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Is Maya real or unreal?| Creation of the universe | Shandilya Bhakti Sutra-14

Do you feel that you have suffered any time?

Shandilya Bhakti Sutra Aphorism – 39

मिथोअपेक्षणादुभयम्

Neither jiva nor Prakriti (Maya) can have existence without Bhagawan. Also, both mutually cannot create or procreate without Bhagawan.

Purport of Aphorism 37

Prakriti and Bhagawan

Bhagawan is the governing body of the universe as He appoints maya to create the world. As mentioned in the Bhagavatham: “When God charged Prakriti, thence commenced creation.”
Similarly in the Gita: “Prakriti gives birth, under My propelling to this universe and that is how the universe revolves in its course.”

Jiva and Bhagawan

The very existence of Bhagawan within the human entity, in the form of the Param-atma is proven beyond doubt as a trail of constant failure follows as science adopts atheism. Literally, no science believes that Bhagawan is the governing body of all lifeforms. Till this date, technology has helped us track the fertilization process and the growth of fetus in the mother’s womb. Science regards cell-division as the basis of growth. But, what propels these cells to divide and form the fetus? If the laws of cell-division is universal, then why there exist children with disabilities from birth or with a hole in their heart? These questions are worth pondering over. Life is not granted by our parents. They only help create the body, but they themselves are unaware of the various life processes that create the child’s body. Then who is responsible for creation? The Shastras point out that it is Bhagawan alone who is present in the form of the Paramatma and guides the jivatma through the different walks of life. Since a child is entrapped in his/her mother’s womb, the jivatma is accompanied by the Paramatma as without Him the very possibility of sustenance is threatened.

In the Taitreya Upanishad: “For who indeed could breathe, who could be alive, if the Blissful Lord ever not remains as Monitor within one’s soul?” This esoteric statement proves that Life is not functioning by our will or by any other’s will but our very breath is controlled by the Lord alone. The supposedly breathing organs that grants us life are rendered lifeless by His will. Therefore, no parents, organ, or other equipment can be regarded as a life-granter as their very function in governed by the Lord. Hence, the jivatma should stay in close proximity with the Paramatma as He is the supreme controller.

Shandilya Bhakti Sutra Aphorism – 40

चेत्यचितोर्न तृतीयं

When Vibhu-Chid (Supreme Lord) is realized by the anu-chid( Jiva-soul), there remains no third dimension.

Purport of Aphorism 40

When Vibhu-Chid or the Vishnu-tattva, the deity residing beyond the three dimensional world of Maya is realized by the soul influenced by the tri gunas of Maya (sattva, rajas, and tamas), then there remains nothing more to attain or realize.

At present, we live in a 3 dimensional material world having length, breadth, height and hence restricted by limits. Similarly, time is fragmented into past, present and future although there is a stage of timelessness which lies beyond this material world. Limitations exist due to the mix of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. They are products of ignorance. This material domain, displaying its vastness is in reality a microscopic element suspended in the vastness of the Supreme Lord. Therefore, when jiva uplifts his consciosuness through devotion and prays to Vibhu-Chid – Narayana, the 3-dimensional world fades away and the reality is revealed. He gets absorbed in that pure state of consciousness of Vaikuntha.

Shandilya Bhakti Sutra Aphorism – 41

युक्तौ च सम्परायात्

He thought and Prakriti and Purusha got united for procreation.

Purport of Aphorism 41

There are many popular schools of thought across various religions that describe the science of procreation.

  • The Charvakas say ‘Kamhetukam’: “The world is created by the union of the opposite sex propelled by lustful desires and passion.
  • Jains believe that desires is the sole cause for creation.
  • Buddhist say ‘asparaspara sambhutam’: “No cause and no effect exist as voidness is all pervading. Hence creation does not exist and this leads to saying that there remains no creator.”

