The ‘Real’ and the ‘Unreal’

Adi Sankara’s Viveka Chudamani discusses the ways in which the sense of discrimination, viveka, to sift the real from the unreal, is of utmost importance in the spiritual quest of every individual being. The acharya rightly places the value of the scriptural knowledge from the point of view of realisation, pointed out Sri Mani Dravid Sastrigal in a discourse.

Though sastras are a rich source of esoteric knowledge, if one fails to gain atma jnana through them, then the knowledge and the toil in learning them becomes vain. One may be well-versed in the scriptures and possess the acumen to present the arguments and discussions logically. But all this does not necessarily imply that he is a realised person. Conversely, sastra knowledge is redundant in the case of one who has already understood the truth of Brahman. One may not have studied the sastras at all and yet may be
realised perhaps because of previous samskaras. Realisation is not attaining a new state; it is realising the true nature of what each Being is. There are many theories such as perception through the senses, or direct perception, or those that discuss limitations and reflections in this fuzzy area of self realisation. But every being understands with the faculty of inherent consciousness or chit or chaitanya. ‘Brahma Satyam, Jagat Mithya’ is the fundamental teaching of the school of Advaita Vedanta. It sums up a whole philosophy of thought in a pithy statement. Brahman is the only ultimate truth; and the entire created world that is constantly

changing is unreal. The individual self is the atma which is

immortal and ailiated to the Brahman. Out of ignorance and

association with the phenomenal world of senses, the individual fails to see this truth and is subject to misery.