I have an elderly friend who says that after several years of meditative practice, he has attained the realization that “world does not exist!”
He looked at me for a reaction. I said nothing except a light smile on my face. He asked me why I am not reacting. I said it is futile to react when I don’t exist ;-) For any exchange of views, there has to be at least two people. When there is one or none, discussion makes no sense!
Such realization of non existence of the world is common for anyone who meditates for long. Does that mean that it is true?
Take for example; Patanjali says that in the ultimate stages of meditation, the soul realizes itself as if it is standing in front of a mirror! But Buddha disagrees and says that that is only an intermediate state. Buddha talks of going beyond that, when ‘one’ realizes that there is neither body, nor the mind, not even the soul that exists. In fact there is ‘nothing’.
Buddha goes on, and says that ‘one’ reaches a further state of ‘no perception’ when even this perception of ‘nothing’ goes. Is that the ultimate? No, says Buddha. He says the ultimate state is a ‘state of neither perception, nor non perception’. What does that mean? It is beyond me!
I am not trying to equate Buddha with Upanishadic sages. But what Buddha says is akin to the ‘Turïya’ state described by sage Mändükya in Mändükya Upanishad. In that state, Mändükya says that “there is neither perception of external things, nor perception of internal world, nor there will be non perception. It is a state beyond description”.
I can only give a sane advice to my realized friend that “as long as you are conscious of your individual existence, don’t talk about these states. If you have crossed that stage, then anyway you can’t talk!” That is what Buddha is supposed to have done when he attained the ultimate realization ;-)