[Advaita-l] Define MAYA ?

Raghav Kumar Dwivedula raghavkumar00 at gmail.com
Fri Jun 12 06:55:36 EDT 2020

Namaste Sri B Sridhar ji

On Fri, 12 Jun, 2020, 1:05 PM Sri B via Advaita-l, <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Interesting discussion.  Will it be appropriate to understand Maaya as the
> cosmic mind? There are few similarities between manas and maayaa. In
> Individuals the mind operates the two levers of - veiling (Avarna) and
> projection (Vikshepa), resulting in avidya.

"Resulting in avidyA" is not an accurate way of expressing it.
Rather avidyA is the primary entity. It is not the result of anything.
avidyA is in that sense not reducible to anything simpler or more basic. It
is fundamental. That avidyA is understood as having two aspects -
concealment (AvaraNa) and projection (vixepa).  That avidyA is synonymous
with mAyA when we are analyzing the cosmic srishTi which has created all
these worlds.

I am restricting myself to this one idea which needs modification in your

Similarly at the cosmic level, Maayaa operates the same set of levers
> causing avidya.

Again, we should not say -  something causes avidyA. Perhaps you mean
"causing our experience of multiplicity".
Then it's fine. Otherwise it needs modification.

You may want to read this from the list archives.


A small excerpt -

The whole universe is explained by advaita along the lines of a classic
case of illusion, such as the illusion of the snake in the rope. What is
seen under the influence of illusion is the snake which has been
superimposed on the rope. The whole illusion is the result of two powers of
avidyA (aj~nAna) called the AvaraNa-shakti and the vikShepa-shakti.

Two phenomena happen in this illusion. First, the reality, the rope, is
obscured or concealed. This is done by the AvaraNa-shakti. Second, the
illusory object, the snake, is projected by the vikShepa-shakti. The
AvaraNa shakti is called the power of concealment and the vikShepa-shakti
the power of projection

Now once we have the scheme in place with Brahman with mAya/avidyA at the
universal level we have all these worlds made of five elements created.

Regarding the sUxma deha of which the individual mind (manas/buddhi) is a
constituent, we say that the subtle five elements are it's building
blocks.  These five elements themselves are created/projected by mAyA which
is at the universal level.

Now if the universal level avidyA/mAyA has already accounted for the five
elements and all their products, where is the role of individual level
avidyA? The answer is that once the subtle and gross bodies have been
created by Ishvara's mAyA shakti, that same Ishvara as though enters (i.e.,
identifies with) a specific body due to the individual level avidyA and
begins the samsAric process of life as a limited human being, waking,
sleeping etc., and believes he is in time and space undergoing various



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