Friday, April 29, 2011


8 hours ago :  Another word for prakRRiti is mAyA.

mAyA is Brahman's shakti, Brahman's potential to manifest. It cannot be a second thing as it has no existence outside Brahman.

A useful way of looking at it is as the relationship between water and its stillness. In its natural undisturbed state water is perfectly still: we can describe this state as water plus its shakti of stillness. It is this stillness that, when disturbed, takes the form of ripples, waves, breakers, tsunami, etc. But what are these? Just the forms of water. Water does not become the wave: it remains water. The stillness disturbed is what becomes the wave. The self of the stillness and the self of the wave is water.

Similarly prakRRiiti-mAyA is also still: unmanifest, undifferentaited shakti. When mAyA is 'disturbed' it becomes differentiated and manifest as the jagat. Also, similarly, the truth of the jagat and the truth of mAyA is brahman, here called purusha.

What is mAyA? It is a single 3-stranded cord comprising three undifferentiated powers: j~nAna shakti, krIya shakti and dravys shakti [the powers of knowledge, action and inertia]. Once mAyA moves into manifestation, these three shakti manifest as guNas: sattva, rajas and tamas respectively. These combine to form the subtle elements which re-combine to give us the whole subtle and gross worlds.

All through this brahman remains brahman. It does not even witness. In its mere presence, by virtue of its mere presence, the powers of mAyA do their thing. The example given here is of the sun with its nature of illumination. In its mere presence things come to light. From the point of view of the illumined things we can say that the illuminator is the sun. But from the point of view of the sun does it illumine as an act of will? No. It just is the sun. And because it is the sun with its nature of illumination, things get lit. So the witness is Brahman, but Brahman is not the witness.

Brahman/ consciousness is never without mAyA shakti: together with mAyA shakti it gets the name Ishvara or saguNa brahman. For the sake of discussion, however, when we want to talk of brahman without its potential to manifest, we call it nirguNa brahman or purusha.

I hope this longish answer has shed some light on your question. All this can be understood from texts like Tattva Bodha, which is why Vedanta study without study of Tattva Bodha will always throw up questions about what's what and what the relation of the parts are. I can highly recommend it.Peter Bonnici

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