Discriminate Between the Real and Unreal

3. Discriminate Between the Real and Unreal

To the man of Self-realization, Spirit is perceived as reality and creation as the shadow of the Infinite. When the universe is called unreal—

Brahman satyam jagat mithya:
"Brahman is real. His manifestation is unreal"

—it does not mean that the universe is nonexistent, but that God is the only reality and that the shadow of His manifestation in creation is not like Him. A shadow cannot be produced without an object; therefore the shadow is not nothing! The shadow appears to be like the object from which it is produced, yet it is not the object. (bg p.558)


Spiritual Qualifications by Adi Shakaracharya

1. Viveka: Discriminate between the real and unreal.

"Brahman is real and the world is unreal."

2. Vairagya: Be detached and dispassionate.

"Refuse to be satisfied by the limited and transitory."

3. — Sama: Control your mind. (Six Virtues / Shatka Sampatth.) (1)

4. — Dama: Discipline your senses & avoid distractions. (2)

5. — Uparati: Stop activities which are not your duties. (3)

6. — Titiksha: Forbearance, cultivate spiritual toughness & endurance. (4)

7. — Shraddha: Trust in the teachings & Guru; deep devotion to God. (5)

8. — Samadhana: Concentration & one pointedness of mind. (6)

9. Mumukshutva: Have intense desire for liberation & Self-Realization.


Of the unreal, there is no existence. Of the real, there is no nonexistence. The final truth of both of these is known by men of wisdom.
— The Bhagavad Gira II:16

The senses say that the flower that was never born has shed no fragrance; things that were never real have ever been nonexistent. But the garden rose, by its fragrance, and the stars, by their twinkle in the sky proclaim their reality. The seers of truth, however, know them all to be equally unreal; for the rose will fade away, and many a distant star whose glimmer dots the heavens has long since ceased to be. Could something become nothing? Possessors of wisdom perceive as real only That which changes not—the Essence that became the star and the idea of the flower in the poet's mind. The wise alone know the mystery of the real and the unreal.

The ocean can exist without the waves, but the waves cannot manifest without the ocean. The ocean is the real substance; the waves are only temporary changes on the ocean, and therefore "unreal" (in themselves they have no independent existence). The ocean, in essence, does not change whether it is calm or restless with waves; but the waves change their forms—they come and they go. Their essence is change, and therefore unreality.* ...

The ordinary individual considers matter as real (because manifest); he ignores the Spirit as unreal (because hidden). This delusion enshrouds him in ignorance and suffering. The wise man tears aside the appearance of delusive creation and, perceiving the Everlasting Reality, is permanently happy.

Sages behold the way in which the waves of unreality crop up from Reality and cover Its oneness—just as many waves hide the in-severable unity of the ocean. By this view, the wise ones become fixed in the unchangeable Spirit and ignore the changes of the so-called matter-of-fact world. Knowledge of Reality does not make one vague or visionary, shirking his duties! The knower of Reality may be said to be a sane person in the midst of lunacy! (bg p.208)


The phenomenal world operates under maya, the law of duality or oppositional states; it is thus an unreal world that veils the truth of the Divine Oneness and Unchangeableness. Man in his mortal aspect dreams of dualities and contrasts—life and death, health and disease, happiness and sorrow; but when he awakens in soul consciousness all dualities disappear and he knows himself as the eternal and blissful Spirit. (os)


Challenges on the Path to God-Realization:


— Solution:

Sravana — Manana — Nididhyasana
(Listen — Perceive — Become One with Truth). [See below ]


— Solution:

Concentration & Deeper Meditation.


We can’t mediate because of the impurity of the mind.

— Solution:

Perform unselfish actions — practice the Karma Yoga & Bhakti Yoga.
"By unswerving devotion to God, by love for Him so complete that one's mind has no room for thought of self."




How to Achieve God-Realization?

Be One With
Practice Kriya Yoga


— Shravanam (Sravana) ('listen') — Hear this truth again and again: "You are Brahman". Read Yogananda's words again and again. Read this webpage again and again until you really remember it.

If you can’t realize Brahman, or you have doubts, or you don’t get it — go to the next step:


— Mananam (Manana) ('perceive') — Think about the meaning. Relate it to similar concepts and question it, relate it to your existing knowledge. Think about the meaning until you understand the deeper meaning.

When you know that ‘You are Brahman’ intellectually but it’s still not real to you — go to the next step:

Be One With

— Nididhyasanam (Nididhyasana) ('be one with') — Meditate on the Truth. Assimilate the Truth. Become one with the Truth. Go beyond intellectual knowledge and reasoning. Be one with the Truth intuitively so you can feel it 'in every cell of your body'. "It is by intuition that God can be realized in all His aspects."

Practice Kriya Yoga

"The true follower of Kriya Yoga is the highest yogi, and Kriya Yoga is the greatest yoga technique ever developed in man’s search for the Infinite."



Sri Shankaracharya (788-820 CE):

"Reflection (manana) is hundred times superior to listening (sravana); meditation (nididhyasana) is hundred times superior to reflection; nirvikalpaka samadhi is infinitely superior."

Next Page »

(aoy) — Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
(bg) — God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita by Paramahansa Yogananda
(dr) — The Divine Romance by Paramahansa Yogananda
(jt) — Journey to Self-Realization by Paramahansa Yogananda
(me) — Man's Eternal Quest by Paramahansa Yogananda
(os) — Other Sources... Talks, Booklets
(sc) — The Second Coming of Christ by Paramahansa Yogananda
(sm) — Self-Realization Magazines