Atma Bodha Verse 06

Hari AUM

samsAra: svapnatulyOhi rAgadveshAdhi san.kula: |
svakAle satyavadbhAti prabOdhe satyasadbhavet  ||

Translation :
This world(samsAra:) is like a dream, filled with likes and dislikes. While dreaming, the dream appears to be real; after awakening from the dream it is known to be un-real.

Explanation :
    With this verse, bhagavatpAda explains the nature of the world and how we relate to it.  The world that we experience is samsAra, it is the "world" that is perceived by us in our waking state.  This "world" is "felt" through our senses, is conditioned by the likes and dislikes of our ego and is cognized by our mind to yield our perception of the world. This world is declared to be un-real!
    Un-real in what sense? In the sense that it is like a dream which only **appears** to be real but is simply an illusion created by our mind. This is a very fundamental issue of advaita ontology and has been fully dealt with in the more advanced texts ( for starters, please refer to the series of posts by ShrI Anand Hudli on advaita siddhi in advaita-l archives ). For now, it is explained as thought it were an "illusion".

    How do we know that we are dreaming? Can we know that we are dreaming, while still dreaming? Of course, we cannot. It is only upon awakening from the dream can we say, "hey I was dreaming". Similarly, the non-existence of the world can be known only upon awakening from our "dream" i.e. after the dawn of jnAna.