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The Spell of Illusion and its two Powerful Forces

However, involved with all your actions, there will be the spell of maya or illusion which will frustrate your efforts to reach your divine goal. There are two powerful forces which make up maya; these are the veiling power and the projecting power. There is no particular form or shape to these two. First, consider the veiling or covering power. How does it cover? With what does it cover? How can you uncover this thing which it has covered? If it does not have form itself, by what means does it cover? How can it be removed? These are all questions that cannot be answered.

Maya is mysterious and inexplicable. Delusion and confusion are its very nature. Consider a rope lying on the road. In the darkness you are deluded into believing that this rope is a snake. What is it that has covered the rope? Try to understand what happened. You were suddenly filled with a feeling of fear because you imagined a snake lying on the road before you. So, it was in your mind that the rope got converted into a snake and you got frightened. Is the snake really there? No, there is no snake there. Then how can the rope be converted into a thing which does not exist and never has existed? This is the delusion.

Under what circumstances does this delusion exert its influence on you? It is during twilight or in the dark that you imagine you see the snake when there is only a rope there. It is through darkness that the delusion comes and envelops you. In truth, no snake has replaced the rope, but the delusion beclouds the minds of human beings and obscures their clear perception. This delusion is maya. When you shine your light on the area, you find no snake there; there is only a rope lying there. Thus, in the light, delusion disappears and the real object is seen.

That which exists will always exist; it will never cease to exist. It remains unchanged forever. There cannot be even the slightest variation in its existence. It is only the delusion affecting it which comes and goes. The form that this delusion takes in the mind is the second powerful force of maya, the projecting power, which superimposes imaginary creations and objects on the unchanging basis. In this case the projection was the snake. Another time it will be something else.

Moods, pains, pleasures, all come and go. They are something like relatives that come to visit you but do not stay permanently. In the same way, this maya comes and goes as a delusion for human beings. The delusion in your mind which covers the rope and hides it from view is the veiling power. The illusion which has been projected by your mind onto the rope is the projecting power. With the help of the light you see the rope as rope, and the snake vanishes. So these two aspects of maya have come in the darkness and have disappeared in the light.