Desikachar says (Heart of Yoga, pg 12):
If we subscribe to yogic concepts, then everything that we see, experience and feel is not illusion; it is true and real. Everything is real, including dreams, ideas and fantasies. Even avidya itself is real. This concept is called satvada.
I used to think about this back when the Matrix was released. Everyone kept saying things like the Matrix isn’t real, or that our experiences may not be real. That the world as we know it may not exist. There is a way in which these statements make sense, obviously, but there is also a way in which they don’t. Obviously illusions exist. They exist in the brains or fields of experience of the one witnessing the illusion. They also probably don’t only exist there (else we’re talking about an hallucination), but probably are created by systems that also contain the illusions’ physical foundations outside of our bodies. Iow, illusions exist in the same way that everything we experience exists.
All experiences exist. I mean, by definition (Kant). And, if you buy into the modern narrative, all experience is sourced in the physical (energic), both within our own mind-bodies, and within the world that stimulated our senses. It may well be that what we think about the experience, the things we assume about what we see and the physical (energic) foundations of it, are false.
Pegasus doesn’t exist (a horse with wings and no fossil record?? Pegasus != Pterodactyl). But the concept and image of Pegasus sure does. Those who think Pegasus doesn’t exist are just as wrong as those who think Pegasus does exist. Two kinds of avidya from different angles.
In reality, the above is pretty straightforward and most thinking people would agree with it (an assumption, but I don’t think my reality meter is that far off [obviously the Pegasus statement is self-contradictory on the face of it, but the respective level-attributions came in the preceding two sentences]). And so it kind of looks like a word based argument that doesn’t matter. However, based on the way people use words, I think we sometimes ” ” the reality of the unreal.