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svapnābham asta-dhiṣaṇaṁ puru-duḥkha-duḥkham
tvayy eva nitya-sukha-bodha-tanāv anante
māyāta udyad api yat sad ivāvabhāti
As an object of enjoyment or a permanent residence for the conditioned souls, the material universe is certainly illusion, nothing more than a dream. One may give the analogy that the vision of abundant water in a desert is no more than a dream, although real water exists elsewhere. Similarly, the vision of home, happiness and reality within matter is certainly no better than a foolish dream in which repeated miseries appear.
In another sense, however, the universe is real. In his commentary on Vedanta-sūtra, Śrīla Madhvācārya has confirmed this by quoting the following statement from the Vedic śruti-mantras: satyaṁ hy evedaṁ viśvam asṛjata. “This universe, created by the Lord, is real.” The perfect authority of the Vedas thus certifies this universe to be real; nevertheless, because our knowledge is stolen by illusion (as indicated here by the words asta-dhiṣaṇam), we cannot properly understand this universe or the Supreme Lord who has created it. As the expansion of Lord Kṛṣṇa, the universe is real and is meant for being engaged in His service. One who accepts the kingdom of God as home, the Lord Himself as the object of love, and the material universe as paraphernalia for being engaged in the Lord’s service dwells within eternal reality wherever he may go within the material and spiritual worlds.