Books on Maya (The Great Illusion) are books on the created Universe. All books related to art, science, philosophy, fiction, etc. come under this category. These books are experienced only by the five senses, mind and intellect.
1. Introduction to the discussion on books on Maya and Spirituality
This article has been written from the perspective of realising the basic spiritual objective of life, which is God-realisation. All books come broadly under two main categories – on Maya and on Spirituality.
In our article on ‘The study of Spirituality’ we emphasised that if we want to move towards the basic objective of life, we should preferably study books on Spirituality that have been written by Saints or Gurus.
In a subsequent article ‘The effect of the author on books on Spirituality’, we compared the benefit of books written by authors at various spiritual levels.
Here we discuss the difference between books on Spirituality and Maya and their value to the reader, the author of the book and effect on the environment.
2. With respect to the basic objective of life
Spiritual books lead people to the basic objective of life. They help us transcend our five senses, mind and intellect, and understand our true nature. They guide us to realise and then experience that our true nature is the Soul or the God Principle within all. If the reader practices what he reads, he experiences spiritual growth. The author too experiences spiritual growth as he becomes an instrument in helping mankind grow spiritually.
However, books related to Maya increase the author’s and readers’ focus on Maya itself. As a result, the author and the readers get even more entangled in Maya and increase their attachment to the five senses, mind and intellect. This takes them away from realising and experiencing their true nature – the God Principle within. If this impression continues to deepen, it will most likely result in the person spending many lifetimes chasing various dreams in Maya such as career, family and not fulfilling the actual reason for his birth – God-realisation and getting out of the cycles of birth and death.
3. Experience of happiness ve
Books related to Maya are designed for creating maximum emotion that can be experienced by what the mind and intellect have to offer us. By reading a book related to Maya and practicing it, the maximum positive emotion one can experience is happiness. Happiness is an emotional response of the mind which is always dependent on some stimulus. Unfortunately the things (stimuli) upon which we base our happiness are always subject to change, and hence, our happiness from Maya is also short-lived.
However, when we perform spiritual practice as guided by books on Spirituality, we are able to eventually experience the God Principle within us. As a result, we experience Bliss, which is a quality of the Soul. Bliss is a superlative positive experience that lies beyond happiness and is not dependent on any stimulus. Initially one gets only flashes of Bliss; but as we evolve spiritually we experience Bliss all the time.
4. Source of knowledge
When a Saint or a Guru writes a text on Spirituality, they obtain knowledge from the Universal Mind and Intellect through their sixth sense. As a result, they do not require any referencing. However, when a person writes a book on Maya he has to do extensive referencing.
When authors who write books on Maya have an intense desire for fame or curiosity about a certain subject, they are quite often helped by subtle bodies from the Bhuvaloka (Nether region) and Swargaloka (Heaven) which they inhabit after death. These subtle bodies too have a desire to do something on Earth. Saints do not write for fame or fortune, but for the spiritual growth of society. Due to their low ego, God only inspires them to write books on Spirituality. Positive energies from Maharloka and beyond also come to assist the Saints through their sixth sense, and the nature of knowledge is on how to realise God.
5. Limitations and scope
Writing about Maya is limited by its grossness. It describes the world at the physical, psychological and intellectual level. The transfer of knowledge is mostly at the word level, and the text is incapable of providing any spiritual experience.
Authors who are above the spiritual level of 50% write on Spirituality on the strength of the Universal Energies – Icchashakti (Energy of Desire), Kriyashakti (Energy of Action) and Jnanashakti (Energy of Knowledge) and are able to perceive the spiritual causes underlying various phenomena.
Books on Maya are continuously evolving and are being revised and updated. For example, there was a time when people thought that the Earth was flat. Later, however, this changed as modern techniques proved that the Earth was indeed round. What is currently happening in the world always interests the world more as opposed to what has happened in the past.
Basic Principles stated in books on Spirituality are timeless and provide a roadmap for our spiritual journey regardless of the century we live in. Spiritual books do not require any revisions in the core concepts. There may be newer prints with further contemporary details, but the fundamental structure of knowledge by itself does not change. The means and tools to fulfil our spiritual journey may change as they need to be adapted to the spiritual ability of society. It is because of this reason that we say spiritual books are timeless and relevant to all generations.
6. Effect on society
The Chaitanya (Divine consciousness) emitted by spiritual texts has a sattvik effect on the environment. The following drawing based on subtle knowledge shows the spiritual positivity emitted by books on Spirituality which are written by Saints.
The sattvik effect of these books helps sow the seeds of seekership in people, who eventually grow to become disciples and then Saints. Saints are the spiritual beacons in society who steer people towards Dharma (Righteousness). Saints go a long way in providing a higher proportion of the Sattva component to society.
Spiritual growth is about transcending the five senses, mind & intellect and experiencing the Soul or God Principle in us !