11.13.2009

The character of Maya

Adi Shankaracharya has composed 5 stanzas of excellence that describe Maya.

Three Stanzas that really made me smile are:

Stanza 2: Maya, which is an adept at making the impossible happen, makes even those who have mastered the Vedas and Upanishads behave no better than a four legged animal by tempting them with wealth and possessions. What a pity!

Stanza 4: Maya, which is an adept at making the impossible happen, creates in the pure bliss-consciousness which is devoid of attributes such as caste, creed and the like, the notion of "I"-ness, of looking upon oneself as Brahmana, Vaisya etc. as well as attachment to son, wife and home

Stanza 5: Maya, which is an adept at making the impossible happen, creates in Brahman which is homogeneous, without any parts, distinctions such as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and thereby perplexes even the learned by making them look upon Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as different from one another.

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When we see a movie we get emotionally involved in the story, we feel we are a part and we emote with the actors and have opinions of good and bad, right and wrong, funny and smart etc as the characters unfold. As the plot thickens, and the movie gets gripping, we forget the outside world and once the movie is over we snap out of this illusory world of which we were a part for the last 3 hours.

Life as you and I know is quite something like that. Here the plot appears much more real, the players are real, the problems appear real and we come with a preconditioned mindset that doesn’t allow us to see beyond. This is the world of Maya. There is nothing new about it. The only thing we tend to forget is that the movie reel is generated in the mind.

Through each day we wake up to, through each sun rise we see in our lives, the mind sets itself to a set of tasks that need to be done, people who need to be dealt with, moments that need to be lived. The mind works within a framework of thought and emotion, thought that creates the perception and related emotion that makes a person experience it. And so, we get so sucked into it that we fail to see that our perception of the event is a working of our mind and not the actual event in itself.

Once that distinction is made a few questions can come forward. Few questions that are dared not mentioned in a social environment because perception reigns supreme, and collective perception is very dangerous to deal with. Therefore, everyone wants to be perceived the right way irrespective of whether they are that way or not. And it’s amazing; our entire life just goes off in this perception building contest, with a never ending list of events to support. What a waste of time and live and energy!

Spiritualism addresses this illusion, this perception contest that we are in, all the time, at home, at work and among friends. To most this Maya appears like the only thing life has to offer, but to some this is the most claustrophobic environment to live in. The nature of Maya is that of a thick cloud that envelops us, and its presence as an illusion that cages us, becomes even more apparent when we begin to want out of this illusionary drama we are forced to play every moment. But when does one get this feeling of suffocation?

If we have it in us, the thought should arise in itself and question what the word illusion is in the scriptures. It’s a widely used term with no explanation that draws a parallel in our real life. So let’s take a real life situation. Living in a corporate world can be one of the most energy sapping experiences since we want to do things our way and at the same time dance to the whim and fancy of others. We can have a missile coming at us anytime so we work hard enough to make this perception work in our favor, much more harder than we actually work on the job given! There are only 2 ways out of this long endless journey, either we get sucked into it or we want out. If we get sucked into it, there is no way we are ever going to realize the density of this cloud but when we begin to want out, is when the suffocation can really hit.

On one side is the materialism we are used to, on another the greed for that monthly income that sustains our world, and on the third side we have a jumping mind that doesn’t quite know which way to go and we are so controlled by it.

The best example I can think of to describe Maya or illusion is like its a radio channel. The best time to experience it is when we are coming out of anesthesia. Doctors advice that the patient will mumble things which should not be paid heed to as they largely "don’t make sense". The "don’t make sense" describes the presence of the subconscious and that apparent reality of which we feel we are a complete part before we come back into this world. It’s the only time the subconscious and the conscious world are in equal footing for a few hours before we tune back into this world. We live in two places, and if we look close enough the subconscious takes over as dream by night. Its another real world we belong to in a different state. How then can we dismiss it?

Given that our conscious state is far stronger than the subconscious state, we tend to believe we belong to only one world. But when we wake up from a dream or come out of anesthesia we realize we belonged to another world far more strong in emotions and intensity but far more subtle at the same time. What a fantastic world to be in. If the subconscious were that real, we would be of a different nature. Our intensity would be of a much more superior nature, our presence would be much more overpowering and there would be no room for superficial living. The power of the mind is amazing, and God alone knows how different the real world would look then.

Sweet people wake up, for if we thought we were awake and living... we are in deep sleep right now for the subconscious calls and that road is defined as spiritualism.

