Māyā: From Illusion to Redemption

Māyā is “illusion,” a core concept in the Advaita Vedānta or “non-dual” school of Vedic thought. It’s key to understanding the way you construct the world through false perception. Māyā is thinking you’re separate from the Divine. Enlightenment is realizing this isn’t true. There’s a deeper reality that transcends the changing world. In the Vedas, it’s called Brahman—Pure Consciousness.  

There once was a king named Janaka who struggled with his mind’s illusion and discovered instead its truth. During his rule, Janaka’s kingdom overflowed with abundance. There was no war, hunger or poverty. His subjects possessed so much wealth, they’d leave their precious jewels here and there. No one suffered any lack at all. 

Because he had no problems to solve, Janaka would doze off during his daily meetings with his small council of ministers. While enjoying one such afternoon siesta, Janaka had a disturbing dream. He found himself in a very different kingdom—one rife with famine, disease, and death. Those who were once adorned with precious jewels and gold, now shivered as skin and bones. Janaka saw himself dressed in filthy rags, clutching his last morsel of bread.

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