Is the World an Illusion? If so, what is real?

    1. Souls are unlimited in number, infinitesimal (anu) in size, initially Divine in quality but eternally blemished by maya, so they are eternally bound by their karmas which are unlimited in quantity. They are part of the Divine power called jeev shakti which is affiliated to chit shakti of God. These are the souls that are under the bondage of maya. All of the souls have a chance to realize God if they follow the guidelines of selfless devotion (bhakti) to God. There are also unlimited number of such souls that are beyond the bondage of maya. They all live in the Divine abodes of their worshipped form of God as described in our scriptures.

    2. Maya is a single limitless and lifeless power of God. It has three qualities, sattva (pious), raj (selfish) and tam (evil) that represent its existence when it is evolved into the form of the universe. In the state of absolute dissolution of the universe, maya stays in God in an absolutely dormant form along with the souls that are under its bondage.

    3. God. Eternal, omnipresent, all-Blissful, all-Gracious, all-kind and all-loving Divine personality is God. His prime forms are: nirakar (formless aspect of God), Vishnu, Shiv, Durga, Ram and Krishn. Nirakar is established in the personal form of God, and all the personal forms of God are established in the personality of Krishn Who reveals the richest and most intimate form of the Divine Bliss, so He is called the supreme personality of God (poornatam purushottam).

    The World is an illusion

    The Upnishads tell about the illusive charm and the fleeting pleasures of this world and also of the celestial abodes called the heaven. The Mundkopnishad says,

    It means that the ardent ritualists observing Vedic discipline realized that the eternal (Divine) happiness cannot be found by Vedic observances. So, they renounced them and considering them as mayic deceptions they surrendered to God. Every person has an inherent weakness of leaning towards mayic attractions, and thus, he keeps on running after the mirage of illusive hope of receiving happiness through sensual gratifications or other egoistic activities of receiving name and fame in the world. His life ends, but the search for happiness never ends. Thus the Upnishads say to renounce the hope (nirvedmayat) of receiving happiness from worldly objects and beings and wholeheartedly turn towards God.