We all take it for granted that there is a world full of objects, plants, animals, people and so on out there external to us. All of us also believe that we are born into a world which pre-exists us.
The general public wonder how this enormous world came into being. The scientists study the various facets of its origin and evolution; philosophers conceptualize different ethereal theories for its creation; artists and poets sing peans in its praise.
Advaitins, on the other hand, are unique in their bold pronouncement that the appearance of a world is a mere mental projection, no more than a hallucination.
In order to explain their doctrine, they ask us to rewind our tape, go back to our own birth, the birth of all our ancestors, nay, not only the forefathers but humanity and life itself and beyond — including the very beginning of any living or non-living matter. In other words, clean out the slate completely. And begin at the very beginning. To help us in the process, Advaita tells us that the entire range of things we observe in the whole of the universe can be reduced to two categories: Continue reading