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 Who or What is Maya?

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Posts : 6
Join date : 2009-10-01
Age : 42
Location : Tamworth

PostSubject: Who or What is Maya?   Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:16 pm

[font=Comic Sans Ms]Wake up o man, at least now, wake up. Consider this whole creation as a mere dream. This world is like a flower in bloom; as you watch it, it wilts right before your eyes. Why are you so attached to it? — Brahmananda

We don't have an English word that can accurately portray what the sages mean by the word Maya so put simply Maya means "that which is not or "illusion". For example, in the twilight, one may easily mistake a rope for a snake or a jacket hanging on a hook can be mistaken for a ghost or intruder. In so doing, we feel fear. Hence fear and other emotions may often be based on illusion, an incorrect perception of reality.

Under Maya's influence, the soul, mistakenly identifies with the body. He accepts such thoughts as "I am white and I am a man," or "This is my house, my country, and my religion." Thus the illusioned soul identifies with the temporary body and everything connected to it, such as race, gender, family, nation, bank balance, and sectarian religion. Under this sense of false-ego (false-identity) the soul aspires to control and enjoy matter. However, in so doing he continuously serves lust, greed, and anger. In frustration he often redoubles his efforts and, compounding mistake upon mistake, only falls deeper into illusion.

In ignorance, he is fully convinced that right is wrong and wrong is right. In passion he is unsure, hesitant, sometimes enjoying and at others times repenting. Only in goodness does the soul begin to develop wisdom – to see things in the real light. By so doing, the soul gradually escapes the clutches of Maya and moves towards liberation.

Being an illusion however, does not make it unreal. This is where a subtle distinction comes in regarding the nature of maya versus illusion. Illusion is generally used to refer to something that doesn't exist. Maya, on the other hand, is existent and non-existent at the same time, like a dream. The experience you can have in a dream of running for your life for example, is absolutely real while the dream is occurring; therefore, the Maya of this dream cannot be called non-existent. Yet, through the sobriety of wakefulness, one can see that the dream was an illusion, a false world. The only problem is that there is no objective experiment we can run to prove that the waking state we are in right now is any more real than last night's dream, which also felt completely real.

[b]There once lived a powerful King named Janaka. One night, he dreamt that he was a beggar, being persecuted by a group of villagers. They had tumbled him onto the ground, and were beating him with their fists, throwing stones and clods of dirt at him. All of a sudden, he awoke.

There he was, King Janaka, swathed in silk and jewels, being fanned by servants in his luxurious castle. Shocked by the contrast, he closed his eyes, and fell immediately back into the dream, where the villagers were still beating him, as he cowered on the ground in fear for his life. Once again, he awoke, finding himself back in the lap of luxury. This happened twice more. Janaka was fascinated and intrigued by the experience. Both states felt equally real when he was in them. How could he know which one was true and which was maya, illusion? Was he the beggar or the king?

Back in the waking state, King Janaka called in all of his wise Prime ministers and advisors, and asked them which state was real. None was able to answer the question to his satisfaction. The king expressed his displeasure by sending all of these so-called wise men away to be locked up indefinitely. In the meantime, a young son of a sage stepped into the courtyard. He was crippled, and made quite a spectacle of himself as he hobbled down the aisle to the throne. Many of the townsfolk had gathered, and were laughing at this ridiculous figure. The boy knelt down before the king, and with great effort stood back up. "Your majesty. I have come to answer your question." Now the bystanders really began to whisper and chuckle. This kid was asking for trouble.

But the king saw a light around the boy's face, and was guided by deep intuition to allow him to say his piece, even though it seemed unlikely that this boy would ever be able to answer the question. "Fine," said the King. "Tell me which state is real, the waking state or the dream state?"

The young boy smiled softly through his disfigured body, and replied. "O King. Neither the waking state nor the dream state are real. Only the Self is real, the Self that is beyond all maya."

Over the past few decades, many students at a sleep lab at Stanford University have been trained to become lucid in their dream state. While being chased by criminals, for example, they'll become aware it is just a dream — their dream — and will take control of the reins, flying off to a preferable place, while the bad guys dissolve back into the ether of consciousness. Developing an understanding of the nature of maya, illusion, is like learning to be a lucid waker rather than a lucid dreamer. You can dance more freely through your life, without holding on to old habits and fears. Although the old self-preservation instincts may still have their place, in your deepest heart you are not afraid of death, because you know that only illusion can die.

Some say that an understanding of illusion is detrimental to the world, and that it might cause one to think their life is worthless and meaningless. But this fear comes from a misunderstanding of maya's glory. With a glimpse into the nature of this world as maya, life becomes more amazing and filled with meaning. Even the butterfly landing on a flower next to you is filled with beautiful, metaphorical significance. From this space, we can actually accomplish much more in life, and enjoy it more fully. We know we are playing wonderful, important, and ultimately illusory roles in this universal play of Consciousness. With this insight comes a sense of appreciating both the ups and downs of human life. As my teacher has beautifully expressed, we learn to "smile at our destiny."

Without an understanding of the illusory nature of this world, we can't fully enjoy even the blessings that come our way, because there are so many underlying fears for the future. Without an understanding of the nature of maya, even success can bring unhappiness, because there is so often an underlying fear of loss.

An understanding of the nature of illusion helps us to achieve an attitude of faith and renunciation. With these gems, we can witness the events of life from a higher viewpoint, even while we continue to play the game.
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Posts : 158
Join date : 2009-06-11
Age : 41
Location : Tamworth

PostSubject: Re: Who or What is Maya?   Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:11 am

Fascinating stuff! Keep it coming!

Unfortunately common sense is not all that common!!

How you treat me is your karma - how I react is mine
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