Orders of Reality

A couple of weeks back I posted a story on how societal indoctrination impacts our lives and gave a perspective from the great thinker J Krishnamurthy. I also mentioned at the end that Vedanta has a different way of looking at life, which I think is more satisfactory and practical. According to Vedanta there are 3 orders of Reality. To elaborate, let me introduce 3 technical words from Sanskrit, which are: Paramardhika Satyam (Absolute Reality), Vyavaharika Satyam (Empirical Reality) and Pratibhasika Satyam (Illusory Reality). Simply put, the 3 orders of Reality are: God, God’s creation and human being’s creation. God’s creation is the world with its objective reality that we all experience and have to deal with everyday. God’s creation is also called empirical reality. On the other hand there is another world which is a creation of each one of us based on our subjective interpretation of what is. This is the Illusory reality which in Sanskrit is called Pratibhasika satyam.

Here is a simple illustration of this: All of us have heard of News & Views or News & Analysis. News is an actual happening whereas analysis is something that we create. It’s our interpretation of what transpired. Take, for instance, the recent news in cricket concerning Jadeja and Anderson. It’s a fact that they were involved in a verbal and physical altercation on the field resulting in considerable acrimony between the 2 teams.  There are as many versions and interpretations of this episode as there are reporters. I will present here a funny version of the incident shown on a TV channel as spoof news. The question posed by the anchor to a guy who looked like Krish Srikanth was: Who, according to you, sir, was the aggressor and who was the defender?  Srikanth replies in his inimitable style: What a question yar, we have to watch the TV footage and see whether Jadeja was on the back foot or on the front foot at that point of time. If he was on the front foot, the guy was obviously attacking. On the other hand if he was on the back foot he was merely defending himself!

While this could be a funny spoof more to redicule Srikanth than to throw any light on the incident itself, most of the incidents in our lives and our interpretations are pretty much similar. We merely add our own perception and colour to an episode which passes for analysis of news.

One may ask, what has this example to do with the orders of reality? Quite a lot. Let us consider analysis of news. Does it have independent existence of its own? Certainly not. Without news there can be no analysis.  It has, for its basis, an actual event which has taken place. An actual  event is the Empirical reality that all of us see or experience in the world. While empirical reality is the creation of Eswara, illusory Reality is a world created by the imagination of human beings. It is a fact of life that most of us live in our own imaginary world  and hence do not have time to accept and appreciate God’s creation. Living in our own world of imaginary creation is what causes misery. The list of things that we create is endless: anger, jealousy, fear, anxiety, insecurity, superstitions etc.

Therefore, it’s imperative for all of us to do a self-audit to check whether we are living in our own world or experiencing the beautiful creation of God. Awareness, the practice of mindfulness popularized by Zen followers certainly provides some answers.



Published in: on July 25, 2014 at 10:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

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