maya, illusion, hinduism

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Reply Sun 8 Nov, 2009 10:39 pm
could someone fill me in on the hindu conception of "maya"?
Can you relate it to "kantian" metaphysics about perceptions versus the "thing in itself"?
 
Jackofalltrades phil
 
Reply Tue 10 Nov, 2009 05:03 am
@prothero,
Maya is a (hindu) concept of understanding the nature of attraction in a material seeking human world. Thats my humble understanding. It is referred to as Illusion, for want of a better English word.

Human nature, in general is burdened by emotions such as jealousy, greed, lust, avarice, etc and the human life is encumbered with desires such as wealth, name, property, status etc. These wants or desires, arguably natural, are considered the root causes of sufferring. To do away with cravings and desires (considered as unwanted), various preceptors and spiritual practitioners, recommend the removal of such Maya's as a step towards ultimate happiness or non-suffering.

About Kant, i am sorry i cant help, as i have not studied him nor his views as i would have liked to. If you could bring in the connections, it would help the cause. Thanks
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Mon 21 Dec, 2009 05:36 am
@prothero,
I only just noticed this thread, although it has been posted for some time.

The doctrine of Maya is the world is literally an illusory projection of mind. it has no real existence, essence or substance. It is a magic show, a trick of perception, and a game played by the Supreme Being for the fun of it. The Real Self is all that truly exists, all manifest beings are like the figures in a movie that are projected on its canvas.

If you really want to understand this idea, read the Teachings of Ramana Maharishi. Here are some quotes from his dialogs:

Quote:
At 5-30 p.m. the Swiss lady complains to Sri Bhagavan that she gets a headache if meditation be prolonged for some time.

Ramana Maharshi : If the meditator and meditation be understood to be the same there will be no headache or similar complaints.

Questioner : But they are different. How shall we consider them to be the same?
Ramana Maharshi : That is due to your outlook. There is only one and there are no differences. On meditation the relative consciousness will vanish. That is not annihilation; for Absolute Consciousness arises. The Bible itself says, "The Kingdom of Heaven is within you" . . . If you consider yourself to be the body there is some difficulty in understanding the statement. On the other hand if you know who you really are, the Kingdom of Heaven and all are included in your true Self.

They are concepts arising after the ego has arisen. Drishtim jnanamayeem krtva pasyet Brahmamayam jagat (Direct your look within and make it absolute). With that absolute awareness realised, look without and you will realise the universe to be not apart from the realised Absolute.

Because your outlook is externally directed you speak of a without. In that state you are advised to look within. This within is relative to the without you are seeking. In fact, the Self is neither without nor within. Speaking of Heaven one thinks of it as above or below, within or without, since one is accustomed to relative knowledge. One seeks only objective knowledge and hence these ideas.

Really speaking there is neither up nor down, neither in nor out. If they were real they must be present in dreamless sleep also. For what is real must be continuous and permanent. Did you feel 'in' or 'out' in sleep? Of course not.

Questioner : I do not remember.
Ramana Maharshi : If there was anything there that could be remembered. But you admit your existence then. The same Self is now speaking. The Self who was undifferentiated in sleep is differentiated in the present state, and sees the diversity. The Real Existence is the only One devoid of objective knowledge. That is absolute consciousness. That is the state of happiness, as admitted by all of us. That state must be brought about even in this waking state. It is called jagrat sushupti. That is mukti.


Peace be upon him. He died in about 1960 but his teachings and many of his students live on. He was the great exponent of Advaita Vedanta in the last century, of which the Maya doctrine is one component.

He was not intellectual in the least. For the first 20 or 30 years after his realization he rarely spoke. Even in the later years, much of his teaching was conducted in complete silence. Those who sat in his presence were forever changed by it. His presence exuded a peace which was beyond all description.
 
