Hinduism And Hindu Theology - What Is Maya?

The phrase 'Maya' is used in the Rig-veda to describe magical abilities, such as a deity's or demon's ability to alter form or generate illusory results by supernatural methods. 

  • It stands for incorrect knowledge, or the negative principle, in the Upanishads, which ascribes an identity and individuality to the manifestations of the multifarious cosmos aside from and independent of the one true reality, Brahma. 
  • There is just one reality, Brahma, according to the advaita theory. Nature's phenomenal universe and all creatures' identities have no genuine reality, but are illusory, the product of Maya. 
  • It is creation's transitory, negative, misleading curtain, nature's obscuring power (Sankara), and the outcome of avidya, or ignorance. 

According to another view of the issue, the universe is Brahma's sportive distraction (vilasa) or pastime (Ilia).

  • It's an outpouring of his irrational desire to become many (God). In created creatures, Maya creates moha (or mohana), a condition of delusion in which knowledge of the ultimate truth is lost, and befuddled persons believe in the truth of the visible world shown to their senses. 
  • It is a cosmic fallacy that casts a veil over men's perspective, leading them astray and into infatuation with the world and the body, and blinding them to their actual destiny. 
  • When it is comprehended that only Brahma is genuine, the veil of Maya is torn. Moksha, or salvation, is attained by those who possess this knowledge. 

Some philosophical systems, such as Kashmir Saivism, have attempted to explain how maya works. 

  • The ultimate and transcendental tattva, or essence, of Brahma is restricted and perverted by what is known as kanchuka in the mundane or material world. 
  • A kanchuka is a ‘restraining' vestment, similar to the husk that envelops the seed, and is therefore the limitation put on creation and all created things by the very act of their creation. 
  • This Imitation affects both mind and matter. As a consequence, Brahma's Eternality is limited by the kanchuka of kala or time, resulting in death. 
  • The kanchuka of dik or space limits Brahma's Omnipresence, giving rise to the illusion of individuality. 
  • The kanchuka of raga or desire, which leads to action and subsequent pain, limits Brahma's completeness. 
  • Brahma's Omniscience is limited by vijna, or learning, resulting in limited knowledge, or ignorance. 
  • The kanchuka of niyati, or fatality, limits Brahma's Omnipotence, resulting in dependency on things and causes the seeds of its own destruction to shoot out. 

Many legends exist about great sages who attempted to comprehend the importance of Maya. 

The story of the rishi Narada, who begged Vishnu to help him fathom this deep mystery, is the most well-known. Vishnu initially requested that the sage go gather some water from a nearby pool. 

On his journey, Narada met a young lady, fell in love with her, married her, and had multiple children. His children grew up and had children of their own, who had children of their own, who had children, who had children, and so on. 

As a result, Narada was able to observe several generations of his ancestors. Then he suffered a succession of calamities. His home burnt down, and one by one, his children died. 

The final survivor, his grandson's great-grandson, fell into a pool and drowned, and Narada reached into the water to rescue him, only to discover that he had simply dipped his hand into the water to gather water for Vishnu, who stood behind him. 

All of his experiences had been brought about by Maya. 

All life and experience are similarly merely Maya.

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