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    Maya

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    The Eternal Light is the invisible potential energy; Maya is kinetic energy, the force of action of the Lord. They are inseparable like fire and heat. Maya is the supernatural, extraordinary, and mystic power of God, and the Mother of mother Nature. The word 'Maya' also means unreal, illusory, or deceptive image of Reality. Due to the power of Maya one considers the universe existent and distinct from the Supreme Being and the drama of life goes on.

    Pictorial Expansion of the Absolute: Read this first in English and DevaNagari

    EXPANSION OF THE ABSOLUTE

    (Brahm-vidyaa, for advanced students)
    by
    Dr. Ramananda Prasad, International Gita Society

    The expansion of the Absolute is the Kingdom of Krishn, or the Kingdom of Father in Christian tradition. It mainly consists of Par-Brahm, Brahm, Maya, Kshar Purush, Prakriti, Ishvar and Jeev. Lord Krishn, in the Fifteenth Chapter of the Bhagavad-Gita, said:

    There are two Purushas, the entities or aspects of the Absolute divine existence, in this world: The changeable Kshar Purush, and the non-changeable Akshar Purush. All created beings are changeable or Kshar, and Akshar Brahm (or Akshar Purush) does not change. (15.16)

    There is another Supreme Personality of Godhead (beyond Kshar and Akshar) called Par-Brahm Paramaatmaa, who, pervading the three Loks as the Eternal Lord (or Ishvar), sustains them. (15.17)

    I am beyond both Kshar and Akshar; therefore, I am known in this world and in the Vedas as the Supreme Person (or Aksharaateet, Para Brahma Paramaatmaa, Purushottama, etc.) (See also Mundak Upanishad 2.01.02) (15.18)

    We will attempt to explain three Purushas (or the three aspects of the Absolute) and their various expansions based on Taartamya-vidyaa given by Mahamati Prannath, a seventeenth century saint of Gujarat, India.

    1. PARBRAHM

    Krishn is the name of ParBrahm Paramaatmaa (or the Absolute), the Supreme Lord (Gita 15.18) who has expanded Himself in two different levels: Akshar or immutable Brahm and Kshar or mutable existence. His transcendental abode is called Param Dhaam (PD) (Gita 15.06). He is called Sachchidaanand, because Sat (existence), Chitt (consciousness), and Anand (bliss) are His three natures or Svabhaavas.

    Lord said: The ignorant ones — unable to understand My immutable, incomparable, incomprehensible, and transcendental form (or existence) — assume that I, the Par-Brahm Paramaatmaa, am formless and incarnate or take forms. (7.24).

    Yes Nancy, Lord has a form, because nothing in the universe is formless. One cannot see His form if one believes in a formless God. A great saint, the founder of Arya Samaj and a firm believer of formless God ¾ Swami Dayanand Sarasvati ¾ repented towards the end of his life that he was unable to see God. Lord’s form has been seen by many saints, sages, and ordinary persons, and Nancy, you can also see God, Krishn, by developing the Tureeyaa state of mind. A thing invisible to human eyes does not mean it is formless. We are all created in His own image. How can a formless entity create the wonderful worlds of forms? Can anything exist without having a form? Is existence (or Sat) possible without a form? Skakti (or power of the Lord) was mistaken for the Shaktimaan (or Lord, the possessor of that power). The invisible transcendental form is the basis of the visible world.

    And not only the Lord has a name (or Naam), Krishn; and a transcendental form (or Roop) of His own; but He has an abode (or Dhaam). And He also plays. The entire visible and the invisible creation is His play, Leela. The idea of a Dhaam may sound like a backward idea to a mind that is not in tune with Reality. One does not have to read any other scripture except the Gita to find His address as well as the directions to reach there. In verses 8.21, 10.12, 11.38, and 15.06 of the Gita the abode of the Supreme Lord is mentioned as Param-Dhaam, the Supreme Abode. One may wonder at the wisdom of confining the unconfineable and omnipresent Lord to a special place of His own. To find the answer one has to carefully study Chapter 13 of the Gita where Lord said (in verse 13.15) that He is very near (residing in one's heart) as well as far away (in Param-Dhaam located in Chidaakaash). All serious students of the Gita are urged to contemplate on the meaning of this verse and by His grace the Truth will become more and more clear.

