There are countless waves rolling in the vast ocean. Each wave is distinguished from the
other and each wave can be perceived separately, one by one. But all are water only, and are not
separate from the great ocean. All are one only in reality. The difference is only apparent. This
illustrates that all the innumerable Jivas that appear in this universe, though apparently they are
perceived to be separate from one another, are in reality that one Ocean of Satchidananda and are all
identical with it. There is no difference or diversity.
The wind carries whatever scent is exposed to it and spreads it everywhere. But the air is
pure and is not defiled by bad scent or ornamented by a good scent therein. This is similar to the
illustration of the lotus-leaf and water to show the unattached state of the Atman or the Brahman,
though it puts on various names, forms and actions in the appearance of phenomena.
There is only one sun illumining all the worlds. But there are perceived as many different
reflections of the sun, as there are ponds, tanks, rivers, mirrors, etc. The sun is reflected in all
waters, but there is only one real Sun. So also there is only one Supreme Existence-Absolute, the
infinite Brahman, but that One Reality is reflected through the Upadhis of Maya and Avidya as
various worlds and Jivas. This is false, for it is only the appearance of reflections. The Truth is only
This is the analogy of the burnt cloth. If a cloth is burnt you will see, even afterwards, that
there is the same form of the cloth appearing. But when touched with the hand even slightly, it is
reduced to ashes. Even so is the body of the Jnani or the Jivanmukta. He does possess a body, but it
is like the burnt cloth. It only appears, but it has no reality. It is burnt by the fire of Wisdom and there
is no ego to sustain it. The Jnani is untouched by worldly taints and leaving that appearance of a
body he attains Sadyo-Mukti or Kaivalya-Mukti.
This is the analogy of stone and mud. Mud is very hard when compared to cotton but it is
very soft when compared to stone. This is to show that a thing may be bad as compared with better
things, but is good when compared with inferior things, and vice versa. This is used to illustrate that
there is no quality in things by themselves, that there is no plurality in life, and that difference is
caused only through imagination.
This is akin to Vandhya-putra-Nyaya, Gaganaaravinda-Nyaya, Gandharvanagara-Nyaya or
Shashavishna-Nyaya. It is useless to search for the teeth of a crow, for it has no teeth. Similar is the
case with the son of a barren woman, a lotus grown in the sky, a city in the clouds, and the horns of a
hare. This is to show that it is meaningless to question about the contradictions and mysteries of
existence like “Why did the Perfect God create an imperfect world?” etc., for there is no real change
and there is no creation at all in reality, and that these questions arise so long as the Sun of Wisdom
has not arisen.
Reference & Courtesy: Vedanta for beginners by Shri Swami Sivananda