Maya in Yoga Meditation


Maya = the apparent reality, ‘ma’ means no, ‘ya’ means that, that which does not exist but only seems to exist. Maya is the illusion of duality, that is like a mirage in Brahman (the Absolute Reality). Maya has no existence of its own, it is superimposed on Brahman, and will vanish when Brahman is realized.
Maya = universal ignorance or veiling of truth (macrocosm), avidya is the individual ignorance or veil (microcosm)


GO BACK TO THE LIST: “What is….?”




Everything you can observe is maya
Everything related to the self-awareness practice is an aspect of maya, so anything you can observe with the senses is within the domain of maya, so pick anything for the self-awareness practice and remember along with being aware of it that it is maya. Maya only appears to exist, and seems to occur as soon as the Non-dual Reality is forgotten. Maya is like a snake seen in a rope, it is superimposed on the rope and doesn’t really exist. As soon as you see the rope, you will not fall into the trap again of seeing the snake, yet you will be still able to remember you once saw a snake. We want to wake up to the rope, to the Non-dual Reality that seems to be hidden within or beyond maya. To know what maya is and to start to recognize it in everything and everywhere in and around you will decrease the attachment to the illusion of maya and open up the awareness that everything in and around is the Absolute Reality, which is one without a second. It will also increase the longing to move beyond maya. All the self-awareness practices are related to the snake, we want to know the concepts, processes and structures that seem to occur within snake, within maya, so that we can peal of the onion-layers of illusion, with the intention to one day be able to see the rope for what it truly is: Brahman. Therefore it helps to know all the concepts presented in the Self-awareness, but remember while you observe them that they are all maya, they are all a part of a magnificent dance of illusion.
Maya and Shakti
We believe in both Mother and the Father principles of the universe. That which is called maya, or illusion, in our worship becomes Mother and does not remain as a stumbling block or obstacle on the path of spiritual enlightenment.” Swami Rama in the chapter “Our Tradition” of Living with the Himalayan Masters
Maya is superimposed on Brahman, and has no existence on its own, it will disappear as soon as Truth is experienced. This may sound as if maya is all “bad.” A way to hold both is to know it is all an illusion, there is no “real” duality, it is merely an image in a mirror, it will constantly change and is not who or what you really are. Thus if this all is seen as an illusion, you can also see the beauty of it; it is an amazing illusion, an amazing dream? Then you will be able to see everything as maya and at the same time see everything as Mother, as the manifesting power that can be worshiped by being in awe of Her manifestation. Looking at the reflection of Pure Consciousness in this way is seeing everything in and around you as a dance of shakti.


| top |


“The fifteenth mantra of the Ishopanishad [The face of truth is covered with a golden veil. Uncover that reality, Pushan to the glance of the one devoted to truth] gives a very beautiful description of the nature of maya. Avidya (illusion) is also beautiful, but its beauty is material, transient, subject to destruction and not capable of satisfying the intellect of man. There is attraction in it, but short-lived. When we act merely in order to satisfy the selfish appetites of this insignificant body, we develop the tendency of identifying ourselves with the body. It is this that is our avidya (ignorance). This avidya, according to Sankhya philosophy, is accompanied with five-fold miseries. This avidya (illusion) is like a black veil over the face of a beautiful damsel. This black veil, studded with five special starts of anguish is dear to all and charming to every mind; but only when it is removed can one see the true face of vidya, were beauty is hidden by the veil. A newly-wedded husband is charmed by the veil of his bride, but prefers what is more beautiful and worthy of his love – the person hidden behind the veil. Likewise we, though charmed by the veil called avidya, should put it aside in order to find what is more valuable, namely the underlying truth of vidya. Without obtaining the vidya (truth) which is overlaid with avidya (illusion) of man’s own making, we shall always remain restless.”