According to Sanatana Dharma the procreation can be explained through three focal points and their energies

  • Bhagawan: The only Supreme commander, the master of all energies. His supreme energy or an amalgamation of all energies is called Bhagawat ShaktiBhagawat Shakti is the very definition of energy or the most purest-concentrated form of energy which is not influenced by any other external force. This is the energy of Bhagawan expands into various inferior or superior forms of energy to carryout tasks to maintain universes and other creation.
  • Maya: The Swarup-Shakti of Bhagawan, manifests as an individual energy responsible for creation. She is Prakriti or the Mayic force. Many times she is regarded as a female potency or the moving energy of the Lord. She is the next superior force after Bhagawat Shakti by whose external glamour, (Bahirmukkhata), the part and parcel of Bhagawan are put into dilemma. She is the cause of attraction or the deluding force that separates jiva from Bhagawan.
    Maya creates the five constituent elements of the universe for procreation purposes and is aided by the jiva who gets enthralled by her beauty. However, some souls escape this trap of Mayic Shakti and never take birth on earth. They are eternally blissful in their original spiritual forms, due to wise exercise of their individual power, granted by the Lord to the Jiva in the form of Jiva Shakti, many times referred to as Tatastha Shakti.
  • Jiva: A part and parcel of Bhagawan who emanated from the body of Bhagawan. He is granted the marginal energy through which he can consciously make a choice either to stay with Bhagawan in Vaikuntha or stay with Prakriti on Earth. The jivas who choose the latter option, end up taking birth on earth. However, free-will remains with him even while he stays on earth. If the jiva wills, he can make his way home back to Vaikuntha.

The jiva on earth procreates on the basis of attraction (an attribute of Maya). Thus, jivas aid the expansion of the Mayic world. Attraction to the opposite sex is a reflection of jiva getting attracted to Maya at the time of creation. Therefore, Jiva (also called Purusha due to the presence of Bhagawan in the form of Paramatma) and Prakriti procreate by the Will of the Supreme as He alone is energy personified.

Jiva gets enamored by Prakriti, but Narayana is beyond attraction and resentment. But, it is due to the potency of Narayana alone that creation occurs as He is present in the form of Paramatma within the Jiva who is the sole instrument for procreation.

Shandilya Bhakti Sutra Aphorism – 42

शक्तितवानृतम वेद्यम्

Prakriti or Maya in not false because she is an energy or potency of Brahman.

Purport of Aphorism 42

Maya and Bhagawan, are eternal, existing irrespective of the creation, maintenance or annihilation of the universe. Maya is not unreal because she is the potency of Bhagawan. The Lord is her master and she is the embodiment of His energy. Energy is always subservient to the energetic, just like a powerful person may not display his power although he does possess it. But after displaying energy, we get to see the person in action, however for a short time.

Similarly, Bhagawan is a silent witness to everything with his entire potency retained within Him. He does not loose anything. On the other hand, Maya is His moving energy, displaying his inner potency on the external platform. Therefore, Maya, the potency of the Lord is not unreal. However, it is momentary as it results in fleeting experiences.

Is the world unreal?

The world we see around is real as it is a product of Maya which is in turn real, as we discussed earlier. We can see and sense the things around us. Aren’t our experiences true? Yes, we feel good at times and sometimes even feel sad. When we are chased by a ghost in a dream, aren’t we experiencing fear? Wasn’t that experience real for that moment? Similarly, the world and its experience is as real as the world and experience in a dream. Reality of an experience lasts only till the time we are asleep. The moment we wake up, we are presented with an upgraded reality and the former experience fades away.

Maya is similar to a dream. The moment we wake up to our original self (as the servitor of Narayana) the identification with Maya fades away. Therefore, it is temporary and experiences in Maya (illusion) are not eternal like Bhagawan. They are prone to changes, with the evolution of consciousness.

Maya appears real till the time the jiva is subservient to her. The moment we tie tight knots with Bhagawan, Maya steps back and does not make her presence felt. The only thing that remains is a bond between dual personalities (jiva and Bhagawan) and no third entity (Maya) is entertained as she engages with other jivas on earth.

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