[ MAYA ] FROM SANKARA AND RAMANUJAN PHILOSOPHY
According to shankara , maya is the mistaken tendency to regard appearance as reality. Vedanta declares that our real nature is divine ,pure ,perfect ,eternally free. We don’t have to become brahaman , we are brahman , our true self the atman is one with Brahman .
But the maya is veil that covers our real nature and the real nature of word around us. Maya is fundamentally inscrutable , we don’t know why it exists and we don’t know and how it began.
We know it only as any form of ignorance maya ceases to exist at the dawn of knowledge, the knowledge of our own divine nature.
The Advainta vedanata includes that Brahman [ the ultimate reality ] is non dual and that Brahman and atman are a unity , that the appearance of plurality in the phenomenal world is illusionary and that illusion the maya is the misinterpretation of the appearance as reality. For shankara, Brahman is the one and only reality. Brahman is being , consciousness , Bliss . Brahman is infinite, formless and perfect . Brahman is all inclusive and all perceiving Brahman is the eternal and unchanging self . Shankara teaches that Brahman is the source of Vedas and that readsing of Vedas is a means of right knowledge of Brahman. The absolute unity of Brahman transcends any concepts of duality or plurality . Brahman is the source of all being. The dawn of the knowledge can dispel only the unreal appearing as real and not what is really real. If the world is a mere appearance and the disappearance on the knowledge of reality becomes intelligible.
Maya as a power of God is indistinguishable from him , just as the the burning power of fire is from the fire itself. The appearance of this world is taken as real by ignorant but the wise who we see through it finds nothing but the God , the one reality behind this illusory show . Concealment of reality and the distortion of it into something else in the mind are then the two functions of an illusion – producing ignorance.
When an illusion is produced is us by someone else. For ex A magician appears a coin in front of all of us it is an illusion for perceives and not for the magician. From our standpoint , the illusion is due to ignorance of the real nature of the thing and which makes us see something else. But for a viewer who persist to see the coin as it is then the magician’s wand will not create any illusion for him. For ignorant people who like us , the maya deceived us and see the many objects here instead of one Brahman as god . Illusory modification of any substance as of rope into the snake is called VIVARTA & the real modification as of milk into curd is called PARINAMA.
It is said that the Doctrine of maya is borrowed by Shankara from Buddhisim but it was that the theory of maya is present in the Upanishads and has been elaborated by him. Shankara explains the way in which Brahman may appear to be changeable or divisible may be similar to the way in which a Rope may appear to be a snake. The plurality of appearances of the empircal world may be mistaken for Brahman , just as a rope may be mistaken for a snake.
“ In my view , maya can be compared to clouds in the sky , the sun remains in the sky but a dense cloud prevents us from seeing. When the clouds disappear we came to know that the sun was there all the time . Our clouds – maya is the appearing of the egotism , selfishness , lust , anger , action , and ambition which is pushed away when we mediate upon our real nature , when we are engage in an unselfish action and when we consistently do and think in ways that manifest our true nature through purity , selflessness , self reliant , forbearance. This mental purification drives away the clouds of maya and allows our divine nature to shine forth. “
According to shankara , perfect knowledge is a true understanding of the individual self [ atman ] and the universal self [ brahman ] . The atman is the spirit of the self and is the spirit of individual being . The atman is not an ego and the individual soul . The reality of atman is that it is not different from Brahman . Shankara teaches that the mind or body is not the self and that the mind and body are the changing appearances of the self . To believe that the mind and body are self is to superimpose the Non self [anatman] on the self [ atman ] is cause by wrong knowledge or ignorance of Brahman . Right knowledge , may be demonstrated by an ability to distinguish non self from self and an ability to the self from non self and to avoid superimpose self on non self.
Sankara believes that god is Brahman , refers to the world of existence . God is the material cause as well as operative cause of the world of existence . For sankara , God is the creator of the world and ruler of the universe . The universe is an appearance of Brahman . Thus god is also the unfolding of the universe.
Sankara assets hat god has attributes but that Brahman is without attributes . According to sankara , being and non being , life and death , existence and non existence are not limiting conditions of the universal self.
RAMANUJAN ON MAYA
Ramanujan admits that god has been described as the holder of a magical power called maya but this only means that the power is inscrutable and is used by god to create the wonderful world as that of magician . The word “ maya “ stands for a god power of creating wonderful objects. It also stands for sometimes for prakriti to signify her wonderful creativity .
Ramanujan denies , the creation and the created world as illusion . Further he said that all the knowledge is pure and there is no illusory object anywhere Even in the case of so called illusory snake in the rope , ramanujan states the three elements [ fire , water and earth ] by the mixture of which snake is made and similarly from which the rope is made. So if someone sees a snake in the rope still there is no unreal object or an illusion because of the common element really existing in a rope is perceived when we take it for a snake. No unreal object is perceived then. Any other illusion can be explained in the same way.
Ramanujan critics the advaita theory by putting forward many questions.
- The ramanujan points out that the where does the ignorance that is said to produce the world exists. In the standpoint of ramanujan they said that it cannot be said to exist in an individual because the individuality is itself produced from ignorance and cause cannot depend on effort. In reply sankara said that even if the ignorance be said to be in individual self , then the difficulty arises only when the on is preceding the another . But if both individuality & ignorance to be regarded as two interdependent aspects of same factslike circle 7 circumference then the difficulty will not rise . And on the other hand if Brahman to be regarded as locus of ignorance then also the difficulty can be removed by removing the misunderstanding on which it is based.
- It is said that maya conceals the real nature of Brahman. In this ramanujan said that Brahman claim itself to be essentially self revealing.
If the maya conceals brahaman then the Brahman is destroying itself , its nature of seld revealing and Brahman ceases to stop. In reply sankara said that ignorance conceals Brahman is the sense that it prevents ignorant individual to realizing this our own real nature. So ignorance no more destroy the nature of Brahman . self manifestation means the manifestation of itself in the obstacles and even if in the absence of obstacles. As the sun does not cease to be self revealing because the blind person cannot see it.
- The ramanujan pointed out that what is ignorance . Many time advaita said that maya is indescribable it is neither real nor unreal . But according to them only objects can exists in the form of real or unreal . How can any third category besides may and every illusory objects have the nature and to recognize it as the nature that is something unique or indesrcrible in turn of ordinary reality or unreality.
- Again maya is said to be positive ignorance . Te reply is that the illusion producing ignorance is not merely the absence of the knowledge nut it also provides grounds for some other object and in this sense it is sad to be positive
- Again it pointed out that saying maya is positive and how it can be destroyed by the knowledge of Brahman. In reply sankara said that positively exists cannot be removed.