“LIFE like a dome of many-coloured glass stains the white radiance eternity”- Says the English poet. Shelly in Adonais, an elegy in which he mourns the death of a young fellow-poet keats. Maya is like this dome of many-coloured glass. The Brahman lies beyond this dome. His attribute is the white radiance of eternity. In this article a young parshad of the Holy-Fellowship successfully unites the poetry of Bhakti – an expression of the Benevolent Maya with the spiritual philosophy of Maya. He shows how the lure of Maya has to be conquered and made to lead the devotee to bliss.
Prof. R. M. Pancholi - Baroda
Maya is one of the most prominent categories in Hindu philosophy. Maya is the cause of visual universe around us which is the result of the Unknown.
If we think critically, all the visible objects and subjects seen by us are nothing but atoms, molecules, electrons and protons in their innermost motion. We know the existence of wind by the movement of the leaves. We know electricity by its light, heat and the motion it makes.
All these phenomena, experienced by us are the result of the working of Maya. In short, the whole creation in which we live and have our being is the working of Maya.
The territory of Maya is very wide. Apparently Maya is an illusion created by the threefold attributes of being – Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Due to the force of these attributes one finds it difficult to lean towards the Almighty, as one is tossed about by the illusion of Maya. Maya is that illusory force, which prevents one from knowing the Supreme Lord, Who is eternal and pure by nature. One can swim across the ocean of this Samsara by seeking refuge at His feet and by knowing Him absolutely.
We are accustomed to see the forms which are in continuous change and not the Eternal One from Whom all the forms are manifested. We see shifting forms as Plato’s dwellers in the cave see the shadows on the walls. But we must see the light from which the shadows emanate. We are so much engrossed in the world outside that we cannot think of going within, where there is nothing but the divine bliss. The only question is to know the real self through which we can experience the divine bliss of God Supreme.
Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan, in His very first Vachanamrit has given a very lucid exposition of the concept of Maya. According to this Vachanamrit “to establish uninterrupted communion with the divine form of God is the most difficult among all religious practices. This is the supreme state of mind. In short, whatever obstructs a person while meditating upon the form of God, is Maya. Either it may be his mind or the mundane objects.
This is the sum and substance of Maya. But don’t think negatively about Maya, because Shreeji Maharaj quotes the verse from Bhagawad Geeta in Vachanamrit (Loya – 13).
Daivi hyesha gunamayi mama maya duratyaya,
Mamev ye prapadyante mayametam taranti te.
(Geeta A-7, Verse : 14)
The divine Maya of Mine. (consisting of the three attributes) is hard to overcome. But those who take refuge in Me alone, cross this Maya.
Maya alone is hard to overcome but when it is associated with God, it becomes divinized. For example, the senses are the byproducts of Maya but if they are channelized in the divine service of God, the same Maya would be beneficial to the devotee of God. So do not treat Maya as a paradox but look upon it as a favourable category. It is the only medium through which one can ascend to God Supreme. But at the same time, one must be aware that the mental projection should not turn towards the gross worldly way of life. Otherwise it can bring about total spiritual degradation.
Bhagwan Shree Swaminarayan dwells in His ever divine form in Akshardham. He is the Lord of Maya. If one takes refuge in Him, one would be free from the distracting.