HINDU ENCYCLOPEDIA

सनातन धर्म भूमिका

Meaning of "Maya"

Word

Maya

Sanskrit

माया

IAST

māyā

In General

Maya is a kind of metaphysical ignorance by which one does not understand the real nature of universe as Brahman. The phenomenal world (Prakriti) is only a projection of the fundamental Truth (Purusha) is a fundamental argument in Hindu philosophy. By Maya (the illusion) the reality is not evident to us. The metaphysical non-duel Brahman through its concealing power ( avarana sakti ) projects the universe of multiplicity through its projecting power ( vikshepa sakti ) and makes us see an illusory world.

To the Advaita philosophers, the world is pure illusion and has no existence of its own. Bahmati in his interpretation to Brahmasutra takes extreme position and argue that word is a false projection just like one mistaking a rope for a snake. Focusing on the Mayavada of Bahmati and later advaita philosophers the Hinduism is expressed as other worldly by some western scholars. But, it is very evident that Hinduism is not other worldly; the Karma theory fixes the full responsibility on the individual for everything done on this world. Total denial of phenomenal world only dents the logic behind the Karma and rebirth. So the arguments which deny the phenomenal world by some philosophers are not in coherent with the basic ethos of Hindu Philosophy and religion.

Only a realized person can claim the world to be a Maya. Sankara used the word Maya only a handful of times; in Brahmasutra bhasya he used it only three times. The raju sarpa analogy of Bhamati was very easy to understand and that irresponsible analogy had spoiled the situation.

Veda

To consider the phenomenal world as fully real is an avidya as there is a deeper reality exists. Maya is the Sakti, or the dynamic aspect of the ultimate reality, Brahman. Prakriti has no existence without Purusha, but Purusha cannot act without Prakriti which is its dynamic aspect. But, only a realized person can claim the world to be a Maya. Upanishad confirms the world as maya only when the sadaka is about to realize the Ultimate reality as Brahman.

Purana

To Purana the world is created by Lord by his Yogamaya. BG (7.25) upholds this position.

Maya is also the veiling and the projecting power of the Brahman; without the power of Cosmic Illusion, the Brahman cannot express itself in this world. Time and Space are created by Maya

Related entries found !

Word Sanskrit IAST In General Veda Purana
MayamrgaमायामृगmāyāmṛgaMarica, the uncle of Ravana, took the form of a illusory antelope to tempt Sita and went to the... Read More
Adbhuta Ramayanaअद्भुत रामायणadbhuta rāmāyaṇaAdbhuta Ramayana is a version of Ramayana. This small text of 1355 verses divided into 27... The story is significantly different from Valmiki Ramayana although the central characters...Read More
Adyatma Ramayanaअध्यात्म रामायणadhyātma rāmāyaṇa

A version of Ramayana found in Brahmanda Purana which gives high emphasis on bhakti is called...

A brief synopsis of Adhyatma Ramayana is as follows:

Balakanda - This chapter begins...

Read More
Akampana , Ramayana Akampana is a mighty Asura who fought a fierce battle with Hanuman during Rama Ravana war. Hanuman... Read More
Ananda Ramayanaआनन्द रामायणānanda rāmāyaṇaAnanda Ramayana is a version of Ramayana. The story is slightly different from Valmiki...

Ravana believing prophecy that the son of Dasaratha will kill him tried his best to kill...

Read More
Baka , RamayanaबकbakaDaughter of the demon, Sumali. He had four daughters : Baka, Puspotkata, Kaikasi and Kumbhinadi.... Read More
Champu Ramayanaचम्पू रामायणcampū rāmāyaṇa

A sanskrit Ramayana version in Champu ( poetry and prose mixed) form. Bhojaraja composed...

Read More
Chinmayaचिन्मयcinmaya

Formed of consciousness ; consisting of pure consciousness

Read More
Chinmayananda , Swami H H

His Holiness Swami Chinmayananda Saraswati is one of the most popular sage of the 20th Century. ...

Chinmayananda is a great force in promoting Upanishads in the Hindu minds in the 2nd half of last... Read More
DamayantiदमयंतीdamayantīThe story of Nala and Damayanti is told in Mahabharata. Damayanti is of the women known for... Read More