Maya

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Mahalakshmi -In Hinduism, māyā is also seen as a form of Laksmi, a Divine Goddess. Her most famous explication is seen in the Devi Mahatmyam, where she is known as Mahamāyā. Because of its association with the goddess, Mayā is now a common girl's name in India and amongst the Indian diaspora around the world.

Maya or Māyā (Sanskrit माया māyāa[›]) is a term found in Pali and Sanskrit literature which has multiple meanings and is often translated as "illusion" or "delusion".

Quotes[edit]

Helena Petrovna Blavatsky:Thus annihilation means, in the Buddhist philosophy, only a dispersion of matter, in whatever form or semblance of form it may be; for everything that bears a shape was created, and thus must sooner or later perish i.e. change that shape. Therefore, as something temporary, though seeming to be permanent, it is but an illusion, Maya; for eternity has neither beginning nor end, the more or less prolonged duration of some particular form passes, as it were, like an instantaneous flash of lighting.
  • Whoever is unacquainted with my law and dies in that state, must return to the earth till he becomes a perfect Samanean. To achieve this object, he must destroy within himself the trinity of Maya. He must extinguish his passions, unite and identify himself with the law (the teaching of the secret doctrine) and comprehend the religion of annihilation. Here annihilation refers but to matter.
    • Buddha, in “Isis Unveiled: Secrets of the Ancient Wisdom Tradition, Madame Blavatsky's ...”, p. 61.
  • The Sanskrit word ‘maya’ refers to all things that can be measured. Human understanding of the world is limited, hence measurable, hence maya. To believe this maya is truth is delusion. Beyond maya, beyond human values and human judgements, beyond the current understanding of the world, is a limitless reality which makes room for everyone and everything. That reality is God.
Devdutt Pattanaik: The Goddess is Maya, embodiment of all delusions. She is Shakti, personification of energy. She is Adi, primal, as ancient and boundless as the soul...The embodiment of Adi- Maya-Shakti – Durga is the invincible one. She is at once bride and warrior. The one establishes home, provides pleasure, produces children and offers food.
Vivekananda:Almost all of you have heard of the word Maya. Generally it is used, though incorrectly, to denote illusion, or delusion, or some such thing. But the theory of Maya forms one of the pillars upon which the Vedanta rests; it is, therefore, necessary that it should be properly understood.
  • The Goddess is Maya, embodiment of all delusions. She is Shakti, personification of energy. She is Adi, primal, as ancient and boundless as the soul...The embodiment of Adi- Maya-Shakti – Durga is the invincible one. She is at once bride and warrior. The one establishes home, provides pleasure, produces children and offers food.
  • Without the help of the indescribable Maya, the neo-Vedantic doctrine cannot be sustained, Maya in the sense of avidya or the cause of illusion has never been used in the Vedas.
    • Raj Pruthi, in “Vedic Civilization (1 January 2004)”, p. 222.
  • Wherever the word Maya occurs [In Rigveda] it is used only to signify the might or the power.
    • Raj Pruthi, in “Vedic Civilization (1 January 2004)”, p. 222.
Bamian Buddha before it was desecrated--Ramakrishna: How can Brahman be differentiated or desecrated? The guru had one more lesson, the greatest of his life, to learn. He would never condescend to admit of Maya or Shakti. Brahman only exists—this was his refrain.
  • Remember that daya, compassion, and maya, attachment,
    are two different things. Attachment means the feeling of
    'my-ness' towards one's relatives.
    Compassion is the love one feels
    for all beings of the world.
    It is an attitude of equality. Maya also comes from God.
    Through maya, God makes one serve one's relatives.
    But one thing should be remembered
    mAyA keeps us in ignorance and entangles
    us in the world, whereas daya
    makes our hearts pure and gradually unties our bonds.
  • The oldest idea of Maya that we find in the Vedic literature is the sense of delusion; but then the real theory had not been reached. We find such passages as, "Indra through his Maya assumed various forms." Here it is true the word Maya means something like magic, and we find various other passages, always taking the same meaning.
  • And the answer given was very significant: "Because we talk in vain, and because we are satisfied with the things of the senses, and because we are running after desires; therefore, we, as it were, cover the Reality with a mist." Here the word Maya is not used at all, but we get the idea that the cause of our ignorance is a kind of mist that has come between us and the Truth.
  • O everyone of us there must come a time when the whole universe will be found to have been a mere dream, … The same world which was the ghastly battle-field of Maya is now changed into something good and beautiful. The moment we come to know the inner voice and understand what it is, the whole scene changes. The same world which was a ghastly battlefield of Maya is now changed into something good and beautiful.
  • We see that beyond this Maya the Vedantic philosophers find something which is not bound by Maya; and if we can get there, we shall not be bound by Maya. This idea is in some form or other the common property of all religions. But, with the Vedanta, it is only the beginning of religion and not the end. The idea of a Personal God, the Ruler and Creator of this universe, as He has been styled, the Ruler of Maya, or nature, is not the end of these Vedantic ideas; it is only the beginning. The idea grows and grows until the Vedantist finds that He who, he thought, was standing outside, is he himself and is in reality within. He is the one who is free, but who through limitation thought he was bound.
  • This Maya is everywhere. It is terrible. Yet we have to work through it. The man who says that he will work when the world has become all good and then he will enjoy bliss is as likely to succeed as the man who sits beside the Ganga and says, "I will ford the river when all the water has run into the ocean." The way is not with Maya, but against it. This is another fact to learn. We are not born as helpers of nature, but competitors with nature. We are its bond-masters, but we bind ourselves down. Why is this house here? Nature did not build it. Nature says, go and live in the forest. Man says, I will build a house and fight with nature, and he does so. The whole history of humanity is a continuous fight against the so-called laws of nature, and man gains in the end. Coming to the internal world, there too the same fight is going on, this fight between the animal man and the spiritual man, between light and darkness; and here too man becomes victorious. He, as it were, cuts his way out of nature to freedom.
  • Theories had been propounded and repeated, others had been taken up, until at last the idea of Maya became fixed. We read in the Shvetashvatara Upanishad, "Know nature to be Maya and the Ruler of this Maya is the Lord Himself." Coming to our philosophers, we find that this word Maya has been manipulated in various fashions, until we come to the great Shankaracharya.

