Etymological sense of the word mAyA
reachhemant at ETH.NET
Tue Jan 8 02:01:13 CST 2002
----- Original Message -----
From: "D.V.N.Sarma" <narayana at HD1.VSNL.NET.IN>
To: <ADVAITA-L at LISTS.ADVAITA-VEDANTA.ORG>
Sent: Monday, January 07, 2002 7:16 AM
Subject: Re: mAyA
* On 6 Jan 2002, at 06:56, Jaldhar H. Vyas wrote:
> > > Etymologically Maya is that which measures.
> > JHVyas: That doesn't sound right to me though I'll have to find where I put my
> > Amarakosha to know for sure.
> mAna = measure
> mAta = one who measures
> mEya = that which is measured
That was the origanal sense of the word mAyA and there was no sense of any
illusoriness(bhrama) about it.
For example consider the following quotations from the Rg veda:
By the name of the Lord and hers they shaped and measured the
force of the Mother of Light ; wearing might after might of that Force as a
robe the lords of Maya shaped out form in this Being.
The Masters of Maya shaped all by his Maya ; the fathers who
have divine vision set Him within as a child that is to be born.
References Rg Veda III. 38; IX. 83. 3.
Into later adwaita there crept this notion of bhrama or illusoriness (eg.
optical illusion = dRishti bhrama). One good example of this is in
manasollasa of sureSvara VII 27--30.
mAyA and related words appear at many places in RigVeda.
Though it is true that concepts "measure" "constraint", "limitation"
are associated with mA, but it is to be interpreted in a special way :
Nighantu gives following concept clustering :
mAyA - praj~nAnAmAni (3-9), i.e., knowledge (w/o capital K)
The meaning is : one which leads to knowledge (but lower knowledge or ordinary knowledge).
A related word used at several places in RigVeda is
mAyu.h - which is clustered as vA"ngnAmAni, (Nigh. 1-11)
i.e. equivalent to vaak (the languages of the Brain)
It is via vaak that we human beings are aware of and think about
the percieved world, so at the same time it is a power and a constraint.
The meaning is again one which gives knowledge but limited or constrained knowledge.
Thus mAyA is something which gives constrained or limited knowledge, which later on developed into its present
Hope this helps.
It is indeed helpful.
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