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Thread: Up to what point is Advaita real?

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    Up to what point is Advaita real?

    I have this trouble with advaita teachings.
    They make all the sense to me from this perspective:
    -God is the most real reality;
    -every soul is really one with God;
    -the "meaning" of life is to find union with God.

    But the part where the world is an illusion troubles me.. The other day I had these strange thoughts after reading a passage of Nisargadatta Maharaj. I for some time felt like the world was like a dream (more like a terrible nightmare) that I had to wake up from. I didn't know how and this was a very distressing (more like horrible) feeling.

    So my question is.. are Advaita teachings to be taken to the letter, or are they metaphorical?
    Thanks in advance.

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    Re: Up to what point is Advaita real?

    They are both literal and metaphorical. Maybe the paradigm of Listening (Suniye) Accepting (Manniye) and then Doing (Kariye) may help in our understanding. First you must listen i.e. read advaita philosophy which is stored as information. This can be metaphorical information or literal. This is basically not yours but comes from outside. The second stage is taking these teachings into your heart accepting them fully as true, not merely by words. And doing is beyond this. It also can be seen as philospohy - theory - practice.

    Each theory must be tested by you individually to be in accord with your own feelings and understanding. Never accept anything anyone tells you always test it yourself.

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    Re: Up to what point is Advaita real?

    Flip: This is how I get around this philosophical conundrum. Advaita teaches of an absolute reality... God, consciousness, etc. Note the word absolute.
    But out here in this world of matter, shapes, form, and colour, if one think thats its all illusion, maya, then what do we have? People walking ascross highways, jumping off buildings, being crazy etc. After all, its all just a big illusion, right? Wrong! In an earlier forum thread, I was attempting to say how advaita is not practical for me.
    So to get around it, the term 'relatve' reality can be used. This is the every day reality of experience in the waking mind, the mind of the intellect and emotions, not the mind of the soul.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Up to what point is Advaita real?

    Namaste Flipasso,

    Quote Originally Posted by FlipAsso View Post
    But the part where the world is an illusion troubles me.. The other day I had these strange thoughts after reading a passage of Nisargadatta Maharaj. I for some time felt like the world was like a dream (more like a terrible nightmare) that I had to wake up from. I didn't know how and this was a very distressing (more like horrible) feeling.

    So my question is.. are Advaita teachings to be taken to the letter, or are they metaphorical?
    "Up to what point Advaita is real ?" --- Actually, Advaita is the ONLY Reality !

    There is no metaphor used here. But the words must be understood very correctly. Let's try to understand some concepts :

    "The world is an illusion"

    a) Does it mean that world really doesn't exist ? No ! The appearance of world as world is illusion. It is like rope misunderstood as snake. The appearance of a snake, where actually the rope is, is the illusion.

    b) The world is actually a dream when we see from the point of the Absolute. However, as long as I am dreaming this dream, this world exists as relative reality. Let me explain it like this. Say, I am dreaming a dream & I am hungry. Now that hunger cannot be wished away as long as I am still dreaming. I need dream food to satisfy my dream hunger.

    Now there is a slight difference here between the life in this world & the dream. The dream in this world has a logical continuance over a much longer period lasting upto even a hundred years when we are alive & even after death ... so this dream can go on in a logical sequence for even thousands of years until we wake up (are enlightened). Apart from that there is not much difference between the dream & this worldly life.

    But That Is a Huge difference ! ... you may say. Yes. You are right when you look at this from waking state ! That is why there is a need to very carefully understand how we can make this life free from sufferings & also how to end this seemingly endless-cycle of waking state & the dreaming state (i.e. attain Self-realisation). The answer to the first part lies in Karma Yoga & for the latter in Jnana Yoga. And they are not mutually exclusive but are very closely related.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: Up to what point is Advaita real?

    namaste FlipAsso.

    Since our dreams are usually incongruous in their shapes and sights and scenes, it is easy for us to understand that our dream world is mAyA--illusion; and although a dream seems very real to us when we are in it, we can easily dismiss its vyavahArika sattA--practical, relative reality, since we always return to the waking state.

    The reality of the world in our waking state is not only so accurate, concrete, and elaborate, but is identical to everyone of us, which is why we find it difficult to believe that it's all the play of mAyA shakti--power of illusion, specially when the reality it gives us lasts a lifetime, unlike a magician's show.