~ Book of Wisdom pg. 100
Swami Rama on avidya and maya
“The term maya is closely related to with avidya. Maya can be described as apparent reality – that which does not exist though it appears to exist. Ma means “no”, ya means “that”. An example of maya is a mirage in the desert. Even though you think you see it, it doesn’t exist. Maya can cause you to have an accident, but it cannot enlighten you. Maya is the reason you see the one absolute truth as many. You can better understand the relationship among the individual soul, maya and the Absolute by the following analogy: Suppose a thick layer of ice covers the ocean, and in the layer of ice there are trillions of holes. All the individuals and creatures of the universe can be represented by the holes, the sheet of ice is maya, and the ocean that lies beneath symbolizes the absolute reality. When the sheet of ice melts, maya disappears along with all the holes and all individuality; the reality alone remains. Avidya and maya are the same, but avidya is individual and maya is cosmic. Maya is only an instrument that Brahman uses to project the universe. Through maya Brahman projects Himself as many. “
~ Sadhana pg. 41
“One day I said to my master, “Sir, I have been taught that avidya [ignorance] and maya [illusion] are one and the same. But I do not really understand what maya is.” He often taught by demonstration, so he said, “Tomorrow morning I will show you what maya is.” I could not sleep that night. I thought, “Tomorrow morning I am going to meet maya.”
The next day we went for our morning ablutions as usual. Then we met again afterwards. We bathed in the Ganges. Afterwards I did not feel like I could sit for meditation because I was so excited by the prospect of the mystery of maya being unveiled.
On our way back to the cave we came upon a big, dry trunk of a tree. My master rushed up to the tree and wrapped himself around it. I had never seen him run so fast before. He called out, “Are you my disciple? Then help me!” I said, “Huh? You have helped so many people, and today you need my help? What has happened to you?” I was afraid of that tree. I wouldn’t go near it because I feared it would also entrap me. I thought, “If the tree also entraps me, then who will help us both?” He cried, “Help me! Take hold of my foot and try your best to pull me away.” I tried with all my might, but I could not separate him from the tree. Then he said, “My body has been caught by this tree trunk.” I exhausted myself trying to pull him from the tree. Finally I stopped to think and I said to him, “How is this possible? The tree trunk has no power to hold you. What are you doing?” He laughed and said, “This is maya.”
My master explained anadi vidya—cosmic illusion—to me just as Shankara had described it. He said that avidya means individual ignorance, while maya is both individual and cosmic illusion. Ma means “no” and ya means “that”: that which is not self-existent, yet appears to exist, like a mirage, is called maya. Then he explained another school of philosophy, which maintains that maya is universal illusion and also the mother of the universe. He told me that in tantra philosophy maya is considered to be both cosmic shakti and the primal force, or kundalini—the latent force in all human beings. By focusing one’s awareness on the Absolute, this sleeping force is awakened within and directed toward the center of consciousness. When one comes in touch with this power he can easily attain the highest level of consciousness. Those who do not awaken this force of shakti remain forever brute and ignorant. After describing the philosophies of maya he said, “When we devote our mind, energy, and resources to believing in that which is non-existent, then it appears to exist, and that is maya. Don’t contemplate on evil, devils, sins, avidya, or maya and thereby put yourself in a state of stress and worry. Even spiritual people become preoccupied with blaming the world for their lack of progress. This weakness is significant in creating obstacles. For lack of sincerity, honesty, faithfulness, and truthfulness we do not realize that which we are. We project our weaknesses and think that the objects of the world are the source of our obstacles.” He told me to practice non-attachment and constant awareness. He said, “The strongest of bondages is created by attachment, which makes one weak, ignorant, and unaware of the absolute Reality. Maya, or illusion, is deeply rooted in attachment. When we are attached to or have a desire for something, it becomes a source of illusion for us. Those who are free from attachments and have directed their desires toward spiritual growth are free from the bondage of maya—illusion. The less attachment, the more inner strength;
the more inner strength, the nearer the goal. Vairagya and abhyasa—non-attachment and constant awareness of absolute Reality—are like two wings of a bird which can fly from the plane of mortality to the height of immortality. Those who do not allow their wings to be clipped by the illusion of maya can attain perfection.
