What is Maya?

From childhood I have been hearing of term Maya and have been wondering what people meant when they said “Sab maya hai (all is just maya)”. I have been part of several discussions on Maya and yet it remains mystifying. Perhaps western way of education doesn’t allow us to think in the ways the sacred books have explained us on what Maya is and thus we are unable to understand it.

In this blog I would try to explain my understanding of what Maya is in western methodology and logic.

There are three concepts that we need to understand and connect the dots in order to understand Maya.

Concept 1: You see what you WANT to see and NOT what actually happens.

I was part of a training program where I realized how true the above statement is. They explained the above phenomenon so clearly that I am not sure if i would be able to explain it in text here; here is my shot:

When you are looking to buy a flat, you would accidentally see all relevant news, ads, you hear friends talking about it, your office peers doing something about it… all these things never seem to have happened with such great frequency before! whats’ happening here? Well, what is happening is that our mind gets tuned to notice everything that is about property and that’s why the brain picks up every small thing happening related to property. A lot of other things too are happening around but our mind selectively pics news on property while ignoring the rest.

Lets extend this thought a little more… Try remembering a thriller movies that you watched where a character does evil and you believed that he is the villain, but as the movie progresses, perhaps at the climax, he does good things and then you suddenly see explanation for all the seemingly evil actions… this justification makes you think he is a hero! Severus Snape perhaps plays such a role in famous movie Harry Potter. This happens in real life too! You see someone join your office. He is shabby and not polished. Your first impression is that this man is lousy and perhaps not dependable. You get introduced and he gives you a loose handshake and now you are sure this guy is surely lousy. Over a period of time you hear some of your colleagues say not so great things about this guy and you second your friends. Selective hearing ensures that you only listen bad things about this guy. Even during direct interactions, you would only keenly look for some action that will help you prove this guy is lousy…hundreds of other good actions will be ignored by the brain but not a single bad behavior would miss your attention. So what happens on an average? 0 good acts, 10 bad acts, I am right that he is lousy. Fact: 100 good acts never never actually got registered in brain at all!

Park this thought for now and lets go to our second concept.

Concept 2: Choice always doesn’t mean we have a choice.

How we operate in this world is though our decisions. Decisions are taken on choices available. Choices are meaningful only when one can tell the difference between each choice. If one cant distinguish one choice from another, there is no different choices and there is no decision!

Watch these videos on choices and decisions:

Essentially what I want to say is  that when you choose, you aren’t really choosing. Its so complex and so FLUID. Fluidity of choice affect decisions. And what is life, a sum total of all our decisions isn’t it!

Concept 3: Who are You? You are not same all the time!

Watch this video of Sadguru. He says you are everything under your skin because you can sense that. You can feel that. You can experience that first hand.

One can expand oneself by practice! Just imagine yourself in a cricket match! You expand yourself in some ways and you experience the same things as the other person. One can contract oneself too. Focus on something … saw a sport or work and you loose sense of touch to an extent that you actually contract.

So at every moment, YOU is not the same! think about it!

Conclution: Well I hope I could give that! I would just say that what you hear is not complete and your assessment of situation is never close to accurate (Point 1). Choices you make in a situation can be marred (Point 2). and who you are in the decision could also be changed if you are calm enough while you are deciding (Point 3).

Therefore while you decide, stop thinking about these 3 points! Only ask yourself how you think the future should be… WHAT MATTERS TO YOU. Let history not be the guide in making decision, just go for what future you want! and go for it!

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