    2. BRAHM

    Sat Svabhaav (nature) or Atmaa of ParBrahm Krishn is called Brahm, Brahman, Atmaa, Akshar Brahm, Akshar Purush (Gita 10.20, 14.27), or Purush ( Gita 7.05). Brahm also has three Svabhaavs: Sat, Chitt, and Anand.

    Sat Svabhaav is called Sat Svaroop, satpurush, or Parameshwar. Anand Svabhaav of Brahm is called Keval Brahm. Yog Maya is the Shakti (power) of Keval Brahma and Sabal Brahm is the Buddhi (intellect) of Keval Brahm. An ansh of Sabal Brahm is called Paraatmaa or Param Shiv that takes part in creation. Paraatmaa (intellect) and Chitt (consciousness) combine to manifest Avyakt Brahm, the mind of Brahm.

    The abode of Brahm is called Akshar Dhaam. Sat, Chitt, Anand, and Avyakt are called four Paads or zones of Brahm. Avyakt is also called Adi Prakriti, Pradhaan, Avyakt Brahm, and Sarva Kaaran Kaaranam, the cause of all causes. Chatushpaad Vibhuti of Brahm is mentioned in the Vedas. Quantitatively, the manifest creation is only one quarter of Him (Rigved 10.90.03, Yajurved 31.3-4). It is also mentioned in mantr 2 of the Maandukya Upanishad. All the manifest world is only one quarter (the Avyakt-paad) of Brahm and the other three quarters remain Akhand or unmanifest (Also see Gita 10.42).

    Four bodies (or levels of existence) of Avyakt Brahm are:

    1. Great causal body: The Great causal body (or Mahaa Kaaran Shareer) consists of:

    (i) Golok is a reflection of Nitya Golok of PD where Raas lila goes on.

    (ii) Vaikunth is the lower portion of Golok. It consists of four islands: Sat lok, Vishnu lok, Svet dveep, and Pushkar dveep. All Avataars come from Vaikunth.

    (iii) Mahaa maya devi, and Sumanglaa devi.

    (iv) Avaran (veiling, covering) and Vikshep (agitating, obstructing) powers.

    (v) Highly advanced souls such as Chaitanya, Kabir, Narsingh Mehta, Sukadev, Sanakaadik, Ballabhaachaarya, and even Lord Shiva and Mahaa-vishnu (or Naaraayan) reside here.

    2. Causal body: The causal body (Kaaran Shareer) is the home of Seven Great Voids, seven colors, seven raags, echo of Anaahat sound, and five Devis of five powers (Vaastavi, anirvachani, tuchchaa, shiva-kalyaani, and unmuni) that are reflection of Mahaa maya. This is the abode of endless pleasures. One gets param nirvaan (permanent liberation) here.

    3. Subtle body: The subtle body is also called Kaal Niranjan Purush (KNP) (or Akaal Purush, Kaal Purush, Mahaa kaal, Sadaa-shiv Adhiyajn). He has three svabhaavs:

    1. Adhyaatm 2. Adhidaiv and 3. Adhibhoot. Each of the three svabhaavs has 24,000 shaktis. (See also Gita 8.01-04). Kaal-Maya, Durgaa, Kaali, and Ambaa are His expansions. Kaal niranjan gives Praan to and takes out Praan from Jeev. He transmits consciousness to all universes. He expands himself as pranav-brahm or Brahm-shiv for the purpose of creation. He also takes everything inside himself during maha-pralaya, the great dissolution.

    4. Physical body: Physical body includes Par Pranav and Apar Pranav. Par Pranav consists of Gaayatri Devi who is in-charge of Jnaan and Vijnaan such as the Vedas and Smritis. Apar Pranav consists of Samashti Jyoti Svaroop (SJS), and Rodhini Shakti. Omkaar Purush (or Naad Shiv) is the expansion of SJS to transmit Chetanaa in the cosmos. The sound of Om is the vibrational sound energy of Omkaar Purussh. Apar Pranav has the seed of Maya that creates the Kshar Purush. Maya is the energy of KNP.

    MAYA

    Before creation there was Akshar Brahm and His power, called Maya Devi, only. He wished to be many from one. From His mind, the Avyakt Paad, He created or expanded Himself into the entire creation.