~ Living with the Himalayan Masters


| top |


Read the whole article ”Five Sheaths or Koshas of Yoga” on
Kosha means sheath, like the lampshades covering the light, or like the series of wooden dolls pictured below. Maya means appearance, as if something appears to be one way, but is really another. Advaita Vedanta suggests that you imagine a dark night in which you think you see a man, only to find that it was an old fence post that was hard to see at first; that is maya
Here, it means that each of the sheaths or koshas is only an appearance. In truth, all of the levels, layers, koshas, or sheaths of our reality is only appearance, or maya(while also very real in the sense of dealing with the external world), and that underneath all of those appearances, we are pure, divine, eternal consciousness, or whatever name you prefer to call it. This is one of the fundamental principles of Advaita Vedanta meditation.
While some vie maya as meaning that nothing is real, and turn this into a cold-hearted intellectual practice, others view the illusion of maya as being shakti, the creative force of the universe. In this way, the maya of the koshas is experienced both as unreal and, at the same time, as the beautiful manifestations of the universal oneness.
Read the whole article ”The Tradition of the Himalayan Masters: Three Streams of Yoga, Vedanta, and Tantra” on
Sri Vidya: Both Mother and Father principles of the universe are acknowledged, practicing the purely internal form of Tantra to awaken kundalini and experience the highest. Maya (illusion) is seen as the creativity of the Mother principle, and is thus not an obstacle. The inner tantra practices trace all of the inner energies back to their finest source of pure energy.


| top |


Vivekachoodamini, Adi Shankaracharya
Translated by Swami Madhavananda, Published by Advaita Ashram, Kolkatta
65. As a treasure hidden underground requires (for its extraction) competent instruction, excavation, the removal of stones and other such things lying above it and (finally) grasping, but never comes out by being (merely) called out by name, so the transparent Truth of the self, which is hidden by Maya and its effects, is to be attained through the instructions of a knower of Brahman, followed by reflection, meditation and so forth, but not through perverted arguments.
108. Avidya (Nescience) or Maya, called also the Undifferentiated, is the power of the
Lord. She is without beginning, is made up of the three Gunas and is superior to the effects (as their cause). She is to be inferred by one of clear intellect only from the effects She produces. It is She who brings forth this whole universe.
110. Maya can be destroyed by the realization of the pure Brahman, the one without a second, just as the mistaken idea of a snake is removed by the discrimination of the rope. She has her gunas as rajas, tamas and sattva, named after their respective functions.
123. From Mahat down to the gross body everything is the effect of Maya: These and
Maya itself know thou to be the non-Self, and therefore unreal like the mirage in a desert.
237-238. Hence whatever is manifested, viz. this universe, is the Supreme Brahman
Itself, the Real, the One without a second, pure, the Essence of Knowledge, taintless, serene, devoid of beginning and end, beyond activity, the Essence of Bliss Absolute – transcending all the diversities created by Maya or Nescience, eternal, ever beyond the reach of pain, indivisible, immeasurable, formless, undifferentiated, nameless, immutable, self-luminous.
243. This contradiction between them is created by superimposition, and is not something real. This superimposition, in the case of Ishwara (the Lord), is Maya or Nescience, which is the cause of Mahat and the rest, and in the case of the Jiva (the individual soul), listen – the five sheaths, which are the effects of Maya, stand for it.
260. That which, though One only, is the cause of the many; which refutes all other causes, but is Itself without cause; distinct from Maya and its effect, the universe; and independent – that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind.
261. That which is free from duality; which is infinite and indestructible; distinct from the universe and Maya, supreme, eternal; which is undying Bliss; taintless – that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind.
263. That beyond which there is nothing; which shines even above Maya, which again is superior to its effect, the universe; the inmost Self of all, free from differentiation; the Real Self, the Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute; infinite and immutable – that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind.
324. As sedge, even if removed, does not stay away for a moment, but covers the water again, so Maya or Nescience also covers even a wise man, if he is averse to meditation on the Self.
