Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Vedanta: Mithya

Conventionally meaning ‘false’. In Vedanta, however, it means apparent or relative. That which is neither absolutely real nor absolutely unreal is mithya.

Mithya can range from relatively eternal existence to the relatively non-existent. Mithya includes illusion and delusion, dream and waking, presence and absence, earth and heavens, subject and object, cause and effect, more substantial and less substantial, imagination and transaction.

Anything appearance that is subject to disappearance is Mithya. Mithya is a value addition to Reality,

but the value added is appearance, not reality. Thus a pot is value addition to clay, and snake is value addition to rope. Both are creations, - Mithya, but with a difference. One is transactionally available while the other is purely subjective.

Hence there are many levels or orders of Mithya. Transactionally available objects - mithya require a creator who is independent of the subject. The pot requires a potter. Cloth requires a weaver. Ornaments require a goldsmith. The universe also requires a universal creator - Ishwara.

The universe includes subjects and objects .... seer and seen. Both these are part of the universal Mithya manifested by Ishwara through his power of Maya. The seer in turn creates his own subjective universe - worlds of imagination, superimposition, dreams, and delusions.

The hierarchy of Mithya covers all causes and effects and goes all the way up to Maya and Ishwara as the cause of universal creation. Mithya refers to anything that is different from the Absolute. The Absolute however is the absolute One and has nothing really different from it. Mithya thus is neither different nor non-different from the Absolute....

In reality, Absolute alone is. In relative terms, the Absolute is the ground of the entire gamut of Mithya that ranges from universal cause Maya to the individual creation of snake on the rope.

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