(91) MAYA (ILLUSION)
9th February, 1947
The same devotee who questioned Bhagavan yesterday again asked him this afternoon about illusion, maya: “Swami, all the innumerable varieties of things that appear to the human mind to be real, are mere maya (illusion), aren’t they? Will the illusion disappear if they are all discarded?”
Bhagavan replied, “Illusion will continue to appear as illusion, so long as the idea that oneself and Ishwara are two different entities persists. When once that illusion is discarded and the individual realises that he is Ishwara, he will understand that maya is not something distinct and separate from his own self. Ishwara exists without and distinct from illusion, but there is no illusion without Ishwara.” “Therefore that illusion changes into pure illusion, doesn’t it?” asked the questioner. Bhagavan replied, “Yes! It amounts to that; unless the individual self is existent how can one realise Ishwara? There is no self, unless the illusion is there. When once the individual realises who he is, the evil effects, i.e., ‘doshas’ of illusion do not affect him. Call it pure illusion, or anything else you like. That is the essential thing.”
Somebody else took up the topic and asked, “They say that the jiva is subject to the evil effects of illusion such as limited vision and knowledge, whereas Ishwara has all- pervading vision and knowledge and such other characteristics and that jiva and Ishwara become one and identical if the individual discards his limited vision and knowledge, and such other characteristics usually attached to him. But should not Ishwara also discard his particular characteristics such as all-pervading vision and knowledge? They too are illusions, aren’t they?”
“Is that your doubt? First discard your limited vision and such like characteristics and then it will be time enough to think of Ishwara’s all-pervading vision, knowledge etc.
First get rid of your limited knowledge. Why do you worry about Ishwara? He will look after Himself. Has He not got as much capacity as we have? Why should we worry whether He possesses the all-pervading vision and knowledge or not? It is indeed a great thing if we can take care of ourselves.”
The questioner asked again, “But first of all we must find a Guru who can give us sufficient practice and thereby enable us to get rid of these gunas, mustn’t we?”
“If we have the earnestness to get rid of these qualities can we not find a Guru? We must first have the desire to get rid of them. When once we have this the Guru will himself come, searching for us, or he will somehow manage to draw us to himself. The Guru will always be on the alert and keep an eye on us; Ishwara Himself will show us the Guru. Who else will look after the welfare of the children except the father himself? He is always with us, surrounding us. He protects us, as a bird protects its eggs by hatching them under the shelter of its wings. But we must have whole-hearted faith in Him,” said Bhagavan.
A devotee, by name Sankaramma, who is generally afraid of asking Bhagavan questions, said quietly on hearing those words: “But Swamiji! Guru’s upadesa (instruction) is necessary for sadhana, isn’t it?” Bhagavan replied, “Oh! Is that so? But that upadesa is being given every day. Those who are in need of it, may have it.” Others present there said: “But Bhagavan must bless us that we may be enabled to receive the instruction. That is our prayer.”
“The blessing is always there,” replied Bhagavan.