345. Perfect discrimination brought on by direct realisation distinguishes the true nature of the subject from that of the object, and breaks the bond of delusion created by Maya; and there is no more transmigration for one who has been freed from this.
391. All this universe known through speech and mind is nothing but Brahman; there is nothing besides Brahman, which exists beyond the utmost range of the Prakriti. Are the pitcher, jug, jar, etc., known to be distinct from the clay of which they are composed? It is the deluded man who talks of “thou” and “I”, as an effect of the wine of Maya.
496. In me, the ocean of Infinite Bliss, the waves of the universe are created and destroyed by the playing of the wind of Maya.
513. I am verily that Brahman, the One without a second, which transcends the endless differentiations of Maya, which is the inmost essence of all, is beyond the range of consciousness, and which is Truth, Knowledge, Infinity and Bliss Absolute.
569. Bondage and Liberation, which are conjured up by Maya, do not really exist in the Atman, one’s Reality, as the appearance and exit of the snake do not abide in the rope, which suffers no change.
573. Hence this bondage and Liberation are created by Maya, and are not in the Atman. How can there be any idea of limitation with regard to the Supreme Truth, which is without parts, without activity, calm, unimpeachable, taintless, and One without a second, as there can be none with regard to the infinite sky?
Panchadasi, Sri Vidyaranya Swami
Translated by Swami Swahananda and Published by Sri Ramakrishna Math, Chennai (Translation under Fair Use, and believed to be in the public domain.)
1.16. When the element of sattva is pure, Prakriti is known as Maya; when impure (being mixed up with rajas and tamas) it is called Avidya. Brahman, reflected in Maya, is known as the omniscient Isvara, who controls Maya.
1.44. Brahman becomes the material and efficient cause of the world when associated with those aspects of Maya in which there is a predominance of tamas and sattva respectively. This Brahman is referred to as ‘That ‘ in the text ‘That thou art’.
1.46. When the three mutually contradictory aspects of Maya (rajas, tamas, sattva) are rejected, there remains the one individual Brahman whose nature is existence, consciousness and bliss. This is pointed out by the great saying ‘That thou art’.
1.48. Similarly, when the adjuncts, Maya and Avidya (the conflicting connotations in the proposition ‘That thou art’) of Brahman, and Jiva, are negated, there remains the indivisible supreme Brahman, whose nature is existence, consciousness and bliss.
2.34. (The Buddhists retort): (According to you Vedantins) The names and forms of Akasa and other elements are conjured up by Maya in (or on) Sat, the existence or Reality. Similarly (according to us) they (names and forms) are illusively produced by Maya in (or on) non-existence, Asat. (Reply): Our answer is, ‘May you live long’, i.e. you have fallen into a logical trap.
2.35. If you affirm that name and form attributed to an existing thing: are both creations of Maya (an illusory principle), then tell us what is the substratum upon which Maya creates names and forms; for illusion without a substratum, is never seen.
2.46. When the mind is void of all mentations we experience the witness or obscuring consciousness (in its purity) as calm and unagitated. Similarly prior to the functioning of Maya the existence, Sat, remained (in its purity) as quiescence, calm and unruffled.
2.47. As the power to burn exists in fire, so the power Maya, which has no existence independent of Brahman and which is inferred by its effect, exists in Brahman. Before the effect appears, the power behind the effect is not directly experienced by anyone anywhere.
2.48. The power of a substance is not the substance itself, as for instance, the power to burn is not the fire itself. (Similarly, Maya, which is the power of Brahman, is not Brahman). If Power is something other than Brahman, then define its nature.
2.49. (If you say the nature of) Maya is ‘nothingness’ (then you contradict yourself inasmuch as in verse 34) you said that ‘nothing’ is an effect of Maya (and an effect of a thing cannot be its nature, an effect being poterior to the thing). (So you will have to admit that) Maya is neither sunyam, non-existence nor Sat, existence, but it is as it is (i.e. something undefinable by the two terms).