    Yet the concrete reality of waking life is constantly rejected by us, because every night we return to a better state of existence: the suShupti--deep sleep. Ironically, although we are at peace and bliss in our deep sleep state that nourishes our soul and body, we prefer the waking state, perhaps because we cannot enter the deep sleep state at will.

    Suppose we have the ability to enter into and get out of the deep sleep state at will. I bet many of us would do it many times a day and charge ourselves with the Self, just as we charge our mobile phones! At least I would do it, if only to escape temporarily the hullabaloo of waking existence.

    We can use our intellect and imagination to find out the illusory nature of existence of our waking life; this could be a first step to understand nature of reality of our world and waking life, and get convinced about the need to seek a better state of existence.

    Let us suppose that our eyes have a powerful, microscopic as well as telescopic sight that can be adjusted to focus different objects and their layers. This power at once changes the world around me! Instead of the computer screen and the keyboard, I see only kaleidoscopic patterns of particles and pulses and vibrations. I can see through walls and doors as well as of inside of every thing and person and being and yet focus at will to retain the shapes and sights and sounds of my waking life world.

    What could be our experience with such a power of vision? That power surely lets us see the different levels of inner, physical reality of the objective world we live in, in our waking state, but how much would that reality appeal to us?

    The first victim of such a power would be our sense of doership. Being only a swimmer in the vast waters of energy and microscopic matter around us, we can only cause some commotion, not influence or change the existing course or order, which would quickly re-establish itself.

    The second, simultaneous victim would be the 'I', the sense of ego and personality. At the microscopic level of physical reality, I would find with my power of vision, that the I as I know of myself no longer exists--no body, brain or mind. I would still have my individuality in tact, because I am the observer, but then that I would be far removed from my ego and personality.

    Since we can do nothing in that state, we can only watch, observe and wonder at the dance of matter and energy around us. As we do watch more and more, we would be drawn into it, and the observer would merge in the observed at the subtler levels, even as he/she was merged at the physical level.

    If our intellect and imagination can give us so much of knowledge, which we know is the ultimate physical reality in the backdrop of the Science we are familiar with, what truer knowledge at the trans-physical and metaphysical levels can be obtained, by training our mind to use the inner eye?
    रत्नाकरधौतपदां हिमालयकिरीटिनीम् ।
    ब्रह्मराजर्षिररत्नाढ्यां वन्दे भारतमातरम् ॥

    To her whose feet are washed by the ocean, who wears the Himalayas as her crown, and is adorned with the gems of rishis and kings, to Mother India, do I bow down in respect.

    --viShNu purANam

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    Re: Up to what point is Advaita real?

    Quote Originally Posted by FlipAsso View Post
    I have this trouble with advaita teachings.
    They make all the sense to me from this perspective:
    -God is the most real reality;
    -every soul is really one with God;
    -the "meaning" of life is to find union with God.

    But the part where the world is an illusion troubles me.. The other day I had these strange thoughts after reading a passage of Nisargadatta Maharaj. I for some time felt like the world was like a dream (more like a terrible nightmare) that I had to wake up from. I didn't know how and this was a very distressing (more like horrible) feeling.

    So my question is.. are Advaita teachings to be taken to the letter, or are they metaphorical?
    Thanks in advance.
    Dear flipAsso Namaste,

    You have posed a beautiful question and beautiful answers have been provided. I will also add my part, trying to be simple.

    Who is having the doubt about Advaita?

    Is this doubter more permanent than the all pervading indivisible prAna (vayu)? This prAna is called Satya. Subject to the pleasure of this Satya the doubter has its limited existence.

    There is also the Vayu of Vayu, which is called the Truth of the Truth.
    ---------------------------
    What is anAdi? The prAna (the truth) and its Atma (the truth of the truth) or the doubter?

    Can you find the doubter? Once you find the doubter, you will know as to upto what point the doubter is real and upto what infinity the advaita is real.

    I must borrow from Devotee to finish this: "Up to what point Advaita is real ?" --- Actually, Advaita is the Reality of this reality !


    Om Namah Shivaya
    That which is without letters (parts) is the Fourth, beyond apprehension through ordinary means, the cessation of the phenomenal world, the auspicious and the non-dual. Thus Om is certainly the Self. He who knows thus enters the Self by the Self.

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