The Active Nature of Maya

While growing up, I often attended Sunday service at the First Baptist Church. The service was composed of singing songs from a hymnal and listening to the pastor read passages from the Bible. Then the pastor would provide his interpretation of the passage and explain the lesson it contains for our lives.

During the sermons the subject of evil would occasionally come up. Most Christians recognize that evil exists in the world and it tries to influence the choices we make.

Once a seeker steps beyond the confines of the institutionalized, man-made religion of Christianity they find another explanation for why things happen—karma. For followers of eastern religions, such as Hinduism and Buddhism, everything that happens to you is a result of the karma you created in the past.

Many enlightened teachers describe the influence of karma and how it keeps each of us trapped in an endless cycle of rebirths. They also talk about maya, the force that creates the illusion of separateness. While a person is under the influence of maya they see only separate objects and are unable to perceive the deeper reality that sustains all of creation.

Yet most enlightened teachings do not discuss evil, the active nature of Maya that consciously impedes a person’s personal happiness and ability to progress spiritually. Two exceptions that I’m aware of are Paramahansa Yogananda’s book The Second Coming of Christ and Sri Aurobindo’s book The Integral Yoga. According to them not everything that happens to you is a result of the karma you created through your past thoughts, feelings and actions. There is a malevolent force within creation that tries to affect you.

Evil is an unpleasant subject that many new-age spiritual types either ignore or dismiss entirely. Perhaps they just want to focus on the positive aspects of life. That is always a good idea. Yet you should at least understand how evil works in the world. That way you can more easily avoid its influence.

The active nature of maya manifests in countless different ways to draw you attention from the spiritual path. It will attempt to influence your thoughts and emotions to keep you out of balance and not focused on the divine.

You will encounter people who are completely controlled by the darker aspects of maya. They are not always easy to spot. But by learning to recognize these people, you can avoid being influenced by them.

When you find yourself impacted by negative situations and people turn your attention to the divine. God’s grace and mercy will empower you to deal with any situation in the best possible way. The darkness would have you believe that a situation is untenable. Yet with God all things are possible.

While on the spiritual path monitor your thoughts, feelings, and actions in each moment to avoid creating more karma. Find a spiritual practice to help keep your attention focused within, on the deeper reality, in order to dissolve your past karma. Seek out the grace of an enlightened teacher that will help to dissolve your accumulated karma and lead you on the path to Self-realization.


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