2.50. This peculiar nature of Maya is corroborated by the Vedic text which purports, there was neither non-existence nor existence then (i.e., before creation) but there was darkness (by which is meant Maya). This attribution of existence to darkness (or Maya) is due to its association with existence, not by virtue of itself, in as much as it (existence) is denied to it (in the just mentioned Vedic passage).
2.51. Hence like nothingness, Maya also cannot be a distinct entity in its own right. In the world too, an able man and his ability are not considered two but one.
2.55. The Shruti says: ‘Creation is only a quarter of Brahman, the other three quarters are self-revealing’ (i.e., not dependent on Maya’s effects for its revelation). Thus does the Shruti say Maya covers but a part of Brahman.
2.58. Shruti, the well-wisher of the questioner, being asked whether Maya pervades the whole or part of Brahman, speaks of the partless as having parts in order to explain the non-dual nature of Brahman, by giving illustrations.
2.59. With Brahman as its basis, Maya creates the various objects of the world, just as a variety of pictures are drawn on a wall by the use of different colours.
2.60. The first modification of Maya is Akasa. Its nature is space i.e., it gives room to things to exist and expand.
Akasa derives its existence from Brahman, its substratum.
2.63. The same Sakti (power) i.e. Maya which has conjured up Akasa in the real entity, Sat or Existence has also produced the difference between them, after having shown their identity.
2.64. It is Sat which appears as Akasa, but ordinary people, and the logicians say that existence is a property of Akasa. This is only to be expected, for Maya is the conjurer.
2.70. If you argue that Akasa is evident, then we reply: let it be; it is to the credit of the products of Maya. The appearance of an object which is in fact non-existent is an illusion (mithya) just as that of the elephant seen in a dream.
2.78. The real entity (Brahman) is all-pervasive; the range of Maya is limited, that of Akasa is more limited and that of the air yet more so.
2.79. The following are the properties air is known to possess: ability to absorb moisture, perceptibility to the same of touch, speed and motion. Existence and the properties of Maya and Akasa are also found in air.
2.80. When we say, air exists, we mean that it does so by virtue of the universal principle, existence. If the idea of existence is abstracted from air what is left is of the nature of Maya i.e. a non-entity. The property of sound that is found in air is of Akasa.
2.90. Endowed with these properties of Brahman, Maya, Akasa and air, respectively, fire has colour as its specific property; apart from existence, all the other properties of fire are unreal. Understand this by discrimination.
2.92. Its existence, its pseudo-reality apart from existence, its perceptibility to the senses of sound, touch and sight are taken from the entities from which it is derived (namely, Brahman, Maya, Akasa, air and fire respectively). Its specific property is perceptibility to the sense of taste.
2.98. When a deep impression has been created in the mind about the elements and their derivatives and Maya being of the same category (viz., of non-existence), the understanding of the real entity as non-dual will never be subverted.
3.36. Space, time and the objects in them being illusions causes by Maya, there is no limitation of Brahman by them. Infinity of Brahman is therefore clear.
3.37. Brahman who is existence, consciousness and infinity is the Reality. Its being Ishvara (the Omniscient Lord of the world) and Jiva (the individual soul) are (mere) superimpositions by the two illusory adjuncts (Maya and Avidya, respectively).
3.38. There is a power (called Maya) of this Ishvara which controls everything. It informs all objects from the bliss sheath (to the physical body and the external world).
3.42. As a man is neither a father nor a grandfather when considered apart from his son and his grandson, so Brahman is neither Ishvara nor Jiva when considered apart from Maya or the five sheaths.
4.2. The Svetasvatara Upanishad says: ‘Know Maya as Prakriti and Brahman associated with Maya as the great Ishvara’ (who imparts existence and consciousness to it and guides it). It is He who creates the world.
4.12. Maya of the great Ishvara has, like its power of creation, another power which deludes all. It is this power which deludes the Jiva.
6.4. Brahman by nature is pure consciousness; with Maya He is called the in-dwelling spirit; in relation to the subtle bodies He is the totality of souls identifying Himself with them, and in relation to the gross bodies He is again the one identifying Himself with their totality.
