Thursday, June 29, 2006

More on Maya

Sri gurubhyo namaha.

Some of you, perhaps, read and re read the story that was told through the past 3 posts. And maybe some of you noticed that the term 'Unborn' is used in quite a few places in the narrative to describe Maya. Perhaps, you questioned that in your own mind to try and ascertain the reasons for the use of such a term- and maybe you arrived at a conclusion from lots of deliberation? But, it could very well be that I am too delusional (being the romantic that I am) in expecting that! So, here is some additional context that might help in understanding the nature of Maya.
The great Maya (MahaMaya) is said to be unborn, as She is precisely that - Unborn! ''How so?'' I hear you question -
Maya is unborn because Her nature is that of the three gunas. It has been established by the learned that Prakruti is that state which is the equipoise (equilibrium) of the three gunas. In this state the activity of each of the gunas neutralize the other - i.e. the 3 gunas are present, but as they are in equilibrium nothing is produced not lost as a result of the gunas. Everything in this embodied universe (whether seen or not) is a result of the action of these 3 gunas. Thus Maya is inherent (due to Her being of the nature of the 3 gunas) in the very nature of this Moola Prakruti. Just like how in the banyan seed the size of a mustard, an immense tree is inherent (though there is no indication of that from the appearance of the seed itself). Maya (or the 3 gunas which are the components of Maya) is thus inherent in Prakruti (albeit in a latent/neutralized form).
Thus Maya is spontaneously manifest from the Unborn and eternal Prakruti, when that state of equilibrium of the 3 gunas is disturbed due to an agitation ( the nature and cause of the said agitation is for another day). Thus instantly and spontaneously many evolutes are manifest from the One cause. Hence this Maha Maya precedes all creation and as such is unborn and She forms the basis of all creation.

This nature of Maya having been established, brings before us the next question - How does this Maya operate? And what purpose does Her (Maya's) operation serve? There are many out there who would have you believe (if you gave them even half a chance) that Her chief purpose is to delude the jivas. They would paint a picture, quite terrible in nature, and quote endless scriptures to argue that Maya is the cause of all our woes. They would tell you that were it not for Maya and her deluding influence, we (humans) would always be at one with the Brahman. Furthermore, they would have it that Maya is the reason for the endless suffering in the circle of birth and death - the constantly turning wheel of Samsara.
But, ask yourself this - Would the Supreme Brahman (the root and essence of all creation), who is in the nature of Sat Chit Ananda (eternal,consciousness, bliss) and who is in the nature of Love, have it in His/Her/It's heart to delude on purpose? And what end could we assign for such delusion (of His/Her/It self)?? Why cause the birth of endless universes, all of them founded on and operating through an exquisite system of natural law (Dharma) - if the sole purpose behind is to deliver the worlds and beings so created in to an endless cycle of sorrow and delusion? It doesn't make any sense, does it?
My heart tells me that it certainly cannot be true that Maya is delusion (of a negative and misleading kind). Maya is delusion all right, I give you that, but She isn't a cruel joke played on the universe by its creator. If She is delusion, then Her purpose is to delude the Purusha (Brahman). For, when the One Being the Supreme Brahman (this Brahman is a 50 - 50 mix of Purusha and Prakruti, Siva&Shakti, consciousness & Power, Potential & Kinetic) 'desired, may I be many', then the Prakruti part of the Brahman energized herself (thereby disturbing the equilibrium state of the inherent 3 gunas). Were it not for the 'magic' of the effects of this energising of Prakruti, it would not be possible for the One Brahman (the Lord who desired to create and become manifold) to become manifest as many. This state of energized (activated) gunas is Maya and She immediately gives birth to the principal evolutes of Mahat (The Great one - which is to be understood as Manas, Buddhi and Ahamkara) and then the five Jyanendriyas(5 organs of sense perception) and the five Karmendriyas (5 organs of action) and they subsequently give birth to the 5 subtle elements from which the 5 gross elements (of ether,air,fire,water and earth) are born. The world as we know it is a gross and much later evolute that proceeded from the various combinations of the above mentioned 5 gross elements. Thus Maya precedes all and is Herself an aspect of the supreme Shakti (Para Shakti). It is through the veil of Maya that the world appears manifold and it is through the piercing of this veil that the world appears as the One Brahman. By 'piercing' I do not mean conquering or destroying etc - I mean 'piercing' or penetrating, similar to the piercing of the granthis (knots) in the sushumna by the Kundalini shakti as she ascends towards the Sahasrara.
A more detailed analysis of what has been discussed above will follow soon in another post where we will look at this aided by the Sankhya and the Tantrika points of view.
Part of this point is also touched upon by the following sloka in the Varivasya.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

hi

Anonymous said...

