931 – Maya and Tamas

The world and the life created in it is subject to the influence of maya and tamas. We are all victims of maya and tamas.

What is maya?

Maya is illusion and is the powerful force which creates the cosmic illusion that the phenomena is real. The purpose of maya is to teach one the futility of illusion. To be free of maya one must develop an attitude of gratitude.

What is tamas?

Tamas is born of ignorance, and it overtakes one through misguidance.

Our own ancestors and wise sages explained these concepts through generations. Creation represents the tamasic aspect because all life forms have a tamasic nature. Tamasic nature does not mean it is negative, it is a conditioned quality. And we are tamasic by nature. We are governed by the conditioning of our minds, and we identify our consciousness with the external world.

When this happens, our basic desires guide and motivate us. We are subjected to vasana (inherent desires). Our desires then affect our mind at all levels. Then we succumb to the impact of maya, which is limited and conditioned. Everything that has a form, quality and name is an offshoot of maya. Our senses identify with maya and are responsible for action and for the creation of desire.

How do we overcome tamas and maya?

Through the practice of Yoga, we can manage our mind. We learn to control the effect of grief, disappointment and tension and are able to become a witness and be an observer. We can watch our participation in the world of maya and not be an involved participant. Then our unconditioned nature becomes sattvic which enables us to shake the influence of maya. We become aware and conscious beings.

Extracted from ‘Yoga in Daily Life,’ by Swami Niranjananda Saraswati.

Aim Hrim Klim


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