Tag Archives: reality

How to Charm a Rope

Continuing with our musings on the relationship between illusion and reality, I concluded my last blog entry with a couple of questions: how does Shankara, the founder of the school of absolute non-dualism, explain our experience of a dualistic world if, as he insists, we are, in reality, identical with Brahman – the highest truth – and Brahman is not subject to illusion nor in possession of energies that may be subject to illusion? Has the supreme reality of undifferentiated oneness somehow been subdued by an inferior illusion of differentiated many-ness? Continue reading

Is Illusion Greater than Reality?

Is illusion superior to reality? If you think ignorance is bliss then, well, yeah, maybe. But if we take this question seriously you might respond by saying, “Why should I even take this question seriously? Duh!”

Okay, conventional wisdom says that reality is (obviously) greater than illusion. So it may surprise you to learn that a lot of yoga folks subscribe to a brand of yoga philosophy that, if you follow it to it’s logical conclusion, actually says just the opposite: that illusion must be greater than reality.

It may not be so apparent at first glance, but there’s a bit of circular reasoning hiding inside some popular notions about yoga philosophy that results in an irresolvable internal contradiction. And this really matters for anyone who thinks that the goal of yoga is liberation from illusion because if it turns out that illusion is actually greater than reality, well… Houston, we have a problem. Continue reading