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Thread: Reality

  1. #1
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    I dont want to derail the other thread, so here goes:

    Quote Originally Posted by sarabhanga
    And since you are so keen to use the words “real” and “unreal” it would certainly be a good idea for you to explain exactly what you mean by these terms.

    Quote Originally Posted by sudarshan
    Advaita's definitions regarding reality:
    Real: One which has not been sublated.( defined in a neagtive sense actually)
    Vishsitadvaitin's definition will look like:
    Real: Being or occurring in fact or actuality or having verifiable existence.
    The problems regarding a negative defintion is that there is no frame of reference to know what is sublated or not, and not a particularly useful definition in a practical context.
    I would think that the idea of different levels of reality are very reasonable. But I certainly disagree with the advatin idea of snake-rope type of reality.

    My idea would be roughly like this:

    All perception in the world have to be relative. For example, a blind man, a myope and a keen sighted individuals dont percieve the same thing. They might look at the same mango, but see different objects in their brain. The object was the same, but they saw it differently.

    Secondly, mammals such as bat have a different sense perception than humans, which enable them to move at night. (infra red vision). So, the concept of relative perception is not exactly wrong. These are cases of relative truth, where the object itself is real, viz the mango. One might not see it ( because he is blind), one might see a blurred image( myopic) while one might see a clear mango there. Again, the mango seen under a microscope reveals more details than viewed with the naked eye. All these are examples of different types of perception where one does not sublate the other. In all these cases, the mango is real, but the problem of perception is with the viewer or his instrument.

    In another example, the sky appears blue. Does it have an intrinsic blue color?

    The blue color of the sky is due to Rayleigh scattering. As light moves through the atmosphere, most of the longer wavelengths pass straight through. Little of the red, orange and yellow light is affected by the air. However, much of the shorter wavelength light is absorbed by the air molecules. The absorbed blue light is then radiated in different directions. It gets scattered all around the sky. Whichever direction you look, some of this scattered blue light reaches you. Since you see the blue light from everywhere overhead, the sky looks blue.

    Thus there is really no blue color in the sky, and is only an optical phenomenon ( rather an illusion). Similarly, the sky appears black when viewed from the moon, because it has no atmsophere to scatter light.
    Another example would be a mirage in the desert. These are examples where the false percpetion is sublated in the absence of the cause that produces the illusion. Can we classify the "blue sky" as unreal? What is that to be called as unreal - is it the "blueness"?

    Proper definitions of real and unreal can be very tricky

    Let us take the case of real and complex numbers.
    Square-root of -1, also known as i, is called an unreal number because its value does not lie in the domain of real numbers, -inf to +inf.

    An ordinary Euclidean space has the axes x,y and z,. This is considered to be the real space from our perspective, and forms the substate of the universe we percieve? Gnerally, time is taken to be a dimension, so we have a xyzt plane.

    So what about astral beings? Do they live in this space? Are they real or unreal or sometimes real and sometimes unreal? By astral beings, I am referring to the spirits and ghosts that humans encounter occasionally.

    This is my own theory:

    The astral beings have a greater degree of freedom ( dimension essentially means a degree of freedom) than human beings, and live in a n-dimensional space, where n>4. Let us assume that astrals usually reside in the complex plane uvw where each axes is mutually perpendicular to the xyzt space.

    Thus, we have two completely different spaces - xyzt and a high dimesnional space xyzuvwt, in which astral beings and devatas reside. Brahmanda, as we will see from the puranas has 7 worlds, my own view is , this is the xyzuvwt space, the 7 dimensional space. All these worlds are subject to Kala, the time, and hence the t there.

    So when do human beings encounter devas and spirits? When these beings move on the real space that intersects our perception, in time and space co-ordinates in xyz.

    From our perspective, the plane uvw is the complex space and can be described as unreal. But it can still be described by a mathematical model perfectly. Seen from the uvw space alone, a being will find xyz space as unreal.

    So by this concept, the terms real and unreal are just relative.

    Like this there are countless Brahmandas in the cosmic realm, each with its 7D space, and remaining mutually unreal to each other.

