In several other posts in Dnyan Marg section, we covered how our bodily system works, including how Indriya, Mana, Buddhi, various koshas, shariras hide us from real-self (aatma).
But, what makes this all happen? What is the glue or energy that binds this all together to keep us away from our real selves?
The answer is “Maya”, the energy of Brahman, which creates universe around us, and “seemingly” responsible for keeping us away from the real-self.
The word Maya is made of ‘ma’ (not) and ‘ya’ (what is), which means “not what it is”, i.e. something un-real, imaginary, or illusion.
What’s better than a story to understand what really Maya means.
Like all of us, once Narad also got tangled into the maze of Maya, and decides to take help from Krishna. So he goes to to Dwarka and asks Krishna for help.
Krishna and Narad set out for a walk, while walking through the desert nearby, Krishna felt thirsty and asked Narad if he could get some water from nearby village.
Narad being a true devotee, sets out for the nearby village and knocks a door. A beautiful girl comes out and Narada asks her for water. She asks him to come inside, where Narad and that girl start talking and they feel an instant connect due to lot of similar interests.
Given that the girl and Narad were liking each other’s company and also as Narad was great scholar, girl’s parents put forward proposal for their marriage, which even though was too fast, Narad accepts as he was impressed with girls brilliance and beauty. They get married in a quick ceremony.
As girl’s father was the village king, Narad becomes crowned prince. As time passed by, girl’s father dies and Narad becomes the king, and additionally, by this time, he is father of few children. With all the pleasure of householder, Narad is living a happy and content life, along with taking care of his subjects.
Years pass by, one day, Narad’s kingdom is attacked by an enemy. Due to inexperience with weapons/war Narad got defeated and had to run away with his wife and children.
While crossing a river, Narad’s wife and children get drowned in the water and Narad is left crying, shouting and frantically trying save them, but all in vain, he has lost everything.
At this time he hears a pale voice from distance saying “Narad, when will you get water, lt has been quite a while, I am thirsty”. By hearing that, Narad’s wakes up from sleep, and realizes that he just dosed off while fetching the water, and all that marriage, children, war was just a dream, an illusion, even though they “felt real”.
He also understood that, in the dream, it was his desires and attachments that made him forget about the Krishna, and that resulted in all the suffering that followed.
So in short, Maya is an illusion, which is created by our own desires, attachments. Once we get rid of them, Maya will also disappear.
As we saw in post on Bondages (post#16), it is not Maya that is keeping us away from real-self, it’s we, ourselves, holding onto Maya with our desires/attachments, keeping us away from knowing real-self.
Lets pray this divine energy of Brahman to help us sail through this ocean of desires and attachment, and get to the real-self.