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Home >> Seeker’s Solace  >> Know thyself: Understanding the universe

Know thyself: Understanding the universe


The whole theory of Maya does not mean that the world is an illusion.

The world is a reality, but the theory of Maya says that the world is only relatively real and, therefore, not absolutely real. This means it is not what you think it to be or what you think it is. You don’t know what it actually is. This is the theory of Maya. It is not that there is nothing, there is something but it is not the ‘something’, which you think it is.

The thing that you think it is, it is not, but there is something. In this context, I would like to quote a part of a beautiful poem by William Blake. He says:

Now, I a fourfold vision see,

And a fourfold vision is given to me:

‘Tis fourfold in my supreme delight

And threefold in soft Beulahs’ night

And twofold always, may God us keep

From single vision and Newton’s sleep!

Do you know what it means–”Newton’s sleep?” The Newtonian concept of the world is where we have defined everything and are sleeping blissfully in the thought that, ‘this is what it is, and nothing can alter it.’

Vedanta rejects the myth of reality as external to the human mind and it acknowledges consciousness as the source of the entire cosmos.

“And single vision”–it means I have a singular understanding of something. This is a great detriment to the understanding of one’s self and understanding of the universe because the single vision evolves into the fanatical vision. It has to move, change; it has to see the plurality of this world and its existence.

Having said this, let us proceed to the understanding of what we are seeking–the truth, the Brahman.

Vedanta rejects the myth of reality as external to the human mind and it acknowledges consciousness as the source of the entire cosmos. According to Vedanta, or even Sankhya, it is the mind that we see reflected in matter. Physical science–what we see and read in books of Physics, Chemistry, and Mathematics–is very much like a metaphor that the scientist, like the poet for instance, creates and extends its meaning and value in the quest for better understanding.

So let us look at this very closely.

According to Vedanta, this entire cosmos is a complete, seamless, and continuous unity–the one that contains within itself the potential (to manifest) for millions of actualisations of the universe; the actualisations which are possible for us to think and also which are impossible for us to think or conceive. We are just one aspect of the one Supreme Seamless Continuous Reality. 

We must remember the fact that, in the last few years, the trend in mainstream physical sciences also has been towards an uncertainty–especially in quantum physics, where people swear by the string theory and the theory of probability. Here, one is not sure, unlike the Newtonian certainty that existed some years ago.


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