Wednesday, June 28, 2006

On the glory of Maya

Sri gurubhyo namaha.
-- Continued from the previous post ---
Narada said – ‘ O muni, the king was greatly astonished to see me dip in the water in a female form and get out of the tank in a male form and he thought, ‘ where is my dear wife? And how is it that the Narada muni has emerged out of the water? ' The king, not seeing his wife lamented loudly and wailed, ‘ O beautiful one, where you have gone now leaving me thus? My palace, my kingdom, my life are all quite useless now without you. What shall I do now? Why isn’t my life parting from my body, suffering thus from thy separation? My sentiment of love has deserted me forever, O sweet one, now I am left lamenting for you. Better give me your sweet reply, the love that you expressed at our first union, where has it gone now? Have you drowned in the water and have you given up your life? Or have the fishes or the crocodiles devoured you? Or have you been carried away by Varuna, the deva of the waters, much to my misfortune? O one with beautiful limbs, you are indeed blessed for you have gone away with your sons. Your affection for them was not artificial. But is it right for you to go to the heavens , attached by your affection to your sons, leaving me your distressed husband, weeping for you overcome with sorrow? I have lost both, you and my sons; yet death is not carrying me away; O! How hard is my lot! Rama is not now in this world. He knew the pain caused by the separation from one’s dearest wife. The cruel Fate has ordained very unwisely with great inconsistency the periods of parting from one another at different periods; when their minds and all other things are exactly the same in all circumstances of pleasure and pain. The practice of Sati (burning with one’s deceased husband), as ordained by the munis, is certainly for the good of the chaste women; but it would have been good no doubt, were there such practices allowed for the men to burn themselves with their deceased wives.”

Bhagavan Hari then spoke to the lamenting king in reasonable words and consoled him thus: -- “O King! Why are you thus troubling yourself with pain and sorrow? Where has your dearest wife gone? Have you not heard anything of Sastras? Have you not taken any shelter of any wise man! Who was your wife? Who are you? Of what nature was your union and disunion, and tell me, where did it take place? The union of wives and sons in this Samsara is momentary like the meetings of persons on boats, while crossing a river. O king! Now go home, there is no use in your weeping thus in vain; the union and disunion of men are always under the control of Fate, the Daiva; therefore the wise should not lament for them. O King! Your union with the woman took place here; and now you have lost that beautiful woman here also. Her father and mother you have not seen; you have got her like what is heard in the story of the crow and the Tal fruit; as you got her wonderfully, so you have lost her wonderfully. O King! Do not grieve; Time cannot be ruled over; go home and enjoy yourself subservient to Time. That beautiful woman has gone away in the manner she came to you; you ought to continue to do your stately affairs in the way you used to do before, as the ruler of all. O king, consider that if you weep day and night, that women will never return; why then are you giving vent to your sorrows in vain? Go now and have recourse to the path of the Yoga and thus while away your time. The enjoyable things come in course of time and they go away again in due course; therefore in this world of no gain whatsoever, the wise should never lament. Continuous pleasure or continuous pain does not always take place; pleasure and pain are never steady; they rotate always like a rotary instrument. Therefore, O king, make your mind calm and quiet and rule your kingdom happily; or make over the charge of the kingdom to your sons and retire to the forest. This human body is seldom obtained; it is frail; therefore getting that body it is advisable to practice the realization of the Supreme. O king, this organ of generation and this tongue reside also with the beasts, the peculiarity of the human body is that knowledge can be realized in it. Therefore leave your home, leave your sorrows for your wife; all this is the Maya of Bhagavan; by Her the world is deluded.”

Narada said – ‘ Hearing Bhagavan Hari speak thus, the king bowed before Him, the deva of devas. He then finished his bathing duties and returned to his kingdom. He then became possessed of dispassion and discrimination and making over the charges of the kingdom to his grandsons, he retired to the forest where in due course he realized the Supreme knowledge. When the king went away, Vishnu began to laugh seeing me again and again. I then told Him – ‘ O Hari, you have deceived me. I know now the greatness of the power of Maya. I now remember all that I did in my feminine form. Tell me O Hari, how did I lose my previous consciousness when I entered the tank to bathe in it.
Why was I enchanted, when I got the female form and when I got the king as my husband? The same mind I had; the old Jivatma was there and the previous subtle body was there; how then did I lose their memories? O Lord, tell me the cause of it and clear my doubts; a great doubt has arisen in my mind. I had in my female form, many kinds of enjoyment, drinking liquor and other prohibited things I tasted; O Hari, What is the cause of all these? I could not know then that I was Narada, as I now recognize clearly what I was and what I did in my female form. Enlighten me on these questions.”

