Saturday, December 19, 2015

What is Maya? (Srila Sridhar Maharaj)

What is Maya?

12 May 1982


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What we conceive, what we feel, what we trust, what we believe — 
not only what we read but also what we believe —
 when it is not in consonance with the universal reading, 
then it is māyā.

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Proposal and disposal: one goes up and the other comes down. They are waves. Suggestion and acceptance. All are His līlā [play].


naiva tasya kṛtenārtho nākṛteneha kaśchana
na chāsya sarva-bhūteṣu kaśchid artha-vyapāśrayaḥ
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 3.18)

Vi-apa-āśrayaḥ: all waves are welcome when one can can read their meaning, their deeper meaning.

ṛte ’rthaṁ yat pratīyeta na pratīyeta chātmani
tad vidyād ātmano māyāṁ yathābhāso yathā tamaḥ
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 2.9.34)

What is the conception of māyā? Ṛte ’rthaṁ yat pratīyeta: what seems to be, a wrong reading of, artha (purpose). Artheṣu abhijña: the meaning, the purpose, of every incident is known to Him. So many events are harmonised together by Him. They are always serving Him. But there is a clash with localised interests. Imperial and provincial interests clash; universal and local interests clash. Artheṣu abhijña: only He knows why every straw is moving to this side or that side. He is the only knower. What is the purpose of the grass bending in the wind to this side and not to that side? He knows. All movement, taken together as a harmony, goes towards Him, and He is svarāṭ: He is not responsible to anyone.

There is a universal meaning of everything, of every event, every incident. Even the movement of a straw is all-purposeful, all-meaningful, to the Absolute. Every movement contributes towards the Absolute, towards the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa. That is the real meaning of everything: of every word, of every phrase, of every event. The meaning (artha) is universal. So, what is the real purpose of every movement? It is one, nondual (advaya), universal, and absolute.

The absolute current goes towards the satisfaction of Kṛṣṇa, but this reading of the environment is not possible for the superficial soul. The soul cannot read, cannot conceive, of the real meaning of everything. The soul sees some meaning, but it is a different reading, a superficial reading, of things, and it is this reading that is māyā. We read in our own way. We read an earthquake or a storm or anything else from our local interest. This is māyā, and it is on this basis that we do so many things.
We must give up all local interests.

sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 18.66)

Give up local interests and identify yourself with the universal interest — that current, that plane.”

Ṛte ’rthaṁ yat pratīyeta: what we feel, what we read, without understanding the real meaning, that is a wrong reading of the environment. It is māyā. What may seem to be to us misses the universal purpose. We read from a local interest, “This is for this purpose. This is for that purpose.” This is local reading. What we conceive, what we feel, what we trust, what we believe — not only what we read but also what we believe — when it is not in consonance with the universal reading, then it is māyā. Na pratīyeta chātmāni: what we perceive that is not in the interest of ātma, Kṛṣṇa, is māyā. Here ātma [as in ātmāni] does not mean the jīvātma [soul]. Ātma may mean the body (deha), nature (svabhāva), or the Paramātma (the Absolute). Here, the meaning of ātma is as in:

sarva-vedānta-sāraṁ yad brahmātmaikatva-lakṣaṇam
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 12.13.12)
[“Śrīmad Bhāgatavam is the essence of the whole Vedānta and its focus is the Absolute, which contains the aspects of Brahma and Paramātma.”] 

Ātma means Paramātma here.

brahmeti paramātmeti bhagavān iti śabdyate
(Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 1.2.11)
[“The Absolute is known as Brahma, Paramātma, and Bhagavān.”] 

The universal representation of the Absolute is found in these three phases. Na pratīyeta chātmāni: a conception that does not come from the interest of the Paramātma, the Absolute, but from the point of local interest is māyā. If we go to read from the universal interest, from śrauta-vichār [the conception given by the revealed truth], then we don’t find any hitch. That comes from Vaikuṇṭha [the spiritual world] and shows, “No, everything is meant for Kṛṣṇa.” Our disease, the conception of local interest, is cured by this, and then we desire to be one with Kṛṣṇa’s interest. Tad vidyād Ātmano māyāṁ: you should know that feeling, that conception, of local interest to be māyā.

Māyā means what is not, what is apparent but not real. means what, and means not. So, what is not real, that is māyā. What you think, it is not so. What seems or appears to you but in fact is not such is māyā.

Another meaning of māyā is mṛyate anayā iti māyā: we eliminate the interest of the Infinite and see things by measuring them according to our interest. We measure everything only through the standpoint, the angle of vision, of our selfish interest and not from the standpoint of the Infinite. With everything, we think, “Oh, this is such” according to our interest. We measure everything ignoring its representation, position, duty, and service in the Infinite. All such measurement is māyā. Yathābhāso yathā tamaḥ: the difference is like that of light and darkness. The absence of truth is not truth. There is light, and there is darkness: ignorance, mistake, error. It is not so.


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References

naiva tasya kṛtenārtho nākṛteneha kaśchana
na chāsya sarva-bhūteṣu kaśchid artha-vyapāśrayaḥ
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 3.18)
The self-realised soul does not engage in action or inaction in this world for any selfish purpose and has no purpose to depend on any living being.”

ṛte ’rthaṁ yat pratīyeta na pratīyeta chātmani
tad vidyād ātmano māyāṁ yathābhāso yathā tamaḥ
(
Śrīmad Bhāgavatam: 2.9.34)
Know that which seems to be without the Absolute’s purpose and does not seem to be in the interest of the Absolute to be the illusion of the Absolute, comparable to a misperception or darkness.”

sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
(Śrīmad Bhagavad-gītā: 18.66)
[Lord Kṛṣṇa calls:] “Give up all duties and surrender to Me alone.”


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Article from Sri Gaudiya Darshan


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