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

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Sun Jan 4 21:47:40 CST 2009

On Fri, 26 Dec 2008, Sunil Bhattacharjya wrote:

> Would not you think that "delusion" is a better equivalent word for 
> "mithya" than the more commonly used word "illusion"?

The problem is that illusion (and to a somewhat lesser extent) delusion 
both suggest a perceptual problem which is the wrong emphasis. mithyatva 
is a conceptual error.

For instance, "everyone knows" the sun rises in the east and sets in the 
west.  This is readily confirmed by perception.  It is only when you learn 
a little astronomical theory that you will realize that the sun is 
not rising and setting at all but it is the earth that is revolving around 
it.  You will still make the same sense-observations but your 
interpretation of them has changed.  And yet even the cleverest of 
scientists can still enjoy a beautiful "sunrise" even though he knows 
"sunrise" doesn't exist.

In the same way we do not have to worry about at the dawn of jnana 
everything will disappear or be reduced to a uniform shade of grey.  It is 
only (ha! only!) the unshakable conception of apparent multiplicity as 

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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