19 comments:

JC said...

'I' would say that because (man-made) cinema/ camera - as a reflection of the 'Truth' - hadn't appeared on earth at Adi Shankara's time, he could not have had access to the best example of projection of illusory images (recorded in the 'past'), and of course thus not realising the simplest hint from 'Nature' and perhaps thus not drawing one's attention to illusory dreams, even in inferior animals :)

However, Gita indicates Vishnu (just a point, ie, Nadbindu) having eyes and mouths in all directions, and capable to manifest itself as two-handed, or a four handed personality in human form, although Krishna claims that he resides within all animal forms :)

Bart said...

Your Bhagavan Sri Krishna has right, JC, for it is the very same with me: I resides in all animals and in all trees and herbs as well, yes, even in apparently non-living material as growing crystals I am present. Of course I am That too in all human beings and in all Gods and Goddesses and in our expanding universe. That's all true because I am the Brahman, or ‘That what makes things grow’. Krishna and Adi Shankara Acharya both have realized the very same truth as I did and would confirm me, whenever the would or will able to read the content of this blog and its comments.

Then something about Maya: In a previous comment I have already suggested that ‘Magic’ or ‘Might’ would be better translations for Maya then ‘Illusion’. Illusion has the negative connotation of something unreal and Maya is far from unreal, but a part of the Supreme Reality, and within that the Force to Create. The three stanzas of Adi Shankara show us that her creative power hasn’t been restricted to the material world, but that She is involved with creating facts, factors and situations within our psychological, social and spiritual realities as well. These insights of Adi Shankara show us how profound this genius has reflected on the concept of Maya. I wonder what extra stanzas 1 & 3 have to offer us, for reading these other three stanzas had already brought me further on the pathway towards a situation of a real and fully understanding of Maya.

Let me reveal an insight that can contribute to further understanding. When our Atman, the Universal Soul, came to Self-realization “Om aham Sat-Chit-Anandasmi!’ It became aware that it was surrounded and filled up by boundless Emptiness, Sunyata, but we might call her Aditi as well. Out of the love for Aditi once gave birth to a flood of endless many little particles like protons, neutrons, electrons, photons and so on. This flood has formed the Ocean of Creation. As you know I the Brahman am able to order these particles to form atoms, and atoms to form molecule, and molecules to organic and anorganic structures, and organic structures to cells, and cells into living beings and even to living beings. Call this Might to create Cosmos out of Chaos, my Maya.

There is an illusive aspect in, indeed. If we look at the structure of and Atom, it exist for 99.9999999 % out of Emptiness, so everything which is build up from atoms, molecules, structures as stars, planets, suns and moons, earth, water, fire, air, space, herbs, trees, animals, human beings exist for 99.999….% out of Emptiness. Yes this Emptiness is within, and without, and It is all pervading, it is invulnerable, it is eternal, is unchangeable and is It endless without any beginning. And the Divine Something, is the biggest part of the material expression of our being, And when what is true for the material expressing in a form, how much must, this be true for our sensations, our thoughts, our motivations and our consciousness. We must learn to see the Emptiness in all, just as we have to see the Brahman-Atman in all.

The Spirit and the Emptiness are our First Parents. We all are Adityas!

JC said...

Hi Bart, Krishna, the representative of Vishnu, also says that it is only because of Maya that everyone sees Krishna within him, although the entire creation, in reality, rests within Him!

Krishna is also indicated as the link between Vishnu the dot, or Nadbindu, and Maha Shiva the immortal physical forms of devtas or members of the solar system, as his vital organs, eg, Venus, having poisonous atmosphere, acting as Mahashiva's throat, and so on...while earth is indicated as Gangadhar Shiva as reviewed by Bhootnath/ Mahakal Shiva the controller of Time from Satyuga to Kaliyuga and back over 1000 times during over 4 billion years!...

Kavitha said...

Hi Bart

Here is the complete translation of 5 verses

1
Maya which is adept at making the impossible happen, superimposes on me (the Atman) who am in reality pure consciousness, who am incomparable(because the atman is the only reality and there is therefore nothing else with which it can be compared)who are eternal, partless, unlimited by space, time and other objects in whom there is no differentiation whatsoever, the distinction in the form of the world, God and the individual soul.

2
Maya, which is an adept at making the impossible happen, makes even those who have mastered the Vedas and Upanishads behave no better than a four legged animal by tempting them with wealth and possessions. What a pity!