6.123. The Shruti says that Maya is Prakriti, the material cause of the universe, and the Lord of Maya is the great Ishvara who pervades the whole universe, consisting of sentient and insentient objects which are like parts of that Ishvara.
6.125. The [Nrisimha-Uttara-]Tapaniya Upanishad declares Maya to be Tamas or darkness. The empirical experience of all is evidence for the existence of Maya, says the Shruti.
6.126. The Shruti points to the universal experience of the insentient and illusory nature of Maya, as displayed by persons of undeveloped intellect, such as children and dullards.
6.127. The nature of the poet and other inert objects exhibits insentiency (which is a characteristic of Maya). People say that the intellect feels shy to fathom the depths of Maya.
6.128. All people admit in their experience existence of Maya. From the logical point of view Maya is inexplicable. Shruti too declares it to be neither existence nor non-existence.
6.129. Since the effects of Maya are undeniably manifest, its existence cannot be denied. Being stultified by knowledge, it cannot really be said to exist. From the point of view of (absolute) knowledge (of the Atman) it is always inoperative and hence negligible.
6.130. Maya is looked upon in three ways. From the point of view of knowledge and Shruti it is negligible; for empirical reason it is indefinable and for the ordinary people it is real.
6.131. Maya exhibits the appearance and disappearance (in waking or sleeping state) of the world, just as by rolling and unrolling a picture on a canvas it is exhibited or withdrawn.
6.132. Maya is dependent, for in the absence of the cognizing faculty the effects of Maya cannot be experienced. Again in one sense it is independent too, for it can make the non-attached Atman appear to be attached.
6.133. Maya transforms the immutable Kutastha, the ever association-less Atman, phenomenally into the form of the universe. Casting the reflection of Atman on itself, Maya Creates Jiva and Ishvara.
6.134. Without in any way affecting the real nature of Atman, Maya creates the world. It makes the impossible look possible. How astonishingly powerful Maya is !
6.135. As fluidity is the nature of water, heat of fire and hardness of stone, so the making of the impossible possible is the nature of Maya. It is unique in this respect.
6.136. The magic show looks wonderful and inexplicable as long as the magician is not directly known, but when the magician is so known, the magic show is known as such and is no longer wonderful.
6.137. Those who believe in the reality of the world regard the effects of Maya as wonderful. But since the nature of Maya itself is astonishing, one need not wonder at its power.
6.138. By raising objections to the wonderfulness of Maya we do not solve the mystery. Besides, we also can raise serious counter objections. What is essential is that we should eradicate Maya by systematic enquiry. Further arguments are useless, so do not indulge in them.
6.139. Maya is an embodiment of marvellousness and doubt; the wise must carefully find out means and make effort to remove it.
6.140. (Doubt): But the nature of Maya must be determined before trying to eradicate it. (Reply): All right, do so ! Apply the popular definition of magic on Maya.
6.141. People understand that to be Maya which though clearly seen is at the same time beyond all determination, as in the case of magic.
6.142. The world is clearly seen, but its nature defies definition. Be impartial, and regard the world as nothing but a delusion, the product of Maya.
6. 148. Like the human body carefully consider also a tiny fig seed. How different the tree is from the seed from which it grows ! Therefore know all this to be Maya.
6. 151. Be convinced that Maya is the cause of this world, whose comprehension surpasses the imagination. In the state of deep sleep we are partly aware of this Maya, the seed of this world.
6.152. As the tree is latent in the seed, so the waking and dreaming worlds are implicit in deep sleep. Similarly, the impressions of the entire universe are latent in Maya.
6. 154. This seed, the Maya, in association with the reflection of consciousness, which is not fully grasped, develops into the intellect; and in this intellect, the reflection of consciousness becomes plainly visible as the ego.
6.155. It is said by the Shruti that Jiva and Ishvara are creations of Maya, being reflections of Atman in it. Ishvara is like the reflection of the sky in the cloud; Jiva is like the reflection of the sky in water.
