posting from Vidyasankar (fwd)

Govind Rengarajan govind at ISC.TAMU.EDU
Tue Nov 18 21:22:30 CST 1997

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, 18 Nov 1997 13:43:47 -0800 (PST)
From: Vidyasankar Sundaresan <vidya at>
To: Govind Rengarajan <govind at>
Subject: response to posting on advaita-l

Hi Govind,

I'm attaching herewith a response to a posting that I saw today. Please
forward it to the list. I'll be rejoining the advaita list in a week's
time or so.



On Tue, 18 Nov 1997, Miguel Angel Carrasco wrote:


> Billions of jivas make the same superimposition. There must be a common
> cause for that coincidence. Which? Note that I am not asking for the
> cause of the illusion (which Samkara shrewdly dispatches as
> beginningless), but for the cause of the coincidence in the illusion.

These questions assume that there are real billions of jivas, who are all
dreaming the same thing. This is not really the case. Searching for the
cause of the coincidence in the illusion presumes that there are many
jivas whose dreams coincide, ergo it presupposes a duality, which no
amount of logical reasoning can do away with. The only way to get rid of
this duality is to give up the supposition that there are many billions of
separate jivas. That is the reason Sankara says that it is beginningless,
and that is the reason he draws such a clear distinction between the
paramArtha and vyavahAra perspectives of viewing the universe.

> In other words. Some sages describe the appearance of the world as a
> dream. Each of us is dreaming the world, a personal dream. Those dreams
> exist only in the minds, which if purified will be able to realize that
> it is just a dream, not a reality outside. But why are we all having
> such similar dreams? Surely there cannot be a real misleading factor
> that makes us all fall in the same illusion. If there is such a common
> deceitful factor, it cannot be real (because then it would be a fault in
> Brahman or, worse, an Evil Second God). But the cause cannot be illusory
> either, because the cause cannot be part of the effect. Then what is the
> cause of the coincidence in the same individual dreams? Why do we all
> dream of the same common world?

It is only in the waking state that there appears to be a coincidence.
That is why the mANDUkya upanishad calls the waking state as viSva
(universal), and identifies it with the vaiSvAnara state of brahman. The
illusion that is being talked about is not just a personal one, it is also
a cosmic illusion. Really, there is only One Atman/brahman, who only
*seems* to be dreaming. The way out of the dreaming is to stop imagining
that this paramAtman is really dreaming.


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