Try and look beyond maya

Try and look beyond maya


Devotees would often lament before Sri Ramakrishna that although Shastras speak of God or the Highest Truth as being very near to them, still they are unable to realize this truth or experience it.  Sri Ramakrishna would console them and explain the reason for this shortcoming.  He would hold a towel before his face and ask the devotees whether they are able to see his face.  When they reply in the negative, he would say that in spite of being so close to them they are unable to see his face because of the covering or Maya that conceals his face i.e. truth from them.  He would also give another beautiful example from Ramayana.  Sri Ramachandra, Sita and Laxmana were on their journey towards the forest.  They were walking in a straight line one behind the other.  Although Laxmana was just a couple of feet away from Ramachandra still he could not get a glimpse of his elder brother because Sita was directly behind Ramachandra and so was obstructing the vision of Laxmana.  Sita is compared to Maya. This is also called as ignorance.  Sri Ramakrishna would explain that it is this Maya that obstructs the true vision of Man.  Man (a generic term used for human beings) intellectually knows the truth that he is divine by nature, but is unable to realize this truth because of the deluding power of Maya.  The worldly desires, distractions, etc that keep human beings engaged in innumerable worldly pursuits, keep them away from approaching the Ultimate Truth.  As long as one is engaged in such pursuits deluded by Maya, it is not possible to realize one’s true nature.  Such a realization calls for intense spiritual struggle or Sadhana.  One has to be extremely alert and use one’s powers of Viveka (discrimination), Vairagya (dispassion), etc to get rid of the shackles of worldly attachments created by Maya.  Only then it is possible to slowly march ahead towards realization of one’s real nature as Sat, Chit, Anandaswarup.  

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I wonder if any one would have understood the meaning of Maya by Shri Ramakrishna holding a towel before his face. Laksmana walking behind Rama and Sita is simply doing his duty as a respectful brother and as the dutiful protector of his companions. Besides Tulsidas emphasizes the idea of Sita as the embodiment of Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, of whom Rama is an avatara. Shri Ramakrishna could have simply explained Maya by asking his questioner to explain what he meant as a reality when he used the sound, the personal pronoun "I" in speaking to him. What is "I"?

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