[Advaita-l] mithya and maya

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Tue Jan 6 10:32:57 CST 2009

On Tue, 6 Jan 2009, Michael Shepherd wrote:

> But may I press this question ? Maybe it is just a weakness of the Western
> mind..
> The jnani in me accepts maayaa as anirvacaniyam.
> But the rather starved Western bhakti in me would like to see it also as the
> sparkling rainbow of the magic of Creation !
> Am I missing some connection ? I think I may be !

Advaita Vedanta does not stand in isolation.  As Shankaracharya explains 
in the introduction to his commentary on the Bhagavadgita, the Vedas 
prescribe two paths that of pravritti or action which is characterized by 
the pursuit of the three goals (purushartha) of dharma (virtue), 
artha (material wealth) and kama (sensual pleasure) and nivrtti or 
renunciation which seeks the fourth purushartha moksha (liberation.)  What 
kind of person seeks moksha?  The one who has matured enough to realize 
that the world and its products are finite and whatever joy they bring is 
mixed with pain. One repeats this roller coaster of pleasure and pain 
again and again through birth after birth.  An Advaitin seeks to stop that 
cycle permanently through true knowledge (jnana.)

The flip side of this is if you don't mind riding the roller coaster there 
is nothing wrong in pursuing dharma, artha, and kama as long as it is done 
according to the dictates of the Vedas and shastras.  The discipline of 
following the shastras will slowly wean you away from pravrtti and towards 

Even for the jnani there ought not to be a feeling of misanthropy or 
disgust for the world.  By filtering out mistaken notions, one doesn't 
reject the beauty of the world but gains a new perspective on it. Or To 
build upon my previous post, there is no reason why one who knows the Sun 
doesn't really set can't still enjoy the beauty of a "sunset."

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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