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

Carlos Grasso carlos at carlosgrasso.com
Sun Dec 28 16:01:26 CST 2008

On 12/28/08 10:16 AM, "Suresh" <mayavaadi at yahoo.com> wrote:

> 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.

There is no golden-object as such, that's why we say it has apparent
existence or reality. What is there is gold with a surimposed name (ring)
and form (circular with a certain width). It would be more appropiate to say
'ringly-gold'. The ring doesn't exist as such because if you melt the gold,
where did the ring go? you still have the gold...
Now, it's true that it 'exists' while it exists, but what actually exists is
its FUNCTIONALITY, you can perceive it, you can see it touch it, smell it
(even taste it!!) and most of all put it in your finger. But all the time
you are dealing with... gold (in a certain shape and with a certain name).
The fact that it dissapears from your perception does not mean it is
non-existent, a non-existent thing is a thing that you could never even
imagine! because if you imagine it, then you are giving it apparent
existence, like a square circle, THAT is a non-existent thing!

> 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.

Mythia is the middle equation of a triad of the Real, the Illusory and the
Unreal. All of them co-exist always, you can't take two of them only.
Analogies of this three (from the perception point of view) are:
Real: the water of the ocean.
Illusory: the bluenness of the water on a sunny day.
Unreal: my living father is my son.

> 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?

The same analogy as gold and ring. Gold was there as a rock then as a ring
and then when you will run out of money will transform itself into a coin
maybe!! We can see a distinct...'something' being there all the time and
supporting all the changes of names and form surimposed on it.
The question is what is the constant that we are seeing all the time?
is that ring, bracelet?
or coin or lump? 
No, the constant is always gold, since it is 'beyond' the time limitation of
the ring, the bracelet, the coin, etc... Gold is 'outside time' in relation
to the names and forms. Names and forms are born out of gold, sustained
while they 'are' in gold and dissapear again into gold.

Not many golds, not one gold, only gold.

Not many Gods, not One God,
only God. (Swami Dayanada Saraswati)

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