Q.398 – Use of metaphors

Q: There are two concepts, super-imposition and manifestation, in Advaita to  describe the ‘relationship’ between Brahaman and the empirical world. Super-imposition means that the world is super-imposed on Brahaman. Manifestation means that the world is a manifestation of Brahaman. My doubt is as to how a manifestation can be super-imposition also? My gut feeling is that there is a subtle link between the two concepts which I am unable to ‘see’ because of the proverbial ‘ignorance’. 

A (Dennis): They are each a metaphor to give the mind some insight into the nature of reality. The reality is non-dual so that all metaphors and all ‘explanations’ are ultimately untrue. The world and the jIva are mithyA. Brahman has no relationships. Use the metaphors and explanations of the scriptures and teachers to help guide the mind to realization of the truth but don’t ever take them as more than what they are. And do not worry if one ‘explanation’ disagrees with (or even contradicts) another. They all have to be dropped in the end!

One thought on “Q.398 – Use of metaphors

  1. Denniji, that’s a very good answer. Swami Satchidanandendra saraswathi calls it as ‘upayas’/’devices’. But ultimately, there’s no such thing as a world or jiva or mithya or a device also !

    I call them temporary appeasements for the non-existent mind to stop asking questions. As if there is a superimposition ! How can there be such a thing as superimposition ?

    The questioner may make a note that concepts are for the mind, beyond the mind, there are no concepts.

Leave a Reply