Gita Rahasya -Tilak 235

Karma Yoga Sastra -Tilak


When the search for the Fundamental Substance underlying the world was first started, the world which was visible to the eyes was first looked upon as satya, and the investigators began to find out what other subtle satya was at its core. Then it was found that the form of that visible world which was being called satya, was perishable ; and that there was at its core, some other imperishable, that is, amrta substance.

As it became more and more necessary to define clearly this difference between the two, the two words 'avidya' and 'vidya' came to be used in place of the words 'satya' and 'amrta', and ultimately, the terminology 'maya' and 'satya' or 'mithya' and 'satya' came into vogue; because, as the root meaning of the word 'satya' is, 'eternally lasting', people began latterly to consider it improper to refer to perishable and ever-changing Names and Forms as 'satya'. But, though the words 'maya' or 'mithya' may have thus come into vogue subsequently, yet, the ideas that the appearance of worldly objects which is visible to one's eyes is perishable and asalya, and that the 'Elementary Substance' which underlies it, is alone sat or satya, have been in vogue from ancient times ; and even in the Rg-veda, it is stated that :

"ekam sad vipra BAHUDHA vadanti" (1. 164. 46 and 10. 114. 5) "that which is fundamentally one and permanent (sat), is given different NAMES by the viprah (scients)" — -that is to say, one and the same Real and eternal thing appears in different appearances as a result of Names and Forms. The word 'maya' has also been used in the Rg-veda to mean "making one form to appear as numerous" ; and there is a statement in it that "indro mayabhih pururupah iyate", that is, "Indra takes up various shapes by his Maya" [1]. 'The word 'maya' has been once used in the Taittiriya Samhita in the Bame sense [2], and ultimately in the Svetasvataropanisad, the word 'maya has been applied to Names and Forms. But although the practice of applying the -word 'maya' to Names and Forms first came into vogue at the date of the Svetasvataropanisad, yet, the idea that Names and Forms are non-permanent (anitya), and unreal (asatya), is prior in point of time ; and it is clearly not an idea, which has been invented by Samkaracarya by perverting the meaning of the word 'maj/a'. Those who have not got the moral courage to fearlessly call the appearance of the Name-d and Form-ed universe 'mithya' as has been done by Sri Samkaracarya, or those who are even afraid to use the word 'maya' in the same sense, as has been done by the Blessed Lord in the Bhagavad- gita, may, if they wish, use the Brhadaranyakopanisad terminology of 'satya and 'amrta' without any objection. Whatever may be said, the proposition that a distinction was made between Names and Forms as 'vinasi’ (perishable) and the Fundamental Substance underlying them as 'amrta' or 'avinasi (imperishable), even in the times of the ancient Vedas, does not thereby suffer,


References And Context

  1. (Rg. 6. 47. 18)
  2. (Tai. Sam. 1. 11)