Can Maya Affect Consciousness? – Part 25


In previous part 24, student thought maya and consciousness are two different entities.

Teacher explained there is no question of two-ness.

Just like the skill of singing is never away from the conscious person in whom that potential rests.

One conscious being. Many talents resting in potential.

Even when the singing power projects outwards, the person can't be reduced to a single definition of a singer.

Because while singing… person's potential is also a talker, walker, lover, poet, warrior, brother, father, friend, philosopher.

Therefore when he wields his power of signing, both the singer and the singing become an indirect glory of the one conscious entity.

Whatever name-form and worship we attribute to the music… we're only ever speaking of his potential power that was existent even before the singing began.

In this way every melodious note is a dependent-reality… a superimposition… a projection over the person.

And when the singing ends, the singer role resolves from whence it came – the one same conscious being (puruṣa).

Thus there's no question of two different entities. There is only One in whom potential resides and manifests outwards when circumstances are appropriate.

In the same way, whatever reality māyā, the limitless potential, has – it is entirely dependent on the Limitless One (brahman / consciousness).

In fact māyā is the Limitless One. Just how the pot name-form is actually the clay.

Whatever reality the pot thinks it enjoys, it cannot get away from it's truth, the clay.

Whatever thoughts and doubts the pot has about it's nature, those too are made of the clay alone.

The pot is helplessly the clay already. It only suffers when it has not taken the time to inquire, thus recognize how that is the truth right now.

Although the relationship between maya and consciousness has been somewhat defined – student expresses a valid concern whether maya's power can contaminate consciousness…

The student asks “Māyā, inseparable from the Limitless One, is also the source of our ignorance. The All-Pervading Consciousness must be affected by māyā's presence. It surely must eclipse the Limitless One!”

” We have explained before māyā's ontological status. It is mithyā, a dependent-reality. It cannot connect with the real.

Where is the question of eclipse?

Did the snake or silver projection affect the rope or shell?

The Limitless One is all there is.

Māyā being mithyā, has no real existence.

It is the cosmic power, insentient and dependent on the Limitless Consciousness.

It is the source of our ignorance.

But the ignorance is not real, it is mithyā… a dependent-real… māyā's veiling-projecting power.

How can an apparent existence hide the intrinsic truth? It cannot.

Rules of māyā stop with our minds, belonging to the same ontological status.

Maya is limitless intelligence ignorance. It cannot touch consciousness, just as revealed objects cannot impact their revealing source.

Just as earth and all opinions on it – touches not the sun. We all depend on. It doesn't depend on us. No sun, no life.

The One Consciousness reflected through our minds, makes us aware of both, knowledge and not-knowing-ness.

Maya universal energy matter within time and space – forever changes.

How can it hide the One who wields it?

It maya really veils Consciousness, there can be neither knowledge nor existence… since we derive our being and intelligence (capacity to know) – from the Limitless One.

Just as a mirror shines again – wiped clean of its dust and grime.

Or a piece of sandalwood lying in a stagnant pool, it's fragrance forgotten. But once it is cleaned, it's perfume wafts up again.

Fragrance was never really lost.

The loss was apparent as was the gain of it's natural scent.

Veil of ignorance, a dependent-reality – dissolves in the presence of knowledge. Thereafter the ever present, never absent self-revealing light is revealed as the very self (ātmā).

Mind is inanimate matter. Limited by time and space. Limited by it's capacity. If it knows one thing, it cannot know another at one and the same time.

Ignorance is therefore present from the dawn of creation. We are born ignorant. Our experience proves it.

But with every piece of knowledge, the corresponding ignorance vanishes.

A peeling away of layers.

A step by step process which an alert mind can witness, aware of the disappearance of a particular not-knowing-ness.

However knowledge cannot make the mind omniscient (all-knowing).

Just as searchlight reveals the objects of it's focus – leaving the rest in darkness.

A play of light and shade.

A mixture of knowledge and ignorance.

Similarly our mind, subject to maya's force, bound by the laws of the world – has both knowledge and ignorance. “

“Our minds are products of māyā. Has can insentient products gain knowledge of the Limitless One?”

” What we call a mind is like a mirror that acts as a lamp – despite having no light of it's own.

It is like reflecting the light of a lantern. Or like the moon that shines – reflecting the light of the sun.

Consciousness illumines the mind.

It lights and brings to life the mind and it's activities, memories, stories, values, beliefs, education, ignorance.

mind reflecting medium advaita vedanta
Only a pure mirror (mind) can properly reflect the self (ātman).

Consciousness, like the sun, remains unaffected by what it illumines.

It is the mind that varies, tossed about by it's tendencies and memories. (saṃskārās/vāsansās)

A dust-covered mirror cannot reflect clearly. No more then a convex or concave mirror give a true picture of an object.

The mind is no different.

A disciplined clear mind results in better understanding.

We use our reflection, despite the reflection's dependent-status – to see ourselves in the mirror.

Similarly, despite the mind's dependent-reality, it serves to understand and know the truth of the Limitless One and I. “

Conversation in part 26, student brings up a clever argument. Since everything is One – then if one person understands the Truth, then entire universe should ALSO understand and be released from ignorance!


  1. Again the explanation is contradictory – There is only One in whom infinite potential resides and manifests outwards – infinite potential is actually a vishesha of Brahman. But according to Advaitha, Brahman is nirvishesha….

    1. ===
      “infinite potential (māyā) is actually a vishesha of Brahman. But according to Advaitha, Brahman is nirvishesha….”

      What is Brahman? Awareness. The very consciousness because of which these words are made known to you. That consciousness is nirviśeṣa (not modifying).

      But how do we account for the modifications like time and atoms and many electrical impulses (modification occurring in your/my brain right now)? They are classified as viśeṣa or saguṇa.

      What is saguṇa? Māyā.

      What is māyā? It is Brahman. But Brahman is NOT māyā. That’s the crucial part to understand.

      The word is the ink. Because it is of the ink alone. But the ink is not the word.

      This was further elaborated in Part 24 (hope you’ve read it for part 25 to make sense). 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *