Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

Truth, Appearance and Reality
Ram Chandran

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Ram Chandran


Ram Chandran is the owner of the Advaitin EGroup and maintains an extensive website on behalf of the group.


The following was posted to the Advaitin Egroup in Dec 2003.

Everything that we do is at the vyAvahArika level only and even the description and explanation of pAramArthika are also at the vyAvahArika level.

No one except Brahman knows what the pAramArthika level is and even this assertion is only at the vyAvahArika level. The sages and saints are always careful and they have avoided making any false claims. Our problem is the lack of understanding of what they say and most of the time, we attribute our mistakes as theirs.

They employ a `reference point' to illustrate the Truth at the vyAvahArika level and they are aware of our limitations. It seems that we overextend their assertions and try to go beyond! In the rope and snake example - the reference point (rope) is the Truth at the vyAvahArika level. Due to darkness (ignorance) the rope appears as the non-existent snake. But with the correct understanding (torch light) the truth is revealed.

Now reasoning is employed to illustrate the Truth at the pAramArthika level - the rope of vyAvahArika became the Brahman of pAramArthika and the non-existent snake of vyAvahArika became the non-existent World of pAramArthika. We do need to recognize that that this illustration with additional explanation is only at the vyAvahArika level! This example or analogy does not provide any clue about pAramArthika or the Brahman to those who determine not to accept any analogy. The `dream' analogy is another example that again falls as the explanation of pAramArthika reality using a vyAvahArika frame work.

The Truth at the pAramArthika level does require us to extend our understanding beyond vyAvahArika level. Any of our claims about the TRUTH at the pAramArthika level are just further speculation. TRUTH can't be understood analytically by any `brilliant mind (intellect)' and that is the bottom line. This may explain why scripture becomes relevant for us to accept or reject a `speculated truth.'

For Hindus, the `Vedas or shruti - the revealed truth' became the authority for resolving issues related to the establishment of the Truth. The `shruti' is the experience of the `SELF' by the `jiivanmukta.' Any documentation of Vedas will not qualify for the term - `shruti.' All documented versions of Vedas become `smRRiti - a diluted form of Truth.'

Consequently TRUTH (Self-Realization) can never be described in words. Everything that is written, spoken or remembered will fall into the vyAvahArika level.

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Page last updated: 10-Jul-2012