    A small fraction (or residue) of the vast illusory energy of Maya, for the purpose of creation, became the vast ocean of residual energy called "Moh-jal", the ocean of cosmic energy or Hiranya Garbh (HG). Innumerable BrahmaandaAkaasha (Cosmic spaces) were created from Moh-jal. Prakriti is an expansion or Ansh of Maya (Moh-jal) that does the work of creation in each and every BrahmaandaAkaasha. Moh-jal remained inactive for one Kalp or 311 trillion human years. Paraatmaa or Param Shiv Ansh of Brahm entered Moh-jal and activated it. After activation, countless Brahmaands or golden eggs were formed in BrahmaandaAkaasha. (Also see BP 2.05.34-35).

    A supreme personality came out of the golden egg. He is called Adi Naaraayan, or Naaraayan because he remained in the ocean of cosmic energy. He is also called Hiranya-Garbh Purush (or Shambhu), because He entered HG. The wakeful state of Naaraayan is called Mahaa-vishnu. It should be noted that there is absolutely no difference between Shambhu, Hiranya Garbh Purush, Naaraayan, and Mahaa Vishnu. These are four different states of consciousness in Kshar lok. Kshar Purush is called by various other names such as: Brahmaand, Viraat Purush, Srishti, Jagat, Vishva, Sansaar, And, Adi Purush, Naaraayan, etc. The creation coming out of Adi Purush is also called Brahmaand.

    3. KSHAR PURUSH

    A description of four bodies (or levels of existence) of Mahaa-Vishnu (MV) or Kshar Purush is given below:

    1. Great causal body: Mahaa Vishnu expanded

    Himself into the following four Svaroops (or forms) to perform different functions of creation, maintenance, support, and destruction:

    (i) Vaasudev Does the work of creation and maintenance by becoming Vishnu and Brahmaa.

    (ii) Sankarshan or Garbhodak Shaayee Vishnu controls the lower planetary system or the seven Paataal Loks.

    (iii) Aniruddh or Ishvar organizes, and controls the creation by entering into it. He is the witness, the guide, the supporter, and the enjoyer (Gita 13.22). He becomes Jeev to play and enjoy the sensual pleasures in the world of Maya.

    (iv) Pradyuman Does the work of dissolution.

    2. Causal body: This causal body is the home of Seven Voids, seven colors, seven raags, and five Devis of five powers (Vaastavi, anirvachani, tuchchaa, shiva-kalyaani, and unmuni). This is the abode of pleasures. Those who believe in formless Brahm, get temporary Mukti or Nirvaan here.

    3. Subtle body: This is the mind of Naaraayan. This is also called Mahat-ttva, Mahat Brahm, or cosmic mind, that is a part of Prakriti. A reflection of Niranjan dev, and Niraakaar dev is also here. It is the abode of powers (such as Jnaan shakti, vidyaa shakti, sumanaa shakti, Adhibhoot, Adhidaiv, and Adhyaatm). The physical world is created from this subtle body.

    4. Physical body: It consists of the following:

    (i) The Upper Planetary System: It includes seven loks, including Sat Lok, the residence of Brahmaa, Vishnu, and Shiv. One of the loks, called Bhu lok or Mrityu lok, has seven islands, seven oceans, and seven heavens. Our earth is a part of one of the islands called Jamboo island in Mrityu-Lok.

    (ii) The Lower Planetary System: The lower planetary system is also called seven Paataal Loks. There are many hells here also. Garbhodak Vishnu controls the lower planetary system.

    (iii) Twenty-four Transformations of Prakriti (See also Gita 7.04, 13.05).

    PRAKRITI

    Lord Krishn said: Those who truly understand Purush and Prakriti with its Gunas are not born again regardless of their mode of life. (Gita 13.23) Prakriti means a special (pra) creation (kriti) of Maya devi for the sole purpose of material creation. Prakriti also means that which creates. It has three Gunas, and Jnaan (Knowledge) Shakti, Kriyaa (action) Shakti and Tattv Shakti or material energy. The combination of three Gunas of Prakriti is called Mahat Tattv, Mahat Brahm, or Cosmic mind. Mahat Tattv is called cosmic mind, because it creates. The Cosmic mind, when acted upon by Niraakaar dev, produces Ahamkaar tattv. If Prakriti is the milk, Niraakaar is the process that produces Ghee of Ahamkaar from the cream of Mahat.

