Chapter 7: All Dreams Must Cease
So another thing before we enter the sutra: Shankara has divided reality into three categories, and those categories are beautiful to understand. One category is the category of the truth: that which is. In fact nothing else is possible; only truth is and only truth can be.
The second category is of that which is untruth, which cannot be. There is no possibility of its being, because how can untruth be? For being, truth is needed. So untruth is non-being, truth is being. Then Shankara finds a third category that he calls dreaming, appearance, illusion, maya: that which appears to be but is not.
So there are three categories. Truth, that which is. If your eyes are clear, unclouded, if the mind is not dreaming, then there is only one category, truth. But if your mind is dreaming then two other categories come into existence. Dream is, in a certain sense, because you dream it; and it is not, in a certain different sense, because it corresponds to no reality. You dream in the night that you have become a king; in the morning you find you are just the same beggar. The dream was false, but the dream was, so it has a quality of truth about it because it happened. And in those moments when it was happening you completely believed in its truth, otherwise it would have stopped immediately.
If you become aware “I am dreaming and this is false,” the dream is broken, you are awake already. The dream existed for a few hours; it had one quality of truth, that it existed. But it is not true because in the morning you find it was not. It was just a thought, a wave in the air, a flower in the sky - appeared to be true but was untrue.
Truth is being, untruth is non-being, and between the two there is a world of dreaming - it carries the qualities of both. And mind is the source of dreaming, so mind is illusory. Mind is the source of all maya.
You may be thinking that if you leave the world and go to the Himalayas you will attain to truth. You are wrong - because your house is not maya, your wife is not maya, your children. No, your mind is maya. And how can you leave the mind here and go to the Himalayas? The mind is within you. If you can drop it, you can drop it anywhere. If you cannot drop it, you cannot drop it whether you go to the Himalayas or not.
The wife, the children, the house, the world, are called maya, illusion, in a secondary sense - because the wife exists, she has a being. She is Brahman in her own right, she is truth - not as a wife, but as a soul.
Your mind interprets her as a wife: “She is my wife.” Then a dream is created. She is there, absolutely true, you are here, absolutely true - and between the two a dream happens. You call her your wife, she calls you her husband. Now a dream exists between the two, and dreams always become nightmares. So all relationships ultimately become nightmares, because you cannot tolerate an illusion very long. An illusion is temporary; sooner or later it has to disappear. It cannot be eternal, it cannot be permanent.