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Spiritual Discrimination Between Real And Unreal In Hinduism

 Viveka is the spiritual discrimination between real and unreal in Hinduism. Viveka is the faculty that enables one to discriminate between the real and the unreal. By viveka alone one is able to distinguish between the eternal and the ephemeral, the shreya (good) and the preya (pleasant). It is kindled and cultivated by satsanga (holy company), study of knowledge, musing over the absolute reality, chanting of sacred syllables and devotional songs. Righteous actions of one’s past life have much to do with this. The growth of viveka in a person is through three states – aspiration and inquisitiveness, inner illumination through knowledge and total awareness of reality.

Viveka is the way to find release from the cycle of birth and death. From spiritual discrimination between real and unreal comes the knowledge of Truth. It stems from a feeling of devotion to the Supreme Reality, which forms the substratum of the phenomenal world. With discriminative cognition, one realizes that the objective existence of name and form is delusory; the sole Reality is the subject, the witness of the phenomenon called the Brahman in its macroscopic form and atman in its mircocosmic manifestation and recognizes also that both are one.

Though the eternal spirit envelops all and animates life, it remains unaffected by individual actions (karma), bodily changes, states of mind, time, space, and causation. It is indivisible, incombustible, unborn and everlasting.

Bereft of discriminative discernment, the individual entangles himself in unnecessary worldly pursuits – his consciousness gets stuck in the lower nerve plexus, called muladhara, svadhisthana and manipura and cannot move upwards towards the cranial psychic force center called sahasrara. The light of spiritual discrimination between real and unreal removes the darkness of nescience, ego, attachment, repulsion and subtle desires, and helps one to be established in one’s true, divine nature.

With the power of viveka one can perceive the cosmic self in the individual self, the cosmic mind in the individual mind and the cosmic consciousness in the individual consciousness. As a spiritual aspirant shed his finite individuality in order to be with the infinite being, he ceases to engage himself in sinful and selfish deeds, and is filled with love and compassion for others. He finds the world around as his own self magnified.