The Hindu Mind: Fundamentals of Hindu Religion and Philosophy for All Ages[edit]

An lluminated parchment depicting the Fall of Man, cause of Original Sin - Bansi Pandit: In Hindu view, the cause of human birth is not Original Sin (from Christian doctrine), but the original ignorance called maya. The difference between these two concepts is that the Original Sin is a moral error whereas the original ignorance (maya) is the lack of the right knowledge of the Ultimate Reality, a metaphysical error.

Bansi Pandit The Hindu Mind: Fundamentals of Hindu Religion and Philosophy for All Ages (1 January 2001)

  • Maya, one of the key terms in Hindu religious tradition, is used in various connotations, implying a principle, power or process. Since in Hindu view non-existence can never be the source of creation (just as a plant can never sprout without a seed), maya is the metaphysical principle that is used in Hindu religion to explain the projection of the phenomenal world by Brahman.
    • Bansi Pandit, in p. 61.
  • There are two predominant views among Hindu scholars relating to the concept of maya. In some philosophical systems, maya refers to the mysterious power (or the cosmic energy) of the Supreme Being with which he projects the universe from Himself. Because of maya things and beings are brought into existence, incarnations are born, humans play their roles on the stage of life, and the divine play of life (leela) continues age after age.
    • Bansi Pandit, in p. 61.
In other philosophical systems including Advaita Vedanta, maya is thought of as cosmic illusion or ignorance (avidya) that deludes the atman into forgetting its own divine nature. This forgetfulness of its true nature further causes the atman to mistakenly identify itself with the body and mind, assume individuality, and thus subject itself to the physical limitations in the phenomenal world(samsara).
  • Maya is nothing but the egotism of the embodied Atman. This egotism has covered everything like a veil. All troubles come to an end when the ego dies. This maya, that is to say, the ego, is like a cloud. The sun cannot be seen on account of a thin patch of cloud; when that disappears one sees the sun. If by grace of the guru one’s ego vanishes, then one sees God.
    • Ramakrishna, p. 62.
  • According to the most Hindu representative view, the atman, when associated with a physical body, identifies itself with the body under the influence of maya. Maya is the cosmic illusion or the original ignorance.
    • Bansi Pandit, p. 119.
  • I am not manifest to all, being veiled by yoga-maya and its delusion the world knows Me not, the unborn and immutable (BG 7.25).
The lake seen as a mirage in deserts - Bansi Pandit: ...These dual powers of maya create a mirage-like effect, similar to falsely identifying a rope as a snake in dull light or mistaking sand for water in a desert. Under the influence of maya, the atman does not change, but forgets its divine nature and becomes apart of the phenomenal world, which is also projected by maya.
  • Under the influence of maya, the atman forgets its divine nature, identifies itself with the body and mind, assumes individuality and thus enjoys pleasures and suffers pain in the world. Maya has two powers: the power of veiling the Ultimate Reality, and the power of falsely projecting the Ultimate Reality as something else. These dual powers of maya create a mirage-like effect, similar to falsely identifying a rope as a snake in dull light or mistaking sand for water in a desert. Under the influence of maya, the atman does not change, but forgets its divine nature and becomes apart of the phenomenal world, which is also projected by maya.
    • Bansi Pandit, in p. 119.

Krishna: A Sourcebook[edit]

Yogmaya enshrined in a temple in Delhi - Bhagavata:Maya has another face in the Bhagavata, however. This role of maya is especially discernible under the name Yogmaya, which occurs in the context of Krishna’s lila. Yogmaya covers the pure liberated souls in the lila and her power of illusion, such that they are unaware of Krishna’s real nature and thus relate to him not as God but rather as their friend, lover or child, and so on.

Edwin Francis Bryant, in Krishna: A Sourcebook 2007

  • Maya has another face in the Bhagavata, however. This role of maya is especially discernible under the name Yogmaya, which occurs in the context of Krishna’s lila. Yogmaya covers the pure liberated souls in the lila and her power of illusion, such that they are unaware of Krishna’s real nature and thus relate to him not as God but rather as their friend, lover or child, and so on.
    • In Bhagavata, quoted in “Krishna: A Sourcebook”, p. 116.
  • Everything other than Vasudeva, since it is a product of maya, is not real. Vasudeva alone is real, is the dearest because He is the Self.
    • Bhaktirasyana, in p. 324.
  • I am a sinner who was blinded by maya that I did battle with the Supreme Lord. Miserable me....Save me! Save me!
    • Indra, the demi god’s confession and prayer before Lord Krishna, in p. 184.
  • Made blind by your maya, I did a great wrong in fighting you
    Forgive this crime of mine, I fall at your feet.
    Purge me of my evil-mindedness,
    I will follow the path of devotion to you.
    • Indra's prayers to Lord Krishna in p. 184.
  • He is the master magician (mayavin), Krishna is in the final analysis...Himself … a product of this maya.
    • Julian F.Woods, p. 7.

External links[edit]

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