Surface reality (maya), by means of its power to hide true inner nature and to impose the ‘unreal’ on inner reality, makes the underlying unity of ‘all that is’ (brahmam) appear separately as three separate entities: human beings (jiva), God/s (easwara) & the material world (jagath). The distorting factor/s in surface reality only take hold when there is a mind to observe them. At this point the seedlings of the huge tree that is the material world begin to sprout and put forth leaves, which are the mental impulses (vasanas) that guide us to conclusions about the nature of the world (sankalpas). Thus the objective world is to a large degree the product (vilasa) of the assumptions underlying what we see.

Humans beings and Gods are in equal measure products of this process, since what we see them as is inextricably part of our mental projection/s. Imagine everything that informs our physical existence as a painting, in which humans, gods and their interactions are depicted against a backdrop of the physical world. It is all produced by the same mental process of maya, part of whose illusive power is to confer apparent difference, based on human perspectives – the same dance within which we perceive s/he & I, this and that, and mine and hirs.
The seed syllables within the term sohamidam express: ‘sah’, the unmanifest (that transcendent power, easwara, that creates existence): ‘aham’ is I, the jiva or entity within the consciousness of the doer: and ‘idam’ is the material world, jagath. Yet even these, as perceived by humans, have only relative value, and change in interpretation from generation to generation.

In waking and dreaming alike these govern our perceptions, only when the mind no longer retains any form of consciousness, as for instance in deep sleep, do we experience the ultimate reality which in-forms all life-forms. The principal task awaiting those who seek wisdom (jnana) is to gain release from the mental processes which prescribe differentiation. To become grounded in the sense of underlying unity is possess indivisible wisdom (advaitha jnana).

Only the wisdom gained by analysis and elimination of the mental processes can end the reign of illusion. For illusion itself flourishes where there is ignorance and lack of discrimination, thus vidya, instruction, spells the doom of maya.

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