Vishnu said - “Know, O Intelligent Narada, that all this is merely the pastime of Maya. There are many states (of awareness) going on in the bodies of all the living beings. The embodied beings have got their waking, dream, deep sleep and Turiya (beyond all the three above-mentioned) states; then why do you doubt that when there is another body, there would be also the change in the states? When a man sleeps, he does not know anything, he does not hear anything; but when he is awake, he again comes to know everything completely. The Chitta gets itself moved by sleep; then mind gets different states by dreams and there arise a variety of feelings. Thus, in dreams, there arise different mental states. Sometimes we see in dreams that our departed grandfathers have come to our houses. I am seeing them, talking with them and I am dining with them. Whatever pain and pleasure are felt in dreams, when they awake, they know of what happened in their dreams and can also describe them in detail, recollecting what had then happened. O Narada, know the power of the Unborn Maya to be incomprehensible, as the things seen in dreams cannot be known with certainty that all those are false. O muni, neither I, nor Shambhu, nor Brahma can measure the power wielded by Maya and Her three gunas, which is very hard to fathom. How then, can any ordinary mortal know them! Therefore, O Narada, none is able to fathom the Maya. This world, moving and non-moving, is fashioned out of the triple gunas of the Unborn Maya; nothing whatsoever can exist without them. The predominant guna in me is Sattva; but Rajas and Tamas exist in me; being the Lord of this world, I cannot override the three gunas. Thus your father, Brahma, is predominant in Rajo guna; but Sattva and Tamas never leave Him, Our Mahadeva is predominant in Tamo guna, but Sattva and Rajo are always with him. Therefore, no being can exist as separate from the three gunas; this point has been settled in the shruti. Therefore, O Lord of the Munis, quit this endless moha for the world, caused by Maya, very hard to get over, and worship Bhagavati, Who is of the nature of Brahman. Now you have seen the power of Maya; and you have enjoyed many things produced by Maya and you have realized the extremely wonderful nature of Her. Then why do you ask me further on this point?”

Bhole naath!
From a 1921 translation (adapted at parts verbatim at others) of the Bhagavatham.


K said...

Beautifully narrated.

"Therefore, O Lord of the Munis, quit this endless moha for the world, caused by Maya, very hard to get over, and worship Bhagavati, Who is of the nature of Brahman.
"Going back to your previous post , " Desire - A power or distraction? "
Should we conclude then , saying that desire(Maya) is a power in the hands of the Devi and a distraction for us Mortals.

More on Maya from Narayana Menon.

Maya is something that seems to be what it is not. Maya is not the absence of something, but the apparent presence of something that is not real. What Maya gave rise to was not a non existent snake in the rope; it was a snake that was not the rope, as one is not scared by an absent snake; one is scared by a snake that was not the rope.
The world is not something that is non existent; it is just not what it appears to be. There is only Brahman. It appears either as Brahman or as the universe. We should not conclude that one is not in the other; We should conclude that one is not something different from the other.

<< I sure need some of that Herb >>
- K

mooligai sidhan said...

Boom, very good point regarding the nature of Maya being power in the hands of the Devi and a distraction to us mortals. But Iam not ready to conclude that yet, as there is more deliberation to follow on the nature of Maya.
The light thrown on maya (and what it is)from your quote by Narayana menon is interesting too. It arrives at the end conclusion re Maya but fails to sufficiently explain why the one is also essentialy the other (Maya and Brahman). I will attempt that in the post to follow. Please bear with me till then!
Now, what did you say about the herb?!:)

mooligai sidhan said...

''Maya is not the absence of something, but the apparent presence of something that is not real'' - The apparent presence of something that is not real is impossible. As, if all was/is Brahman, then ALL is real. Because Brahman is REAL. Maya might be better described as the power by which the One being (Brahman)is manifest and percieved (by itself)in a multiplicity of form and name.More elaboration on this point will follow.