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mAyA panchakam - The 5 ways of evolutionary process


Often people say Shankara 'dismisses' the Universe as 'mAyA'. It is not true.   Shankara simply explains that mAyA is the reason for the existence and evolution of this Universe. That's no dismissal.  

In mAyA panchakam, Shankara explains how mAyA works in 5 different ways

How mAyA became interpreted as illusion

'ma' means 'me'. 'maya' is 'my'. mAyA is derived from maya, which means that is derived from this 'my' identity or 'my' perspective.  When we are filled with 'my-identity' or 'my-perspective' we are said to be under illusion or confusion (bhrama). That's why mAyA is termed 'illusion'.

mAyA is simply the process that creates different identities (ma), different perspectives (aham-kAra) and thus 'differentiates' (vi-bheda). These differentiated identities and perspectives then interact and evolve to create more and more identities and perspectives. This process masks the actual existence underneath and creates various perceptions (bhrama).

Identity  creation, differentiation and interaction of the differentiated entities leading to more creation/differentiation is how the evolutionary process works.  

Thus mAyA is simply the evolutionary process present in matter as well as consciousness evolution. 

mAyA in matter evolution

Energy is an undifferentiated bundle across all matter forms.  When energy interacts with Higgs field and acquires mass, particles acquire a distinct entity with their own property. The Property of Mass, gives each particle in the Universe an unique identity and differentiates them.  Mass creates the property (kAra) of 'Self' (aham). 

Particles with distinct identities or aham-kAra, then interact with each other creating more identities and differentiations.

Shiva is this undifferentiated bundle or property of energy. Shiva is called 'Hara' which means the 'bearer' the one that bears, as the property of energy bears the Universe.

Hari is the Higgs interaction that 'stores' or 'impedes' energy, leading to Vishnu, the property of 'mass'. The property of mass gives identity to particles, differentiates them, enables their interaction and helps the evolution of newer and more complex matter forms. That's why Vishnu is identified with all of the Universe.

mAyA, the evolutionary process of identity creation and differentiation, thus separates out Hara/energy and Hari/mass.

mAyA in consciousness evolution

Biological beings with consciousness also follow the same design pattern as matter forms above.

Consciousness, which is the signaling mechanism or information transfer mechanism, is present in all living beings. Signaling mechanism or information transfer characterizes life.

Information processing is the ability of beings to store and process information. Level of information processing differentiates beings, gives them unique identities. This information processing  capability creates the property (kAra) of 'Self' (aham) or aham-kAra or 'ego'. 

Shiva is this consciousness, the signaling mechanism or information transfer underlying all living beings. Since it bears all life forms, it is the Hara.

Hari is ability of organ systems to interact with information,  which leads to the information processing ability in organ systems, which in turn differentiates beings and gives them unique identity.

The five ways of mAyA

mAyA, the evolutionary process of identity creation and differentiation, evolves the Universe from vacuum to everything in the Universe in five ways. They are

1. Diversification by 'Chance'
2. Mutations due to Errors
3. Union of Heterogenous entities
4. Division of Homogenous entities
5. Adaptation to rules of the environment

Biologically the above five ways of mAyA are termed as

1. Genetic drift by chance
2. Genetic Mutations
3. Gene flow between hetero groups
4. Non-Random mating within homo groups
5. Natural selection by adaptation to environment

Summary of mAyA panchakam

mAyA panchakam says mAyA devises these five operations/events ably. 

1.  Diversification by 'Chance'

     The peaceful consciousness/citi is unique, eternal, part-less and can never be broken. mAyA, the evolutionary process diversifies everything beginning with Shunya, causing the appearance of differences between jIva and jagadIsa.

2.  Errors become the norm or appear right - Mutations

     mAyA makes errors or  approximations to appear right. For eg., the in-depth cleaning/correction of revelations and their quotations is unattainable.  But by exhibiting wealth etc,  it is made possible.  This is not apart or no different from that of the foulness/dirtiness of four-legged. But making errors to appear right is the way mAyA works.

