We all know that samsara is not real but it is maya/ignorance. And once self-realization/Jnana is attained, all duality and ignorance are removed/obsolete. In other words, samsara is only based on ignorance/maya. Hence we are trying to attain jnana/self-realization/moksha through karma, bhakti, raj-yoga etc. ways.

So, the question is, who created maya/ignorance? More precisely, why is it created/exists? (because it seems to be in opposite direction of our goal).

Hence, I want to know if there's any significance of maya/ignorance? (Because I'm worried about it's existence!)

Further: Following thoughts are confusing me:

  • Is it possible that all Aatman(s) having ignorance and bounded by karma (In other words "trapped") attain jnana/self-realization/moksha? (if yes, then what is the future of maya? or it will be impossible to create/exist/imagine universe in which I'm currently writing this and you're reading! probably the ultimate success I think)
  • I think it is to oppose and challenge the maya/ignorance based on which the whole samsara (not only for oneself) is existing!

So I fear if there's any significance of maya/ignorance!

  • 1
    Why would someone down-vote it, each person has his own questions. Answers are there only because questions are there.
    – Pinakin
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 11:25
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    Possible duplicate of Why does the soul fall prey to maya, when it resides in the body?
    – iammilind
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 11:42
  • It is not possible to give an answer to this question since our intelligence needed to answer this question is operating under maya. We would have to go beyond maya in order to be able to answer the question. This suggests that only persons who have attained moksha would be able to answer this. However, maya does not exist for the liberated. Thus this question can not be answered by anyone! Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 14:48
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    Avidya is actually an illusion. This means that there is no avidya. When a jiva attains Self-realization, they realize that there is never an avidya in the first place. i.e. there is no such thing as time. Then how can it be that an event called 'realization' occurs? Therefore from the Absolute perspective there is no avidya. However from a relative perspective, Maya (at an individual level called as Avidya) is usually described as 'Sat-asat Vilakshana' meaning that it is neither true nor untrue. It appears to be true, but upon realization it is untrue.
    – Sai
    Commented Oct 7, 2015 at 19:04
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    See this question too What is maya and why is it there?
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Dec 31, 2015 at 9:50

1 Answer 1



Associating Maya with just ignorance is incomplete.
Maya = Sattva(Goodness) + Rajas(Passion) + Tamas(Ignorance).
Disclaimer: Don't hardcode English meanings of good, passion, ignorance. In real world: A Satvik person can do (so called) bad Karma; A Rajasic person can be ignorant of money/fame; A Tamasic person can be quite knowledgeable.

BG 7.14 — This māyā of Mine, consisting of the three modes of material nature, is difficult to overcome. But those who have surrendered unto Me can easily cross beyond it.

BG 14.5Material nature consists of three modes – Sattva(goodness), Rajas(passion) & Tamas(ignorance). When the eternal living entity comes in contact with nature, O mighty-armed Arjuna, he becomes conditioned by these modes.

All we experience are proper combinations of Sattva + Rajas + Tamas. When the soul, which is of eternal/forever nature comes into the contact of material nature, it is bound by a body; which is again a certain combination of these 3 modes. This is where the Maya happens for a soul.

Among them Sattva is the purest and closest to the God's manifested form. A person have so many attributes in material life; in certain attributes certain mode will be predominant. Hence we can say that, all the events/Maya around us or by us is projected due to certain combinations of these 3 modes. Hopefully, this knowledge can encourage one to realize that 'I am not the doer of anything'. Since God's spiritual nature is unmanifested to everything else, one has to transcendence beyond all the 3 modes.

BG 14.6 — O sinless one, the mode of goodness being purest, is illuminating, and it frees one from all sinful reactions. Those situated in that mode become conditioned by a sense of happiness and knowledge.

BG 14.10 — Sometimes the mode of goodness becomes prominent, defeating the modes of passion and ignorance, O son of Bharata. Sometimes the mode of passion defeats goodness and ignorance, and at other times ignorance defeats goodness and passion. In this way there is always competition for supremacy.

BG 3.27 — The spirit soul bewildered by the influence of false ego thinks himself the doer of activities that are in actuality carried out by the three modes of material nature.

BG 14.19 — When one properly sees that in all activities no other performer is at work than these modes of nature, who is transcendental to all these modes, he attains My spiritual nature.


who created maya/ignorance?

Samsara/Universe and Maya can be used interchangeably as they represent material world. You may refer multiple answers on this:
How was universe created?

Besides that, Maya can also be described as lack of complete Sattva.
i.e. Maya - Sattva ≠ 0

Until Rajas & Tamas exist, the Maya will exist around the soul.

More precisely, why is it created/exists?

According to famous mystic Jaggi Vasudev (in this video), for any "creation" there cannot be "why". But you want to know exactly that! :-)

From what I explained so far, your question boils down to why Rajas/Tamas got created?
I don't have any definitive answer, except that it's Leela of God. For that, I use an Analogy as below:

Imagine a writer is composing a nice storybook with lot of emotions. Though he is aware that his story is beautiful, he wants to live that story. Using his mystique powers, he sprinkles certain of his subtle bodies into various aspects of the story. His subtle bodies would have attached with certain bold characters, certain weak characters, certain flowers, rivers, trees and so on. Now those subtle bodies are having their own intelligence which they (falsely) assume to be different than their master! Some of them come back to the writer when the chapter is over. But some others become so engrossed that they remain within the characters or elements of that chapter. Writer gets worried and out of compassion, he starts writing chapters after chapters and transferring those subtle bodies to different characters, in a hope that after enjoying various aspects they will come back. After certain time, some of the subtle bodies understand that, they don't belong to the storybook characters but to the author. Hence they again jump out and merge. But certain naughty ones still remain. To get back them, the author also keep sending other powerful & powerless subtle bodies as and when require and the chapters goes on and on...

Here Author is the supreme manifested God, subtle bodies can be souls-demigods-demons-avatars. Storybook is the Maya and chapters are Yugas. The pages & characters can be lives & incarnations.

... if there's any significance of maya/ignorance? ...all Aatman(s) having ignorance (bounded by karma) and living in the world attain jnana/self-realization/moksha?

The significance of Maya is that, it doesn't allow the soul to merge with the God.

Any Atman will get Moksha with a transcendence to all the 3 modes of material life. Not sure if all, because we don't know how many exist.

BG 14.20 — When the embodied being is able to transcend these three modes associated with the material body, he can become free from birth, death, old age and their distresses and can enjoy nectar even in this life.

Because though it appears ideal, the complete existence of Sattva (i.e. lack of Maya) is not possible. No one except supreme God is discounted from the mix of 3 modes.

BG 18.40 — There is no being existing, either here or among the demigods in the higher planetary systems, which is freed from these three modes born of material nature.

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