Two important concepts from Advaita Vedanta are Satyam and Mitya, as they help explain what our true nature is and what has been super-imposed upon us. Satyam is that which is real beyond the three phases of time. It is beyond time and space, eternal and permanent. Mitya is neither truth, neither false, but it is an apparent reality that depends on Satyam for its existence. And it is Impermanent.
So how do we apply these important concepts in our lives and how does it benefit us to understand them?
Swami Chinmayananda was asked what is the most important thing people should know. His answer was ‘shut up and get out’. The interviewer was shocked, but Swami laughed and said she should understand to shut up your mind and get out of the misconception that you are the body. And this is the quality of mitya.
He was saying that what you are is something that is beyond the body. You are consciousness itself. That consciousness is not only alive in you – it is everywhere. He was really saying that you are not what you think you are – the body, mind, emotions, thoughts, beliefs, or any of those aspects. These are qualities that are separate from you. How do you know they are separate? Because you are aware of them.
So the question that is begged is : Who is aware? And what is the quality of that awareness? To be aware of the awareness – is where our difficulty is.
I have had glimpses of those moments of awareness – when I have lost myself in the moment. For me it has happened when I have been signing or chanting and I have got so absorbed into that moment that I have experienced what is called Ananda – bliss. I knew I was not in my mind and in that space called awareness.
So in understanding what is Satyam and what is Mitya, the world is deceptive in that its apparent reality is super-imposed on who we are. That is the challenge. The example that is always given of this apparent reality is the dream. We have a dream. And in Vedanta we say that in that dream it is real for you, but when you come out of the dream, it all stops. So there is a level of truth in that reality. But the moment it stops, it goes false. It doesn’t exist anymore, even though you have had fleeting moments of it.
So Satyam and Mitya are two concepts that help you navigate through your life so you can discern what is permanent (eternal) and what is impermanent (changing). And it is this clarity that helps me understand where I am at in my journey, so I hope it helps you. Thank you.