The above portrait can easily be misunderstood to be a snake if we don’t observe with scrutiny. What gives, you might ask, correct? It is the problem of differentiating the different elements of nature that give rise to this illusion. It might be the fault of our perception, we might be sore from all the daily activities that we didn’t process our input correctly or both. There are many ways for the illusion/error to occur, at least in the Epistemology of dvaita-vedanta of Srila Madhvacharya. However, that doesn’t limit us from analysing the illusion’s elements.
According to Madhva, the illusion is comprised of two real entities. First is the actual object as it should be perceived and the object for which it is mistaken. Both are real in the sense that if we are not aware of the existence of a snake, how can we identify a snake(even if it is faulty) and the rope itself is real(unless you are a solipsist). Here the rope is called the adhisthana which means it is the basis for the illusion to occur.
However, when we go near the rope shown in the picture, touch it or throw a stone at it(rude much!) what we actually do is a test for our previous encounters and match it without previous results thus dispelling the doubt/illusion.
Using the above logical argument, Madhva challenges the concept of the world being mithya or illusory. Madhva argues that if we consider our world to be illusory, we are forced to accept the fact that both the world(object misperceived) and the adhisthana must be real, forcing the Advaitavadis to accept two real worlds.
The extensive explanations on panchabedha of Madhva show us how to dispel errors in our cognition and the erroneous ways of Advaitavada. It is the fundamentality of the differences and its extensive study and commentary that makes dvaita-vedanta logically sound while adhering to scriptural testimony.
However, one might argue, after seeing this scene from Despicable Me 3 film above that the Unicorns are real since how can Agnes mistake a one-horned goat for Unicorns if they don’t exist in the first place? More on this later!