Paramahansa Yogananda
Best Quotes on Law of Maya

LAW OF MAYA

flowerIn order to give individuality and independence to Its thought images, Spirit had to employ a cosmic deception, a universal mental magic. Spirit overspread and permeated Its creative desire with cosmic delusion, a grand magical measurer described in Hindu scriptures as maya (from the Sanskrit root ma, "to measure"). Delusion divides, measures out, the Undefined Infinite into finite forms and forces. The working of cosmic delusion on these individualizations is called avidya, individual illusion or ignorance, which imparts a specious reality to their existence as separate from Spirit. (sc)

SRF AUM

Spirit alone is perfect. Everything in creation, being delimited, is imperfect. The very beginning of creation gave rise to the law of duality—light and darkness, good and evil—the law of relativity necessary to divide the One into the many. By the storm of vibration, God's thoughts of multiplicity brought forth the waves of manifestation: His lila, or divine play.

SRF AUM

Objects in the phenomenal world are called relative because they exist only in relation to each other. Man's ordinary consciousness is relativity consciousness —i.e., he apprehends one thing only by interpreting it relative to something else. He cannot perceive the One, the Absolute, through that relative consciousness; it was given to him in order to appreciate the nature of the many. Ordinary waking consciousness, subconsciousness, super-subconsciousness—all forms of ego consciousness—share this characteristic: they are relative. The pure superconsciousness of the soul can apprehend Spirit, the Life and Substance underlying and pervading everything in the universe. (bg)

SRF AUM

This Unmanifested Absolute cannot be described except that It was

the Knower,
the Knowing, and
the Known
existing as One
.

In It the being, Its cosmic consciousness, and Its omnipotence, all were without differentiation: ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever newly joyous Spirit.

In this Ever-New Bliss, there was no space or time, no dual conception or law of relativity; everything that was, is, or is to be existed as One Undifferentiated Spirit. Space and time and relativity are categories of objects; as soon as a human being sees a planet hanging in the sky, he conceives that it is occupying dimensional space and existing in time, relative to its place in the universe. But when there were no finite objects of creation, neither were there the dimensions of being that define them, only the Blissful Spirit. (...)

Spirit, being the only existing Substance, had naught but Itself with which to create. Spirit and Its universal creation could not be essentially different, for two ever-existing Infinite Forces would consequently each be absolute, which is by definition an impossibility. An orderly creation requires the duality of Creator and created.

maya

Thus, Spirit first gave rise to a Magic Delusion,
Maya, the cosmic Magical Measurer,
which produces the illusion of dividing a portion of the Indivisible Infinite into separate finite objects, even as a calm ocean becomes distorted into individual waves on its surface by the action of a storm.

All creation is nothing but Spirit, seemingly and temporarily diversified by Spirit's creative vibratory activity. (sc)

SRF AUM

What is matter? Nothing but a particular rate of vibration of God's cosmic energy. No form in the universe is really solid. That which appears so is merely a compact or gross vibration of His energy. (os)

SRF AUM

The scientifically indisputable truth that matter is in reality a concentrate of energy. (aoy)

SRF AUM

Man thinks of his mortal form as solid flesh and bone. That is a concrete delusion. The body is an amalgam of countless infinitesimal subatomic particles; these particles are made up of finer-than-atomic lifetronic energy and ultimately of thoughtrons, sparks of consciousness whose source is Cosmic Consciousness.

Everything existing in nature is energy in a more or less compact stage of vibration, exhibiting weight according to its mass or distinguishing gravitation. (sc)

SRF AUM

The seemingly solid body is itself a nonmaterial electromagnetic wave made up ultimately of underlying astral lifetrons, which in turn are made of Cosmic Consciousness. God has ingeniously condensed His consciousness into lifetrons, lifetrons into electrons and protons, these subatomic particles into atoms, and atoms into molecules and cells—all of which live by radiations from the Cosmic Source. An actor on the movie screen seems so real; but he is nothing but radiation divided into light and shadow issuing from the projection booth. Man should realize the ethereal nature of his being—made of light and consciousness, divine and indestructible, projected on the screen of time and space by the creative Cosmic Beam of God. (sc)

SRF AUM

In Spirit there is no past or future, only the everlasting Present. It is in the relativistic consciousness of persons under the influence of maya that Eternity appears separated into past, present, and future. God always is, and His immortal omniscience is not compartmentalized by the dimensional delusions of time and space; He beholds everything as happening in the infinitude of His Being now. Jesus expressed that consciousness by saying, "where I am," instead of "where I will be after the death of my mortal body"; and later when he said: "Before Abraham was, I am."* [John 8:58 ] (sc p.970)

SRF AUM

Delusion is so strong that it is pretty hard to believe it is delusion when you have needs and no money to meet them. It is difficult to believe that this world is maya when you are sick and suffering. But when you constantly keep your mind in God, you will realize that this world is His dream. (dr)

SRF AUM

Through the power of maya, cosmic illusion, the Creator has caused the manifestations of matter to appear so distinct and specific that to the human mind they seem unrelated in any way to Spirit.

SRF AUM

The phenomenal world operates under maya, the law of duality or oppositional states; it is thus an unreal world that veils the truth of the Divine Oneness and Unchangeableness. Man in his mortal aspect dreams of dualities and contrasts—life and death, health and disease, happiness and sorrow; but when he awakens in soul consciousness all dualities disappear and he knows himself as the eternal and blissful Spirit. (os)

SRF AUM

The ancient Vedic scriptures declare that the physical world operates under one fundamental law of maya, the principle of relativity and duality. God, the Sole Life, is an Absolute Unity; He cannot appear as the separate and diverse manifestations of a creation except under a false or unreal veil. That cosmic illusion is maya. Every great scientific discovery of modern times has served as a confirmation of this simple pronouncement of the rishis.