maya is really a maya.....
i'm trying to understand it with me as an example
the bramhan is my true self..from this is born the maya of I...meaning i'm a dentist..am asister..daughter...etc
then i act the character that i choose for the moment....followed by expressing the emotions that i persume is right.......and over a period of time starting to beleive the characters to be real while the self is burried deep inside all these .......forgotten and uncared for
but with awareness when u become a witness to the whole event u find ur self....and then u also understand that maya is also a part of the self and that it is not illusion as u persumed when u were witnesing it....then u start living life through the veil of maya.......
hema

mooligai sidhan said...

Hi Hema, lovely to see you here. If you were to attempt to understand the nature of Maya, you have to look away from the example of yourself. From our previous posts, starting with the second one until the last one,it can be understood that if anything Maya preceeds most other things. Therefore the 'I' and the identification of your self to that 'I' of which you speak of, is a result of the Brahman originally identifying with 'I' (refer to shruti which says, '' the Lord desired, may I be many'').That forms the seed for Ahamkara or the I ness, which from then on becomes an integral part of all creation (even on the Tatva level)both subtle and gross. The point that the Tantras and other Shakta(worshippers of Shakti)texts stress is that this Maya is not something to be gotten over - that is to say, of the four Purusharthas (Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha)the first three are acchievable only through Maya (or where Maya is operational). The state where the perception of difference/duality is dissolved by the full and complete understanding of the oneness between the induvidual and the universe(that is to say the rest of the created universe)and the oneness of the above two to the supreme Brahman is Moksha or liberation. Maya thus becomes inseperable from life and the continuity of life in all worlds (of the devas, of people and of the asuras).

Anonymous said...

Baba..
mmmmmmstill not clear on the subject ....if i say the supreme bramhan as the ocean and all the rest(people,things,events..etc)as bubbles which are diferrent from eachother but as long as they exist they are real but inthe end they are anyways a part of the ocean ...they are the ocean ...and it only coz of the maya the bubbles came into existence ...without maya there is only stillnes...
hema

Anonymous said...

i clearly understand mayais beyond description....is beyond our understanding of existence..but i'm trying to get a glimse of her in all the context that i'm trying to limit her......trying to understand the traces of her effects which we as human feel though we are nearly nonexistent in her drama....hema

mooligai sidhan said...

Hi hema, ''if i say the supreme bramhan as the ocean and all the rest(people,things,events..etc)as bubbles which are diferrent from eachother but as long as they exist they are real but inthe end they are anyways a part of the ocean'' - the events and people and the world etc never cease to exist. You and I might die when the time comes but there will be others to replace (we will come back again, even)- all this phenomena will continue to exist forever. For, even when they appear to non exist (at the time of each maha pralaya), they are still there. Just like the oil that exists in the sesame seed (which is there even before its pressed out, but not in a form that is percieved by us to be oil)even though invisible, the universe will continue to exist in its ''seed'' form. This process by which the universe is revealed (manifest)and then absorbed (into itself) is termed 'anugraha' and 'tirodhana' respectively.
I feel Maya is a great teacher who can teach through Her multiplicity of form that All this is One. Moreover Maya is not something or some person that is a third entity - you, me, all this world, brahma, vishnu &c are all the emanations and personifications of this Maya. It cannot be seperated as to exist out of you/us.

mooligai sidhan said...

It just occured to me to tell you something - I was going to elaborate on this at a later stage in the blog, but here goes. The 'deluding' and 'illusory' effect of Maya can be compared to the 'stinging' of the thorn - that is to say, the thorn even though in possession of its inherent nature to sting, cannot sting one who is 'aware' (of its stinging nature and thus avoids handling the thorn). Similarly Maya is deluding and confusing to those who are not aware of Her nature and even though She continues to exist (as the 3 gunas and their derivatives)She becomes a power in the hands of those who are aware of Her nature. It is only by utilising Her power that Brahma creates, Vishnu preserves and Shiva absorbs - by the consious use of Her power. And if (at least in theory) you and I are not any different to Shiva or Vishnu, I am sure the concious use of this power will make us in to another Shiva or Vishu!

Anonymous said...

baba...i just was reading the blog again ....and suddenly this one line....hit me and i'm tripping on this
refer to shruti which says, '' the Lord desired, may I be many'').That forms the seed for Ahamkara or the I ness, which from then on becomes an integral part of all creation (even on the Tatva level)both subtle and gross.
a new way of looking at ego.....it is just too beautiful
hema