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

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Sun Dec 28 13:01:17 CST 2008

Suresh - PraNAms 

You have raised some interesting thoughts which incidentally are also the comments of Bhagavan Ramanuja too. 

I: Three categories

First let us resolve that there are definitely three entities and not two.

1. That which exists but never undergoes any change 

2. That which exists but undergoes change

3. That which has no locus for existence at any time - as in vandhyaa putraH. 

You may put 1 and 2 in one category - but that is unscientific since there is clearly a difference between the two. Not accepting the difference between the two can only be foolishness, or aviveka, since there is a difference between the two. One never changes while the other changes. Viveka is defined as nitya anitya vastu viveka - that which discriminates the permanent vs. ephemeral.

a) If something changes there must be something that is changeless in the changing things. -This is the basis for conservation of either mass or energy in science. (We have no confusion in what is changing and what is not changing during transformations - forms very basis for balancing equations for chemistry class.) Krishna makes it as absolute law of conservation - that which exists can never cease to exist and that which is non-existent can never come into existence - naasato vidyate bhaavo naabhaavo vidyate sataH -That is the law of conservation and Krishna extends to aatmaa too - with the statement, natvevaaham ...etc. 
Hence creation is not something out of nothing but transformation of something that is there already in subtle form.

b)Brahman being infinite cannot undergo any change - Only finite can change- since it is one without a second - there cannot be anything other than Brahman - If there is a creation that continuously changing and if Brahman is the cause, it cannot but be  the substantive changeless entity for all changing things - which is jagat. Changing things cannot be separate from Brahman or be part of Brahman. This is a  peculiar transformation where substantive does not (cannot) undergo any change while still there is creation of multitude plurality. Hence we cannot but differentiate that which is changeless in the transformation with the things that are changing during transformation. Therefore Scriptures rightly tell us it is not real transformation but transformation-less transformation - just as gold becoming many naama ruupa without itself undergoing any change – What a scientific approach! . We need to bring in Scripture since infinite cannot undergo any
 transformation and creation is some kind of transformation and scriptures provide us that it is transformation less transformation like gold remaining gold while ornaments are produced. Brahman being infinite has to be changeless and he has to remain as Brahman while still accounting transformation which can only be apparent or mithyaa. 

III Time comes automatically since any change defines time. That which is changeless has to be beyond the time.  That follows the definition of time itself. That is the turiiyam that ManDukya defines. That has to be advaita as Mantra 7 of ManDukya defines - That you are and you are that Brahman. 

IV Moksha involves freedom from change - Hence involves understanding I am changeless entity in all the changing things. Then only I am eternal and finite. That is self-realization. If 1) and 2) in item I is not differentiated there is no moksha either - hence the emphasis on viveka - to discriminate nitya and anitya - changeless and changing things in the universe.

Whole Vedanta is packed in understanding this essence.

Hari Om!

--- On Sun, 12/28/08, Suresh <mayavaadi at yahoo.com> wrote:

Thanks so much for helping. I still have a few doubts, though. It may sound a little dvaiti, so hopefully, no one will be offended.

Let's consider the examples that were given, namely shirt-thread, gold-bangles etc. From this, I understand that without gold, golden objects cannot exist, but the former can exist without the latter; and therefore, gold is real and the objects are mithya. My problem here is, why the confusion 'neither real nor unreal,' why can't we simply say gold is independently real, whereas golden objects are not. I am wondering why the word mithya, when something simpler could suffice. 

What I am trying to say is: gold=sat, golden object=sat (as long as it exists), and asat when it disappears. Two categories seem to be enough. Because no object can be sat and asat at the same time, when the golden object exists, it exists (sat), and when it doesn't, it doesn't (asat). So why mithya at all? This seems to be the source of my confusion.

Finally, I don't understand how time factor comes in here. Why do we define the real as something that lasts forever, and the unreal as something that doesn't. I know scriptures say this, but I am wondering as to why. Why is it we relate this to time?



Archives: http://lists.advaita-vedanta.org/archives/advaita-l/

To unsubscribe or change your options:

For assistance, contact:
listmaster at advaita-vedanta.org

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list