[Advaita-l] World is Flower in the Sky

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Apr 2 13:18:41 CDT 2013

On Tue, Apr 2, 2013 at 11:03 AM, Venkatesh Murthy <vmurthy36 at gmail.com>wrote:

> Namaste
> Recently members said world is Mithya but not like a fictional thing.
> I said there is no difference between Mithya and fictional thing like
> flower in the sky. Both are in dream and both are false only.

How can we say both are in dream? A gagana kusuma cannot be imagined even
in a dream whereas a mithyA vastu can be experienced in a dream.  If
someone were to see a flower in the firmament in a dream, that flower must
have a certain shape and colour and size.  Then it is a pratyaksha vastu.
The question of its being supported by nothing concrete will have to be
explained, that is all.

But the Yoga vasishtha comparing the world with a gagana kusuma, an
impossibility, is quite in order.  The Bhagavatam teaches:

प्रत्यक्षेणानुमानेन, निगमेनात्मसंविदा । आद्यन्तवदसज्ज्ञात्वा, निःसङ्गो
विचरेदिह ॥९॥ (uddhavagita 23.9 of the Advaita Ashrama edition)

The Mahabharatha has been cited by Shankara in the BGB:

अव्यक्तम् – अदर्शनम् अनुपलब्धि: …तत्र का परिदेवना = को वा प्रलाप:
अदृष्ट-दृष्ट-प्रनष्टभ्रान्तिभूतेषु भूतेषु इत्यर्थ: ।  तथा चोक्तम् –
अदर्शनादापतित: पुनश्चादर्शनं गत: । नासौ तव न तस्य त्वं वृथा का परिदेना ॥
[महाभारत स्त्रीपर्व २.१३]

Note: The word ‘adarshanam’  of the commentary is found in the Mahabharata
verse also.
All the embodied beings, have an apparent existence only during the period
of their stay; before birth and after their death they are not there at all.
  The Imperishable Atman, however, is always existent.

Gaudapada kArika (2.6) that explains this maxim: anitya is asatya:

आदावन्ते च यन्नास्ति, वर्तमानेऽपि तत्तथा ।

वितथै: सदृशा: सन्तोऽवितथा इव लक्षिता: ॥ (२.६)

[That which  does not exist in the beginning and in  the end is equally so
in the present (i. e in the middle).  Though they are on the same footing
with the unreal, yet they are seen as though real.]

The idea in these verses is: That which is not there before and after the
appearing of the object/event, is deemed to be not there in the period of
its appearing too. This amounts to saying: The object does not exist in all
the three periods of time: past, present and future.  On this ground there
is nothing wrong in comparing the world with gagana kusuma, etc. which are
asat.  For, the Bh.Gita 2.16 teaches: न असतः विद्यते भावः there is no
existence for the asat ( at any time).  This does not contradict the
difference enunciated between a mithyA vastu and an asadvastu.  The purpose
of making this differentiation is to bring out the pratIyamAnatva aspect.
The Yo.VA example that is endorsed by the Mahabharata, the Bhagavata and
the Gau.kA. is to show that the world experience is just like a dream
experience which has to be seen as that which is available for experience
ONLY during the time of experience but  before and after.  Such entities
are deemed to be non-existent, that is, not existing at all times.



> In third  chapter Yoga Vasistha has said this -
> http://hinduonline.co/DigitalLibrary/SmallBooks/YogaVasistaEng.pdf
> It  is  an  illusion  as  the  phantom  of  a  city  in  a  dream,
>  and  as  untrue  as  the  imagination of  a  flower  growing  in
>  the  air. The  unreality  of  the  world  best  appears  to  one  at
>  the point  of  and  after  his  death.
> --
> Regards
> -Venkatesh
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