According to the Sanatan Vedic religion, the world is an illusion and it represents only a very small fraction of the supreme potency and power of God. It is an elaborate set of things and forms that create and maintain an illusion of stability. It follows that what we experience as our world and what we believe to be our existence is only a limited reality.
The Hindu scriptures tell us that each created thing or person in the world is a part of drama being enacted by the ultimate consciousness. This supreme force brings up things and people and then moves them forward and eventually merges them back into totality. In Hindi, Maya means an optical illusion; it is something that prevents us from seeing reality. This topic may be somewhat complicated. If you understand the meaning of Maya, it will help you solve various problems in your life.
The Meaning Of Maya
In general terminology, the word Maya means deceit, fraud, or deception. Well, magic, juggling, and witchcraft are various forms of illusion that distract and deceive the senses. Actually, the senses have a limited ability to see and understand the truth. Maya is also mentioned in Hindu scriptures as the play of God through his creative and dynamic energy known as Shakti (Shakti) which is described as Leela. It is a deception woven by the Almighty God to spread confusion in the world.
The Prevalence Of Leela
According to Hinduism, our perceived existence and reality, with which our senses interact every moment and what we believe to be the truth (though it is only a perceived truth) is merely a state of mind. There can be several options to the explanation of Maya, but we have to choose the best one to get the right explanation so that we can be more effective in our actions & behaviour.
Understanding the universal prevalence of Maya or Illusion is a very complex task because before knowing what Maya or illusion is, we have to acknowledge the existence of Maya. We have to realize that we are travelling in a reality that has no real justification. We also have to accept that reality is different and higher than material life. There are many ways & means mentioned in Vedic Sanatana Dharma to realize this game of illusion. Maya, or what we also call the Moh Maya, is actually an array of things that do not allow us to get attuned to the truth, and you can spend your whole life fulfilling material needs without knowing and fulfilling your original purpose. Such is the strength of Maya.
Confusion is when we are not clear or sure about what is true and what is not. It is a part of our normal existence. We need to be spiritually inclined and aware to make it out. For example, everything in the universe is dynamic, but we do not realize it. We also consider this world, earth, and all other planets static until we see these planets revolving with our eyes.
If we can understand the secret of time, then we can also understand the dynamics of the universe. But we are unable to do that and we see the entire world and the universe as stable. The sky has no colour but it appears blue. It is also an illusion, which we believe in but does not accept mentally until we start thinking consciously about it. We consider milk to be a white form. This is also an illusion because milk is actually a combination of a number of atoms and molecules that give milk its colour and taste.
We also see a person as an identity when in reality, he/she is a combination of so many things. A simple analysis of our perceptual experience is also that the world is not what it appears to be and what we experience through our senses is just a superficial reality. Science tries to go beyond the visible universe and uncover the truth hidden in the depths of matter. At times, it gets caught up in the appearance of things and layers of complexity.
The Types Of Maya
According to some scholars, there are three types of Maya. The first is Moh-Maya. When someone becomes very much attached to wealth or children so that it blinds him/her, it is called Moh Maya. There are many people who are just after money, they do not care about their wife, children, parents, friends, relationships. They only want to earn money. Excessive attachment to wealth is also Moh-Maya.
The second is Maha Maya, she takes birth, yes Mahamaya is born and she can be your child, husband, wife, or even parents. Maha is trapped in the confusion of Maya. He/she becomes so attached to Maya that he/she cannot even imagine him/her without Maya.
The third Maya is Yog Maya. Sometimes by continuous practice of yoga and meditation, some divine powers are awakened in themselves. When Yoga Maya awakens, you can predict what is going to happen in the future. But sometimes you cannot see the reality due to ego in the illusion of Yoga Maya.
Is Everything Really Maya?
In Vedic Sanatana Dharma, the world is described as Moh Maya or illusive haven. The world is an illusion because there is no proof of its existence. From the spiritual point of view, the physical universe is a temporary creation. It changes from time to time and is never the same. We cannot say that we live in the same world at every moment of our existence. It may take time for the senses to feel the changes happening in our environment, but the change is that which is changing in our world and our existence all the time.
Our scriptures say that we should not be misled by this simple sensory experience of ours. We should pay special attention to our perceptions and go beyond the presence of things to know the truth. We can reach the truth by understanding the various states of our consciousness. For example, when we wake up everything looks real. We can touch and feel things consciously. The world falls apart in our dream state. Here we vaguely know what is going on, but from an experiential point of view, do not know clearly whether what we experience in the dream is true or not.
When we are in deep sleep and our senses are in a state of complete rest, the world almost disappears from our field of experience. Here we do not experience any duality or plurality. We also lose our sense of self or ego. When people get caught in the chakravyuh of things (samsara) and develop an attachment to them, they fall prey to ignorance and suffering. Why is it important for a person? What difference does it make that the world is real? Or Maya no one can dispute the fact that the world we live in is real. It is real in the physical sense.
We experience its existence in our mind and through our senses at all times in innumerable ways. Right now we are in the real world. We cannot say that the world is an illusion until we have prepared our minds for it. Similarly, this world also shows us what we want to see.
Maya And Nature
We see the world, but not the consciousness lying latent therein, which moves and propels all the living beings and the non-living things. Because of the influence & impact of Maya, we see everything as separate, distinct, and diverse and not as individual souls of pure consciousness.
We make the mistake of treating our ego as a soul and our mind as consciousness. We look for things all around to fulfil ourselves and reduce our fears and worries. We get involved in selfish desires and habits. We desire to get things done and reach our goals. We remain tied to the cycle of birth and rebirth.
How Can We Get Rid of Maya
Maya cannot be overcome without a fundamental shift in our awareness and internal conditioning. Where there is duality, there is a sense of disconnection, there is Maya. When our minds and senses are active, then we live under the influence of Maya. When we are in a state of duality, we remain in the realm of Maya. Maya can be controlled only when our minds and senses are completely stable. In fact, there are instances in Vedic literature when even the gods could not remain free from the influence of Maya because they too experience duality. The only way to clearly come out of Maya is to see the truth, which is only possible when our ego gives space to our real self.
Maya, also called the Cosmic Game of Illusion, deludes humans and doesn’t let them live easily and unselfishly. Understanding Maya is important to get rid of it. Rising above Maya and procuring happiness is the conscious or unconscious aim of every living being.