Maya means illusion. It also means the unreality of ephemeral things; the unreality is personified as a female, who is also called Maya. The words Dharma and Maya are the constant and spontaneous expression of the Indian soul. According to Shankara, the Vedantin of the Himalayan peak, there is only one Absolute Reality, the Brahman, without a second. Advaita or Monism, deriving from Vedanta, is his momentous philosophy. There is only the Brahman. Nothing outside the Brahman exists. The world as it stands before our mental eye is a cosmic illusion, a deceptive prison. It is only when true knowledge dawns on us that we will be in a position to free ourselves from the meshes of ignorance and from the snares of birth and death.
A thing that is, is real. A thing that appears is unreal. An eternal Life is real. Ignorance and death are unreal. Maya is a kind of power filled with mystery. We know that electricity is a power, but we do not actually know what electricity is. The same truth is applicable to Maya. God uses His Maya Power in order to enter into the field of manifestation. It is the process of the Becoming of the One into many and again the Return of the many into the original One.
– Sri Chinmoy
Excerpt from: Commentary On The Bhagavad Gita by Sri Chinmoy, Copyright © 1971 by Sri Chinmoy – All rights reserved