3
Maya which is adept at making the impossible happen, makes the atman which is of the nature of bliss and pure and infinite consciousness and is without a second, identify itself with the body made up of the elements, namely ether, air etc. and whirl intensely in the ocean of transmigratory existence

4
Maya, which is an adept at making the impossible happen, creates in the pure bliss-consciousness which is devoid of attributes such as caste, creed and the like, the notion of "I"-ness, of looking upon oneself as Brahmana, Vaisya etc. as well as attachment to son, wife and home

5
Maya, which is an adept at making the impossible happen, creates in Brahman which is homogeneous, without any parts, distinctions such as Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva and thereby perplexes even the learned by making them look upon Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as different from one another.

JC said...

Although 'I' had earlier also elsewhere expressed, 'I' could visualise the 'I' being ever present within 'me', the changing exterior form or Krishna the mayavi being. This could be seen reflected in 'my' photographs, in different locations and times with different clothings and appearances, in 'my' exclusive album, from day one (1) to the 'present' and beyond till the concerned entrapped soul, or 'I', would apparently get separated from 'me' the physical exterior that's going to merge with its donor/ lender, the 'earth', one of the 'panchbhootas' that go into all physical forms. And, Earth is indirectly indicated as 'Chandrashekhar'/ 'Gangadhar Shiva' (ie, opposite of Visha the poison responsible for limited existence of all forms of life on earth that is over 4 billion years in age todaya and likely to continue indefinitely). While Vishnu the Nadbindu or the immortal is indicated located at earth's/ universe's centre by ancient astronomers also...and hence the saying, "Vishnu is Shiva and Shiva is Vishnu."

JC said...

In view of what is stated in the comments earlier, one could perhaps visualise the concept of Yoga or union of the immortal 'I', Vishnu the detached one related with time and space zero (centre of earth)/ Shiva the all knowing Bhootnath, or Mahakal who is responsible for creation of the apparent time (due to relative motions of the members of the solar system) and, therefore, the 'maya'/ 'drama' that's like 'action replay' of events that apparently happened within time zero in the 'past', but appear as if being reviewed from the 'perfect stage' (Satya yuga) to imperfect stage at the beginning of evolution (Kali Yuga the Dark Age) - repetitively over one bright day that is followed by dark night (12 hours each in temporary animal life, and over 4 billion years in the three-in-one God, or unending Creator's life), as it is apparent on Earth (believably a model of Mahashiva the solar system whose different vital organs, like human being's, that believably are reflected by the selected nine members, from Sun to Saturn, headed by Earth-Moon, represented in essence by Green-Yellow colours in Ajna-Sahasrara chakras; and assisted by 6 others from number 1 Mars, orange colour, to number 6 Venus, blue colour that hold the majority of the information related with creation)...

JC said...

The question, therefore, is how to start obtain a link for communication between 'I' the immortal/ Almighty and 'me' the mortal, maybe the 'mightiest' at any given point in time that has been provided a golden opportunity to us humans only, while 'inferior life forms' wait for their turn to attain the human form or the 'superior-most creation'...And majority of humans are indicated to get carried away by the external 'maya jaal' or network (such as the printing and electronic media etc) created for distraction, by Durga the spider-like eight-handed Goddess, ie, Moon (the 'Mohini' or attractive form of Vishnu, of Hindu mythology, who holds the pot of 'somrus' the moonlight, ie, 'amrit' for achieving immortality mainly in 'devtas' or selfless) - supported by '8 other grahas' or selected members of the Solar System, who are examples of immortality they received at the end of the 'churning'!

JC said...

'I' might as well add that members of the solar system also has Rahu & Ketu the 'head' and 'lower body' of the rakshasha Rahu, loosely depicted as 'demon' or selfish satan, without which the 'drama', which reflects duality or multiplicity in human life, wouldn't have been possible...

JC said...

Kavitha, Your remark 'Sweet people wake up, for if we thought we were awake and living... we are in deep sleep right now for the subconscious calls and that road is defined as spiritualism', reminded 'me' of Kumbhkarana (literally a person who has pitcher-like ears!), Ravana's brother (in Treta Yuga), who reportedly demanded to sleep for 6 months at a time (even Brahma reportedly sleeps for over 4 billion years!), when after long 'tapasya' he was asked by God what he desired to be granted as a boon! And, thanks to Rakshasharaja Ravana, he too was eventually granted 'moksha'!

