The soul itself (or atman), which is conceived of as divine in its own right within the Upanishads, is also confined from realizing its true nature by maya's multiplicity of forms.
Rather, one loves an abstraction or image of the person’s best qualities.
Essentially, Mahamaya blinds humans in delusion (moha) while also possessing the power to free us from it.
The story provides insight into the undergirding philosophy of theistic Hindu doctrine: that is, the phenomenal world is simply an emanation of divine energy that has been filtered through maya.
One such example comes from the Matsya Purana, where Vishnu illustrates the significance of maya for the great sage Narada as a reward for his asceticism.
That is, maya becomes associated with the sorts of deception and trickery that a magician employs in order to create an illusion.
Maya is not limited to the gods, however, as their evil opponents, the Asuras, also have the ability to call upon maya.
Vishnu, as it were, simply dresses himself in maya as a garment for purposes of taking shape for the eyes of mortals.
Other Hindu schools of thought, however, do not see the physical world as an illusion (maya).
Shankara and the Advaitans claimed that when maya combines with Brahman, the supreme personal god also known as Ishvara, appears.
Only then can individuals escape maya and merge into oneness with Brahman.
By exhorting Mahamaya to release Her illusory hold on Vishnu, Brahma is able to bring Vishnu to aid him in killing two demons, Madhu and Kaitabh, who have arisen from Vishnu's sleeping form.
Some early texts also attribute the powers of maya to human kings, and on some occasions the power of sacrifice is referred to as maya.
Similar conceptions of maya are held within Buddhism and Sikhism.
Mythologies recounting the history of these gods tend to conceive of their actions as examples of the operation of maya.
Perceived differences between Brahman and the individual soul are created by the perception of particulars in the physical world engendered by maya.
Here, Varuna's creative ability is attributed to the power of maya he beholds, which he uses to keep all natural processes precise and orderly.
Shankara identified two polar aspects which compose maya: firstly avidya, (ignorance) and secondly vidya (knowledge).
Maya is the power that brings all reality into being as it is perceived by human consciousness.
The Mahayana Buddhist view of maya does not mark the world as an utterly meaningless realm of petty illusion.
Many other contemporary Hindu philosophies take a similar stance toward the doctrine of maya, typically interpreting that it does not suggest a forthright denial of reality of the world.
Maya is introduced in the Rg Veda, referring to the power that devas (divine beings) possessed which allowed them to assume various material forms and to create natural phenomena.
The text suggests that those who put their faith in Krishna can transcend maya and realize god's essential nature.
Similar passages claim that the warrior-god Indra's maya keeps the firmament from falling from its fixtures in the heavens.
The view of maya put forth in the philosophical Upanishads serves as an important transitional phase between the Vedic conception of maya, which would come to dominate later Hindu philosophy and mythology.
The entirety of the universe except for the highest, indescribable form of Brahman, then, is an illusion created by maya.
Through realization of the singular identity of maya and bodhi (or "enlightenment"), one can escape the bondage of the material world.
Later scriptural passages found in Atharva Veda 8.10.2 and Satapa Brahmana 184.108.40.206 portray maya as the esoteric power or knowledge that characterizes the asuras.
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