I've heard that by the Vedic doctrine of MAYA, everything that we see around is an illusion. Thus, by this doctrine, the sun, the moon, the billions of stars in the night sky as well as mountains, oceans, volcanoes, plants, animals, mushrooms, etc., etc. (i.e. in a word, the entire Universe) are Nonexistent. As far as I know, Adi Shankara interpreted it thus as well. Nevertheless, Vivekananda claimed that MAYA means Neither truth Nor falsehood. This gave rise to great confusion. MAYA= Not truth= Not falsehood means truth= falsehood. It's an absurdity. A day must be either a Rainy day or a Non-Rainy day. It canNot be both a Rainy day and a Non-Rainy day, can it be?

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    Maya is not an illusion but a matrix, that is the very cause of multiplicity. Without Maya, everything goes into one formless Brahman as explained in Upanishads, "Ekam Brahm, dvitya nasti, Only Brahm exists, nothing else", "Ekam evadvitiyam-One indivisible" etc.,
    – user22687
    Jun 6, 2021 at 4:14
  • If ' "Ekam Brahm, dvitya nasti, Only Brahm exists, nothing else" ' is True, doesN't it follow that the visible world is Nonexistent?
    – Prakash RP
    Jun 6, 2021 at 6:54
  • Ever-changing time-based Maya or visible world is non-existent but for that static consciousness which is in Nirvana/Kaivalya and detached from Maya's temporary sense gratifications via body. All the beings(souls in reality) that are visible have desires of body and senses. Thats why Vedas are based on en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Puruṣārtha Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha, aumamen.com/story/story-of-shukdev-meeting-king-janaka
    – user22687
    Jun 6, 2021 at 7:14
  • But the visible world is Really ' Ever-changing '. In fact, perpetual change is the law of nature: everything, living or Nonliving, keeps on changing constantly. Thus, by the Vedic doctrine of MAYA, plants, animals, mushrooms, viruses, bacteria, plankton, mountains, deserts, volcanoes, glaciers, continents, the earth, the sun, meteors, comets, billions of stars in the night sky, nebulae, black holes, galaxies, etc. are all Nonexistent, areN't they?
    – Prakash RP
    Jun 6, 2021 at 12:42
  • Yes, all these objects and beings exist for those trapped in the creation of Brahma and all are projection of light/Prakash on earth, just like a movie is projected from behind on big screen in a theatre. Body is mere a sheath while soul is the real Self. holy-bhagavad-gita.org/chapter/2/verse/12 "BG 2.22: As a person sheds worn-out garments and wears new ones, likewise, at the time of death, the soul casts off its worn-out body and enters a new one." en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Complete_Works_of_Swami_Vivekananda/…
    – user22687
    Jun 6, 2021 at 19:55

1 Answer 1


In the 20th verse of Brahmajnanavalimala, Adi Shankara says.

ब्रह्म सत्यं जगन्मिथ्या जीवो ब्रह्मैव नापरः । अनेन वेद्यं सच्छास्त्रमिति वेदान्तडिण्डिमः ॥ २०॥

Brahma Satyam Jagan Mithya Jivo Brahmaiva Na Aparah

Brahman (the Absolute) is alone real; the world is mithya; Jiva is non-different from Brahman.

Mithya actually means it is not sat or asat.

Shankara in Brahma Sutra Bhasya I.1.2 defines sat as that is available at all times (trikalaabaadhyami) including dreams and deep sleep. Thus Only Brahman is sat.

asat is used to mean unfitness to appear as existent (tuccham) on any locus. For example: hare’s horn or unicorns.

jagat is not real like Brahman, because it is subject to time/space/change but it is also not asat. However, jagat is mithya, which is neither sat nor asat.

To give you an example how it can be both. Take the case of the rope being mistaken as a snake. When the rope is not perceived, only snake is perceived and when the rope is perceived, no snake is perceived. Thus, when the world is viewed as separate from Brahman, it is false and when the world is viewed as same as Brahman, it is sat.

Maya has two Shaktis - Avarana and Vishepa Shakti. Avarna Shakti means veiling power, which does not allow you to realize Brahman. Viskshapa Shakti means projecting power, which projects the universe and the body.

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