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World is wonderful

The world is wonderful

Maya is not an illusion. Maya is the “relative” ever striving to reach the illimitable which is at once wonderful and indescribable. Look at yon stars! Every one of them is a sun. And beyond these stars are other stars, systems of stars. This solar system is but one: beyond it are others.

World upon world! Universe beyond universe! Space above space. All space is curved, says Einstein, and the universe is “finite yet unbounded”. This wonder is indescribable. So Shankara called it anirvachaniya, “what transcendeth speech”. The universe is maya, so wonderful it is. Einstein would have us believe that a ray of light would require 1,000 million light-years to go round the universe. One light-year means six billion miles. We live in a universe of 1,000 million light-years. One trembles at the very thought. It is indescribable. The wonder is too vast for words. The world is maya.

Is it mere poetry to think that the tree enjoys the breeze which over it blows?

Is not maya, too, a good epithet for matter? Aristotle disparaged matter as “inert”. Plotinus condemned it as the principle of evil. There were Christians in the Middle Ages who, despite the Catholic Church’s doctrine of sacraments, despised matter as beggarly. I wish to think of matter as a medium or manifestation of the Atman an in a dynamic world, a phase of the creative process into which the spirit has plunged itself in order that it may multiply itself.

What is illusory is not the existence but independence of this world. Matter is not independent but is an expression of an idea, a mind, a dynamic spirit. In all roses is immanent the idea of a rose. In all forms and functions of matter is immanent a principle of intelligence, an activity of a cosmic mind.

Is it wrong to think that even in matter there is an inner life? Some dim awareness, some sub-feeling of self-possession? Is it mere poetry to think that the tree enjoys the breeze which over it blows? May we not regard the universe as a form of the infinite self, the Atman?

Things are His thoughts thrown on the surface. Maya, then, far from being an “illusion” is an appearance, a significant appearance. Are not space and time, too, appearances? Or projections of an infinite self? And what are we? If we but dived deep within, there would come a realisation of the truth that we are empty “holes”. Blessed they whom He fills with notes of the matchless music of His flute.

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