Adam Wojtanek

The Sanskrit word Maya literally means "illusion and magic". It is also the word, from which the English word "magic" came from. Maya also implies that things are not what they appear to be. Also, that things, which are constantly changing are not real, are illusionary. In Hinduism, Maya is the energy of the cosmic Self (Brahman) personified in the form of the Mother Goddess, who is also the Mother of all gods. And the energy of the goddess is present throughout the vast universe, even in-between its many cycles of creation and dissolution (Pralaya).

Everything is of an illusionary nature. Scientific theories are just that until they are replaced with better ones. And even mathematics can be twisted in one way or another to prove one theory over another as Einstein has done, for example with his formula for a contracting or expanding universe.

In ancient mythology, the Self and Maya are portrayed as a divine couple in a transcendental loving embrace. They are pure awareness without an object of consciousness, and consciousness with an object of consciousness. Though, actually they are like two sides of a coin, or like the zero and the one on the fundamental binary Plank level of the universe, they are one and the same Entity.

The universe is a manifestation of the cosmic play (Lila) of the goddess. She is present wherever there is constant activity, even in solid matter, rocks and atoms that they are composed of. That primal cosmic force is the goddess (Adi Shakti). And we are also highly developed forms of that cosmic energy on our planet.

Religious as well as less religious people want to understand how the world operates, how it was created, what governs it, how it is going to end, etc. We all believe in different things and have our theories, even within the same belief systems. And the things people believe in do evolve as theories are replaced by better ones.

The nature of the truths that we have built our reality on is of illusionary nature, and of transient nature. Though that reality is functional and appears real, it is a bit like a movie projected onto a surround-screen. If we seek spiritual enlightenment and wisdom, the goddess is our only refuge. Without her grace we would be lost in the woods. She is the only one that can grant us salvation and liberation (Moksha, Mukti) from ignorance. That is why the Mother Goddess is also known as the goddess of wisdom. And all her sons such as the incarnations of the god Vishnu, and many other gods and goddesses emanate from her whenever she so desires for whatever reason.

Consciously and subconsciously, enlightenment is everyone's ultimate goal because nobody wants to be ignorant. But the Absolute can not be fully understood and expressed in words or in any other way because it is beyond our physical limitations, and limited intelligence (Buddhi). Perhaps that is why modern scientists ignore the existence of consciousness in the material world. But we are an integral part of the universe, and we are self-illuminating and conscious. So, if we desire, we could turn our consciousness away from the external world for a while, and dive into the inner world that is within us through meditation techniques, and learn more about our selves.

Sitting for meditation (sadhana) is a bit like mountain climbing and living on a mountain, but that mountain is within the yogi. Thought yoga has become a group activity where one could find community support, it has been advised by the old Masters and sages that meditation should be done in a place where one could be alone. And if practiced properly, under the supervision of a master, enlightenment and salvation (Moksha) are possible even in this lifetime only with the grace of the goddess.

Only those can transcend Maya 
with whose devotion Maya is pleased.
— Tripura Rahasya XVII.49

Lord Vishnu's prayer to the Mother Goddess 
from Srimad Devi Bhagavatam by Veda Vyasa 3.4.31-43, 
translated by Swami Vijnanananda in 1921-22.
"31. Shri Bhagavan said Salutation to the Devi Prakriti, the Creatrix; I 
bow down again and again to Thee. Thou art all-auspicious and 
grantest the desires of Thy devotees; Thou art of the nature of Siddhi 
(success) and Vriddhi (increase). I bow down again and again to 
Thee. I bow down to the World Mother, Who is of the nature of 
Everlasting Existence, Intelligence and Bliss. O Devi! Thou createst, 
preservest and destroyest this Universe; Thou dost the Pralaya (the 
great Dissolution) and showest favour to the created beings. 

Thus Thou art the Authoress of the above five fold things that are done; 
so, O BhuvanesVari, I bow down to Thee! Thou art the great efficient 
and material cause of the changeful. Thou art the Unchangeable, 
Immoveable Consciousness; Thou art the half letter (Ardhamatra), 
Hrillekha (the consciousness that ever pervades both inside and 
outside the Universe); Thou art the Supreme Soul and the individual 
soul. Salutation again and again to Thee. 

O Mother! I now realise fully well that this whole Universe rests on 
Thee; it rises from Thee and again melts away in Thee. The creation 
of this Universe shews Thy infinite force. Verily, Thou art become 
Thyself all these Lokas (regions). During the time of creation Thou 
createst the two formless elements akasa and Vayu and the three 
elements with form, fire, water, and earth; then with these Thou 
createst the whole Universe and shewest this to the Enjoyer Purusa, 
who is of the nature of consciousness, for His satisfaction. Thou 
again dost become the material cause of the twentythree (23) 
Tattvas, Mahat, etc., as enumerated in the Sankhya system and 
appearest to us like a mirage. 

