Besides SankAra VedAnta, KashmIrI Shaivism, which is another monist/advaita school of Hinduism too talks about MAyA. According to it, the basic definition of MAyA is -

मियते अनय इती माया।
Meaning: That power by which experience is experienced in a particular way is MAyA.

In other words, that power which makes experience measurable, i.e limited & separates the 'this' from 'I' & 'I' from 'this' & excludes things from one another is Māyā.

MAyA draws a veil on the self, causes sense of duality. In simple words, Brahman¹ put goggles to see his own grandeur to see himself. These goggles are what MAyA Tattva & the cause of MAyA. But certain points are to kept in the mind -

  • MAyA is the power of Brahman. Therefore, MAyA is controlled by Brahman. There is no separate existence of MAyA.

  • MAyA draws veil in the experience but doesn't create an experience of inexistence. In simple words, through MAyA whatever is being perceived is actually present in Brahman it is just that our perception is limited which is not allowing ourselves to see divinity in the perceived objects. ( Perfect explanation of "All that is Brahman alone"). Maya is not creating perception of something which is not present in Brahman in any form!

Also, there are 5 products of MAyA which are covering. It is like what happens the moment Brahman wears goggles ( MAyA Tattva ). How Brahman's experience changes (Short summary)?

  1. KalA - Brahman starts feeling it² doesn't owe everything.
  2. VidyA - Brahman starts feeling it doesn't know everything. It forgets its omniscience.
  3. RAga- Brahman forgets it's all satisfactory nature & thus develops desires. In other words, Brahman forgets its completeness.
  4. KAla - Brahman forgets its timelessness or eternity & see eternity as past, present & future.
  5. NiyatI- Brahman forgets the freedom of pervasiveness (vyApaktA).

Thus, herein all about MAyA explained according to KashmIrI Shaivism. Now, I'm interested to know similar explanation on MAyA according to Sankara VedAnta.

  • What is MAyA? Basic definition? It's role? It's products?

  • From where MAyA comes?

  • What are its characteristics?

  • How can it independently exist outside Brahman?

1-- In KashmIrI Shaivism, Brahman is not passive unlike Sankara Vedanta. Brahman is active here. It's nature is prakAshvimarSaya. In short, PrakAsh is Siva & VimarSa is SaktI. Brahman thus here has capability to create, maintain & withdraw the universe & there is nothing existing outside Brahman.
2- such pronoun is used as Brahman transcends gender.

Note- here MAyA is briefly explained but I wanted a detailed answer.

  • 1
    Edit your question and decide if you want an answer that compares Sankara's maya to Shaivism maya or you want an explanation of Sankara's maya. Your question does a lot of rambling. edit out the pontificating of your own beliefs. – Swami Vishwananda Mar 26 '17 at 9:57
  • @SwamiVishwananda I have asked in points. Further these are not my self created beliefs. – Memosophical. Mar 26 '17 at 13:03
  • maya is one that shows what is existent to be non existent and shows nonexistent to be existent.For example even though there is GOD we are unable to perceive.But we are able to perceive mirages.World is ultimate mirage. – Rajan Thangayan Mar 3 '18 at 11:53
  • Read through the answer to this question: hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/9448/… – Pradip Gangopadhyay Mar 3 '18 at 12:08
  • The Network of Time Space & Causation is Maya – S.V.S.NARAYANA Mar 15 '18 at 17:37

What is Māyā? Basic definition? It's role? It's products?

Surprisingly, Maya is the power of Brahman - Brahman has power in Advaita Vedanta also! From Vivekachudamini -

अव्यक्तनाम्नी परमेशशक्तिः अनाद्यविद्या त्रिगुणात्मिका परा । कार्यानुमेया सुधियैव माया यया जगत्सर्वमिदं प्रसूयते ॥ १0८ ॥

avyaktanāmnī parameśaśaktiḥ anādyavidyā triguṇātmikā parā | kāryānumeyā sudhiyaiva māyā yayā jagatsarvamidaṃ prasūyate || 108 ||

108. Avidya (Nescience) or Māyā, called also the Undifferentiated, is the power of the Lord. She is without beginning, is made up of the three Guṇas and is superior to the effects (as their cause). She is to be inferred by one of clear intellect only from the effects She produces. It is She who brings forth this whole universe.

From where Māyā comes?

It didn't come from anywhere, since Brahman is eternal so it's power is.

What are its characteristics?

सन्नाप्यसन्नाप्युभयात्मिका नो भिन्नाप्यभिन्नाप्युभयात्मिका नो । साङ्गाप्यनङ्गा ह्युभयात्मिका नो महाद्भुतानिर्वचनीयरूपा ॥ १0९ ॥

sannāpyasannāpyubhayātmikā no bhinnāpyabhinnāpyubhayātmikā no | sāṅgāpyanaṅgā hyubhayātmikā no mahādbhutānirvacanīyarūpā || 109 ||

109. She is neither existent nor non-existent nor partaking of both characters; neither same nor different nor both; neither composed of parts nor an indivisible whole nor both. She is most wonderful and cannot be described in words.

How can it independently exist outside Brahman?

It doesn't exist independently. As heat (which is power of fire) is in existence just due to existence of fire, so the existence of Maya (which is power of Brahman) exists just due to existence of Brahman.

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  • Good answer.But all dont accept vivekachudamani as Adi Sankar's work.So His commentaries of the prasthanatrayi would provide a more authentic answer i think. – user17294 Feb 5 '19 at 18:44
  • @Partha Sir, VC is authentic. Besides, in a research paper somewhere I read Sankara of course wrote bhAshya but one can be skeptical about whether the bhAshya we have today was actually written by him or not. It has also been researched that the author of VC and Sankara BS bhAshya are different so I would like to go with VC for now. – Memosophical. Feb 5 '19 at 18:50
  • @Mr.Sigma I agree with Partha. VC is a great work, but unlikely to have been written by Sri Adi Shankara. – user16581 Feb 5 '19 at 18:56
  • so far as my linited knowledge goes, the bhasyas are accepted to be more authentic as Sri Adi Sankar's work.But yes, of course its upto u.Thanks and regards – user17294 Feb 5 '19 at 18:56
  • Okay, I have a research paper which claims there were 2 Shankara. Brahma Sutra Bhashya was written by 8th century Shankara while VC written by original Shankara. This is one of the topic I'm still researching into. – Memosophical. Feb 5 '19 at 20:09

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