[Advaita-l] Kazlev quote correctness?

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Fri Apr 8 16:27:09 CDT 2005

On Thu, 7 Apr 2005, Guru Meditation wrote:

> "There has been a lot of misunderstanding regarding the status the phenomenal
> world in Advaita, even by some of its modern proponents. According to this
> false interpretation which the universe is considered nothing but illusion.
> Many people therefore reject Advaita as 'illusionism'. But in fact Shankara was
> a staunch empiricist and fully acknowledged the phenomenal reality of the world,
> God (Ishwara) etc. He was actually very critical of the Yogachara Buddhist
> position that the world is a subjective product of the mind). When Shankara
> discusses the reality or otherwise of the world of duality, he is talking from
> the point of view of his attainment of Enlightenment, according to which the
> world-process really did appear unreal or false. But as far as the ordinary
> consciousness goes, Advaita propounds pragmatic realism, including worship of
> deities separate from oneself, etc." - M. Alan Kazlev
> How true is this quote about ZaGkara's AdvaitavAda? The immediate thing that
> springs to mind about the supposed reality of the world is the famous quote
> from Viveka-cUDAmaNi: brahmam satyam jagat mithya. Other than that I do not
> think that this perception of Advaita is correct.

I think it is spot on.  Advaita Vedanta is not idealistic in the
philosophical sense.  When we talk of the world being mithya we mean our
knowledge of it is false, not its existence.  So "illusion" is a poor
translation for the word.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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