    Maya --> Moh-jal --> Prakriti --> Mahat --> AHAM KAAR---> Physical Bodies

    Cow Milk Cream Ghee different foods

    Ahamkaar is of three types as follows:

    1. Taamasik Ahamkaar produces five subtle elements (or Tanmaatraas) that give rise to five gross elements and corresponding five sense objects (earth-smell, water-taste, fire-sight, air-touch, and ether-hearing).

    2. Raajasik Ahamkaar produces five Jnaanendriya, sensors or sense organs (nose, tongue, eye, skin, and ear) that correspond to above mentioned five elements and sense objects in (1). It also produces five Karmendriya or organs of action (mouth, hand, leg, anus, and urethra) and ten controlling Devas for the ten (nose, tongue, eye, skin, ear, mouth, hand, leg, anus, and urethra) organs. These are the twenty-four transformations of Prakriti, and the Purush or the Chetanaa, the Paraa-shakti is the twenty-fifth one. The Pind of human body is formed when twenty-four elements of Prakriti in the form of egg of mother nature (woman) is activated by the Paraa shakti of Ishvar in the form of sperm of man.

    3. Saatvik Ahamkaar produces Antah karan or the four inner senses (Man, Buddhi, Chitt, and Ego (abhimaan) or the feeling of ownership and doership).

    ISHVAR and JEEV

    The Supreme Lord Krishn, as Shiv or Ishvar, abides in the heart of all beings as a witness, guide and controller (Gita 18.61). Ishvar is the reflection of Atmaa in the body. The Supreme Lord Krishn in the form of Chaitanya Brahm or Param-shiv organizes, controls, and directs everything in the universe.

    The Brahm within living beings is called Chetanaa or Ishvar. The same spirit behind the universe is called Brahm. According to the Upanishads: Two birds, Shiv and Jeev, live in the heart nest of the body tree. The Jeev, being attached to Prakriti, enjoys pains and pleasures, and becomes subject to bondage and liberation; whereas Ishvar, being unattached to Prakriti, remains free as a witness and a guide. It is Ishvar that wears the hat of Jeev to play the dual role and gets bound and liberated again and again.

    Atmaa becomes individual soul (Jeev or Jeevaatmaa) in the body of living beings by becoming associated with (or attached to) the six sensory faculties — including the mind — of perception (or Prakriti). (Gita 15.07)

    In reality, an Ansha of Paraatmaa plays the dual role of both Ishvar and Jeev in Kshar Lok.

    Jeevaatmaa or Jeev is also defined as Atmaa accompanied by the subtle (or astral) body. Jeevaatmaa is also called the living entity or the individual soul enshrined in the physical body. Subtle body is made up of five sensory faculties or senses (smell, taste, sight, touch, and hearing), mind, intellect, ego, and five vital forces called Praanas. The difference between Atmaa and Jeevaatmaa (or Jeev) is due to the limiting adjuncts ¾ the body and mind; similar to the illusion that the enclosed pot space is different from the unlimited space. Ishvar becomes Jeev and plays the cosmic drama in His creation taking various roles as mentioned in the Bhagavad-Gita:

    Atmaa is, indeed, My integral part. It becomes individual soul (or Jeevaatmaa) in the body of living beings by becoming associated with (or attached to) the six sensory faculties — including the mind — of perception (or Prakriti). (15.07)

    The ignorant do not perceive Jeev departing from the body, or staying in the body and enjoying sense pleasures by associating with the Gunas. But, those with the eye of knowledge can see it. (15.10)

    Thus the answer to the age old question of Nancy is, again, yes Nancy, not only the Supreme Lord, but all His expansions including Devis, Devas, and their innumerable powers mentioned above must have a form, because nothing can exist without a form. We know it is a difficult concept to explain or comprehend, but please keep your minds open and contemplate, even if you disagree. And try to see the Deevya-roop (transcendental forms) with the eye of Jnaan.

    NOTE: This article is for those who have studied Hindu scriptures for years, and are familiar with some Sanskrit words. If you have any question, confusion, or doubts on the subject matter discussed here, please contact the AMERICAN GITA SOCIETY at: gitaprasad@gita-society.com, or (510) 791-6953

    OM TAT SAT