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Maya - Illusion
Category: Hindu Mythology
In Hindu mythological literature, Maya has been described in many contexts. Apart from Maya Shakti, Maya also stands for a demon that was the architect of the demons and the creator of the magical arts.
The Hindus and Buddhists of India worshipped Maya (pronounced my'ah) as the "Material Universe", as "Mother of Creation", "Weaver of the Web of Life", and as illusion. She is the virgin or maid part of the three-part Kali (the three aspects being virgin, mother, and crone). Maya is also worshipped in Nepal, Tibet, Asia, and the Himalayas. Her special attributes are intelligence, creativity, water, and magic. Here she is depicted lifting the veils of earthly form to reveal the true nature of the universe.
The Lessons of this Goddess
Maya moves subtly into your life to tell you to face your illusion. It is time to see what is so, what is true, what is real. Are you caught in a particular situation and can't seem to move because it is hard to see clearly? Were you dazzled by what certain reality seemed to offer you and now discover nothing there? Have you been listening to the words people speak rather than what's behind the words? The Goddess says it is easy to get caught up in illusion. Wholeness is nurtured when you accept where you are and forgive yourself, become aware of the illusion, then consciously lift the veils to experience the reality. Seeing the reality behind the illusion is what brings you power.
When one accepts entry into the game of life as a player, awareness of unity is lost in the obsession (fascination) of play. This taking-over of consciousness is the fun of play. The one becomes many, to play a game of cosmic hide-and seek with itself.
The one is reality. Multiplicity is illusion. This illusion of multiplicity is created by the veiling power of the one (the Supreme Consciousness). This veiling power is called Maya Shakti, or Maya. This veiling power creates the illusion of me and mine, or thee and thine, which creates ignorance in the individual consciousness. Those who realize this ignorance call it avidya (a = no; vidya = knowledge: thus ignorance or absence of knowledge). So maya is also called avidya by yogis. This ignorance comes to individual consciousness through the mind: that is why yoga is the practical device to stop the modifications of mind, and yoga's aim is to arrest mind, to stop the inner dialogue, to go beyond the mind, to realize one's true nature, beyond the illusion of me and mine.
The world of names and forms is maya. This illusion can be seen at every level. The human body itself is not a unit of existence, but is composed of countless numbers of cells and micelles. If each cell starts growing a sense of me and mine, each human body will become a subcontinent. It is the individual ego (ahamkara) which creates separate units of existence - but this is itself maya (illusion). Ego cannot function without mind, as mind cannot function without sense-organs. So it is only after the mind is brought to a suppressed state that the sense of me and mine can be completely annihilated. By yoga alone can this state be achieved, and an end brought to this illusory sense of being an independent unit. After realization of truth through a direct experience of reality in samadhi, Maya Shakti can be understood - and the human psycho-drama can be observed as divine play, as Leela.
Maya Shakti is the power which brings forth the evolution of the phenomenal world. It makes this possible by an interplay of the three gunas - sattva, rajas and tamas.
Comic Consciousness becomes individual consciousness by its own maya. This diversity in unity is illusion, and is caused by the veiling power of the Supreme Consciousness. All that the player perceives of the phenomenal world exists within himself.
Two comes into being when 1 repeats itself. Two is maya, because both were present in the One. The two are the internal and the external world; the unmanifested and the manifested, Shiva and Shakti, male and female, Sun and Moon, gross and subtle, Absolute and maya, Noumenon and Phenomenon. Two is therefore the number of maya or illusion, the universal play of cosmic energy.
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Articles: Hindu Mythology
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