'Hindu mythology', therefore, isn't easily comprehensible - and therefore requires 'sadhana', literally 'control (over mind), which perhaps like Laxmi, the consort of Vishnu, is 'chanchal', or fickle minded...and Vishnu remains ever detached, reviewing the drama in Yoganidra, while reclining in the middle of the 'kshir-sagar' or 'milky-ocean' on the bed formed by the celestial serpent, Shesha (balance infinite energy even after it is spentin creation of innumerable physical forms) or Ananta, literally unending (the infinite universal void that contains innumerable infinite galaxies, including our own 'Milky Way Galaxy' :)...

JC said...

Maybe it becomes simpler if one gets familiarised with the basic Hindu thought of six planets, or/ rather their essences, believably involved in the creation of the barrier between mooladhar (base) and vishuddhi (purification, that suggests grant of permission to approach Shiva. essence of earth at ajna chakra level, to eventually receive amrit, i.e., the blessings of Ma Durga, essence of moon housed at sahasrara) chkras: from tail-bone end, which houses the essence of Mars as the trouble shooter (representing Sankatmochan Hanuman during tretayuga and vighnaharta Ganesha the blessed son of Shiva-Parvati in Satya Yuga) to the throat that believably houses the essence of Venus (repreenting Ravana in tretayuga and Kartikeya the physically powerful son of Shiva-Parvati in Satya yuga)...

JC said...

Another loud thought. To understand the Hindu Belief of the inferior appearing human structure although created by the omnipotent and omnipresent, having negligible life-span and weak in character, although formed of the essences of over 4 billion-year-old nine number grahas, let us imagine as an analogy an eight-storey building of similarly limited life-span in planning stage for consideration at some vacant piece of plot today. One might first see some tests being conducted on the vacant plot to satisfy oneself about the bearing capacity of the given piece of land; alternatively one could similarly imagine a farmer who would need to first convince himself that the plot isn't infertile and, thereafter, prepare the land suitably, including security measures, before he starts sowing the tested seeds; or, in fact, similar process of selection of candidates for some vacant posts...which all reflect the characteristic property of human brain, a super analogical computer and vis-a-vis the relatively inferior digital computer that 'we' are used to in the 'present' - for sending emails etc, which first necessitate energy supply, requisite programmes in a language, or softwares, utilising alphanumeric symbols that help convert the program in to the source program language, ie, the faster and more efficient binary language...and after processing reconvert the resultant output in the language in which we desire it...Thus perhaps one can blame lack of knowledge of source programme language, the seed of which was realised by wise ancients as 'Om'/ 'Amen' etc. :)

JC said...

In so far as 'I' am personally concerned, 'I' have tried to first convince 'myself' that, as it is indicated by 'our' ancestors, the llimited internal world could be a model or the reflection of the infinite external world...

'I' had thus recalled earlier also 'my' visit to a fete with friends - when 'we' were young school-going boys - where 'I' got to see many of 'my own' different appearing images/ reflections on 'magical mirrors' at the same instant!

Being humans, due to day-to-day exposure mostly to what 'we' believed as 'our true images' in 'plain' mirrors vis-a vis knowledge/ experience also of the funny behaviour of 'inferior' animals, viz. birds and monkeys etc that had convinced 'me' of the so-called superiority of humans till then. And thus it was difficult for 'me' to comprehend how all animals could be images of the one and only formless...till 'I' recalled only when 'I' wanted to reach the 'Truth' at a stage when 'I' was mature enough and had gained enough knowledge of the apparent external world thanks to 'Maya'...

JC said...

'I' know it is very difficult, or/ rather impossible to say what is the age when a man can claim/ feel to have become 'mature' enough, as generally advised, to start attempting detachment from this world and its 'maya' and try to realise the 'Truth', ie, try to attach oneself, (with firm faith despite apparent failures), with the formless energy, or the believable cause of the 'maya' that is illusion...for our stories cite examples of 'lucky characters', such as Prahalad and Dhruv etc. - of course, with a hint that it is a matter of time, in terms of yugas and actions performed in the past lives in different animal forms - who apparently 'naturally' achieved 'moksha' in boyhood itself! Whereas, some souls reportedly kept on repeating life after life and still failing to reach it (like there apparently are some students who keep on failing in their prescribed examinations in different class(es) and some even giving up studies...:(

Born From Truth said...

