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The Concept of Maya

Vedanta declares that our real nature is divine: pure, perfect, eternally free. We do not have to become Brahman, we are Brahman. Our true Self, the Atman, is one with Brahman.

But if our real nature is divine, why then are we so appallingly unaware of it?

The answer to this question lies in the concept of maya, or ignorance. Maya is the veil that covers our real nature and the real nature of the world around us. Maya is fundamentally inscrutable: we don’t know why it exists and we don’t know when it began. What we do know is that, like any form of ignorance, maya ceases to exist at the dawn of knowledge, the knowledge of our own divine nature.

Brahman is the real truth of our existence: in Brahman we live, move, and have our being. “All this is indeed Brahman,” the Upanishads—the scriptures that form Vedanta philosophy—declare. The changing world that we see around us can be compared to the moving images on a movie screen: without the unchanging screen in the background, there can be no movie. Similarly, it is the unchanging Brahman—the substratum of existence—in the background of this changing world that gives the world its reality.

Yet for us this reality is conditioned, like a warped mirror, by time, space, and causality—the law of cause and effect. Our vision of reality is further obscured by wrong identification: we identify ourselves with the body, mind, and ego rather than the Atman, the divine Self.

This original misperception creates more ignorance and pain in a domino effect: identifying ourselves with the body and mind, we fear disease, old age and death; identifying ourselves with the ego, we suffer from anger, hatred, and a hundred other miseries. Yet none of this affects our real nature, the Atman.

Maya can be compared to clouds which cover the sun: the sun remains in the sky but a dense cloud cover prevents us from seeing it. When the clouds disperse, we become aware that the sun has been there all the time. Our clouds—maya appearing as egotism, selfishness, hatred, greed, lust, anger, ambition—are pushed away when we meditate upon our real nature, when we engage in unselfish action, and when we consistently act and think in ways that manifest our true nature: that is, through truthfulness, purity, contentment, self-restraint, and forbearance. This mental purification drives away the clouds of maya and allows our divine nature to shine forth.

Shankara, the great philosopher-sage of seventh-century India, used the example of the rope and the snake to illustrate the concept of maya. Walking down a darkened road, a man sees a snake; his heart pounds, his pulse quickens. On closer inspection the “snake” turns out to be a piece of coiled rope. Once the delusion breaks, the snake vanishes forever.

Similarly, walking down the darkened road of ignorance, we see ourselves as mortal creatures, and around us, the universe of name and form, the universe conditioned by time, space, and causation. We become aware of our limitations, bondage, and suffering. On “closer inspection” both the mortal creature as well as the universe turn out to be Brahman. Once the delusion breaks, our mortality as well as the universe disappear forever. We see Brahman existing everywhere and in everything.

 

Forth-Coming Religious Events 2018

Date Event Details Time
28th June, Thursday Vat Savitri Poonam Pooja from 7:00
22nd July, Sunday Geeta Recital fom 7:00am
27th July, Friday Guru Poornima Datta Poojan from 19:30
12th August, Sunday Samooh Satya Narayan Katha Katha 9:30
12th August, Sunday Shravan Month – Starts Panchayat Devata Pooja – Daily 18:00
17th August, Friday Sheri Satam Pooja from 07:00
19th August, Sunday Noli Nem Pooja from 07:00
3rd September, Monday Krishna Janmashtami Pooja and Bhajans from 19:00
9th September, Sunday Shravan Month – Last Day Havan 18.00
13th September, Thursday Ganapati Choth Sthapan Pooja 20.00
15th September, Saturday Ganesh Visarjan Procession 15.30
30th September, Sunday Samooh Shanti Havan Havan for Ancestors 10.00
10th October, Wednesday Navratri – Starts Garba – Daily 20.00-22.00
17th October, Wednesday Matani Athem Havan 18.45
24th October, Wednesday Sharad Poonam Garba 20.00-22.00
7th November, Wednesday Diwali
8th November, Thursday Navu Varsh-New Year New Year Havan 05.30
8th November, Thursday Navu Varsh-New Year Annakoot Aarti 12.00
18th November, Sunday Garba for Tulsi Vivah Garba 19.30-21.00
18th November, Sunday Mandir’s 44th Anniversary Flag Hoistng
19th November, Monday Tulsi Vivah Tulsi Vivah 17.00
18th December, Tuesday Geeta Jayanti Recital in Sanskrit (all 18 chapters) from 18;00 onwards

 

 

Ramakrishna – Belur Math Videos

Swami Vivekananda – Laws of Life 1
Swami Vivekananda – Laws of Life 2
Navami Homa during Durga Puja on 29 Sept. 2017
Sri Ramakrishna Aratrikam (Vesper Service of Ramakrishna Order)

 

 

 

 
 

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Ramakrishna – Belur Math Videos

BELUR MATH | The heart of Ramakrishna Movement
Documentary – Life in Ramakrishna Mission Home – The Man Making Education – Part 1
Documentary – Life in Ramakrishna Mission Home – The Man Making Education – Part 2
Maha Shivaratri Celebration February 2017.

 

Charaiveti (??????? – Go ahead)
Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama (Narainpur)
Swami Vivekananda – Life Story
Chicago Speeches Of Swami Vivekananda

 

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Schedule of Events

Weekly Activities

Day Event Time
Daily Aarti 06:30 and 18:30
Tuesday Vedic Chanting 19:45 – 20:45
Wednesday Gita Classes 19:45 – 20:45
Thursday Bhagwat Classes 19:45 – 20:45
Friday Lakshmi Haven 18:45 – 19:15
Saturday Hanuman Haven 06:45 – 07:15
Sunday Children’s School 09.00 to 11.00

 

 

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Temple Address

Lakshmi Narayan Mandir, 44-46 Kingfisher Street, Ext 1, Lenasia, Johannesburg,
Gauteng, South Africa
Presiding Priest: Shree Jaydhevbai Shukla – Telephone Number: 011 854 6372

 

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