    “Do you ever have dreams, Son?” He looks into his bowl of cereal and mumbles, “Yes, but I don’t like to talk about them!” Hell! I’m not going to let him go this easily so I ask, “Why?” He smiles, “Because it would make people laugh and think I’m weird or something …”. He went on to explain his dreams. They’re all cartoon-type characters … but before his dreams begin, there’s this scrolling screen listing character actors (he in the starring role, of course), Producer, Director , and other credits!! And there’s background music …

    “Holy Cow, Son. Keep your dreams to yourself. People will laugh and think you’re weird or something …”. “Thanks for the advice, Dad,” he laughs. “You’re welcome, Son!” I shoot back. “By the way, do you ever dream of Jessica Rabbit?” (Now, THAT might be ‘normal’ in my books!). “No comment!” he shouts over his shoulder as he rushes off to school.

    Yes, Shekhar. I’ve also been pondering on “reality” and “dream” since then. Some sage was once quoted as having observed that “We make our own reality”. Could we also direct our dreams? If so, could we choose where we’d want to be? If so, would this be a conscious decision? What is consciousness …? My son served 3 yrs with the US Army “securing” Iraq and watching scores of his comrades and “the enemy” die in an immoral war …

    Maybe Jessica Rabbit is real ,and the horror of war and other unpleasantness happening all over the world is really a dream – a nightmare!

    I enjoyed the visit and your thoughts are inspirational. Thank you.

  24. thank you Carlisle Commons for sharing. I have taken the liberty of publishing your comment on the blog. I do hope you comment again, Shekhar

  25. Really, i do understand that it is almost impossible for you to respond accordingly to a stranger like me, nevertheless writing you for your e-mail (if you could bank on me to let me know) to letting you know professionally in order to make my dream come true. Could you, please!!

  26. methinks your daughter was in a beautiful state of mind/heart/soul and has an inbuilt spiritual awakening, which needs to flower….let it be…let it be…should not burden with our limited mental explanations…

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