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Quotes and Teachings on Hindu Concept of Maya Or Illusion

This is a collection of quotes and teachings on the Hindu concept of Maya or illusion.

All visible things are ‘maya.’ Maya will vanish through the effect of knowledge (jnana). One must strive to get rid of maya, which devastates the mind; the destruction of the mind (manas) means the annihilation of maya. Meditation is the only way in which to dominate maya.

Maya is tempting you in a variety of ways.



The fisherman puts a little bait on the hook. It is not out of love for the fish that he does so. It is not out of compassion. It is not to appease the hunger of the fish. His motive is to catch the fish. The fishes on account of their desire to eat jump towards the hook. They are killed.

A hunter spreads a net and throws a few grains. It is not to feed the birds, but in order to catch them and to kill them. Even so, Maya wants to catch the poor Jiva.

Therefore, She has put a little bit of polish, a little pleasure-coating in the objects. The objects are pleasure centers only for the deluded man who has no understanding, who has not got the subtle, sharp intellect to know the Truth himself, who is caught in the Samsaric wheel, just as the birds are caught up in the net.

Swami Sivananda

Man cannot see God on account of the barrier of maya.

The truth is that god alone is real and all else unreal. Men, universe, house, children – all these are like the magic of the magician. The magician strikes his wand and says: ‘come delusion! come confusion!’ then he says to the audience. ‘Open the lid of the pot: see the birds fly into the sky.’ but the magician alone is real and his magic unreal. The unreal exists for a second and then vanishes.
Sri Ramakrishna

Maya literally means ‘that which is not.’ It refers to accepting the temporary as having lasting value, and looking for enduring happiness in this world. In the twilight, one may easily mistake a rope for a snake. In so doing, we feel fear. Hence fear and other emotions may often be based on illusion, an incorrect perception of reality.
ISKCON

The mistaking of the body for the Self is called maya. This maya is responsible for the creation of samsara. (Bhagavan Sri Ram in Yoga Vasishta)


Maya is such that it brings delight through its own destruction; its nature is inscrutable; it ceases to exist even while it is being observed. (Yoga Vasishta)

My good men, what comes and goes bustling about the world is Maya. (Sant Kabir)

Hindu Concept of Maya in Siddhanta Panjara

Disciple: O teacher, I wish to know the nature of Maya in order to give it up. What is abandoned without knowing, that abandonment is indeed not real abandonment.
That is truly abandoned which is given up having known ‘this is thus’. Therefore O compassionate one, explain to me the nature of Maya.


Preceptor: That which endows (apparent) differentiation to beings with regard to their parts, is defined as Maya by the knowers of the essence of all scriptures.

That which produces diverse distinctions in the Supreme is verily called Maya by the examiners of the nature of Maya.

That which brings about impossible aberrations in the form of Brahman is verily called Maya by those learned in the essence of all scriptures.

That which appears to the intellect as having attributes in the one devoid of all attributes, as duality in the non-dual, is called Maya.

(The notion of) reality in the unreal is determined as Maya and that of unreality in the real is accounted for by the same.
Siddhanta Panjara