Which aspect of God do you get more attracted to?
Advaita Vedanta exhorts that the tripod of Jeev, Jagat and Ishwara are just apparently different. Underlying these three entities there is only One reality, a single unity. It states “Brahma Satyam, Jagat Mithya, Jeeva Brahmaiva Na Param” (ब्रह्म सत्यं जगन्मिथ्या जीवब्रह्मैवनापरम). It states Brahman alone is real. The entire Universe is simply an appearance, an appearance of Brahman. It means that we are missing a fundamental reality in Brahman and hence that Brahman is appearing as the world. It is like this. We are mistaking the appearance of the rope as a snake. One is falsely “seeing” the snake in a rope. Although the snake has a reality and the rope has a reality, but seeing the snake in the rope is the cause of falsity. This is unreal.
The Upanishads point to this reality. The famous statement of the Chandogya Upanishad “Tvam Tattva Masi” (त्वं तत्वमसि) represents the Jeev’s essential nature. The Jeev is nothing put unsullied Brahman. However since there is an error in understanding this Reality, the Jeev appears as limited and curtailed. It seems, not to possess the magnanimity of Brahman which is the One all-pervading reality, boundless by its very nature. The statements of the Upanishads sound too radical. One may ask, how can multiplicity be denied. Advaita Vedanta does not deny the multiplicity in experience. However it makes a clear demarcation between Reality and Experience. It exhorts, what “appears” is not real. What is Real, never appears. Advaita Vedanta claims that Brahman cannot separate things through space and time. Dwaita Vedanta talks about a spiritual abode, when one shall exist with Vishnu, at the onset of liberation. Advaita Vedanta does not delay the experience of Brahman. It is in the here and now without dependence on space and time, for realizing Brahman. Unlike Dwaita Vedanta, Advaita Vedanta does not depend on Grace and blessings of Vishnu. It does not claim a gift at the end of the journey, rather it promises the gift here and now, through application of intelligence.
Advaita Vedanta does not talk about the distance between God and Jeev. It focuses only on the Reality of Brahman. Advaita Vedanta is not a journey from a present time to a future time or from a journey from earth to Vaikuntha, it is simply a shift in understanding from ignorance to knowledge; a journey not in place and time as some of the schools of Bhakti preach. In Advaita Vedanta, the statement “I do not know” represents ignorance or Avidya. The Avidya is the power of Maya that clouds Knowledge or Brahman. Clouded Brahman is itself Maya. The methodology of Dwaita Vedanta is Bhakti while the methodology of Advaita Vedanta is Vichara or investigation. In the process of investigation, the eyes are seeing the scene outside. The eyes are witnessing only when the mind pursues the scenes, as seen by the eyes. When we experience joy or sadness, we observe that the mind is affected by these emotions. Now the witnessing element of the mind, is in reality the “I”, the original awareness, Brahman. When we practice enough towards getting to the source or witness, we slowly get established in the source. This source or awareness, is the goal of Advaita Vedanta. The more we get established in this source through the process of Vichara or investigation, the turbulence of the mind, gets arrested and pure consciousness is reflected on the mind.
One needs to find out the relationship between “You” the consciousness and the universe that appears to “You”. The answer to this question is that the multiplicity of the universe with all its variety appears in “You”, the consciousness. In a dream, one experiences within oneself, one’s own body, other characters and a world. But the fact remains that all this is in the dream-consciousness within us. This includes the space, time and activities within the dream. Once we wake up from the dream, we observe that both the subject and the objects were nothing but a dream creation that appeared in one’s own consciousness. Similarly in the conscious state, by the Power of Maya, that one Brahman appears as other objects, time, place, circumstance and the enormity of variety. Our entire waking world, or dreaming world is the manipulation of that one consciousness that appears as variety. We the “One” witness is at the source of all the variety. Without that one source, the world shall not be.