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Goddess Maya (Goddess Māyā) is depicted in Hinduism and Vedic Mythology as the force that created and maintains the physical universe. Brahman is considered the supreme cosmic power of every physical object. The ego, the individual, “mine”, and “yours”, are considered illusory, belonging to Maya. It is through this illusion created by the consciousness that we can reach the truth, the highest and enlightened state.
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It is important to differentiate Maya and Māyā. While in the western world we will usually read “Maya” referring to “Illusion” and to this Goddess, her original name is Māyā (pronounced maYA). Maya, on the other hand, is a demon which also created his own Māyā. As it is very common to read Maya for this Goddess and for Illusion itself, in this post I’ll also write Maya to talk about her.
Therefore, Maya can’t be real if we consider Brahman as the absolute truth and the only reality, but she can’t be unreal because she is the base of the physical universe. Hence, her existence involves her own understanding without denying her, as well as the understanding of nature itself. It is just like the hidden face of the Goddess in Wicca, we may never fully understand her, but we know she’s true.
- Attributes: Goddess of illusion, dreams and creation, the one who turns the Wheel of Fate
- Symbols: Spider, Fig Tree
- Place: India
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Goddess Maya – Mother and Creator
The Goddess Maya is considered to be the eternal form of Shakti, the feminine power and the Divine Mother. This way she assumes all the forms and illuminates all the places. As a Divine Mother, she is much like Goddess Durga.
The Goddess Maya is also considered to be part of Shiva. She’s the source of illusions and dreams. Consequently, the Goddess Maya is the one who blinds everything in illusion, but at the same time, she’s the one who shows the truth.
In Buddhism, Maya (also Māyā) is considered the mother of Buddha. She is also called as Mahāmāyā (Great Māyā). She died on the earthly plane a few days after the birth of her son and resurrected 7 days later in the Buddhist sky. They say when her son meditated under a fig tree, they were connected.
Goddess Maya – The Universal Web
It is said the Goddess Maya is responsible for turning the Wheel of Destiny, and she is often seen as a spider weaving her web, therefore representing the Weaver archetype, also seen in other cultures.
The spider, Maya’s main symbol, is also a symbol of creativity. The spider is able to weave its own world around itself; The spider is able to thrive in any place and in any situation thanks to its formidable ability of adaptation.
In many cultures, the spider is seen as the weaver of the universe. By weaving its web the spider is able to give life to new worlds, always connecting one to each other.
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Also read about other Hindu Goddesses