In the eleventh canto of Srimad Bhagvatam, Lord Krishna tells his friend and disciple Uddhava about the true nature of bondage and liberation. He tells that there is one Self alone and it’s because of difference among various mental tendencies –we observe so many beings. There exists neither bondage nor liberation. The imagination of bondage as well as liberation is because of Maya(Kundalini). Avidya(illusory potency) and Vidya(liberating potency) are both forms of Kundalini or Shakti.
Until there’s lack of ripeness the Self considers itself to be a limited being. The force which ensures this sleep is called Avidya. The prefix ‘A’ before Vidya suggests that the word is exactly opposite of Vidya. Vidya is the knowledge or force which liberates one from suffering, hence Avidya is the false knowledge which keeps one in bondage.
The humor lies in realizing that both Vidya and Avidya are AVIDYA because they’re parts of the dream. After awakening there is neither bondage nor liberation. They’re like dreams seen last night. It doesn’t matter whether you were running after materialistic pursuits or after some very peaceful heavenly state in your dream. Once dream is over you know that it never was reality. All the attempts to wake-up were in the dream therefore they were also as illusory as the things which kept you sleeping. It might seem paradoxical–because we think our attempts to wake up were really necessary to wake up. Actually we are always awakened–completely enlightened. The belief that we are not is what leads us towards spiritual pursuits and austerity. The tapas merely burns away the notion that we are bound. How dramatic that Vidya which is also AVIDYA has to first come in to make you believe that you are in bondage. Before Vidya comes into play you firmly believe that you need various forms to be at peace. You don’t even imagine that unity exists. But once Vidya starts functioning you start imagining a state which is free from duality and struggle of running after pleasure. Then it makes you so sensitive that you shun all material pleasures as false. Vidya burns away the notion of any separation from peace. Only after realization you firmly get established into the eternal state. It’s your ever present peace behind all movements. Vidya turns extraverted mind inwards. As it becomes introverted and one pointed the stillness increases and gradually becomes firmly established. Continue reading “Maya: Buffer, Shocker and Self!”