Debashish Banerji, PhD, is former Dean of Academic Affairs at the University of Philosophical Research in Los Angeles as well as an adjunct faculty member at Pasadena City College and the California Institute of Integral Studies. He is also the former director of the East West Cultural Center in Los Angeles. He is author of Seven Quartets of Becoming: A Transformative Yoga Psychology Based on the Diaries of Sri Aurobindo and also The Alternate Nation of Abanindranath Tagore, a book about his great grandfather. He edited an anthology about his great uncle, Rabindranath Tagore in the Twenty-First Century.
Here he describes the concept of Maya, a goddess who is thought to project the world of illusion in which humans find themselves. He notes that there are several schools of thought regarding the nature of this illusion. Maya can be viewed as a creative power that has the ability to show us its truth. In the Vedanta tradition, one gains knowledge of something by identifying with it and becoming one with it in contemplation. This is possible because there is one conscious being, Brahman, that is, in fact, the entire universe. The Atman, or innermost self of each individual, is ultimately identical with Brahman. In this sense, the Hindu tradition is monotheistic in spite of having many deities. There are forms of meditation by which we can come into communion with objects – and with the divine. In ancient India, there was a culture of yoga that was quite powerful culturally dominant.
(Recorded on December 19, 2015)
Published on December 24, 2015