I want to share a parable related to self-realization, heaven, religion, pseudo-wisdom, sadhana etc.
Bound in Maya:
There was a room (cosmos) that was filled with really bright light (Self). It was filled with many people (beings in this cosmos), whose eyes had been closed (ego-sense or I-ness) for such a long time that opening them is not natural anymore and eyes feel as though they simply can’t be opened (dense conditioning)!
They were moving around like that, hitting and rubbing against each other, liking some and disliking some and becoming angry at some for hitting them.
There were some people at different times in different parts of the room, who managed to open their eyes and see the brilliant light (Self-realized). Once they could see, some looked for the doors, opened them and left the room (videhamukti), while some stayed in the room and moved around (jeevanmukti). The light made them feel so nice and gave them such clarity. They clearly saw everybody around them moving about and all of their misconceptions about what others were upto disappeared. They no longer harbored any ill-feelings for someone hitting them. They continued to hit some people and be hit by some people, but they could better understand what was happening, because they could see.
Some with opened eyes started giving guidance to others. Some gave directions on how to go to less crowded and more pleasant parts of the room (various heavens). Some gave directions on how to open the eyes (Self-realization).
Some people ignored the importance of opening their own eyes and instead developed fascination and admiration for those with open eyes and started following them blindly. But they got lost while trying to follow, because they could not see. People started arguing about which way to go. Followers of the same open-eyed persons, after they left the room, kept arguing which way the persons who left wanted them to follow. Being unable to see, they were all wrong in different ways of course.
Instead of trying to open their eyes, they kept running here and there with closed eyes and arguing with others on where to go. Some spent a lot of energy and time convincing others to walk along with them (conversions) and felt proud of being part of big groups. Some called those who were going other ways and crossed their paths by bad names and even tried to hurt them or even kill them.
Some people recognized that various people may have seen the same light though their descriptions were in different words. They realized that everyone will and can see that same light if they opened their eyes. They correctly recognized the closed eyes (conditioned egosense or I-ness) as the problem.
But they grossly underestimated the difficulty in opening eyes after keeping them closed for too long. They kept saying, “you just open your eyes and then there will be brilliant light”. Some even imagined that their eyes were open and that they were seeing bright light.
Some recognized the role of effort in opening eyes. They kept trying to pull the eye lids apart consciously everyday (sadhana). Some of them had such wild imagination and anticipation of what they would see when the eyes opened (experiences), that they were carried away by that and could not focus the energy on actually opening the eyes. Some of them ended up imagining that they were seeing brilliant scenes that they had imagined earlier.
Some of them kept arguing about how to wash the hands before trying to open eyelids and how to pull them, with what force, in what angle etc etc (specifics & procedures). Instead of pulling eyelids apart however one can do it, they kept arguing about the best way to do it and their eyes remained closed.
Some of them suceeded in opening the eyes a little bit and the flash of brilliant light startled them. Having been in darkness for too long, they could not keep eyes open for more than a split second. They closed eyes again, but became proud of their achievement. They assumed that the light could be seen only for a split second by anyone and that they achieved what was there.
Of course, some of them did not complicate things, did not get distracted and tried sincerely using the best method they could think of and managed to open eyes and see light.