Unreality of the world: a further analogy

Gummuluru Murthy gmurthy at MORGAN.UCS.MUN.CA
Wed Jun 18 08:57:41 CDT 1997

On Tue, 17 Jun 1997, Allan Curry wrote:

> If illusory is equated with impermanence then I would find it difficult to
> argue that the world is not illusory. If illusory refers to the fact that
> our impression of the world is created by our minds, again I agree our
> representation of the world is fabricated. To some, the "illusory nature of
> the world" implies the non-existence of any extra-mental source of data
> which go into the making of our representation of the world. This is a
> much more difficult case to make and one that I am not convinced of.
> I am a part of the world you say is illusory. Do you believe that I am not
> *really* asking you this question and you are merely imagining that I do?
> If an illusory being *can* question you then in what sense do you hold
> them to be illusory?

My view on this is the following:

Yes, you are *really* asking me this question and I am *really* responding
to it. But, what does *really* mean here ? Let me elaborate.

It is a question and an answer in a theatre drama. We are acting our roles
with the script given to us. We are real in the drama. We are not real in
the absolute sense. How well do we act our role ? In modern theatre, the
best an actor/actress acts is when he/she identifies with the role and
gets the audience think that the person acting and the role being acted
are the same. The actor/actress gets ovation for the performance. In the
world drama, which we are discussing, the reverse is true. The wise person
always sees that as a role and keeps the role and the inner self separate.
That may not be best acting in the present-day acting standards, but is
the hallmark of a wise person.

In a straight answer to your question, yes, they are all illusory. The
only reality is the one that never changes. Gaudapaada says in Mandukya

Adau ante ca yaan naasti, vartamaanepi tat tathaa

What did not exist at the beginning and what is not going to exist at the
end is as good as non-existent even in the present.

> with *real* regard,
> -Allan Curry

Gummuluru Murthy
Yadaa sarve pramucyante kaamaa ye'sya hr^di shritaah
atha martyo'mr^to bhavatyatra brahma samashnute   Katha Upanishhad II.3.14

When all the desires that dwell in the heart fall away, then the mortal
becomes immortal, and attains Brahman even here.

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