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Avarana Shakti Of Maya – Veling Power Of Illusion In Hinduism

The concept of Avarana Shakti in Hindu philosophy, particularly in Advaita Vedanta as articulated by Adi Shankaracharya, plays a crucial role in understanding the nature of reality and the human perception of it. Avarana Shakti, often translated as the Veiling Power of Maya, refers to the capacity of maya (illusion) or avidya (ignorance) to obscure the ultimate Reality, which is identified as Brahman in Advaita Vedanta.

According to Adi Shankaracharya, the fundamental truth is that there is only one ultimate Reality, described as "ekam eva advitiyam brahma" — the one without a second. However, the world we perceive, characterized by multiplicity and diversity, contradicts this singular reality. Adi Shankaracharya attributes this apparent contradiction to the inherent power of maya or avidya.

Avarana Shakti can be understood through the analogy of twilight obscuring the true nature of a rope. In semi-darkness, a rope may be mistaken for a snake, and the power of Avarana Shakti is likened to this veiling or covering force that conceals the true nature of Brahman, making it appear as the world of diverse phenomena.

Simultaneously, maya possesses another aspect known as Vikshepa Shakti, which is the projecting power. This power projects the illusory world, making it seem separate from the ultimate Reality. In the analogy, it is akin to the semi-light that projects the false image of a snake onto the concealed rope.

The resolution of this illusion is said to come through Jnana, which translates to knowledge or direct experiential understanding of the Truth (Brahman/Atman). Just as shining a bright light dispels the illusion of a snake in the rope, the light of knowledge destroys the veil of Avarana Shakti, revealing the true nature of reality.

In essence, the Advaita Vedanta philosophy suggests that transcending the illusions created by Avarana Shakti and Vikshepa Shakti leads to the realization of the oneness of Brahman, the ultimate Reality. Through knowledge and direct experience, one can pierce through the veils of maya and perceive the unchanging truth that underlies the ever-changing world.