[Advaita-l] What is Maya?

Guy Werlings werlings.guy at wanadoo.fr
Wed Jan 2 11:36:46 CST 2008

sarvebhyo namaH |

Although this does not bring much to the discussion, I should like to 
contribute a small personal comment about the superb story of the 17 cows 
mentioned below. This story was told to me by my VedAnta teacher in May 1963 
when the latter came back from a one year-long stay in Kerala, inThrissUr 
(then Trichur), where his own guru was born. In the story as he told me the 
father left to his sons elephants and not cows as one may expect in 
ThrissUr. The despaired sons when they saw that the elephants were in the 
indivisible number of 17 turned themselves (not to a passing sage but) to 
their father's guru in VadakunnAtha mandira for a proper advice; the latter 
explained he had been given one elephant many years earlier by their father 
and that he accepted to lend them his own elephant to facilitate the solving 
of their problem but he also insisted to get back his elephant after they 
would have made their division, which they could do as explained below. In 
May 1963 being only 17 1/2-year-old and having studied VedAnta and sanAtana 
dharma for only two years, being as much ignorant as I remain today I did 
not understood the story as an example of MAyA but more as a good 
illustration of gurushiShyabandha.
See...what is good with ignorance is that you can at least retain your 
illusions and survive.

navavarShasya shubhAshayAH |

vandananAni |
Guy W.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Krishnamurthy Ramakrishna" <puttakrishna at verizon.net>
To: "'Sharath T Poojary'" <sharat4u1 at rediffmail.com>; "'A discussion group 
for Advaita Vedanta'" <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Sent: Wednesday, January 02, 2008 5:15 PM
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] What is Maya?

> Sharath wrote on Jan. 2nd - "Can someone tell how the ONLY BRAHMAN 
> "becomes"
> of "mistaken" (so to say)as Maya, when there is nothing else?"
> Brahman is not mistaken as Maya; Maya is a power that makes Brahman
> being seen as jagat. I read a very simple story to illustrate the
> concept of Maya which goes like this....
> A farmer having three sons, dies leaving a will. The will reads that
> - Half of his property should go to the first son
> - one third of the property should go to the second son
> - one ninth of his property should go to the last son.
> The children were worried, because the farmer's property consisted of
> 17 cows - how to divide the 17 cows per the will?
> A sage passing by came to their rescue. He said, he will add his one cow 
> to
> help them divide the property. With the sage's cow, there are 18 cows.
> - The first son takes nine (9) cows - 1/2 of 18
> - The second son takes six (6) cows - 1/3 of 18
> - The third son was given two (2) cow - 1/9 of 18
> In all 17 cows were given away to the three sons - 9+6+2
> The sage walks back with his single cow.
> Maya makes us see something that does not exist. Does Maya really exist?
> "sannApyasannApya ubhayAtmikA no
> bhinnApyabhinnApya ubhayAtmikA no
> sAngApyanangApya ubhayAtmikA no
> mahAdbhuta anirvachanIya rUpa  .......VivEka chUDAmaNi (verse 111)
> - It is not real, it is not unreal, not both, It is not different,
> it is not non-different, not both, It is not with parts, it is not
> without parts, not both. It is very wonderful and of form which is
> inexpressible.
> In the story example above, did the 18th cow exist? Was it different?;
> It appeared to exist, and different but did not exist in the dividing 
> among
> the brothers.
> Regards,
> K. Ramakrishna
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