For the Love of Maya, Part II

On Tuesday, I wrote briefly about Maya and how it means Illusion and has the power to make the impossible appear possible.  I also mentioned that I started reading Dasbodh which is a series of dialogs between Samartha Ramdas and his disciples.  While reading, I came across this statement:

Prayers, singing praise, and all expressions of devotion cannot exist without the presence of Illusion (Maya).  The meaning of this statement will be known to the experienced ones.

Dasbodh, Chpt 1, Sub-Chpt 2.25

I then asked three questions:

  • Why can’t prayers, singing praise, and all expressions of devotion exist without the presence of Illusion?
  • Why will this be known to the experienced ones?
  • Why doesn’t he explain what this means?

Four Answers

Let me answer the unasked fourth question before I answer the above three:  What is the impossible?

The impossible is our sense of separation.  Maya is the ability to make that which is Whole seem separate and divided.  Yoga is about union not because it creates union, wholeness but, rather, because it reveals the Union that has always been and can never not be.

The Self is the source of the whole Universe
It fashions all forms of its own Consciousness
Though all forms are changing and soon fade away
The one conscious Self is forever the same.

If there truly is only one Self, then there is no real separation from the Divine under whatever name you might use.

If there is no separation (power of Maya), then there would be no longing for (re)union with the Divine because there was no separation in the first place.  Without that longing for (re)union, there is no motive for prayers, mantra or Bhakti of any kind.

Do you ever say to yourself, “I wish I was with me right now.”  Of course you don’t!  With no sense of separation, there’s no longing and with no longing, there’s no need for devotion; so, for devotion to exist, there must be Maya.

Why will the experienced ones understand this?  Because they have the experience of Oneness already.  If you fully understand that the Sun is a light source, then you won’t have to be told why there are no shadows on the Sun.  If you fully understand Oneness through direct experience, then you understand why there is no devotion without Maya and you will also understand why the 11th form of Bhakti is, “The Bhakta (one who practices Bhakti) loves to feel the pangs of separation from God.” (Bhakti Sutra 1.82)

Finally, why doesn’t Sri Samartha Ramdas explain this to us?  Because he wants us to have this kind of conversation.  He wants us to think this through and gain some knowledge through our own discrimination rather than just tell us everything so we just become blind followers.

All of this can be summed up like this:  You are the Divine expressed in the form of a human.  Because you don’t fully comprehend that, devotion exists.

Jai Bhagwan