'Maya' as used in the Bengali language, in ordinary usage, as 'affection'.

Is it connected to the philosophic notion of Maya ie delusion/illusion.

In the Bengali dictionary I looked at there were several grades of love that maya covered:

  1. affection
  2. love
  3. infatuation
  4. delusion

Could we say that the two senses are connected by 'love of the world'?


Yes, there is a connection between the Bengali term Maya and the philosophical term Maya. The Bengali term maya means affection or love only towards one's relatives and friends. This limited or selfish love is equivalent to the philosophical term Maya. One goes beyond philosophical maya when one loves the entire world selflessly and not just one's relatives and friends. This love for the entire world, compassion, is called in Bengali daya.

A DEVOTEE: "Sir, you met Pundit Vidyasagar. What did you think of him?"

MASTER: "Vidyasagar has both scholarship and charity, but he lacks inner vision. Gold lies hidden within him. Had he but found it out, his activities would have been reduced; finally they would have stopped altogether. Had he but known that God resides in his heart, his mind would have been directed to God in thought and meditation. Some persons must perform selfless work a long time before they can practise dispassion and direct their minds to the spiritual ideal and at last be absorbed in God.

"The activities that Vidyasagar is engaged in are good. Charity is very noble. There is a great deal of difference between daya, compassion, and maya, attachment. Daya is good, but not maya. Maya is love tor one's relatives — one's wife, children, brother, sister, nephew, father, and mother. But daya is the same love for all created beings without any distinction."

M: "Is daya also a bondage?"

MASTER: "Yes, it is. But that concept is something far beyond the ordinary man. Daya springs from sattva. Sattva preserves, rajas creates, and tamas destroys. But Brahman is beyond the three gunas. It is beyond Prakriti.

The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Chapter 12, The festival at Panihati, July 22, 1883


Bengali is not Sanskrit. The philosophical notion of maya referred to in scripture is Sanskrit - not Bengali. Love of the world is not a valid interpretation of the Sanskrit maya.

  • I'm not suggesting that it is; but there is a definite connection; and early Bengali was heavily Sanskritised. The ordinary word, for example in English, of mind, is not the same thing that is considered say in Spinozas system; but there is a definite, and yet vague connection. Dec 13 '14 at 14:30
  • 1
    The earliest appearance of the word maya is in the rig veda and denoted a kind of magical power - 'Indra through the help of maya assumed different forms'. In the Upanishads it becomes more philosophical. The Svetasvatara U. says "Know Prakriti, or Nature, to be maya, and the Great Lord to be the Master of maya." In neither case does 'love of the world' come close. Dec 13 '14 at 14:51
  • Is there a particular verse in the Rig Veda that you can point me to? Sure; I wasn't suggesting proximity, but some kind of alignment, in a loose kind of way. Dec 14 '14 at 13:40
  • @MoziburUllah Rig Veda VI. xlvii. 18. is the Rig Veda verse quoted above. Dec 16 '14 at 5:38
  • Perhaps I wasn't be clear when I wrote this. By 'love of the world', I don't mean worldliness, nor love as Christian agape. I meant how the senses themselves are drawn towards nature - this is their sensual nature - and so to prakriti, that is nature/matter. This obscures the mind from the underlying reality of the world and this is why I was connecting maya (sensual love as well as love of power) to Maya (illusion). So for the Svetashara U to say 'know that Prakriti (nature) to be Maya (illusion)' is what I was driving at. Jul 16 '20 at 5:38

Maya has no correlation with love as explained here:

In Sanskrit it is said - “miyate anaya iti maya” which means ‘that which can be measured is maya’. Hence everything in the world that can be measured is considered maya, money being one such measure. Human values are eroded when you try to put a price tag on all that cannot be measured, like love, truth, wisdom and life itself.

As love is infinite and cannot be measured, it cannot be correlated with Maya.

From a Q&A with Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: https://artoflivingbangalore.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/the-maya-called-money-talk-by-sri-sri/

  • Thanks for your answer; are you able to source your quote? I'd be interested to know which text it is mentioned in. May 4 '16 at 15:54
  • @MoziburUllah: A basic Google search shows that this is mentioned in a text called 'Tattva Sandharba' : veda.harekrsna.cz/encyclopedia/maya.htm Hope this helps :) May 5 '16 at 2:18
  • see my comment under Swami Viswananda's answer to clarify what I was driving at with my question. Jul 16 '20 at 5:41

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