    Bhagwan, is way beyond these descriptions of finite dimensions,and time. Does he see all these Brahmandas as real? Or lives in his own separate infinite dimensioned space? That should decide the million dollar question on what is real and what is not. If the Lord "sees" something as real, it is absolutely real. If the Lord does not, it is just relatively real.

    If you get to Vaikunta, you should know the answer. Vaikunta in my view is an infinite dimensioned space( plus many things we cant imagine) outside the realm of these counless 7 dimensioned Brahmandas.

  2. #2
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    In the above model, we can define real and unreal as follows:

    If the viewer is in the xyzt space, and the object is in the xyzt space, the object is real with respect to the viewer.

    If the viewer is in the xyzt space, and the object is in the xyut space, the object is both real and unreal with respect to the viewer.(sometimes encountered in advaita)

    If the viewer is in the xyzt space, and the object is in the uvwt space, the object is unreal with respect to the viewer.

    Note: Space is used only with the idea of "degree of freedom" and not as such because the 5th dimension is unimaginable to us anyway.

    What is the degree of freedom of Isvara in advaita?
    What is the degree of freedom of Niguna Brahma in advaita?

    That should be the definitions for absolutely reality....all above defintions are relative.

  3. #3
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    I think that relatively to us who are not in Turiya this world is "real". Do we not experience the smell of a rose? Do we not feel the pain if a part of the body is hurt? The smell of a rose is 'real' and the pain of a broken leg is 'real' to 'me' in this space.


  4. #4
    Hello, I'm new to this discussion board. My name is Gill, I'm in my fifties and I live in the UK.

    Your discussion about 'reality' reminded me of the following poem:

    American poet John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887) based it on a fable which was told in India many years ago.
    It was six men of Indostan
    To learning much inclined,
    Who went to see the Elephant
    (Though all of them were blind),
    That each by observation
    Might satisfy his mind

    The First approached the Elephant,
    And happening to fall
    Against his broad and sturdy side,
    At once began to bawl:
    “God bless me! but the Elephant Is very like a wall!”

    The Second, feeling of the tusk,
    Cried, “Ho! what have we here
    So very round and smooth and sharp?
    To me ’tis mighty clear
    This wonder of an Elephant Is very like a spear!”

    The Third approached the animal,
    And happening to take
    The squirming trunk within his hands,
    Thus boldly up and spake:
    “I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant Is very like a snake!”

    The Fourth reached out an eager hand,
    And felt about the knee.
    “What most this wondrous beast is like
    Is mighty plain,” quoth he; “
    ‘Tis clear enough the Elephant Is very like a tree!”

    The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
    Said: “E’en the blindest man
    Can tell what this resembles most;
    Deny the fact who can
    This marvel of an Elephant Is very like a fan!”

    The Sixth no sooner had begun
    About the beast to grope,
    Than, seizing on the swinging tail
    That fell within his scope,
    “I see,” quoth he, “the Elephant Is very like a rope!”

    And so these men of Indostan
    Disputed loud and long,
    Each in his own opinion
    Exceeding stiff and strong,
    Though each was partly in the right,
    And all were in the wrong!


    So oft in theologic wars,
    The disputants, I ween,
    Rail on in utter ignorance
    Of what each other mean,
    And prate about an Elephant
    Not one of them has seen!

    Last edited by Gill Harley; 28 March 2006 at 06:52 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gill Harley
    Hello, I'm new to this discussion board. My name is Gill, I'm in my fifties and I live in the UK.
    namaste Gill and Welcome to the forums!

    Thanks for the poem...I liked it.

    Can't wait to see more of your posts here...

    ps: by the way, my best friend's name is Gill (he spells it as Gil) and so therefore, you have an instant connection here.

