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Maya and Creation

by Swami Sivananda

M
Y SILENT adorations to my dearest Mother, Maha Maya, the illusory power of Brahman who keeps up this Lila! May She guide me in all my thoughts and actions! She is Sat-Asat Vilakshana-Anadi Bhavarupa Anirvachaniya Maya. She is Sat because you see actually Her creations. But She is not as real as Brahman because She vanishes as soon as Brahma Jnana dawns in the aspirants. So she is Asat or unreal. But she is not as unreal as the horns of a hare or the louts of Gandharvanagar in the sky or a barren woman's son. Hence She is called 'Anirvachaniya' or the indescribable or the inscrutable power. Have you understood Her nature correctly now? I shall proceed to describe Her creations.

Before I begin to narrate Her activities, let me touch the point which troubles the minds of aspirants often, the moment a little discrimination dawns in them. They begin to rack their brains with the question: 'Why has God created this Universe? He is Purna. He is without desires.' This is an Atiprasna or a transcendental question. You cannot find a solution for this question even if you rack your brain for millennia of years. No Acharya or teacher or prophet has even given an answer to this question. The finite mind that is conditioned in time, space and causation cannot find an answer. There can be a 'why' for matters concerning the physical plane. If a small boy asks his father: Papa, why did you create me? What answer will the father give? He will simply say, My dear boy, wait a bit; grow for some years and marry, then you will understand this subtle point; do not unnecessarily rack your brain now. This is exactly the case with our young, inquisitive aspirants. Vasishtha also gave the same kind of answer to Rama when he put the same question. He said: Dear Rama, do not put the cart before the horse; get Atma-Jnana; then alone you will understand the nature of Maya and Her activities and the 'why' of Maya; you are caught up in the fire of Samsara; there are methods to get out of this Samsara; practise and realise Brahman; then only you will understand the 'why' of this universe. What will a man do who has acute appendicular colic? Will he ask the doctor: What is this medicine? What are its ingredients? What is its price? Is it a German preparation or an English preparation? No, he will not. He will simply take the medicine immediately to relieve the pain. Even so, do not bother yourself about this point. You will be wasting your whole life if you try to find out a solution. I know of a deputy collector who was very much worried with this question for a period of twelve years. Whenever he approached any Sannyasi or Mahatma, he put he same question: Why has God created this universe? Now only he has got Shanti. I meet him last year. Whenever you sit for meditation, this point will trouble you and your meditation will be disturbed. Tell the mind whenever this question arises: Keep quiet, you dirty mind; I know the answer now. I have found out a solution. Get away. Do not mislead me. Immediately the mischievous mind will remain quiet.

Now I come to the point of creation. The one silent Brahman willed: Why I become many. May I bring forth. This world was projected by His illusory power - Maya. You will find in the Chhandogya Upanishad: Sat eva saumya idam agra asit ekam eva advitiyamIn the beginning this was Existence only, One only, without a second, O Saumya or good-looking youth! This Maya and Brahman are inseparable. They are like fire and heat or ice and cold. Shakti and Shakta are one. Worship of Shakti really means worship of Brahman. Worship of Brahman includes worship of Shakti as well. It is only the foolish or the sectarians who argue unnecessarily.

This wonderful Maya has got three Gunas, viz., Sattva, Rajas and Tamas which means purity, passion and inertia respectively. Pure Brahman is without attributes. There is no Maya here. That portion of Brahman which is associated with Maya is called Ishvara or Saguna Brahman. Maya is Shuddha Sattva. Ishvara has control over Maya. Jiva or the individual soul is a slave of Avidya. Avidya is Malina Sattva. Sattva is mixed with Rajas and Tamas. Maya is the Karana Sarira or causal body of Ishvara. Avidya is the Karana Sarira of Jiva.

The Chaitanya that is associated with the Sattva Guna is Vishnu. The Chaitanya that is associated with Rajoguna is Brahma and the Chaitanya associated with Tamoguna is Siva. The one Ishvara has become three according to the functions of creations, preservation and destruction. The Chaitanya is the same.

Srishti is of two kinds, viz., Sthula and Sukshma. First the Sukshma Brahmanda is created by Hiranyagarbha. Here matter exists in a rudimentary state. There are the five Tanmatras or root elements. They are in a state of non-quintuplication. They are not mixed together. The sum total of all minds and Prana is Hiranyagarbha. His Loka is Brahmaloka. Ishvara has no Loka. Here Maya is in an Avyakta or undifferentiated or unmanifested state. Here matter and energy are one. Sound also exists in an undifferentiated state. Just as the tree exists in a seed state, so also the whole world exists in a seed state in this Avyakta, Maya. The whole world merges in this Avyakta, Maya. The whole world merges in this Avyakta during the state of cosmic Pralaya.

