Is maya connected to the notion of love?


Yes, there is a connection between the Bengali term Maya and the philosophical term Maya. The Bengali term maya means affection or love only towards one's relatives and friends. This limited or selfish love is equivalent to the philosophical term Maya. One goes beyond philosophical maya when one loves the entire world selflessly and not just one's relatives and friends. This love for the entire world, compassion, is called in Bengali daya.

A DEVOTEE: "Sir, you met Pundit Vidyasagar. What did you think of him?"

MASTER: "Vidyasagar has both scholarship and charity, but he lacks inner vision. Gold lies hidden within him. Had he but found it out, his activities would have been reduced; finally they would have stopped altogether. Had he but known that God resides in his heart, his mind would have been directed to God in thought and meditation. Some persons must perform selfless work a long time before they can practise dispassion and direct their minds to the spiritual ideal and at last be absorbed in God.

"The activities that Vidyasagar is engaged in are good. Charity is very noble. There is a great deal of difference between daya, compassion, and maya, attachment. Daya is good, but not maya. Maya is love tor one's relatives — one's wife, children, brother, sister, nephew, father, and mother. But daya is the same love for all created beings without any distinction."

M: "Is daya also a bondage?"

MASTER: "Yes, it is. But that concept is something far beyond the ordinary man. Daya springs from sattva. Sattva preserves, rajas creates, and tamas destroys. But Brahman is beyond the three gunas. It is beyond Prakriti.

The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, Chapter 12, The festival at Panihati, July 22, 1883

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