In Sanskrit, the ancient language of yoga, “maya” means illusion. Something appears to be one way, but is really another. Vedanta, the ancient science from whence yoga, meditation & Ayurveda spring, suggests that you imagine walking down a path on a dark night. On the path you startle as you think you see a snake. You realize momentarily that it was only a rope laying on the path.
That is maya.
How often in your life was the snake only a rope?
While some view maya as meaning that nothing is real, and turn this into a cold-hearted intellectual practice, others view the illusion of maya as being Shakti, the creative force of the universe, also known as the feminine face of God.
The world of names and forms is Maya. So, Maya Shakti is the divine power which brings out the evolution of this present world. In this way, the maya of the koshas, or layers of our existence (environment, body, mind, and spirit) on this earthly plane is experienced both as unreal and at the same time, as the beautiful manifestations of the universal oneness; the mystery unfolding we call life.
As the oldest written language, Sanskrit gives us also the primordial sounds that make up the word “Matra”, the womb of creation (uterus), considered the oldest written word. These sounds form the basis of many words in all language. Words derived include all things made of matter and perceptible to the senses. Think of all the words that have this sound as their root….matter, mother, arithmetic, material, menses, meter, myth, me (meaning; mother wisdom), medah (feminine wisdom), medicine, magic and matrix, to name a few.
Many other traditions, names and concepts attest to the great age and worldwide distribution of the Goddess Maya, and her influence on all culture.
So next time the snake turns out to be a simple rope, lean on Maya, and the innate knowing that your life is unfolding exactly, and as mysteriously, as it should.
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Yoga brings us into balance, through physical postures, breath awareness and mental relaxation. Through the practice of Yoga, an overall state of strength, stability, peace and joy evolves into your life.