6.156. Maya is comparable to a cloud and the mental impressions in the Buddhi are like the water-particles which make up the cloud. The reflected consciousness in Maya is like the sky reflected in the water-particles of the cloud.
6.157. Shruti says that this (pure universal) consciousness reflected in Maya is Ishvara which controls Maya as well. The great Ishvara is the inner ruler, omniscient and cause of the universe.
6.159. The omniscience and other properties of the bliss sheath are not to be questioned, because the assertions of the Shruti are beyond dispute and because everything is possible in Maya.
6.171. In the Gita Sri Krishna says: ‘O Arjuna, the Lord abides in the hearts of all beings and makes them revolve by His Maya as if mounted on a wheel’. [Gita: XVIII-61]
6.174. The meaning of the expression ‘The Lord makes them revolve by His Maya’, is that the Lord by his power of Maya becomes involved in the intellect-sheath and seems to change with the operations of the intellect.
6.186. Ishvara is endowed with the power of Maya which is the power of manifesting and demanifesting, so the objections to the theory that creation has a beginning or that it is evolutionary or that things are naturally endowed with certain special qualities do not apply to it.
6.187. Ishvara through the Tamas of Maya is the cause of the inanimate objects and through the reflection of the supreme intelligence Ishvara is the cause of the Jivas.
6.195. By deep enquiry and by the application of the rules of interpretation to the Vedic text we come to know that Brahman is associationless and unconditioned by Maya, whereas Ishvara is the creator conditioned by Maya.
6.197. Another Shruti says that Ishvara, the Lord of Maya, creates the universe, whereas the Jiva is controlled by Maya. So Ishvara, associated with Maya, is the creator.
6.212. Maya has created Ishvara and Jiva, represented by the sheath of bliss and the sheath of intellect respectively. The whole perceptible world is a creation of Ishvara and Jiva.
6.214. Those who do not know the nature of Brahman, who is secondless and associationless, fruitlessly quarrel over Jiva and Ishvara, which are creations of Maya.
6.223. Influenced by the beginningless Maya, people think that Jiva and Ishvara are totally different from each other. In order to eliminate this erroneous belief the Vedantin enquires into the meaning of ‘That’ and ‘Thou’.
6.226. The sheath of bliss and the sheath of intellect have as their conditioning adjuncts Maya and the modification of Maya called Buddhi respectively, but the basis of both is the one pure Atman, which is immutable.
6.236. Maya is said to be the desire-fulfilling cow. Jiva and Ishvara are its two calves. Drink of its milk of duality as much as you like, but the truth is non-duality.
6.238. The non-dual reality, as declared in the Shruti, existed before creation, exists now and will continue to exist in dissolution; and after liberation Maya deludes the people in vain.
6.246. The whole world is a product of the inscrutable Maya; be convinced of this and know that the fundamental real principle is non-duality.
6. 289. On the supreme consciousness the world is drawn like a picture on canvas; thus is Maya superimposed on consciousness. When we forget the adventitious distinctions, consciousness alone remains.
7.3. The Shruti says that Maya reflecting Brahman, creates both Jiva and Ishvara. Jiva and Ishvara, in their turn, create the whole of the rest of the universe.
7.72. “The (absolute) consciousness conditioned by the primeval ignorance, Maya, which is the cause of the universe, is all-knowing etc., and can be known indirectly and whose nature is truth, knowledge and infinity, is indicated by the word ‘That’.”
7.217. This Chidabhasa is a product of Maya. Shruti and experience both demonstrate this. The world is a magical show and Chidabhasa is included in it.
8.49. The substratum, on which stands the illusion of the whole world, is described in the Vedanta by the word Brahman.
8.50. When the whole world of Maya is recognised as a superimposition on this one consciousness, Brahman, what to speak of Jiva who is only a part of this world.
8.60. The Shruti declares that Jiva and Ishvara are both reflections of Brahman in Maya. They are, however, different from material things in that they are transparent (i.e., revealing) just as a glass jar is different from earthen ones.
