MAYA

Vedic Articles
  • During the period of pralaya (universal destruction) the entire world and all cosmic regions merge into the Parmesthi Loka. Kshirsagar (the sea of milk) is also located there. Vishnu can be seen resting on the bed of Sheshnag (a mythological serpent with one thousand heads supposed to support the earth). Vishnu has some specific powers. This means that Vishnu is Maya. He is also called the creator of the world. During this period of the creation first of all Brahma is born out of Vishnu’s neval. Parmesthi Loka itself is Soma Loka. Soma is nothing but matter. Maya is energy. Vishnu has two powers – Shree and Laxmi. The origin of Shree is energy and the meaning of Laxmi is a state of material object or matter. Therefore, Vishnu has been called the creator and nurturer of the world. Vishnu is the yajna – the cause of the creation.

    The entire matter signifies Brahm. The creation has been described as vivarta (illusion) created by Brahm. vivarta means that which changes. Matter and energy continuously change into one another. Brahm expands itself in the form of the vaak (matter). One is in the form of shabd-vaak (Saraswat i.e. the power of Brahma) and the other in the form of artha-vaak which means Vishnu’s power in the form of Laxmi. shabd-vaak moves forward in the form of para, pashyanti, madhyama and vaikhari. Laxmi appears in the form of avvya-akshara-kshar and the creation consisting of the five elements. Both create the world in the subtlest and the grossest form. The sutras of creating shabd and artha-vaak are also the same.

    Maya is the power of Brahm. If Brahm itself doesn’t do anything there is no activity in Maya as well. Both are disposed towards each other. For the creation Maya’s manifestation as Mahamaya (the divine power of illusion) and nature’s manifestation as sat-raj-tam remains absorbed in activities. Mahalaxmi, Mahakali and Mahasaraswati are considered endowed with (triguna) In addition to Maya and Mahamaya, Yogmaya is considered to be all pervasive. All functions relating to the differences in dimensions are performed by Yogmaya.

    Vishnu’s Maya consists of soma. It is atharva and matter. Vishnu is the resplendent fire of knowledge. Offering soma in the form of fire is yajna. From it the creation is formed with the help of rik-yaju-sama (agni ved). yaju signifies motion while rik and sama are steady. Therefore, fire too is indicative of yaju. rik is called the centre and sama the circumference. The dynamic and ever changing element in the middle is yaju. yaju too has yata (movement) and ju (steadiness).

    Vishnu’s Maya, in the form of chetana (consciousness) expands the world. A jiva’s entity is called chetana. Lord Krishna has explained in the Gita that a jiva is a part of his own self. “mamevansho jivloke jiv bhutah.” This element of chetana is being transferred into the mortal world by the sun from the sea of mahachetana. chetana builds the body in the form of the mind. It is chetana alone that operates the body in the form of chitenidhe. “chetana iti abhidhiyate” – sentience always remains unexpressed. The personification of tattva doesn’t lie in the gross form. When we find something beyond comprehension, we often say, only Lord knows what Maya it is.

    From the sun we get the elements of jyoti, aayu and go. jyoti is characteristic of knowledge, the element of go is electric power. It comes from the go Loka (Parmesthi Loka). This very chetana in the form of knowledge changes into intellect which in turn, changes into vanity. ahankriti, prakriti and aakriti manifest themselves as jiva and all co-exist.

    The very awareness of one’s existence is called egotism. For it only the word ‘I’ is used. Since ‘I’ am there ‘you’ and ‘they’ also exist. In the Gita Lord Krishna has identified himself in all the seven divisions of egotism. “There is nothing anywhere except me. Forsake all and surrender yourself to me. Take refuge in your own soul.” When a person comes under the protection of his own soul, his ‘I’ will automatically dissipate. Without a state of surrender, one fails to get refuge or protection. For that one will have to abandon one’s vanity. The moment a person’s life is free from egotism, it will appear a pure form of knowledge, a pure form of dharma and a pure form of devotion. ‘nishtraigunya bhavah’ – he will be free from the influence of triguna (sat-raj-tam). Whether it is budhiyoga or the message embodied in ‘karmanyevadhikaraste’ or the preaching of “arambhe karmanyam sanyase karma sangayo”–all manifest themselves in one’s life. This is what we call Maya’s form of knowledge and wisdom. devisukta describes at length Maya’s changing forms and how Maya operates in life.