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Maya: The Divine Energy of the Supreme

Bhakti Purusottama Swami (Author)

Since I am an Indian, the word maya was not new to me when I joined ISKCON. I may have been familiar with the word, but I had a very limited understanding of what maya actually is. I knew that material life is maya, that family attachment is mdyd. This concept is very common, even among people in general. When I joined ISKCON, I started to hear this word maya more frequently. At that time, the devotee who was my supervisor would use this word quite often. If I did anything he didn’t like, he would say, "This is mayd, prabhu! You are in maya, prabhu!" Whenever | didn’t get up for mangala-drati, he would say, "You are in maya, prabhu." Whenever I did not want to go out for book distribution, he would say, "You are simply in maya, prabhu." I used to hear the word maya so many times throughout the day. It is quite possible that we heard the word mayd more often than the word Krsna. In those days my concept of maya was different than it is now. That concept was not incorrect, but it was very limited. Now, after having read and studied Srila Prabhupada’s books thoroughly, I have come to know so much more about maya and about its manifold aspects. Much of what I have learned about maya will be described in this book. Maya is a word that has many different meanings. For example, the verse of the Bhagavad-gita that ends sambhavadmy dtma-mayayda (Bg. 4.6) has been explained by our dcaryas in a variety of ways, often giving a variety of definitions for the word mayd. Those explanations and definitions will be discussed in this book in a separate chapter. Despite those varied definitions, in this book we will use the word maya mainly in connection to the energy of Lord Sri Krsna. The Lord’s unlimited energies fall primarily into three different categories: the internal potency, the external potency, and the marginal potency. The internal potency is also known as the svarupa-Sakti or the antaranga- Sakti or the cit-Sakti. The external potency is also known as the bahiranga-Sakti or the mayd-Sakti of the Lord. That bahiranga- or maya- Sakti is also known as maha-mayéd or the external energy. Through that external energy the Lord produces this material cosmic manifestation; the creation, maintenance, and annihilation of this material world all take place with the help of the bahiranga-Sakti, maha-maya. The Supreme Lord’s internal potency, which is active in the spiritual world, is known as yoga-maya. By this potency the Lord manifests the spiritual world. All the activities in the spiritual world take place by the power of yoga-maya. Whenever the Lord descends into this material world His appearance and activities also take place with the help of His yoga-maya potency. ajo ‘pi sann avyayatma bhutdnam isvaro ‘pi san prakrtim svam adhisthaya sambhavamy adtma-mayaya "Although I am unborn and My transcendental body never deteriorates, and although I am the Lord of all living entities, I still appear in every millennium in My original transcendental form." (Bhagavad-gitd 4.6) In this verse Gtma-mdayd refers to yoga-maya, or the svarupa-Sakti of the Lord. Yoga-maya is beyond the three modes of material nature, whereas maha-maya is tri-gunatmikd, a manifestation of those three material modes. Since the birth and activities of Lord Sri Krsna take place through the agency of yoga-mayd they are known as divya or transcendental; they are transcendental to the three modes of material nature. In the Bhagavad-gita (4.9) Lord Krsna says: Janma karma ca me divyam evam yo vetti tattvatah tyaktva deham punar janma naiti mam eti so ‘rjuna "One who knows the transcendental nature of My appearance and activities does not, upon leaving the body, take his birth again in this material world but attains My eternal abode, O Arjuna." Living entities in the spiritual world work under the influence of yoga- maya, and thus they remain engaged in the service of the Lord. Living entities who desire to enjoy separately from Sri Krsna are captured by maha-maya. krsna bahirmukha haji jiva bhoga-vanfcha kare nikata-stha maya tare japatiya dhare "Turning his face away from Krsna, the jiva develops the desire to enjoy. Standing nearby, Maya slaps him and seizes hold of him." (Jagadananda Pandita, Prema-vivarta). The maya that traps the conditioned soul is called bahiranga maya. There are two types of bahirangd mayd. One is called praksepatmika and the other advaranatmika. Any living entity who desires to enjoy separately from Sri Krsna is separated by praksepatmikd maya from the spiritual realm and thrown into the material world. Since time immemorial, such living entities find themselves in these unfortunate circumstances, in which maya metes out punishment by subjecting them to an unlimited variety of sufferings, especially the sufferings associated with the cycle of birth and death. krsna bhuli’ sei jiva anddi-bahirmukha ataeva maya tare deya samsara-duhkha "Forgetting Krsna, the living entity has been attracted by the external feature from time immemorial. Therefore the illusory energy [maya] gives him all kinds of misery in his material existence." (Caitanya- caritamrta, Madhya-lila 20.117)

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Bibliographic information

Title Maya: The Divine Energy of the Supreme
Format Softcover
Date published: 31.12.2014
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher Mayapur Media
Language: English
length 326p., 8.00 X 6.00cm.