Newton's Law of Motion is a law of maya: "To every action there is always an equal and contrary reaction; the mutual actions of any two bodies are always equal and oppositely directed." Action and reaction are thus exactly equal. "To have a single force is impossible. There must be, and always is, a pair of forces equal and opposite."

SRF AUM

When the universe is called unreal—Brahman satyam jagat mithya: "Brahman is real. His manifestation is unreal"—it does not mean that the universe is nonexistent, but that God is the only reality and that the shadow of His manifestation in creation is not like Him. A shadow cannot be produced without an object; therefore the shadow is not nothing! The shadow appears to be like the object from which it is produced, yet it is not the object.

SRF AUM

To rise above the duality of creation and perceive the unity of the Creator was conceived of as man's highest goal. Those who cling to the cosmic illusion must accept its essential law of polarity: flow and ebb, rise and fall, day and night, pleasure and pain, good and evil, birth and death. This cyclic pattern assumes a certain anguishing monotony, after man has gone through a few thousand human births; he begins to cast a hopeful eye beyond the compulsions of maya.

SRF AUM

Human consciousness is limited by the threefold relativity of time— past, present, and future. Man usually forgets past happenings, has consciousness of the present incidents in his life, and is unaware of the future. But God's consciousness is ever aware throughout eternity.

Divine consciousness has no past, no future, because it is never interrupted, like man's, by death or limitation. Eternal consciousness has one time—the ever present. God looks through the window of infinite consciousness on the films of finite happenings of the past, present, and future shown on the screen of time and space, continuously moving backward and forward in an eternal now. (bg)

SRF AUM

Maya or avidya can never be destroyed through intellectual conviction or analysis, but solely through attaining the interior state of nirbikalpa samadhi. ...  Nirvikalpa ("without difference") samadhi is the highest yoga or union manifested by fully liberated masters or those on the threshold of soul freedom.

SRF AUM

There are two manifestations of the darkness of delusion: one is maya, cosmic delusion, "that which measures the Infinite"; and the other is avidya, which means ignorance or individual illusion.

SRF AUM

If someone sees an elephant moving around in the air, it would be said that what he is seeing is an illusion or hallucination; but to him the perception is real. Maya is the mass hypnosis of God by which He makes every human being believe in the same illusory "reality" of creation as perceived by the senses; avidya gives individuality of form, experience, and expression (it supports the ego or I-consciousness).

SRF AUM

Man's essential nature is formless omnipresent Spirit. Compulsory or karmic embodiment is the result of avidya, ignorance. The Hindu scriptures teach that birth and death are manifestations of maya, cosmic delusion. Birth and death have meaning only in the world of relativity.

SRF AUM

Life and death are relativities of thought only. Vedanta points out that God is the only Reality; all creation or separate existence is maya or illusion.

SRF AUM

The consciousness of the unenlightened person is blinded by four successive veils of maya, delusion, which prevent him from perceiving Truth or God:

1. Atomic form
— the world of gross material manifestation wherein the One Substance appears as innumerable objects;
2. Space
— whereby the idea of division is produced in the Ever-indivisible;
3. Time
— whereby the mind conceives of change in the Ever-unchangeable;
4. Vibration
— the universal creative force that obscures our realization of the Ever-uncreated.

SRF AUM

To be born in a physical body at all is a clue that man is in soul ignorance and has not realized his identity as formless Spirit. (The exceptions are masters who return here at God's command to guide their stumbling brothers.) To breathe at all is to breathe in maya. Thus from their very birth children are exposed to cosmic delusion and grow up helplessly under it. God gives them delusion first, and not Himself, in order to carry on His dramatic scheme of creation. If He did not cover Himself with the veils of maya, there could be no Cosmic Game of creation, in which men play hide-and-seek with Him and try to find Him as the Grand Prize. (bg)

SRF AUM

In this world of relativity, nothing is exactly the same as it was a moment ago. It is said that one cannot bathe twice in the same stream. Everything in the universe is a stream of relativity that is in perpetual flux. In even inert objects, the constituent atoms are in constant motion, and some decay or change is taking place. (bg)

SRF AUM

This world is but a dream. Just as in the movies there is no essential difference between the ocean and the sky, which are simply two different rates of light-vibration, so it is in this world. Sorrow and joy, pain and pleasure, cold and heat are but dreams of this world. We are here today, tomorrow we are gone, mere shadows in a cosmic dream. But behind the unreality of these fleeting pictures is the immortality of Spirit. (os)

SRF AUM

This world is a world of maya, delusion, and man is kept hypnotized with that delusion. (dr)

SRF AUM

Science postulates that each gram of flesh in the human body has enough energy in its electroprotonic constituents to run the electrical supply of the city of Chicago for two days. (sc)

SRF AUM

Further reading:

Theory of Maya

Maya — Cosmic Delusion

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References:
(aoy) — Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda
(bg) — God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita by Paramahansa Yogananda
(dr) — The Divine Romance by Paramahansa Yogananda
(jt) — Journey to Self-Realization by Paramahansa Yogananda
(me) — Man's Eternal Quest by Paramahansa Yogananda
(os) — Other Sources... Talks, Booklets
(sc) — The Second Coming of Christ by Paramahansa Yogananda
(sm) — Self-Realization Magazines