Jackofalltrades phil
 
Reply Tue 22 Dec, 2009 03:33 am
@prothero,
To understand 'maya' one may have to take recourse to the following:

If one is a believer in the Creator principle, this concept is easy to understand. The Creator who is the Unborn, gives birth to (Shristi) world. The world comprises of Prakiti (Nature) and Akash (Space or Universe)......... Prakiti is manifest by matter and motion. Both is driven by Prana (Breath of life) or energy. This manifest form is the leela (play or drama) of Bhagavanta (God, the perceived one). Since the unmanifest cannot be perceived, some reports suggests that it can be only be experienced. For the common understanding, it is only that which is perceived as the manifest forms which can be called as the maya.

The understanding of maya has changed with times.
Since we perceive what goes on around us, and this is not permanent in nature, it gives the commoner a belief that the perceived is permanent. The commoner cannot know of the permanent, unmanifest form of reality because of his limitations of comprehension, his conditioning, his environment, his intellect, his traits and tendencies, his habits......... this confines an individual and gives him limited understanding.... this is called the web of maya. Maya therefore does not allow you to reach your pure self or ultimate knowledge or what is known as enlightenment.
The material goals set by self or the society around you is the limiting factor. And this factor is now also referred to as maya.

For an example, an ascetic to be mukt (free) of any bindings or bondings (maya) than he by tradition and scriptural advice has to be a brahmachari (celibate) and only than he can say he is maya mukt (free from maya or free from the artificial, illusory world).

Now, for those who are non-believers, one need to understand 'maya' from the perspective of metaphysics. Since the Universe can be divided into Material and Unmaterial effects, the perceived causes are Maya, as against the real causes. Since we have limited perceivable powers or qualities we mistake what we see or reason for the Real and the truthful.

Secondly, at the lower human level of understanding, the human traits like jealousy, compettition, rivalry, struggle to power, honour, status, even knowledge leading to arrogance and high handedness is due to transitory or illusory notions devloped in our mind. These notions of the material kind can also be called maya. The pursuit for excellence or superiority is an attribute of maya.

Attachments and cravings, passions and desires, avarice and greediness is the result of maya. As long as one is in the grasp of maya - the selfishness of mind, the surrenderance to body, one would be plagued with restlessness, sorrow and suffering. Maya creates anarchy, competition, rivalry, evil, death and destruction.

In the abrahamic world, these attributes are given or represented by Satan or dEvil. The athesits and scientists prefer calling it illusions created by the Ego.

Maya thus imho has two connotations or sub-meanings a) It is the manifest forms of Nature as perceived by man, and b) it is the very natural nature of Man .
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 22 Dec, 2009 04:09 am
@prothero,
By way of comparison, from the Diamond Sutra

Quote:
"Subhuti, how can one explain this Sutra to others without holding in mind any arbitrary conception of forms or phenomena or spiritual truths? It can only be done, Subhuti, by keeping the mind in perfect tranquility and free from any attachment to appearances."

"So I say to you -
This is how to contemplate our conditioned existence in this fleeting world:"

"Like a tiny drop of dew, or a bubble floating in a stream;
Like a flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
Or a flickering lamp, an illusion, a phantom, or a dream."

"So is all conditioned existence to be seen."

Thus spoke Buddha.
 
khalid10
 
Reply Fri 7 May, 2010 01:23 am
@prothero,
The hindus developed theyre gods by seeing whats superiour e.g like the elephant lady
and shiva wich has four arms wich is quite superiour in numbers then two

Correct me if im wrong:D
 
Jackofalltrades phil
 
Reply Sun 30 May, 2010 11:59 am
@khalid10,
khalid10;161141 wrote:
The hindus developed theyre gods by seeing whats superiour e.g like the elephant lady
and shiva wich has four arms wich is quite superiour in numbers then two

Correct me if im wrong:D


Oh....... sorry for such a late reply.


The elephant god is a man-god or deity called Ganapati.
Not Only Shiva, but almost all Gods up the heirarchy including lady deities have multiple-arms. This is a cultural phenomenon in the popular sense. It is a distortion and development of art. It is a depiction, and has only symbolic value.
 
 

 
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