Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 06 Apr 2021


Can creation ever be hundred percent real for God?

Note: This article is meant for intellectuals only

[An online spiritual discussion was conducted on March 06, 2021, in which several devotees participated. Some of the questions of devotees answered by Swāmi are given below.]

[Śrī Phani asked: This question is related to the discussion during a satsang about the concept that the creation appears real to God. It is said that māyā (mithyā) is that which is neither real (sat) nor unreal (asat) (Sadasat vilakṣaṇā māyā—Śaṅkara). The world is both real (sat) and unreal (asat) from the perspective of God and also from the perspective of the soul. God may subject Himself to 99% illusion, so that this world appears real to Him, but it will never be 100% real. Is this true?]

Swāmi replied: One person sees the real rope. The other person sees an unreal snake superimposed on the real rope. That unreal snake appears to be real to him. Both these people are simultaneously experiencing the reality and unreality of the same object simultaneously. Both reality and unreality can exist with reference to the same item from the two different angles of the two different people. There is no mutual contradiction in this case. Hence, you can call this world as both real and unreal without any mutual contradiction from the standpoints of the soul and God respectively. The same idea can also be conveyed alternatively by saying that the world is neither real nor unreal. This is not against logic when each of the views are from two different perspectives. But there is no wonder in this logic.

The real wonder appears when the same world is real as well as unreal from the same standpoint without any mutual contradiction. That single standpoint from where the world is real as well as unreal, simultaneously, without any mutual contradiction, is God. God is seeing this world as real and unreal, without any mutual contradiction. How is it so?

(1) God is seeing this world as an absolute reality (as real as Himself). This is because, God has granted His own absolute reality to the originally unreal world. So, the world has become absolutely real for the sake of giving Him real entertainment. (2) God is also seeing this world as unreal because the world is basically unreal by itself, if God withdraws His absolute reality. This aspect is used while performing miracles like creation etc.

Due to the reasons given above, the world is real and unreal to God. The mutual contradiction is removed on the basis of logic alone. This is more wonderful than the concept explained above, where creation is real to the soul while being unreal to God.

If you take the case of the soul alone observing the external world, the soul can only realize this external world to be as real as itself. This is because, the soul is a part of the world. The reality of both the world and the soul is the same absolute reality of God. This is because, God has granted His absolute reality to this world as well as to the soul, which is part of the world. The existence of both the world and the soul has two sides. One side is their God-given absolute reality and the other side is their original unreality. These two are like the two sides of the same coin. When the soul grants its reality to its imaginary world, the soul cannot grant it the side of absolute reality. The absolute reality is dependent only on God’s will because it is His inherent property. The soul can only grant its own inherent property of unreality to its imaginary world. Hence, the soul’s imaginary world does not appear to have the same absolute reality as the external world. Even though the soul wishes to grant it absolute reality in order to obtain real entertainment, it is unable to do so. The imaginary world of the soul is very weak. It is a diluted reality, with respect to the soul. The soul is awareness and a part of the soul (awareness) itself is modified into the imaginary world. After maintaining the imaginary world for some time, the soul becomes weak because of a reduction in its awareness-energy, which is the material content of the world. In the case of the soul, the building material of the imaginary world is the soul itself. This awareness is already available. The soul can only create, change or dissolve the forms of its imaginary world. The building material of the imaginary world remains as it is because the soul cannot generate, change or dissolve itself. In the case of the unimaginable God, God is not the building materal of creation. God is not reduced in quantity by the creation of the world. Hence, not only the forms, but also the building material of His imaginary world are unreal with respect to Him. Therefore, the soul and the world constitute the entire imaginable domain, whereas, God is the entire unimaginable domain.