The Concept Of Maya In Hinduism

Maya is one of the most fundamental concepts in many religions, with different religions having diverse elucidations and words to denote it. Maya is the word used in Hindu philosophy for this concept. The direct translation of the word Maya is illusion. So what exactly is Maya? What do we understand by the term Maya? It refers to everything in the universe which traps most men and leads many of them to sufferings. Well, in this article, we look at just that - the concept of Maya in Hinduism. We go on to explain the meaning of the term and understand further what it fundamentally means. Read on.

THE NINE GODDESSES OF NAVRATRI

The Concept Of Maya

The term relates to our main identity being divine. Vedanta, a school of Hindu philosophy,  stresses that the original identity of humans is divine and pure. Both Hinduism and Buddhism have elaborated on the nature of human beings and their inability to understand the true potential that which lies within. So what more does Maya mean?

Massive Changes And Increased Sufferings

Society has undergone a massive transition from what it was; belief systems have changed and the construal of religion has seen significant change as well. Evil has become rampant and humans have become increasingly vulnerable to changing circumstances. Suffering has never been higher than it is in the present age.

No More Introspections

As humans, because of the way societies have evolved, we have almost completely lost the ability to look within and discover our own selves. Maya refers to nothing but this; it refers to the inability of humans to realize the magnificent potential we are all given. The term basically relates to humankind living in a false world, trying to seek answers and explanations from the outside without realizing the power that is inherent inside.

Desires Are Illusions

This very inability to know the real power of the mind, the body and spirit has given rise to the term Maya which actually describes a state of living - that we as humans are living in a state of illusion and embrace irrational beliefs about the mind and body.

It Focuses On The External Happiness

Thus, Maya can be said to exist in order to lead humans along the path of absolute happiness by tapping the power inherent in every human life. Human body and mind are such that they adapt to anything and everything over a certain period of time. However, desires being regulated by the wordly pleasures which act as a bait for the man, we focus only on the achievement of external desires and believe they are the need of the body and the mind.

Wealth, Bodily Desires And Attachment

While living in the society we grow up in environments which induce us towards Maya. Such as being jealous of others' success, competing with friends and neighbours in terms of wealth and looks, just so that we attain happiness. Buying certain kind of dress or wanting to accumulate wealth are desires, the attainment of which makes us happy.

But all these desires keep growing and such achievements have a tendency to perish over time. Such happiness is nothing more than illusion. Man develops attachment with the accumulated wealth and it brings hurt to him when he fails in his goals or when that wealth leaves him. Thus, the illusory happiness is what we call Maya. 

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