CHAPTER II

MAYA

[Maya as the Cosmic Power of the Lord—Maya as the deluding power (Avidya)—Maya as the liberating power (Vidya)]

MAYA AS THE COSMIC POWER OF THE LORD

48.    Maya is to Brahman what the snake in motion is to the snake at rest. Force in action is Maya, force in potency is Brahman.

49.    As the water of the ocean is now calm and next agitated into waves, so are Brahman and Maya. The ocean in the tranquil state is Brahman, and in the turbulent state, Maya.

50.    The relation of Brahman to Sakti is that of fire to its burning property.

51.    Siva and Sakti (Intelligence and Energy) are both necessary for creation. With dry clay no potter can make a pot; water also is necessary. So Siva alone cannot create without the help of Sakti.

52.    Desirous of seeing Maya I had one day a vision: A small drop slowly expanded and formed itself into a girl; the girl became a woman and gave birth to a child; and as soon as the child was born, she took it up and swallowed it. In this way, many children were born to her and were devoured by her. Then I knew that she was Maya.

53.    The snake itself is not affected by the poison in its fangs ; but when it bites, the poison kills the creature bitten. Likewise Maya is in the Lord but does not affect Him, while the same Maya deludes the whole world.

MAYA AS THE DELUDING POWER (AVIDYA)

54.    A certain Sadhu lived for sometime in a room in the temple of Dakshineswar. He did not speak to anybody and spent his whole time in meditation on God. One day, all of a sudden, a cloud darkened the sky, and shortly afterwards, a light wind blew away the cloud. The holy man now came out of his room and began to laugh and dance. Upon this the Master asked him, " How is it that you, who spend your days so quietly in your room, are dancing in joy and feeling so jolly today? " The holy man replied, "Such is Maya that envelops this life ! No trace of it was there before; but suddenly it appears in the serene sky of Brahman, creating the whole universe, and is dispersed by the breath of Brahman.

55.    Rama, Sita and Lakshmana went to the forest as exiles. Rama walked in front, Sita in the middle, Lakshmana behind her. Lakshmana was very anxious to have always a full view of Rama ; but as Sita was in the middle, he could not have it. Then he prayed to Sita to move aside a little ; and as soon as she did so, Lakshmana's wish was fulfilled, and he saw Rama. Such is the arrangement of Brahman, Maya and Jiva in this world. So long as the illusion of Maya does not move aside, the creature cannot see the Creator—man cannot see God.

56.    A holy man used to look and smile at the chandelier prism day and night. The reason for his doing so was that he saw various colours through the prism—red, yellow, blue, etc. Knowing these colours to be false, he realized with a smile that the world also was equally false.

57.    Hari, wearing the mask of a lion's head, looks indeed very terrible. He goes where his little sister is playing, and yells hideously. She is shocked and terrified, and shrieks out in pain to escape from the frightful creature. But when Hari puts off the mask, the frightened girl at once recognizes her loving brother and runs up to him, exclaiming, " Oh, it is my dear brother after all ! Such is the case with all men. They are deluded and frightened and made to do all sorts of things by the inscrutable power of Maya or nescience, behind which Brahman hides Himself. But when the veil of Maya is removed from the face of Brahman, one does not see in Him a terrible and uncompromising Master, but one's own most beloved inner Self.

58.    If God is omnipresent, why do we not see Him ? Observing from the bank of a pool thickly covered with scum and weeds, you will not see the water in it. If you desire to see the water, remove the scum from the surface of the pond. With eyes covered with the film of Maya, you complain that you cannot see God. If you wish to see Him, remove the film of Maya from your eyes.

59.    As the cloud covers the sun, so Maya hides the Deity. When the cloud moves away, the sun is seen again; when Maya is removed, God becomes manifest.

60.    The mythical swan can separate milk from the water with which it is diluted, and drink only the milk, leaving the water behind. Other birds cannot do this. God is intimately mixed up with Maya. Ordinary men cannot see Him apart from Maya. Only the Paramahamsa can reject Maya, and reach God in His purity.

61.    If you can find out the nature of Maya, the universal illusion, it will leave you just as a thief runs away when detected.

MAYA AS THE LIBERATING POWER (VIDYA)

62.    In God there are both Vidya Maya and Avidya Maya. The Vidya Maya takes man towards God, whereas the Avidya Maya leads him astray. Knowledge, devotion, dispassion, compassion—all these are expressions of Vidya Maya; only with their help can one reach God.

63.    It is Maya which reveals Brahman. Without Maya, who could have known Brahman ? Without knowing Sakti, the manifested power of God, there is no means of knowing Him.

64.    It is only due to Maya that the attainment of supreme knowledge and final beatitude becomes possible for us. Otherwise who could even dream of all this ? From Maya alone spring duality and relativity; beyond Maya there is neither the enjoyer nor the object of enjoyment.

65.    The cat catches her kitten with her teeth and they are not hurt; but when a mouse is so caught, it dies. Thus Maya never kills the devotee, though it destroys others.