61. Though both are products of food, the mind is subtler and purer than the body. Similarly, Jiva and Ishvara are more transparent than the grosser products of Maya.
62. Jiva and Ishvara, because they manifest the power of revealing, must be considered to be endowed with consciousness. For, nothing is difficult for Maya, that is endowed with the power to create all things.
8.63. When we sleep, our dreams create even Jiva and Ishvara. What wonder is there then that the Great Maya creates them in the waking state?
8.64. The Maya creates omniscience and other qualities too in Ishvara. When it can create Ishvara, the receptacle of these qualities, is it difficult to conceive that it can also create these qualities in Him?
8.65. If you raise the improper doubt about Kutastha, we say: do not imagine that Kutastha is also a creation of Maya. There is no evidence for that assumption.
8.68. The aspirant for release should give up sophistry and should base his conviction on the Shruti, which says that Jiva and Ishvara are creations of Maya.
8.75. Like a cloud which pours out streams of rain, Maya creates the world (Jagat). As the ether is not affected by the rain, so pure consciousness (that I am) suffers neither gain nor loss from anything in the phenomenal world. That is the conviction of the wise.
9.88. This world is illusory, Maya and the Self is by nature pure consciousness. How can such knowledge be opposed to his worldly activities?
10.1. Before the projection of the world the Supreme Self, the secondless, all-bliss and ever complete, alone existed. Through His Maya He became the world and entered into it as the Jiva, the individual Self.
10. 3. Due to the practice of devotions in many lives the Jiva desires to reflect upon his nature. When by enquiry and reflection Maya is negated, the Self alone remains.
13.10. So the illusive appearance of the world in the partless bliss can be explained. Like the power of a magician, the power of Maya may be said to bring the objective world into being.
13.13. The sages perceived that the power of Brahman called Maya is concealed by its own qualities. Many are the aspects of this divine power, which is manifest as action, knowledge and will.
13.65. Another Shruti says that before creation the universe was unmanifest and that afterwards it became manifest as name and form. Here Maya, the inexplicable power of Brahman, is referred to as ‘unmanifest’.
13.66. This Maya, which rests unmanifest in the immutable Brahman, subsequently undergoes numerous modifications. ‘Know Maya as Prakriti (the material cause of the universe), and the supreme Lord as the Ruler (substratum) of Maya’.
13.67. The first modification of Maya is Akasa; it exists, is manifest and is dear to all. The special form of Akasa is space which is unreal, but its other three properties (derived from its cause, Brahman), are not unreal.
13.85. As the power inherent in the clay brings the pot into existence, so the power of Maya inherent in Brahman creates many unreal things. This is illustrated by sleep and dream conditions of living beings.
13.86. Just as in the sleeping state a power inherent in the Jiva gives rise to impossible dreams, so the power of Maya inherent in Brahman, projects, maintains and destroys the universe.
13.89. When such is the glory of the power of sleep and dream, what is there to wonder at the unimaginable glory of the power of Maya?
13.90. In a sleeping man various dreams are created; similarly the power of Maya creates diverse appearances in the immutable Brahman.
13.91. Akasa, air, fire, water, earth, the universe, the different Lokas (worlds) and animate and inanimate objects are appearances produced by Maya. Pure consciousness appears as a reflection in the intellects of living beings.
15.23. The two, absence of consciousness and misery, and non-existence – these are the three forms of Maya. Non-existence is illustrated by such expressions as ‘the horns of a man’; absence of consciousness is seen in such objects as wood, stone etc.
15.24. There is misery in the Rajasika and Tamasika Vrittis. Thus Maya is manifested. Because of His identification with the Vrittis of the intellect, which are Sattvika, Rajasika and Tamasika, Brahman is called ‘associated Brahman’ i.e., Brahman is associated with the world.
15.25. Such being the nature of Maya and Brahman, the man who wishes to meditate on Brahman should ignore the objects which have no existence (such as the horns of a man) and concentrate properly on other objects.


GO BACK TO THE LIST: “What is….?”