How does Maya/Illusion keep us trapped?

Maya/Illusion clouds our understanding by keeping us under the influence of different tendencies namely Rajas, Tamas & Satva .Operating through these tendencies makes the outside physical reality unclear.

Long time ago, say, before industrialization, a farmer used to be dependent on climatic conditions. They would do their job, sow the seeds and then wait for the rains to come. If the rain is delayed or if the rain is too much or if it is too less, the crop would get affected. Part of this problem was solved when farmers started using technology.As technology grew, dams were built and the farmers could use the water as and when they wanted. This still solved only part of the problem because it helped when the rain was delayed or was less. If the rain is too much, crops still get affected. So, partly we still have to depend on how the climatic conditions are.

Body Mind mechanisms

Mind mechanism & it’s climate

This chapter deals with the climatic conditions of our body-mind mechanism, from where the thoughts would come forth. This climatic condition is regulated by our tendencies or gunas, as Indian scriptures call it. There are three gunas that decide the direction of our thoughts, our decisions, our emotional orientation or our mood.

Body-mind-intellect is a mechanism and the more we understand this mechanism, the more clarity we have around this mechanism. The more aware we become of how the mechanism operates, easier it is for us to make fine adjustments in our living, in our behaviour, which would not keep us dependent on how nature/instinct/prakruti operates. Now, when we say there is this climatic condition that gets created, these seasons that get created, three different kinds of tendencies that get created or dominate at any point in time, who do we mean runs this entire show? It’s prakruti or Nature that regulates this show. It is the power of Maya based on which this show operates.

What is Maya or Illusion?

Now, Maya could be a confusing word. There is likely to be a disappointment when the Maya word comes in.This could possibly give rise to a feeling of discouragement as to how are we going to deal with Maya? Because Maya is huge, it’s a huge net; mayajaal as they call it. It’s the net spread across the entire existence. However, the good news is that you can say Maya has in a way installed a part of it within us,now call this as an agent of Maya or call it a delegate of Maya. This part installed in us, forms a veil between us and the truth;between us and reality as it is. If we can bring light within and be clear of this part, then, because we live inside-out, the entire maya, entire mayan existence can reveal itself. What is this part of maya installed in us? It is called avidya or ignorance. If we bring understanding to how does our body-mind-intellect mechanism work and get rid of this ignorance, the rest can be sorted. Only because we are unaware/ignorant of how does our mechanism works, we operate through the mechanism unconsciously and whatever we see outside is through the veil, it’s stays unclear,it’s clouded. That’s exactly how maya operates, by clouding reality.

So, to operate inside-out we’re going to try and dispel Maya, as far as the three gunas or the three tendencies are concerned. To achieve this we would need two tools.

Tools To Dispel Maya or Illusion:

The first tool is guidance; we have to have access to the right information. We need to know what to look for and where to look;the right direction is required. My job here is to point you in that direction.

The second tool required is observation – observation in real time of the operation of our faculties. How does the Mind work? How are these gunas working? How is this climatic condition getting created in real time? This observation has to in the now, in the present moment -not as a retrospect of what happened a few hours ago, not speculations of what must have happened when I got in a particular emotional state –but really what and how is the mind operating right now. When we observe reality as it happens, in the now, that’s when we see the mechanism actually operating, the spurs and gears of the mechanism in action. I cannot emphaise more that it is only possible to go into depth of this understanding when we see the mechanism operating in the present moment, not in retrospect.

Both these tools are equally valuable. Either of the two tools, if missed, will not lead to frution. If direction is missed, we won’t know what to observe. We may keep observing as much as we want, and still keep missing the cues. For example, in our childhood, when we used to hear that God is within us, we would close our eyes and try and find God. Where is God? Where’s God within us? Now, at the most child would physically try and see and feel the heart beat or try to feel what’s within us, but not to find the sense, not finding the direction of how to look at working.

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So information or guidance is important and at the same time, if observation is missed, then this Guidance just becomes theory then we just use this theory to extract a superficial satisfaction of knowing. We may even share the information with others. However, without experimenting with it, without our self-discovery, any theoretical sharing is useless. It is essential that we live the learning.

So then we have to collaboratively work to bring this understanding to our being. Do take some time to contemplate this way of learning and I will soon post another blog to get into the details of the climatic condition – the three tendencies that we need to have under our observation.

Wish you live with Clarity.


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