The different interpretations of Maya
Posted on February 3, 2015 by shantanup
The following exchange that I had on Religious Forums highlight how the word Maya is interpreted differently by different schools of Vedanta: HinduismKrishna: Through Maya it’s quite possible to emerge Avatara from Nirguna. Bhagavan Krishna himself declared in Gita ‘I come in human form through Maya’ Through Maya, Sat can become asat. What’s not possible through Maya. ‘Amsha’ concept defines relativity of Avatara with respect to Nirguna Infinite. It’s called as ‘Amsha’ ‘Cause the thing, infinite has assumed a finite. Finite means part. Part of infinite. Jiva is also called as part of Brahman. Because Brahman has assumed a part – finite existence through Maya. This is my view. Me: Please quote the precise chapter and verse in Bhagavad Gita where Krishna says ‘ I come in human form through Maya’. HinduismKrishna: Bhagavad Gita 4.6 अजोऽपि सन्नव्ययात्मा भुतानामिश्वरोपि सन प्रकृतिं स्वमधिष्ठाय संभवामि आत्ममायया ” Though I’m Imperishable unborn Atma of all beings and their[Beings’] lord, by residing in my Prakruti I come into existence [Manifests or Born] through my Maya. ” Me: God’s Maya is simply referring to His creative powers to generate the universe. It does not mean the universe itself is unreal as some kind of illusion. Similarly, in Bhagavad Gita 7.13, 7.14, and 7.15, Sri Krishna says that the same Maya has been used to generate the gunas of human beings through the guna consciousness energy of the universe. What Sri Krishna is saying is that human beings with all their science are not able to understand the way He has done these two things. Only those who seek refuge in God will be able to understand how it is done. Aslyx: So which part of the universe is Maya? HinduismKrishna: Universe is Maya, Maya is universe. This universe is perceived so long there’s mind. When there’s destruction of mind, this world doesn’t exist at all. This is why this universe is called as a dream, just like once we awake from dream, there’s no dream. Maya is an absolute void, has not a bit of existence. It is like an imagination of snake in rope. The idea of ‘there’s snake’ or ‘there’s no snake’ is irrelevant to the rope, in the same way, Maya is neither real nor unreal. Snake has Adhishthan/Base over rope, in the same way Maya is imagined in Brahman and is not different from Brahman. Aupmanyav: What is perceived by us of the universe is ‘maya’. You see the problem is with our perception, otherwise the whole of it is Brahman and nothing else of which there is none (according to my humble view ). That does not stop you from having a different view.