11 August, 2012

Maya---why is it an illusion?

Once I had this question about maya in my mind and just happened to open a page of a book at random; it was swami rama’s book; I got my answer.

One day swami rama went to his guru to clear his doubts on maya;his guru simply told him “tomorrow morning I will show you what maya is.”

The pupil could not sleep at night in the hope that tomorrow he is going to meet maya.

In the morning on their way back to their cave from the Ganga; his guru rushed up to dry trunk of a tree and wrapped himself around it; and cried out to his disciple to free him.

At first swami rama was afraid to go near the tree fearing that the tree would entrap him as well; but later tried to help his guru, but could not free him.

Exhausted he stopped to think; he realized that it was not possible for a dead tree trunk to entrap anyone; he said to his master “how is this possible the tree has no power to hold you; what are you doing?”

His guru laughed and said “this is maya”

We ourselves attach with worldly desires and then say that they have entrapped us.

Now the disciple understood that avidya {individual ignorance} and maya {cosmic illusion} were one and the same.

Does not the literal translation of maya---ma meaning no/not and ya meaning that; say it all, “that is not” but which appears to be real.

So the next time when we are attracted to something; let us not blame maya, but understand that we ourselves have created this bondage, like the guru who hugged the tree and started shouting that the tree has entrapped him.

swami writes that after explaining the philosophy of maya to him his guru further told him.“When we devote our mind, energy, and resources to believing in that which is non-existent, then it appears to exist, and that is maya. Don’t contemplate on evil,devils, sins, avidya, or maya and thereby put yourself in a state of stress and worry. Even spiritual people become preoccupied with blaming the world for their lack of progress. This weakness is significant in creating obstacles. For lack of sincerity, honesty, faithfulness, and truthfulness we do not realize that which we are. 
We project our weaknesses and think that the objects of the world are the source of our obstacles.”

He also told him to practice non-attachment and constant awareness. He said, “The strongest of bondages is created by attachment, which makes one weak, ignorant, and unaware of the absolute Reality. Maya, or illusion, is deeply rooted in attachment. When we are attached to or have a desire for something, it becomes a source of illusion for us. Those who are free from attachments and have directed their desires toward spiritual growth are free from the bondage of maya—illusion. The less attachment, the more inner strength; the more inner strength, the nearer the goal.
Vairagya and  abhyasa—non-attachment and constant awareness of absolute Reality—are like two wings of a bird which can fly from the plane of mortality to the height of immortality.
Those who do not allow their wings to be clipped by the illusion of maya can attain perfection.   

yogananda paramahansa had very rightly said “To tear the veil of maya is to pierce the secret of creation”

After writing this post I kept thinking about the sentence “When we devote our mind, energy…..to believing in that which is non-existent, then it appears to exist”    

Does this not explain the principle that our thoughts materialize; we and our surroundings are what our thought waves are.

We are capable of creating our own world with our thought patterns; simply because thoughts are energy and energy materializes.


  1. I liked every bit of the explaination given. good job! keep up the good work of informing and sharing

    1. Thank you very much for your kind words.

  2. expections is another word of attachment. expectation is normal but when this expectation becomes a source of misery to you then you should have a wake up call of your innerself

  3. Maya Mari Na Man Mara, Mar Mar Gaye Shareer
    Asha Trishna Na Mari, Keh Gaye Das Kabir

    Sant kabir

    Manwa to panchi bhayaa, Ud ke chala aakash…
    Upar se hi gir pada, Mann maya ke paas…

    Sant kabir