A-AS Level (CIE) Hinduism: Specimen Questions with Answers 14 - 14 of 41

Question 14

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What is Maya in Hinduism?

Explanation

  • Maya or illusion is the one that which appears to be real, but never exists. It is just like a mirage. Maya is temporary. But, we human being tends to believe it as a permanent one.

  • People almost consider or see Maya in a negative context. In B. Gita, lord Krishna mentions-Maya as a ‘divine energy’ that of three natures/types (sattva, raja, tama) and very difficult to overcome. But, being despite very difficult one, those who surrender to me can overcome it very easily. B. Gita quote goes like this-“devyai hyesha guna mayi mama, duratyaya mam eva ye prapadyante mayam etam taranti te”.

  • In Bhajagovindam adi Shankaracharya says-“ma kuru dhana jana yauvana garva, harati nimeshat kalah sarvam, maya mayam idam akhilam, it means- Don’t feel proud on wealth, friends and youth. Time can take away all these things within no time. So, free yourself from the Maya or illusion of this world.

  • To mitigate the Maya, first of all one need to realize that what we all experiencing is just an illusion that remains for the time being. Without any single doubt, we all know that theoretically it is very easy to say but, practically very difficult to practice.

  • But in B. Gita lord Krishna says-“abhyasena tu kaunteya, vairagyena cha grihyate”; it means-by constant practice and detachment one can attain the goal. To get such an “experienced” or practical knowledge, one needs to have enormous attention while engaging in daily activities that we do throughout the day. That is why B. Gita says-“sraddhavan labhate njanam” meaning-“those who have alertness/attention will get the spiritual knowledge”.

  • Since ages, human beings are always seeking pleasure as well as enjoyment here and there, one after another. But the real fact is that human beings tend to go behind material things as part of the pleasure seeking and all those efforts go in the vain.

  • Later, those humans realize that no material things can make them satisfied permanently. This realization is the primary knowledge that which helps them to come out from the so called Maya. Here starts the self-enquiry to have the permanent joy and start to look into inner self.

  • Just like fire covered by smoke, mirror covered by dust, embryo covered by womb-the ultimate knowledge too is covered by Maya.

  • As per Swami Vivekananda-‘we can’t go beyond the wall of cause and effect. Yet we struggle and still have to struggle. We think we are free but, not. This is Maya’.

  • That is why ancient sages always says to surrender in the holy feet of Paramatma or eternal soul by turning inward through spiritual practices like meditation, mantra chant and so on.

  • This is called Maya in Hinduism.