mAyA - illusion - unreal

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Sat Feb 21 22:04:23 CST 1998

On Wed, 18 Feb 1998, Gummuluru Murthy wrote:

> My concern is not that much about understanding across cultural
> boundaries. Apart from the difficulties you mentioned (lack of exact
> equivalent in the other language, importance of sound etc), our lack
> of complete knowledge of the Sanskrit language is another problem.
> With us being habituated to thinking in the English poses a problem
> for proper understanding of the Vedas.

Then the answer is straightforward.  Dishabituate yourself to thinking in

>The other day I was trying to
> explain the word "shraddha" to a few children.
> I could not find either
> the proper english equivalent word, or the proper combination of words
> to explain that.

Then explain it to them in Tamil or Telugu or whatever your native tounge
is.  And if they don't understand that, teach them that first and then
move on to other subjects.  We don't teach people calculus until we've
taught them arithmetic etc. first, why should culture be any different?

Speaking as a member of the second generation, the best thing that my
parents did for me was teaching me how to read and write Gujarati.  That
gave me access to a whole world of knowledge that would have otherwise
been denied to me.  And because I didn't have to deal with error-prone and
biased English translations, I got much higher-quality information too.

> I would take it that mithya is illusion, but the
> concept of mAyA is not understood even by the Sanskrit scholars. Our
> lack of full knowledge of Sanskrit and habituation to thinking in a
> different language which does not have a proper word for it does not
> help.

You could say the same about difficult English concepts such as "human
rights"  Who can say exactly what all the nuances of that word are?  But
we can have a good enough idea for practical purposes.  I think i know
what Maya means and I'm sure plenty of people do.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

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