That other person is not who I believe that person is, but rather the perception I interpret of that person to be. That individual’s relation to me is in direct proportion to the interpretation of myself that I harbor. For in my comprehension of Selfhood, the rubric I use to determine self is the resource I also use to evaluate others as independent selves living close to me – me as a construct of the mind and as an acceptance of the illusion of this world – what Shankaracharya referred to as practical truth. 

Centuries before the Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume, Shankaracharya, considered the preeminent Hindu philosopher of Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy of nondualism, suggested the five senses to be accurately suspect reporting the nature of reality to any human being. Experiences impress themselves upon every person. 

Upbringing opens certain doors of interpretation for children and closes the doors to points of view representing differences along religious, political, economic, ethnic, and cultural lines. Hume suggested what we experience as reality is limited and inaccurate. 

A person's internal mental attributes as the antah-karana, which creates a mental image of the object perceived.” This practically is how Hume would address the questions of perception, truth, what is real, and the overall ability for human beings to know. This is the cause of ignorance. Human beings living under the illusion of practical truth do so because they rely on their antah-karana. This is, perhaps, the most profound form of attachment. Self-reliance assures samara and avidya. The unenlightened are attached to a world of illusion. Ignorance, avidya, is the source of unenlightenment. This ignorance determines how we “size up” others vis a vis ourselves and how we reciprocate the process of self-evaluation. We believe we are singular, distinct, conscious beings with subjective experiences capable of discerning fact from fiction, truth from falsehood. 

Shankaracharya’s work was a deep and consistent effort to comprehend Brahman's union and the Atman – being one and the same. The two phrases attributed to Shankara, “tat tvam asi” (That is what you are) and “aham brahmasmi” (I am Brahman), encapsulate the entirety of Shankara’s philosophical work and legacy. Hence, I believe Jesus invites me to embrace the only true reality, which is this The I AM, and I am, are One. There is no other reality, no other truth. When I accept this truth, I no longer operate within the realm of practical truth. I am now elevated to ultimate truth, as Shankara referred to the transformation of mind when I am open to God’s revelation. I no longer apply illusory and inferior modes of epistemology to interpret or perceive a world of matter and dualism. 

Ultimate truth sees reality as the non-dualistic perspective of brahman-realization or brahmanubhava: The I AM and I am, are One.


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