[Advaita-l] Is the concept of maya essential to explain advaita?

Venkata sriram P venkatasriramp at yahoo.in
Mon Jan 23 01:19:51 CST 2012

Namaste Subbuji,
Advaita says everything is Brahman *only* after negating the naama-rUpa as false.  Unless the pot-name and pot-form are negated intellectually (not destroyed physically) it is
impossible to 'know' it as clay.
I think people are getting confused with the clay-pot example.  One is likely to be
confused here because when Clay is getting transformed into Pot, the Pot should
also have the properties of Clay and hence the confusion.  
The best example suited to explain Vivartavada is "rope-snake" analogy.  
The rope is appearing as snake due to ignorance.  Now, when a person X is seeing
the rope as a snake, until he has the knowledge of rope, for him the perception of
snake is real.  But how long is this perception of rope as snake is real is the debatable
issue.  It is real till one switches on the torch and the rope is revealed.  So, until the rope
is revealed, the snake is real (sat) and with the knowledge of rope, there is no apprehension of snake and hence (asat).  And hence, existence of the snake is termed
as "mithya".  
Now, why the Rope is cognized as Snake?  To answer this, maya comes into picture.  
It is the maya-shakti which is "inherent" that is projecting the Rope as Snake. 
That is why, Sankara says in Dakshinamurty Hymn that "viSwaM-darpaNa driSyamAna
nagarItulyaM NIJANTARGATAM paSyan Atmani-mAyayA".  
Just as the Seed has all the inherent qualities of Tree in itself, so also, the entire Jagat
is inherent in Brahman in avyakta avastha.  
Then, why this X perceives the world "external" to himself is the question. 
The sankara's "swapna-driSTAnta" is a wonderful example to explain the 
existence of external world.  
This is due to his avidya which is mAyA-shakti vilAsa.   
So, when the person X is seeing Jagat as real, it is his own problem who is under the
reel of mAyA and not the problem of brahman.  brahman is brahman eventhough
X doesn't cognize brahman.  When the person is wrongly identifying rope as snake, 
it is the problem with that person who needs to be awakened through right 
knowledge (prakriShTa bOdhana).  
Even though, mAyA is explained as "anirvachaneeyaM", we can understand how much
important it is to understand the Sankara Advaita Siddhanta.  The root of mAyA is
mAj / mAnE and the former one explains the kriya aspect of mAyA with respect to 
bIja ankura nyAya and the later one explains from the jnAna perspective. 
So, mAyA-vAda has been wrongly interpreted by other schools and off-late by krishna-chaitanya cult.  
my 2 cents.

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