Dear Joshi Uncle,
This maturity is not of the mind. It is a maturity of the spirit attained after going through multiple lifetimes of experiences.Going through myriad lives, the soul evolves and learns.Empathy is developed.It can look through the external facades.When it finally realises the emptiness of worldly life,the futiliy of chasing earthly pleasures, it is ripe enough to be released from the Mayajaal.The age of the external form is immaterial. It is the ripeness of the soul which matters.

JC said...

Dear Born From Truth, Thank you so much for your kind thoughts! Otherwise 'I' sometimes get a feeling that 'I' am talking to 'myself' and, therefore, an 'eccentric' (although it might be true because in a balloon-like expanding universe it is perhaps obvious that only the Supreme Soul, at its centre, should normally be expected to be centric!)...However, 'I' continue with the belief that maybe it's just a reflection of the feeling the Supreme Soul sometimes might have, because being the only 'All knowing' soul IT alone ever would know it is alone, and because of 'maya' 'I' (its model) can't and, therefore, can enjoy at times the feeling of a pleasant company, or get annoyed if that comapnion apparently turns out to be a nuisance for it does not meet 'my' expectations, teh 'eccesntric' one (and hence the need for 'me' and 'I' to coincide)!

And, "Happiness is a state of mind," where mind is also an imaginary entity that believably can reach anywhere in no time, like the omnipresent soul that is related with time and space zero...

As an analogy, when one apparently observes a fruit, initially it might appear green from outside (the colour that generally reflects it is raw, and the word is used even for inexperienced human characters), and only if cut/ after in-deoth studies one might learn or experience that it is yet to ripen, although similar fruits might generally be found to be ripe even if they appear green from outside (but could be useful even when it is raw for some other purpose)! Thus outer appearances, even in humans, are believed to be illusory and generalisation might not be correct...and unless one realises the purpose of the Creator any other soul might just be like the dust/ dirt 'we' hate, particularly found in excess in 'India', but which is helpful/ playing an important role in building this 'beautiful' appearing earth, maybe providing the contrast for relativity!

JC said...

Maybe, 'I' should add that as far as the 'maturity of the soul/ spirit' is concerned 'I' have seen, or read, how one needs to first taste from time to time the product stored inside a pitcher that is buried under earth (like someone's mortal remains!) by tribals/ grape-juice inside wooden barrels in a cave or basement till it is mature enough for consumption - older the better :)

JC said...

Maybe it would be interesting to recall the indications in Hindu writings that Yogis in Himalayan caves - reached there from the crowded cities, perhaps bored with the day-to-day life, or ritually copying some wise oldies - apparently gained some mystical powers, say after attaining the desired 'maturity of souls', irespective of their physical age in terms of their birth on earth apparently in the recent past, but having normally remained unaware of their believable past in terms of Yugas...And thus realising only in the isolation the apparent passage of each soul through 8.4 million forms before it could first achieve the desired human form, which alone makes the concerned soul entitled to seek the 'Absolute Truth' of advaitwad, or existence in our universe of a single entity, as believably reached by Adi Shankara and many souls before him, and appearance of multiple forms only as a result of 'Maya' (or 'Yogmaya' that is the illusion of existence of infinite physical forms)...

JC said...

The findings of Hindu Yogis in the mythological stories, obviously written in symbolic language just as we use alphanumeric or graphic symbols in the PCs, in essence, convey the only purpose of man on earth is to realise the formless God, and also His (or its) infinite other forms, ie, realise the existence of the formless within each apparent physical form, both together acting as the model of the ever expanding infinite universal void, Big zero, '0'...which however believably evolved from a small zero or a dot (called Nadbindu),,, different from the duplicate or 'dvait' appearing big 'B' (two zeros or two vessels-like, that graphically could represent human head and the lower body, while small 'b' is only a single zero ('0'), like a bald-headed representative of God in human form, the 'pandit' who sports a 'choti' or tuft of hair at the back of his head!

And the apparent infinite expanding universal void holds within it innumerable galaxies each of which hold within it innumerable 'heavenly bodies', stars and planets etc, that fill it...and each one of these also apparently continue to expand and thus appear to be distancing themselves from each other - just as humans also appear to do today...and thus perhaps realised as models of the univers that are understood to be heading towards the end of Kaliyuga - to enter into Nadbindu, whether 'we' like it or not :)

pN@iR said...

beautiful piece :-)