Posted by: adbhutam | March 7, 2014

The Objective World is Illusory – bhAgavatam

Om Sri ParabrahmaNe namaH

In the 11th canto of the srImadbhAgavatam is contained a profound teaching, in discourse form, called ‘uddhavagItA’.  It is a teaching by the Lord Sri Krishna to His devotee Uddhava.  Here is a verse occurring there which says that the objective world grasped by the senses is but a phantom creation of the mind, illusory:

यदिदं मनसा वाचा चक्षुर्भ्यां श्रवणादिभिः ।

नश्वरं गृह्यमाणं च विद्धि मायामनोमयम् ।। ११-७-७ ।।

श्रीधर-स्वामि-टीका –
ननु गुणदोषाभ्यां विषमे लोके कुतः समदृष्टिः स्यामत आह – यदिदमिति । मन आदिभिर्गृह्यमाणं मनोमयत्वान्मायेति विद्धि । तदपि न स्थिरं, किंतु नश्वरं विद्धि ।। ७ ।।

Gita Press translation – Completely shaking off all attachment for your own people and kinsmen and fully concentrating your mind on Me, for your part, go you about the earth looking upon all with an equal eye (6). Whatever is being apprehended with the mind, speech, eyes, ears etc., know it to be a creation of the mind and therefore (merely) illusory and transient (7).

The above teaching comes as a possible question that is contained in the exhortation of the Lord to Uddhava to renounce everything and take to total commitment to spiritual sAdhana:

त्वं तु सर्वं परित्यज्य स्नेहं स्वजनबन्धुषु ।

 मय्यावेश्य मनः सम्यक्समदृग्विचरस्व गाम् ।। ११-७-६ ।। 

The Lord says: …be a man of equal-vision.  To a question: how indeed can one have such a vision of a world which is characterized by distinctions based on merit and demerits of objects/persons?, the first cited verse comes as a reply:

The objective world grasped by the senses is a mere phantom mind-creation and therefore mAyA: illusory.  So, there is this twin method of developing samadRShTi, equal vision with respect to the objective world:

1. Everything is no different from the mind-stuff, manomayam, which is only another word for mAyA/avidyA.  So, that mAyAmanas is the ‘material’ the objective world is made of.  No object is different from another since every object is the same basically. Every object/person witnessed in a dream is made of the dream-material.  They have the common upAdAna kAraNam. The jaDa-jaDa bheda and also the other bhedas, by extention, encountered naturally is being refuted here by the Lord by saying that all the jaDa/assumed chetana vastus are no different from one another.

2. The objective world, being the projection of the mAyAmanas, has the Consciousness, Atman, as its adhiShThAnam, substratum.  It has no existence-reality, sattA, apart from the Existence-Reality of Atman, the dRk.  So, on the irrefutable rule of ‘dRshyam mithA, svapnAdivat’, the dRshyam, the observed objective world, has no reality; it appears to exist on the borrowed sattA of the dRk.  This paratantrasatyatva is also hinted by the Lord in the above verse, by the word samadRk.  Thus, the objective world having paratantra satyatva is being stated by the Lord as mAyAmanomayam, illusory, not having a reality apart from the dRk, seer.

In the Advaitic guruparamparA order we have …….vyAsa – shuka – gauDapAda…  What vyAsa has said above is only what the Lord says and the whole teaching is a narration of shuka.  Sri GaudapAda says the same in these verses, among many:


मायया भिद्यते ह्येतन्नान्यथाऽजं कथञ्चन |

तत्त्वतो भिद्यमाने हि मर्त्यताममृतं व्रजेत् ||३.१९||

 19 The unborn Atman becomes manifold through mAyA and not otherwise. For if the manifold were real, then the immortal would become mortal. [This is because the Atman will be deemed to undergo transformation, vikAra, and therefore the vikArI will be anitya.

मनोदृश्यमिदं द्वैतं यत्किञ्चित्सचराचरम् |

मनसो ह्यमनीभावे द्वैतं नैवोपलभ्यते ||३.३१||

31 All the multiple objects, comprising the movable and the immovable, are perceived by the mind alone. For duality is never perceived when the mind ceases to act.

The twin-method can be complementary too to each other.  

Om Tat Sat




  1. Thank you

    On Friday, March 7, 2014, Adbhutam’s Blog
    > adbhutam posted: “Om Sri ParabrahmaNe namaH In the 11th canto of the
    srImadbhAgavatam is contained a profound teaching, in discourse form,
    called ‘uddhavagItA’. It is a teaching by the Lord Sri Krishna to His
    devotee Uddhava. Here is a verse occurring there which says”

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