From the Sattvic portion of each of these Tanmatras is born the five Jnana Indriyas or organs of knowledge. From the sum-total of Sattva of the five Tanmatras is born the mind. From the separate Rajasic portion of each of these five Tanmatras is born the Prana. From the Tamasic portion of each of the Tanmatra is born the five gross elements. by the process of quintuplication of Panchikarana this gross Brahmanda is formed. The gross water that you see outside really contains, eight annas of water Tanmatra, two annas of Akasa Tanmatra, two annas of Vayu Tanmatra, two annas of Agni Tanmatra and two annas of earth Tanmatra. Each element divides into two halves and one half of each element is mixed with the quarter of the outer halves of the four elements. Then the gross element is formed. by a combination of the five elements this physical body and the whole gross Brahmanda is formed.

Whatever you see outside is called Virat. This is the cosmic physical body. The underlying Chaitanya is Vaishvanara. The sum total of all astral bodies is Hiranyagarbha. This is in the macrocosm. The associated Chaitanya is Sutratma or the thread-soul. The sum-total of Karana Sarira is Avyakritam. The underlying Chaitanya is Ishvara. In the microcosm, Visva is the associated Chaitanya of this physical body in the waking state. Taijasa is the associated Chaitanya of the astral body in the dreaming state. Prajna is the associated Chaitanya of the Karana Sarira in the deep-sleep state. Melt the Visva in Virat and the Virat in 'A' of Omkara. Melt the Taijasa in Hiranyagarbha and the Hiranyagarbha in 'U' of Omkara. Melt the Prajna in Ishvara and the Ishvara in 'M' of Omkara. There will remain the Ishvara Sakshi or Kutastha. That is your real Svarupa, O dear Surendranath, after doing Laya Chintana in the above manner.

Laya Chintana of the elements consists in involving the earth into its cause the water, water into its cause the fire, fire in Vayu, Vayu in Akasa, Akasa in Avyakta and Avyakta in Brahman. The Antahkarana Laya Chintana consists in melting the speech in mind, mind in Buddhi, Buddhi in cosmic Mahat, Mahat in Avyakta and Avyakta in Brahman.

In Adhyaropa you have creation, world, etc. In Apavada the whole super-imposition of the world is deleted. Brahman alone remains. This world is after all a mental creation. Where there is mind, there is world - Manomatram Jagat, Manah Kalpitam Jagat. Is there any world during sleep? As people with gross minds cannot grasp the theory of Ajati-Vada or non-creation, this world of Srishti Krama is given. If you study the doctrine of Ajati-Vada, propounded by Gaudapada in his Karika, you will find that this world does not exist in the past, present and future. This doctrine can only be understood by high class aspirants who lead a life of seclusion and meditation. If you remain in Allahabad for six months, you forget all about your native place which is Madras. There is no Madras for you while you live in Allahabad and there is no Allahabad for you while you live in Madras. This world is a mere collection of Samskaras created by the mind. If you can consciously destroy the mind by Sadhana and Samadhi, the world vanishes. It is all Brahman only. You shut yourself in a room for a fortnight. Give up reading newspapers. Engage yourself in deep meditation and see whether there is world or not.

A man with colour-blindness sees green as red and red as blue. A man with fever finds no taste in milk at all. The man who has a paralysed tongue cannot find taste in orange and salt. A microphone exaggerates the sound of a fall or a pin. He who has cataract sees a double moon. A frog, an elephant and an ant have got their different worlds. This world is a play of colours and sounds. A man with a perverted sense of touch feels the sensation of butter in stone. If you have quite a different pair of lenses you will have another world. A round table will appear as a square one. The senses are deceiving you at every moment. Time is created by Kala Shakti, space by Dik Shakti and form by Rupa Shakti. All are the products of Maya. Sometimes one mile appears as one furlong and one furlong appears as one mile. When you are in a state of concentration, one hour appears as ten minutes. When the mind is wandering half an hour in hanging on you as two hours. Time is mental creation. In winter the sun appears at eight in the morning and sets at five in the evening. In summer the sun rises at five in the morning and sets at seven in the evening. What is all this? Is this not a jugglery set up by Maya?

You find in the Gita that you can cross this illusion 'Mayaya duratyaya' by devotion unto the Lord. 'This divine illusion of Mine, caused by the qualities is hard to pierce; they who came to Me cross over this illusion.' Obtain the grace of the world's Mother, Maha Maya. Through Her grace you will be able to transcend the three Guans. She will introduce you to Her Lord, Brahman. Then and then alone you can rest in everlasting peace and attain the immortal abode. She helped Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Vemanna of Andhradesa. She is ready to help you all, to take all Her children back into Her sweet bosom of love. Do total self-surrender unto Her. Say unto Mother: 'Mother, I am thine. Save me. Have mercy on me. You have saved several souls. I too am Thy son.' You will feel Her warm embrace now.

It is very difficult to get human birth. Utilise it for higher purposes. Do not waste it in idle talking, eating and drinking. You will never get again a birth like this. Cross the ocean of Samsara through the grace of the Mother and rest in your own Sat-Chit-Ananda Svarupa. I bow with folded hands once more to my loving Mother of compassion and mercy, Mother Kali who is known as Parvati, Durga, Ambika, Ganga and Gauri and who assumes the forms of Sarasvati, Lakshmi, Sita, Radha, and Kundalini.


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