  6. #6
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    Namaste Satay, the idea that I presented here on reality is not strictly my own. There is something called a Klein's bottle that occurs in Topology, which is similar to the Mobius strip. My idea was actually further generalization of the Klein's bottle, in which three dimensions are closed in four dimensions, the fourth one being imaginary. You can mathematically prove that such a "bottle" has seven dimensions. When I observed this, it immediately struck to me that Brahmanda( the world of Brahma or the cosmic universe which includes the visible universe) could be tied with the extended Klein's bottle, with seven dimensions. What these dimensions are, could just be wild speculation in the absence of aparoxa.

    My guess: The x,y,z axes, and the four imaginary axes of past,present,future, and eternity. A lot of miracles and supernatual phenomena can be explained with this approach, including the ability to become invisible, the ability to escape from a closed box etc, though it would be a lengthy essay in itself. Read about Minkowski's space and Lorentz transformations to see how you can visualize them, for example time as dimension etc. Crazy, eh?

    You can see that the advaitic idea of simultaneous reality and unreality is not illogical when viewed from this perspective.

  7. #7

    advaitin logic

    As far as the Adwaitin logic of real and unreal, it would seem to me that monism is nothing but Buddhism rehashed in which the world and everything else is relegated to the void or illusion. That is why it can be referred to as the philosophy of illusion. Thus for the strict Advaitin or Buddhism there is no reality or reality to reality. It is all false. Thus from their point of view even an argument must necessarity be false or illusiory

  8. #8
    Thanks for your welcome!

    Ram, I find your theory very interesting. Part of the tragedy of the West, now that it has thrown the baby out with the bath water by abandoning all belief in spirituality along with religion, is the new prevailing WYSIWYG perception of the universe. If Western science can't prove something, it must mean that it doesn't exist - or so goes the Western "rationalist" view. It doesn't seem to occur to them to them they're using the wrong measuring instruments and also coming at it in the wrong way. So when Western science fails to be find a way to explain something, they just arrogantly pooh-hoo it as so much hogwash. They don't realise that one day, probably soon, these theories will be discarded, just like a child discards its toys when it becomes an adult.

    Already, the theory of gravity is being questioned, and in order to make it work, scientists have had to come up with dark matter and dark energy. When you ask them about this dark matter and dark energy - for instance, you might ask: where is it? what does it look like? - they inform you that you cannot actually see it or feel it or smell it or hear it or taste it, but that it is eternal and all-pervading throughout the whole universe - now who does that remind us of! I find it quite amusing that in order to make their theories work, Western scientists have had to reinvent God!
    Last edited by Gill Harley; 29 March 2006 at 03:29 AM.

  9. #9
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    Namaste Beevee,

    Your understanding of Advaita is false.

    Ajativada (the original formulation of Advaitavada) considers that there is no diversity which is eternal (or unborn).

    The Aja Brahman creates even the Gods; and so, only the Aja Brahman can be regarded as truly eternal.

    Ajati-vada (the science of “the Unborn”) is concerned only with eternity and immortality.

    Ajativada does not “negate” the world ~ only it understands that all that is created (divided or separated) can NOT be regarded as uncreated, undivided, one and only, or eternal.

    Ajativada considers that the ultimate Truth is Aja or eternal.

    Bauddha, however, considers that there is NOTHING which is eternal, and that the only “truth” is momentary and constantly changing from one instantaneous moment to the next.

    Some things are true for all of eternity, while other things are only true under particular circumstances and for a limited time. And so there are necessarily two kinds of truth.

    This logic is ancient, and certainly NOT “borrowed” or “rehashed” from Buddhism !
    “Reality” or “unreality” depends on your perspective; but mortality and immortality are set in stone.

    Advaita claims that all that is born (and thus once did not exist) and all that dies (and thus returns to non-existence) is by definition NOT ETERNAL. And all that is unborn and immortal is by definition ETERNAL.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ram
    You can see that the advaitic idea of simultaneous reality and unreality is not illogical when viewed from this perspective.
    But I doubt if advaitins will agree with you.

    Your theory is not based on higher percpetions( as represented by higher degrees of freedom) sublating lower perception, but rather augmenting them. That is not valid for advaitins.
    Guard your Dharma, Burn the Myth, Promote the Truth, Crush the superstition.

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