If the world is an illusion where is reality?2 min read

If the world is an illusion, as you say, and there is no reality attached to it, then we can do what we like, being bound by no moral law, no duty and no conception of good or evil. Whatever we do is an illusion—then why prefer one inclination to another? Illusory thieves, murderers and philanderers are all pardonable. It is the rule of jurisprudence that nothing is an offence committed by a man when he does not know what he is doing and what he is. Indeed, your philosophy is very convenient.

Yes, the world is an illusion, but not in the sense in which you understand it. It is not like a mirage in the desert. It is not like the son of a barren woman. It is not like a dream. When reality is understood to be what it is not, due to a defect in our eyes or in circumstances but not to any defect in the reality itself, we call it an illusion. It is in this sense that the world is an illusion, as in the case of a snake seen in a rope.

The illusion is productive of breach of peace and a legion of sufferings, and we are out to end it by enlightenment. Nobody can enjoy an illusion. A drunken man, imagining himself to be a cat, causes amusement to others but not to himself. We are, in this fife, convinced of the fact that the world being an illusion and being an essential source of worries and sufferings, we must know the reality. Nobody would like to live in a magical city, nor is the maternal instinct of a grown-up woman satisfied by lavishing love on a doll.

You must also remember that it is by following the ethical and spiritual law that we can end the illusion. The moral conduct is a discipline and an education whereby the real life of unbroken joy and liberty is revealed. We admit that the discipline itself is in the realm of illusion, but it is the disciplinary and ethical illusion which ends the cosmic illusion.

“I extracted the thorn lodged in the ball of my foot by another thorn and then threw it away”—so does one illusion cancel the other.

The Yoga recognises duty and the moral code and also the higher law of the spirit. Only madmen do what they like to do and not serious students of the lofty idealism of that incomparable philosopher, Shri Shankara.