The universe, illusion? (It depends…)


Bhagavan: At the level of the spiritual seeker you have got to say that the world is an illusion. There is no other way. When a man forgets that he is Brahman, who is real, permanent and omnipresent, and deludes himself into thinking that he is a body in the universe which is filled with bodies that are transitory, and labours under that delusion, you have got to remind him that the world is unreal and a delusion. Why ? Because his vision which has forgotten its own Self is dwelling in the external, material universe. It will not turn inwards into introspection unless you impress on him that all this external, material universe is unreal. When once he realizes his own
Self he will know that there is nothing other than his own Self and he will come to look upon the whole universe as Brahman. There is no universe without the Self. So long as a man does not see the Self which is the origin of all, but looks only at the external world as real and permanent, you have to tell him that all this external universe is an illusion. You cannot help it. Take a paper. We see only the script, and nobody notices the paper on which the script is written. The paper is there whether the script on it is there or not.
To those who look upon the script as real, you have to say that it is unreal, an illusion, since it rests upon the paper. The wise man looks upon both the Paper and script as one. So also with Brahman and the universe.

Ramana Maharshi

About amartingarcia

General surgeon (retired). Studied Western philosophy at U of Toronto. Afterwards interest turned to advaita vedanta and non-duality for past 20 yrs, plus a long interlude in Sufism coinciding with that period. Now contributing in ’Advaita Vision’ with regular posts and discussions.
This entry was posted in awakening, non-duality, spirituality, vedanta and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The universe, illusion? (It depends…)

  1. starrystez says:

    Great post I agree and found it really easy to follow.

    • As you can see it can be contrasted with my other recent entries: it is not yes or no (real or unreal)… it depends on the depth of understanding, not just the degree of maturity. To say the universe is relatively real is not enough.

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