[Advaita-l] What is the meaning of illusion (according to advaita, obviously)?

Shyam shyam_md at yahoo.com
Fri Dec 26 16:53:36 CST 2008

PranAms Suresh-ji

Our concepts of real and unreal are unfortunately a bit warped. What is unreal
for us is something like mirage water - it seems to be there but if you look
closely it is not. Or perhaps like a man's horns - it is a nonexistent entity -
but lets say a Mount Everest is very much real.
However, as you very well know in Vedanta, "Real" has a technically precise definition - which is that which is unchanged in time, the vastu, which is Brahman. Everything else is mithya - but mithya does not mean unreal, in any of the sense that we just saw.

Mithya is what is Real, but appears to be other than so.
What is Real is One, but seemingly appears to be many.
Mithya is very much included in the Real.

So anything I see is a mix of Real and something which is mithya. What is mithya is the name and form, which is purely a subjective notion or perspective.

I see a piece of wood standing on four legs. It is a table. This "table" is
mithya - not that the table is not "Real", but the particular concept of a table, separate from the wood that it consists of is unreal. Take the wood away and poof- the table is gone as well. Put this table sideways and now it is now wood - it is no longer a "table" Not that the table disappeared, but now the table-ness is no longer present from the standpoint of the subject. So the "table" was always never "out there" but "in here" in me the witnessing subject's mind/intellect.

Now when I perceive the world, the wonderful manifest srshti, I find
everything has a name and form - standing on the seashore one beautiful morning,
I feel the water kissing my feet, the wind blowing through my hair, the eyes witnessing the Glorious sunrise. All these are names and forms - they are objectively Real in the sense that what I am witnessing IS, it is not fiction,
it is not a illusion, but the "Sun" the "Sea" the "Wind" are all nama-roopa -
they are "in here" as my subjective concepts, and seemingly their Real nature of being Brahman, of being the substratum, seems to be unrecognized.

Hence the Shruti tells us - This Sun that you see is not just a Sun, it is
indeed Brahman, which again is non-separate from that which you ever are, the eternal knowing witnessing principle, i.e. consciousness - understand this, realize this.
Hari OM
Shri Gurubhyoh namah

--- On Fri, 12/26/08, Suresh <mayavaadi at yahoo.com> wrote:

From: Suresh <mayavaadi at yahoo.com>
Subject: [Advaita-l] What is the meaning of illusion (according to advaita, obviously)?
To: advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Date: Friday, December 26, 2008, 1:28 PM

Dear Friends,

I am finding it hard to understand the real meaning of this word. If we take illusion to mean non-existence, then the latter should suffice. Why the word illusion? On the other hand, if illusion refers to 'impermanence,' again, why the word illusion, when a simpler word like impermanence is enough? 

I'd like to know what it means when we say jagat mithya. Does it mean the world is changing, or does it mean the world is non-existent? If the former, how is it an illusion (it could simply mean things are changing)? If the latter, more explanation must follow as to how.

I hope learned members can shed light on this.



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