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Meaning of Maya in Rig Veda – Upanishad and Gita

The term ‘maya’ is used in the Rig Veda to denote the power that borders on the magical: ‘Indro mayabhih pururupa iyate’; Indra, through the help of maya, assumes different forms.’ (Rig Veda, 6.47.18)

In the Upanishads the word acquires a philosophical significance. The Shvetashvatara Upanishad announces: ‘Know that Prakriti, Nature, is surely maya, and that Maheshwara, the Mighty Lord, is the maker of maya.’  (4.9.10.)

Krishna says in the Gita: ‘This divine maya of mine, consisting of the modes (gunas) is hard to overcome. But those who take refuge in me alone cross beyond it.’

Source - Maya: A Bhagavadgita Perspective by Dr D Nirmala Devi published in February 2010 Prabuddha Bharata Magazine