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Kārikā, verse 2.31

स्वप्नमाये यथा दृष्टं गन्धर्वनगरं यथा ।
तथा विश्वमिदं दृष्टं वेदान्तेषु विचक्षणैः ॥ ३१ ॥

svapnamāye yathā dṛṣṭaṃ gandharvanagaraṃ yathā |
tathā viśvamidaṃ dṛṣṭaṃ vedānteṣu vicakṣaṇaiḥ || 31 ||

31. As are dreams and illusions or a castle in the air seen in the sky, so is the universe viewed by the wise in the Vedānta.


Śaṅkara’s Commentary

The unreality of duality has been demonstrated by of Vedānta Scriptures. Therefore it is stated:—Dream objects and illusion, though unreal when their true nature is considered, are thought, in spite of their unreality, as real by the ignorant. As an imaginary city in the sky, filled with shops full of vendable articles, houses, palaces and villages frequented by men and women, though appearing real to us, is seen to vanish suddenly as dream and illusion, which are known to be unreal (though they appear to be real),—so also is perceived this entire duality of the universe to be unreal. Where is this taught? This is thus taught in the Vedānta Scriptures. “There is no multiplicity here.” “Indra (assumed diverse forms) through the powers of Māyā.” “In the beginning all this existed as Brahman.” “Fear rises verily from duality,” “That duality does never exist.” “When all this has become Ātman then who can see whom and by what?” In these and other passages, the wise men, i.e., those who see the real nature of things, declare (the unreal nature of the universe). The Smṛti of

Vyāsa also supports this view in these words:—

“This duality of the universe, perceived by the wise like a hole seen in darkness in the ground, is unstable like the bubbles that appear in rain-water, always undergoing destruction, ever devoid of bliss, and ceasing to exist, after dissolution.”


Ānandagiri’s Ṭīkā (glossary):

1 Reason—It has been demonstrated at the beginning of this chapter that the illusion of duality can be established by reason independent of Scriptures.

2 Evidence, etc.—If a conclusion arrived at by reasoning and corroborated by actual experience is further supported by the words of the teacher and the Scriptures, then alone it can be accepted as true.

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