brahma satyam jagan mithyA jIvo brahmaiva nAparaH. This is the source usually that people comment on and describe Brahman alone as real and all else is false.
Its very basic and spoken about to much without the real context, this is the translation issue and mostly misunderstood with people who are not familiar with traditional advaita as opposed to Neo or modern advaita that is negotiating topics without the real foundations, it just causes confusion, and while I am non dualist to put in the simplest terms I would not advice much to be read at the moment on many Modern Neo Translations, its more or less a shambles, it better to know sanatana dharma as a very old culture that existed perfectly without translations and foreign imput.
mithyA, is the one that causes the most problem life reality is an illusion, all this is false, that would tend to go in the direction fo Nihilism, when bramavada promotes bhuman consciousness, or wholeness and fullness of Being, if it goes in the right direction we can then slowly lead up to dharmas which lead or help in the realization of what ultimate reality is and all dharmas also temporary, but they are not illusions, there comes a point where they will not be necessary.
Lets stick with mithyA for now, for those studying Sanskrit the A~ā ~ar at the end is important in revealing the nature of the compound, which makes it a natural adharma. The problem with academic study is that Sanskrit compounds are studied to much as independent sources and cuts it off or isolates it from the rest of the compound or text and deeper fabric of the whole. Many of the Upanishads are talking about direct experience in ancient language, not just old ancient but also in higher realms of ordinary consciousness, at the moment its like blind leading blind.
mithyA this means unreal and is associated with outward and inward perception of the mind Svapna, that’s why mithyA is always linked with the dream state, dream state is svapna mind, mind has two aspects inner subtle and outer linked to sense perception, the avastha's states are so badly translated and makes a whole mess of the study of consciousness in terms of the genuine advaita approach. Its really better to start with the evolution in sad dharshans and understand what perception is at the root, I think dharshan can help to understand the nature of dristi or view as something that is conscious and not literal. Brahman is Adrishtam as per mandukhya upanishad si brahman absent of dristi, it cannot even be known by dristi, dristi being all sight, dristi is aligned to maximum potential in prajna which is the direct power of Brahman, there temporary but vital moments of awakening, that support compounds of samadhi to produce jnana and veda, knowledge of the Absolute, Dharshan is best translated as Vision, it’s a awakened cognitive experience not a view based in theory. Although its hard to find really good translated works, better to keep study and practice together.
Maya is also tricky to translated as illusion, maya is divided into two, lower maya and higher maya~mahamaya, mind and sense consciousness ~lower maha or greater maya~intermediate state where lower maya has woken up and become~mahamaya~ devi, agreeable mixture of shiva and shakti producing non conceptual non duals reminders of the absolute and reprogramme the chiita, so to say Maya is an illusion is also wrong, mahamaya unlocks the knowledge for realization of ultimate reality, maya is related to Svapna and Jagrat or mind consciousness based around the 5 senses, Mahamaya is intermediate, para above or beyond mind and sense consciousness, third stage, the most important stage to be cultivated as a human being, and perhaps the most attacked and misunderstood part of the dharma. mahamaya is universal awareness prajna and knowledge into the Absolute reality. I wouldnt go about trying to make synthesis of the teachings via translatios, its slowly developing, practice is better, in arupa stages wisdom is acquired directly, then you will see the unique universal and unified by diverse natures of dharma along with Absolute Reality.
Adrishtam-avyavaharayam-agrahyam- alakshanam-acintyam-avyapadesyam-ekatma-pratyayasaram, prapancopasarnam santam sivam-advaitam caturtham manyante sa tm sa vijneyah mantra 7 Mandukhya Upanishad.
This is the highest pramana of the rishis, but I wouldnt worry or even try to think and intellectualize about this to much, it wont work.
Mind and sense consciousness is mithyA , its real but its temporary and is based in causes and conditions. This is the dream state, it can be known as dream because consciousness is in false perception of what it is and how it identifies and explains the world and ones own existence.
Mind needs training slowly to change its perception of reality, this is practice however one has it, without practice, unless one has natural ability Mind and sense consciousness by its own power cannot work reality out, at this point we need to develop the subtle manas or mind. Mainly most external processes is to bring all dual energies to a single point of qualified equanimity, if that’s perfected one may have the experience of 3 type of consciousness, non-conceptual consciousness known roughly as intermediate state, which is the heart of Mahayana.
mithyA then it ordinary sense and mind perception, it real but not lasting and is dependant on causes. Manas s associating with lower maya and sense contact.
Most of what we call Hinduism is shruti, there are textual pramanas that comes in lineage and there is direct experience pramanas that comes in the intermediate stage, as experience, they are one and the same. How Shruti comes into textual grammar has a certain process of translating non-conceptual reality in the intermediate stage back into the normal conventional world we experience through mind and the 5 senses, what the texts say cannot be understood through normal manas and sense percetion.
Brahman is knowing, experience is something particular in the shastras and Vedanta, brahma is not experience, its nirguna, he never mixes or even touches maya or though he appears to, when they do in subtle realms they become non dual, Maya looses all form and Brahma alone is left, this is advaita. What Brahman is as a substance of knowing can’t be understood directly or explained, nowhere in the Upanishads is Brahma actually given any definition, but it is able to be known. The higher Upanishads deal with Direct perception of the Absolute, above the intermediate stage, tuirya. Its almost useless to speculate and bring it into a conception, all concepts fails, even all dharmas are eventually not enough, as Brahman reveals itself by its own power and that is acintya. Mahamaya just serves one up to Brahman, siva.
mithyA, false perception. If that modification is removed by knowledge then one sees the same world for what it, not as an illusion, but as a something that has no start and no end, and is always in flux and seems unsteady.
Mithya in the literal sense means false/untrue.
But used in the Advaitic context it means Transient hence Unreal.
Anything that is Transient is subject to the law of change..hence it does not last forever..so termed Unreal(Mithya), but its not entirely false or unreal, try walking in front of bus
Unreal as in Transient does not mean that an event did not happen..events happen but it is subject to change so its Transient..anything that remains the same is Real(Sathyam)