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

Carlos Grasso carlos at carlosgrasso.com
Fri Dec 26 22:09:40 CST 2008

On 12/26/08 10:28 AM, "Suresh" <mayavaadi at yahoo.com> wrote:

> 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.

SureshJi, pranams,

The world/jagat (in other words, what is not "I" the subject) is said to be
mythia (apparent), because although is perceived and experienced (so we
cannot say it's non-existent), does not comply with the definition of "real"
according to Vedanta, defined as that which is eternal (meaning limitless,
changeless and partless) and self-evident (meaning that it doesn't depend on
any other for its existence).

Anything that is not "I" can't pass the test of Reality (including the
world/jagat and our own bodies and Mind), because everything (every-thing)
is impermanent, was born in time and space, and depends on something else
for its existence.

Ex: the undershirt you are using today (hopefully for my example, you are
using one, yes?). Real shirt. Take all the threads apart, now you have a
ball of threads, the material being the same, where did the shirt go? The
shirt was a certain pattern or organization of the threads, it was
"dependent" on the thread pattern (other pattern can be "underwear"!!).
Now any of the threads can be also de-composed as microfibers, that can also
be reduced to certain pattern of molecules, that also may be decomposed as
atoms, neutrons, quarks, strings, etc, etc... ad infinitum.

So, without real matter to sustain any of these steps, let's ask, is the
shirt non-existent? No, because I'm wearing it! Is the shirt real? No,
because the "shirt" is not material, is just a name and a form that I
superimpose on a thread pattern, and a thread is anoter name and form
surimposed on a molecular pattern, etc... Any object of consciouseness can
receive the same treatment.
So we say, the shirt is mythia, apparent.

But of course, when we go to the store, we don't just ask for an illusory
shirt, because otherwise, otherwise people (those who are not wise) may look
at us with a weird eye, and we may end up in the asylum!

Yours in Bhagavan,

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