32. O Mother! Were it not for Thee, no object would be visible. Thou 
pervadest the whole Universe. It is for this reason that those persons 
that are wise declare that even the Highest Purusa can do no work 
without Thy aid. 

33-34. O Devi! Thou createst and art giving satisfaction to the whole 
Universe by Thy power; again at the time of Pralaya Thou 
swallowest forcibly all these that are seen. So, O Devi! Who can 
fathom Thy powers? O Mother! Thou didst save us from the hands of 
Madhu and Kaitabha. Then Thou hast brought us to this Mani Dvipa 
and shewed us Thy own form, all the extended regions and immense 
powers and given us exquisite delight and joy. This is the highest 
place of happiness. 

35-37. O Mother! When I Myself, Shankara and Brahma or any one of 
us is unable to fathom Thy inconceivable glory, who else can then 
ascertain? O Bhavani! Who knows, how many more than the several 
regions that we saw reflected in thy nails of Thy feet, exist in Thy 
creation. O One endowed with infinitely great powers! O Devi! we 
saw another Visnu, another Hara, another Brahma, all of great 
celebrity in the Universe exhibited by Thee; who knows how many 
other such Brahmas, etc., exist in Thy other Universes! Thy glory is 
infinite. O Mother! I bow down again and again to Thy lotus feet and 
pray to Thee that may Thy this form exist always in my mind. May 
my mouth always utter Thy name and may my two eyes see always 
Thy lotus feet. 

38-43. O Revered One! May I remember Thee as my Goddess and 
may'st Thou constantly look on myself as Thy humble servant. O 
Mother! What more shall I say than this May this relation as 
mother and son always exist between Thee and me. O World- 
Mother! There is nothing in this world that is not known to Thee for 
Thou art omniscient. So O Bhavani! What more shall my humble self 
declare to Thee! Now dost Thou do whatever Thou desirest. O Devi! 
The rumour goes that Brahma is the Creator, Visnu is the Preserver, 
and MahesVara is the Destroyer! Is this true? O Eternal One! It is 
through Thy Will power, through Thy force, that we create, preserve 
and destroy. O Daughter of the Himalaya mountain! The earth is 
supporting this Universe; it is Thy endless might that is holding all 
this made of five elements. O Grantress of boons! It is through Thy 
power and lustre that the Sun is lustrous and becomes visible. 
Though Thou art the attributeless Self, yet by Thy Mayic power Thou 
appearest in the form of this Prapancha Universe. When Brahma, 
Mahes'a, and I myself take birth by Thy power and are not eternal, 
what more can be said of Indra and other Devas than this that they 
are mere temporary things and created. It is only Thou that art 
Eternal, Ancient Prakriti and the Mother of this Universe. O Bhavani! 

Now I realise from my remaining with Thee, that it is Thou that dost 
impart, out of mercy, the Brahma vidya to the ancient Purusa; and 
thus He can realise His eternal nature. Otherwise He will remain 
always under delusion that He is the Lord, He is the Purusa without 
beginning, that He is good and the Universal Soul, and thus suffers 
under various forms of egoism (Ahamkara). 

Thou art the Vidya of the intelligent persons and the Shakti of the 
beings endowed with force; Thou art Kirti (fame), Kanti (lustre), 
Kamala (wealth) and the spotless Tusti (peace, happiness). Amongst 
men. Thou art the dispassion, leading to Mukti (complete freedom 
from bondage). Thou art the Gayatri, the mother of the Vedas; and 
Thou art Svaha, Svadha, etc. Thou art the Bhagavati, of the nature 
of the three Gunas; Thou art the half matra (half the upper stroke of 
a letter), the fourth state, transcending the Gunas. It is Thou that 
givest always the Shastras for the preservation of the Devas and the 
Brahmanas. It is Thou that hast expanded and manifested this whole 
phenomenon of the visible Universe for the liberation of the 
embodied souls (JTvas), the parts of the pure holy Brahman, the Full, 
the Beginningless, the Deathless, forming the waves of the Infinite 
expanse of ocean. When the JTva comes to know internally and 
becomes thoroughly conscious that all this is Thy work. Thou 
createst and destroyest, that all this is Thy Mayic pastime, false, like 
the parts of an actor in a theatrical play, then and then only he 
desists for ever from his part in this Theatre of world. O Mother! O 
Destroyer of the greatest difficulties! I always take refuge unto Thee. 
Thou dost save me from this ocean of Samsara, full of Moha 
(delusion). Let Thou be my Saviour when my end will come, from 
these infinitely troublesome and unreal pains arising from love and 
hatred. Obeisance to Thee! O Devi! O Maha vidya! I fall prostrate at 
Thy feet. O Thou, the Giver of all desires! O Auspicious One! Dost 
Thou give the knowledge that is All-Light to Me. 

Thus ends the fourth chapter of the Third Skandha on the hymns to 
the Great Devi by Visnu in the Mahapurana Shrimad Devi Bhagavatam 
of 18,000 verses by Maharsi Veda Vyas."

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