experience. Because, in the sound sleep state, nothing exists at all. No wife, no family, no children , no money, no job, no body, no mind—nothing at all!
That's the state of sound sleep, But this 'nothingness' state vanishes the moment you wake up.
In a dream you may be hungry, and take food and drink; but the moment you awaken, you know it was nothing, a dream. In the same way if in the real awake state, we know all this world is nothing—then we would know everything. But that is the very thing that is so hard to grasp. When one is Self-Realized, heavens, earths, bodies, minds, all disappear, and only One Everlasting Existence remains, This is the living freedom which is the goal of Vedanta. Hafiz says:
"This world and its workings are all intermingled in each other. Do not think of the world at all; and there is no harm even if the world and its people call you mad."
Here is a concrete example. Suppose there is a machine that runs constantly. If you cry aloud at a distance: 'Please stop running! It's no use going round and round continually!' Do you think the machine will stop running because of your outcry? Certainly not. What is required to stop its working? Only someone bold enough to actually handle the machine. For this machine has a big wheel with many sharp points, and it is worth one's life to get hold of this deadly wheel. Now, what would an expert mechanic do? First of all, from a distance, with some special tools, he would break off these dangerous points, and then, when they are gone completely, and the wheel surface is smooth, he would only have to apply his strength to stop it from moving.
The machine can be compared to man; the wheel can be compared to body; the points, to sanskaras, the special tools, to Knowledge, Power, Bliss, and the expert 'mechanic' to the Sadguru.
The Shariat or ceremonial side of every religion, consisting of different rules and regulations, methods and customs, are only the outer cover of a religion, meant for the masses. They are not meant for those who surrender to a Sadguru, who is one and the same as the original founder of any religion, all religions being but drops of the ocean of Truth. The Sadguru gives all those who surrender to him the more important and effective remedies of destroying their sanskaras, engaging them in duties under his order. He takes them by a very, very short cut to the goal of Truth, rather than the long, long way of Shariat laid down by the Prophets and meant only for the masses, for whom it is required.
The Kusti of the Parsees, the Tal-Bhajan of the Hindus, the Nimaz of the Mohammedans, are all external forms of worship observed by these communities. They are alright, as long as there is respect and reverence for the Shariat of other groups too (Parsees for the Hindus and Mohammedans etc., and vice versa); but unfortunately the case is quite different today. For the Parsees believe in and worship Zoroaster, their beloved Prophet, and do not believe in any other of the Prophets of other religions, such as Jesus, Mohammed and other great Avatars. Not only this, they claim Zoroaster was the only Prophet, that he was the only one especially chosen and sent by the Almighty, and so on, calling non-believers Durwands, etc. As the Mohammedans call unbelievers Kafirs, and the Christians, speaking of their Lord Jesus, call unbelievers heathens.
Alas! What idea do these Zoroastrians, Christians, Mohammedans have of their great Prophets—what they were and what they taught! They have a superficial belief that they