Brahma Maya

नासदासीन्नो सदासीत्तदानीं नासीद्रजो नो व्योमा परो यत् ।
किमावरीवः कुह कस्य शर्मन्नम्भः किमासीद्गहनं गभीरम् ॥ १॥

Then even nothingness was not, nor existence, There was no air then, nor the heavens beyond it.
What covered it? Where was it? In whose keeping? Was there then cosmic water, in depths unfathomed?

न मृत्युरासीदमृतं न तर्हि न रात्र्या अह्न आसीत्प्रकेतः ।
आनीदवातं स्वधया तदेकं तस्माद्धान्यन्न परः किञ्चनास ॥२॥

Then there was neither death nor immortality nor was there then the torch of night and day.
The One breathed windlessly and self-sustaining. There was that One then, and there was no other.

तम आसीत्तमसा गूहळमग्रे प्रकेतं सलिलं सर्वाऽइदम् ।
तुच्छ्येनाभ्वपिहितं यदासीत्तपसस्तन्महिनाजायतैकम् ॥३॥

At first there was only darkness wrapped in darkness. All this was only unillumined water.
That One which came to be, enclosed in nothing, arose at last, born of the power of heat.

कामस्तदग्रे समवर्तताधि मनसो रेतः प्रथमं यदासीत् ।
सतो बन्धुमसति निरविन्दन्हृदि प्रतीष्या कवयो मनीषा ॥४॥

In the beginning desire descended on it - that was the primal seed, born of the mind.
The sages who have searched their hearts with wisdom know that which is kin to that which is not.

तिरश्चीनो विततो रश्मिरेषामधः स्विदासीदुपरि स्विदासीत् ।
रेतोधा आसन्महिमान आसन्त्स्वधा अवस्तात्प्रयतिः परस्तात् ॥५॥

And they have stretched their cord across the void, and know what was above, and what below.
Seminal powers made fertile mighty forces. Below was strength, and over it was impulse.

को अद्धा वेद क इह प्र वोचत्कुत आजाता कुत इयं विसृष्टिः ।
अर्वाग्देवा अस्य विसर्जनेनाथा को वेद यत आबभूव ॥६॥

But, after all, who knows, and who can say Whence it all came, and how creation happened?
the gods themselves are later than creation, so who knows truly whence it has arisen?

इयं विसृष्टिर्यत आबभूव यदि वा दधे यदि वा न ।
यो अस्याध्यक्षः परमे व्योमन्त्सो अङ्ग वेद यदि वा न वेद ॥७॥

Whence all creation had its origin, he, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not,
he, who surveys it all from highest heaven, he knows - or maybe even he does not know.

This is the famous Hymn of The Creation as per the Rigveda (10:129) known as Nadiya Sukta. The Hymn is the real answer for the existence. It paradoxically states "not the non-existent existed, nor did the existent exist then". The famous Astronomer Carl Sagan quoted it in discussing India's "tradition of skeptical questioning and unselfconscious humility before the great cosmic mysteries."

Srishtee se pehle sat nahin thaa, asat bhi nahin
Antariksh bhi nahin, akash bhin nahin thaa
chhipaa thaa kyaa kahaan, kisne dhakaa thaa
us pal to agam, atal jal bhi kahaan thaa

Srishtee kaa kaun hai kartaa, Kartaa hai vaa akartaa
Oonche aakash mein rahtaa, Sada adhyaksh banaa rahtaa
Wahin sachmuch mein jaantaa..Yaa nahin bhi jaanataa
Hai kisi ko nahin pataa, nahin pataa, Nahin hai pataa, nahin hai pataa

Weh tha hiranyagarbh srishti se pehle vidyamaan
Wahi to saare bhoot jaat ka swami mahaan
jo hai astitvamaana dharti aasmaan dhaaran kar
Aise kis devta ki upasana karein hum avi dekar

Jis ke bal par tejomay hai ambar
Prithvi hari bhari sthapit sthir
Swarg aur sooraj bhi sthir
Aise kis devta ki upasana karein hum avi dekar

Garbh mein apne agni dhaaran kar paida kar
Vyapa tha jal idhar udhar neeche upar
Jagaa chuke vo ka ekameva pran bankar
Aise kis devta ki upasana karein hum avi dekar

Om ! Srishti nirmata swarg rachiyata purvaj raksha kar
Satya dharma palak atul jal niyamak raksha kar
Phaili hain dishayen bahu jaisi uski sab mein sab par
Aise hi devta ki upasana kare hum avi dekar

Above Hymn is the whole concept of Brahma and Maya. Brahman is The Ultimate Truth, The Supreme Consciousness, absolutely real and formless. But then, there must be something with that Brahman to be able to 'become' this world of forms. This power is called Maya. Maya is there because this is how Brahman is. We don't ask, "Why is there Maya?" because we don't say that there is Maya. We say that there is only Brahman. Brahman 'plus something' doesn't exist at all. Brahman is the truth, and any 'plus' is dependent upon Brahman for its existence and is therefore the untruth. The world is Brahman. If Brahman is limitless consciousness, without any particular form, then how could it become this world of forms? It actually did not. Consciousness continues to be, without any change. The gold has not become a chain. Only if it becomes a chain do I have to answer the question, "How did it become a chain?" Gold continues to be gold. Once you understand that clearly, then we can say Brahman has "become" the world through Maya.

Brahma and Maya are the inter convertible forms of Energy and Matter wherein Brahma is the Supreme Energy and Maya is referred as the material world. Brahman is 'The Changeless Everything'. Therefore, it cannot 'become' something else. That we see a 'becoming' is maya.

This wonderful Maya has got three Gunas - Sattva, Rajas and Tamas that means purity, passion and inertia respectively. Pure Brahman is without any attributes. There is no Maya here. That portion of Brahman which is associated with Maya is knwon as Ishvara or Saguna Brahman. Maya is Pure form of Sattva. Ishvara has control over Maya. Jiva or the individual soul is a slave of Avidya (ignorance). Avidya is Malina Sattva. Sattva is mixed with Rajas and Tamas. Maya is the Karana Sharir or causal body of Ishvara. Avidya is the Karana Sharir of Jiva.

The Consciousness that is associated with the Sattva Guna is Vishnu. The Consciousness that is associated with Rajoguna is Brahma and the Consciousness associated with Tamoguna is Shiva. The one Ishvara has become three according to the functions of creations, preservation and destruction but the Consciousness is the same.

Srishti (The World) is of two kinds - Sthula and Sukshma. First the Sukshma Brahmanda is created by Hiranyagarbha. Here matter exists in a rudimentary state. There are the five Tanmatras or root elements. They are in a state of non-quintuplication. They are not mixed together. The sum total of all minds and Prana is Hiranyagarbha. His Loka is Brahmaloka. Ishvara has no Loka. Here Maya is in an Avyakta or undifferentiated or unmanifested state. Here matter and energy are one. Sound also exists in an undifferentiated state. Just as the tree exists in a seed state, so also the whole world exists in a seed state in this Avyakta, Maya. The whole world merges in this Avyakta, Maya. The whole world merges in this Avyakta during the state of cosmic Pralaya.