By Hasmukh Adhia
essence of Vedanta is described in four words: ‘Brahma Satya, Jagat Mithya’ –
the only reality is pure consciousness and all that is manifest in the form of
the universe is only Maya, illusion. For an ordinary person, this thought is
not only counterintuitive but also unacceptable.
can this world, with all its colours, beauty and variety, which is clearly
being seen and felt by all of us, be an illusion? This is the immediate
reaction of most people. There is so much sense of possibility in believing in
the existence of this world.
second question arises: why should i negate the existence of this world as
illusion, when it is a field of so much of enjoyment? We eat good food, smell the
roses, hear nature’s music and see her beauty, enjoy sensory touch – all these,
only with the help of objects of the world. Why should i believe in all these
not being real? Does it enhance my happiness?
questions are addressed in Vedanta. It takes years for someone to understand
this sentence and start living by this thought. But to begin with, one can
dwell on this thought for a while and analyse it with a view to create a sense
of primary possibility.
which pervades all objects of the world, is described as limitless, formless,
immortal bliss. But, we know that the objects of the world are ever-changing
and, in that sense, mortal. Even the cells of living organisms keep changing
every second. If we base our happiness on mortal objects, we are bound to feel
sorrow someday. Object-dependent happiness is therefore limited and mixed with
dream, we see a world full of so many people; we see the Sun and the stars,
oceans and mountains. Everything in the dream appears so real. There is
happiness and sorrow in the dream world. But on waking up, we just forget about
it. Even if there was a fire in your dream house, you do not call a fire
brigade after you wake up. Everything appeared real in the dream, but on waking
up, it became an illusion. Similarly, as Vedanta says, what appears to be real
world could be an illusion, like a dream, when we wake up to the knowledge of
can argue that a dream is different from the real world because we have
different dreams every day but we wake up to the same real world. But isn’t it
possible that we see a dream in which we see a dream and we wake up to the same
dream world? We do dream about an entire lifetime in a single spell.
take the popular snake-and-rope example in the scriptures. In the darkness, we
mistake a rope to be a snake and start fearing it. On switching on the light, the snake
disappears and fear also goes. The world
when taken as reality, gives us a feeling of being limited and mortal. No
amount of power or wealth can remove one’s insecurity fully. And hence sorrow
comes some day or other.
we wake up to the Vedantic thought of the Self being limitless, immortal and
pure bliss, and the world being Maya, we can surely be more blissful, and less
insecure. Understanding this superior knowledge is the most ideal goal to