Dr. Vijai S Shankar MD.PhD.
Published on www.academy-advaita.com
29 December 2017
Maya in the Sanskrit language is derived from the Sanskrit roots 'ma' ("not") and 'ya', meaning "that". In Hinduism, the world in which we live is called unreal, not because it does not exist, but because it is unstable, impermanent, unreliable and illusory, while the real would be stable, permanent and reliable.
In Buddhism Maya means the power by which the universe becomes manifest: the illusion or appearance of the phenomenal world.
To the conditioned mind, however, it is very difficult to understand how what is seen and believed that it is seen could be maya. A moment in life and a dream, however, give clues to understand maya or illusion.
Firstly, a moment in life happens faster than a zepto second, which is the smallest duration of time known by man. This signifies that every moment that happens in life happens faster than a zepto second, which is one trillionth of a trillionth of a second.
Therefore, it is impossible for a letter, word or anything to exist in a moment in life. A word is made up of letters. This signifies that only a part of a letter, which is sound, is present in a moment. This signifies that a complete letter, a complete word or anything that exists is a maya of the moment in life.
Secondly, in a dream, light as daylight and darkness as night are seen, including what is seen in the daylight of a dream. It is impossible to determine how daylight and darkness could be seen in a dream, because the eyes are closed while dreaming and it is dark within the head and in the bedroom as well.
Thirdly, though a dream is seen, it is impossible to determine how a dream could be seen, because the eyes are closed while dreaming and it is dark within the head and in the bedroom as well.
Therefore, a dream is a maya of thoughts, because the seen in a dream is not actually seen by the eyes.
Since the seen in daily life is known by thoughts as well, a dream signifies that what we believe is seen in daily life is not actually seen, but is believed by thoughts to be seen, just as a dream is believed by thoughts that a dream is seen.
A moment in life also signifies that we cannot see anything complete in a moment. We only believe that we see the complete seen as real. This signifies that the seen in every moment of daily life is a maya, meaning an illusion.
Author: Dr. Vijai S. Shankar
© Copyright V. S. Shankar 2017
Man has become so adept at ‘seeing is believing’ that his or her whole life-experience hinges on this understanding. It has become almost instinctive that the evidence presented through the eyes and even the ears is the bedrock of what is known or discovered or believed to be real in daily life. In the light of this deep understanding of the wise, it is realized that whatever we take to be real is like a dream. By the power of maya has this article itself manifested. It too is an illusion; meaning the deep understanding or wisdom is illusory as well.
Julian Capper, UK.
German Translator’s Note:
The human mind is conditioned to search and to believe in something “stable, permanent and reliable” within the mind. Everything perceived by the mind is, however, “unstable, impermanent, unreliable and illusory”. True security will therefore never be found within the realm of the mind. Through discrimination between the real and the unreal, “Neti neti”, “Not this, not this”, man is left with the real by discarding the illusory as unreal. That the illusory nevertheless is existent and not non-existent is the sine qua non of a healthy mind. Indifference about the illusory is not a sign of deep understanding, but of superficial spiritual belief. This insight clearly transmitted by Dr. Shankar in the article “Maya”, cannot be overemphasised as it is the hallmark of a compassionate human life, albeit illusory.
Marcus Stegmaier, Germany.