According to Hinduism, What is Maya and How is it a Barrier to Salvation?

Maya Lifts But Spirituality Uplifts

What goes up, comes down. This is also how the elevator, commonly known as the lift, works. But what belongs to the up, when realized, goes up and stays there. This is the process of Uplift. What is within the reach of Maya goes up, comes down and keeps going that way, forever without rest. What is realized to be the domain of the divine simply elevates and reaches its zenith and then stays there forever. It does not budge from its eternal position ever again. These are the two domains that are presented to us in earthly life too. Although these two options are fully available to all, about 95% of the world population only consider the option given to them by Maya, where goals and results related to the world keep oscillating eternally like a see-saw with no balancing point. Once stuck in this see-saw, people do not consider any better alternatives and finally perish on that very see-saw, to find themselves on the same see-saw, but now with a new physical body with the old game continuing unabatedly, with no respite. People get frustrated but do not consider getting off the see-saw for once. What are we talking about here?

When we take birth, in a family we are born with certain surroundings. Even if there is an unfortunate child from a worldly point of view, which might have been abandoned by its mother, somewhere under a tree, but then in that case too there is a certain surrounding. The surroundings have their effect on us. Our parents, our neighbors, our friends, our education system, the media, books of interest and so on, all of these shape our likes, dislikes our preferences and inclinations. About 95% of the people are thus under the influence of what we call worldly. Anything worldly belongs to this world and cannot be carried with us beyond this world which includes name, fame, family, education, position including our body. All that we set as our goals are dependent on so many changing parameters like current situation, our background, our availability, investment of effort, our inner discipline and a host of unknown and unseen parameters. Hence, although we may make a hundred choices and take up a few goals to pursue, most often we shall drift from our goals and we do not even realize that over the years our goals have shifted posts; we have been oscillating up and down on the see-saw of life. To add to this we lie to ourselves that we have “achieved perfect goals”. This takes us to the land of hypocrisy. The fluctuations and the highs and lows of life belongs to the world of Maya (cosmic delusion, that which is “not”). It is Maya alone who takes one to the heights of success and at the next moment dashes the same individual to the ground, dumping him into rags, into the fields of anonymity. This is the see-saw of Maya that goes up and comes down eternally with no end. Unless one has developed a certain distaste for worldly activities or is disillusioned by the fickle nature of worldly events, the shadow of real awakening cannot be approached.

Awakening begins at point when there is an opening created within ourselves about the uselessness of life, the waste of life that is apparently happening in its most natural way. Unless there is a gap created between the person and his world of experiences, it can be safely concluded that the opening for awakening, as yet, has not happened. Unless man begins to contemplate about his life and is able to observe the sequence of events and things through which he has traveled, as well as being able to see the see-saw on which he is seated, one can safely conclude that insight has yet not clearly developed. Now when such contemplation shall begin, again depends on several unknown factors, which have their origins in previous lifetimes, as a result of the accumulation of pious or meritorious deeds that man would have aggregated in past life times. In the current lifetime, this sort of contemplation may have a very indicative prelude. If man is getting associated to spiritual teachers or teachings; if he is getting attracted to spiritual works or specific yoga that hint towards enlightenment, then he should consider himself fortunate. This, however shall not indicate a beginning to one’s spiritual life, but can be a powerful indicator prelude to one’s inner journey. However, on continuous associations with spiritual content or entities, it is very much possible that contemplation of a newer kind may begin, which shall propel, with every passing day. In this too, in the initial phases, man may keep losing and gaining spiritual interests. Nevertheless in the case of being interested in spirituality, one shall slowly but surely keep progressing and the oscillations towards losing interests gets arrested over longer periods; a time shall come when spirituality shall draw the individual completely towards itself. Once seated on the rocket of spirituality, man starts conquering the various unknown realms of ignorance and continues to uplift himself to newer heights into the spiritual dimension, as if conquering new regions of space. This is spiritual upliftment which keeps growing without descent, following a certain stage of initial spiritual progress.