Q: Does, “Jagat Mithya” mean that the world is non-existent?
A: The word Jagat means manyness or plurality here. Jagat Mithya means that the the sense of otherness is an illusion. There is one absolute truth appearing as many. So, Jagat Mithya does not mean that the world is non-existent. The world does exist but just like water appears to get divided by a partition while water remaining the same, manyness is only apparent. Everything is consciousness whether it remains undifferentiated or appears as many.
Q: If the truth is only one why there are so many theories of creation put forward by various religions & philosophies?
A: If you ask a frog in the well about creation what can it say? When we want to know about the purpose and cause of creation, we need to see this from the perspective of the creator and not from the perspective of someone who is part of the creation. Since absolute truth is consciousness and there is nothing else but it from its perspective, actually there is no creation (please refer to this). But since answer is to be given to somebody living within the creation asking this question, various attempts are made to come out with the most sensible answer applicable at that particular point of time.
Consider an ornament made of pure gold for example sake. To a person, it is indeed a real ornament. However, gold ornament is made of gold atoms. From the perspective of gold, it is only gold, there is no shape called ornament.
Likewise, from the perspective of Jiva, there is creation and hence there are various theories of creation. However, from the perspective of pure consciousness, there is nothing else but it, so there is no creation at all.
Here is one way of looking at the symbolism of Dashehara:
Ravan has 10 heads which is the symbol of strong egotism (Ego + Doership = Egotism).
Ram is the symbol of pure Consciousness.
Dashehara is the day when egotism is defeated by pure Consciousness. It can be viewed as enlightenment.
In the following verse Krishn as Consciousness says:
[Bhagvad Gita, Chapter 12, Verse 8]
Meaning: Apply mind in me and apply intellect in me only; subsequently you will reside in me only, there is no doubt in this.
Comment: Bhakti goes beyond the blind following of rituals if one is seeking Self.
Bhagvad Gita is a conversation between Consciousness (Krishn) & Jiva (Arjun). The following verse spoken by Krishn talks about bhakti with mind.
[Bhagvad Gita, Chapter 8, Verse 14]
The above implies that whosoever always and constantly thinks about Self with undivided mind, to that Yogi ever absorbed in Self, the Self is easily attainable.
Bhakti does not necessarily mean following certain ritual. There is no pointing chanting AUM a thousand times just for the sake of doing it. There is no point in just watching breath or dissolving in meditation samadhi or having epiphany if Self Inquiry is not made to find out the seer. Many people even after NDE (near death experience) are unable to know that they are pure Consciousness because they get immersed in the amazing experience of unconditional love etc. and do not do Self Inquiry. It does mean something useful if chanting AUM brings mind back to think about the Self. Self inquiry is the direct method of Self Realisation which involves doing no ritual whatsoever. A seeker always needs to inquire, “Who is the seer?” or, “How do I know what I know?” or “Who am I really?” and engage in negation.
Kabir says, “Kar ka manka dari de, man ka manka pher” which means drop the beads of rosary and rotate the beads of mind.
PS: Some rituals can be useful if their symbolisms are understood. For example, every time you apply bindi or tilak remember that your final goal is Self Realisation and apply the mind to Self Inquiry.
It is said that while tomorrow you can forget what you hear today but you seldom forget cycling or swimming. Self-Realisation/Aparokshanubhooti is the direct knowledge of the Self. It is not a bookish knowledge, epiphany without true realisation, belief or faith.
[Panchadasi, Chapter 7, Triptideep Prakraran, Verse 62]
The above implies that once the intellect develops to recognise the truth of the Atman then any behaviour/false-identification involving/caused-due-to body, mind, energy, intellect, bliss does not cause the loss of this intellect. To live in the apparent reality, false identification has to be done. The enlightened person does respond when called by a name. He/she still signs cheques and does all the routine jobs involving false identifications. But, just like an actor does not remain character of the play after the act, the enlightened person can get rid of these false identifications. Aparokshanubooti (direct knowledge) is generally irreversible in the long run.