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Brahman and Maya
Introduction
Brahman and Maya
Sadhna Chatushtaya
The seven stages of Jnana
Techniques of Jnana Yoga
Advaita Vedanta
The Atman
Self Inquiry
Brahman is Sat, the Absolute Reality. That which exists in the past, present and future; which has no beginning, middle and end; which is unchanging and not conditioned by time, space and causation; which exists during the waking, dream and deep sleep states; which is of the nature of one homogeneous essence, is Sat. This is found in Brahman, the Absolute. The scriptures emphatically declare: "Only Sat was prior to the evolution of this universe."

This phenomenal universe is unreal. Isvara created this universe out of His own body (Maya), just as a spider creates a web from its own saliva. It is merely an appearance, like a snake in a rope or like silver in mother-of-pearl. It has no independent existence.

It is difficult to conceive how the Infinite comes out of itself and becomes the finite. The magician can bring forth a rabbit out of a hat. We see it happening but we cannot explain it; so we call it Maya or illusion.

Maya is a strange phenomenon, which cannot be accounted for by any law of Nature. It is incapable of being described. Its relation to Brahman is like that of heat to fire. The heat of fire is neither one with it nor different from it.

Does Maya really exist or not? The Advaita gives this reply: "This inscrutable Maya cannot be said eitherMaya to exist or not to exist."

If we know the nature of Brahman, then all names, forms and limitations fall away. The world is Maya because it is not the essential truth of the infinite Reality - Brahman. Somehow the world exists and its relation to Brahman is indescribable. The illusion vanishes through the attainment of knowledge of Brahman. Sages, Rishis and scriptures declare that Maya vanishes entirely as soon as knowledge of the Supreme Self dawns.

Brahman alone really exists. The Jiva, the world and this little "I" are false. Rise above names and forms and kill the false egoism. Go beyond Maya and annihilate ignorance. Constantly meditate on the Supreme Brahman, your divine nature.

The world is unreal when compared to Brahman. It is a solid reality to a worldly and passionate man only. To a realized sage it exists like a burnt cloth. To a Videhamukta (disembodied sage) it does not exist at all. To a man of discrimination it loses its charm and attraction.

Do not leave the world to enter a forest because you now read that the world is unreal. You will be utterly ruined if you do this without proper qualifications. Be first established in the conviction that the world is unreal and Brahman alone is real. This will help you to develop dispassion and a strong yearning for liberation. Stay in the world but be not worldly; strive for liberation by the practice of Sadhana Chatushtaya.

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