We are in illusion, but we are not an illusion

Suppose someone we trusted implicitly betrays us totally. Being devastated, we may ask ourselves: “What is real? How do I differentiate reality from illusion?”

Faced with such difficult differentiation, some people say, “Everything is an illusion – not only things out there but also whatever is inside. Even our sense of I-ness is an illusion.” By such blanket generalization, they put themselves in illusion about the scope of illusion. Illusion essentially means a false perception. But for any kind of perception, real or illusory, the perceiver has to be real. Without a real perceiver, there won’t be any perception at all, not even an illusory perception. The sight of water in a desert can be an illusion, but the seer can’t be an illusion; if the seer were an illusion, there would be no seeing. 

Pertinently, Gita wisdom asserts that we all are real because we are parts of the supreme reality (15.07). That supreme reality, the source of everything, the inexhaustible reservoir of all potency and beauty is the all-attractive transcendental person. Krishna. While analyzing the nature of existence, the Bhagavad-gita states that unconscious matter is Krishna’s inferior energy (07.04) and we conscious beings comprise Krishna’s supreme energy (07.05). 

Though we are real, we are presently dragged by our mind and senses from reality into illusion. What is the illusion? It is to mistake the temporary to be eternal; to pursue ephemeral material things that offer meager pleasure as if they were sources of lasting pleasure. This illusion can be best countered by connecting ourselves with our source. Bhakti-yoga offers a time-honored process for aligning ourselves with the all-attractive source of everything, Krishna. When we, the infinitesimal reality, bond lovingly with the infinite reality, we relish joy eternal and become fully free from illusion. 

Indeed, enlightenment centers not on rejecting our existence, but on realizing our spiritual essence. 


Think it over:

  • We are an illusion – how is this statement an illusion?
  • How can we become free from illusion?
  • What is enlightenment?



07.05 Besides these, O mighty-armed Arjuna, there is another, superior energy of Mine, which comprises the living entities who are exploiting the resources of this material, inferior nature.

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