Author Topic: Mixing of real and unreal  (Read 454 times)

Dr. Sadananda

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Mixing of real and unreal
« on: February 22, 2015, 10:00:52 AM »
Mixing of real and unreal

      When a mistake of this type occurs, what is happening is that a real part and an unreal part are getting mixed up and this is effectively how Shankara defines adhyaasa - the mixing up of real and unreal. In the case of the rope and snake analogy, the error can be viewed as a 'misperceiving of the rope' or as the 'superimposition of a snake' or as 'the mixing of part of a real rope and part of an unreal snake'. When we say "there is a snake", 'there is' is the general part, which could be viewed as belonging to the rope, which is real, while 'a snake' is the unreal, mentally projected, particular part. The mixing up of real and unreal effectively creates a third entity that is partly real and partly unreal.

      When someone refers to the 'snake', he does not realise that there are two aspects, one real and one unreal. If he says, "there is a long snake", the adjective 'long' in fact refers to the rope, which is real whilst, if he says, "there is a poisonous snake", the adjective refers to the unreal part.

      Similarly, when someone says, "I am a shopkeeper" (or whatever), he does not realise that the attribute 'shopkeeper' refers to the unreal part. He does not know that there are two parts, only one of which (I am) is real. In the mind of the ordinary 'person' these two things are mixed up and a single, false, jiiva is created. It is this mixed-up jiiva who is striving for liberation. The purpose of the Brahmasuutra is to enquire into the nature of the jiiva, by directing the knowledge of Vedanta so that we can discard the unreal part and become established in the knowledge of the real part. When this happens, realisation takes place and sa.nsaara is dissolved as unreal.