3.   Union of Heterogenous entities

      mAyA makes heterogenous entities to unionize and causes bewildering creations.  The sole unbroken understanding one is the peaceful consciousness. The bewildering ocean of creation is produced from the construction of the union of outer space/viyat, molecular motions/wind/anila etc.

4.   Division  of Homogenous entities

      mAyA divides homogenous entities. Not just the differences of guna, varna, jAti etc, creation of knowing intelligence, self etc from the peaceful consciousness, bursting open the attachments to son, wife, house etc, mAyA devises these operations ably. The very division of homogenous entities is the reason for bonding and attachments within them. 

5.   Adaptation to rules of the environment

     mAyA makes entities to adapt to rules of environment.  The differences in rules of hari hara (Mass-energy), fragments the waters,  indeed fashions the knowledge and desires (energy). The hari hara (energy-mass) difference is perception, exists not, but they follow different vidhi/rules. The difference in the rules/vidhi fashions the knowledge and desire evolution of matter and beings.  mAyA by making beings to adapt to different rules of environment, evolves them.

mAyA panchakam -Slokas and explanation

Sloka 1

nirupama anitya niramshake api akhande
mayi citi sarvavikalpanádishünye
ghatayati jagadèshajèva bhedam
tvaghatita ghataná patiyasè máyá.

unparralled (nir-upama) eternal (anitya) partless (niramzaka) also cannot be broken (akhanda) my (mayi) consciousness/awareness (citi) all (sarva) allowing an option/alternatives/diversify (vikalpana) begining with (Adi) vacuum (shunya) causes to appear (ghatayati) rulers of the worlds (jagad-iSa) the ruled life forms (jIva) differences (bhedam) you (tva) devised (ghaTita) motions/actions/events/operations (ghaTana) able/fit/sharper/clever (patiyas) mAyA.

The peaceful consciousness/citi is unique, eternal, part-less and can never be broken. mAyA diversifies everything beginning with shunya, causes to appear the differences between jIva, jagadiSa.  mAyA devises these operations/events ably.

Sloka 2

sruti shata nigamá anta sodhaka anapyahaha 
dhanádi nidarshanena sadhyah
kaluSyati catuSpad ádya bhinná na 
ghatita ghataná patiyasè máyá.

Revelations/Vedic scriptures (zruti) hundreds (zata) quotes/insertions (nigama) end/till (anta) cleaning/corrections/setting them right (zodhaka) unattainable (anApya) always/alas (ahaha/ahah) by exhibiting wealth etc (dhana Adi nidarzana ena) possible (sAdhya)  foulness (kAlusyati) four-legged etc (catuSpad adya) divided/confused (bhinna) not devising (aghaTita) motions/actions/events/operations (ghaTana) able/fit/sharper/clever (patiyas) mAyA.

Alas/always, revelations/Vedic scriptures, their quotations in hundreds, the cleaning/corrections is unattainable. By exhibition of wealth etc it is made possible,  foulness/dirtiness no different or not apart from from that of the four-legged.  mAyA devises these operations/events ably and thus makes errors to appear right or become the norm.

Sloka 3

sukha cit akhaNdã vibodham advitIyam
viyat aniládi vinirmitauni yojya
bhramayati bhavaságare nitántam
tvaghatita ghataná patiyasi máyá.


Peaceful (sukha) consciousness (cit) unbroken (akhanda) perceptor/understanding (vibodham) sole/unique (advitIyam) sky/outer space (viyat) wind/molecular movements (anila) etc (Adi) construction (vinirmitauni) the union (yojya) bewildering (bhramayati) the ocean of creation (bhava sagare) excessively/very much (nitantam). you (tva) devised (ghaTita) motions/actions/events/operations (ghaTana) able/fit/sharper/clever (patiyas) mAyA

Though the unbroken peaceful consciousness is the sole understanding one, the bewildering ocean of creation is produced from the construction of the union of heterogeneous entities like outer space, molecular motions/wind etc. Thus mAyA unionizes heterogenous entities. mAyA devises these operations/events ably.

Sloka 4

apagata guna varna játi bhede
sukhaciti vipra vida adya aham krtim ca
sphutayati suta dára geha moham
tvaghatita ghataná patèyasi máyá

Deviation/Crossing over (apagata) Guna, varna, jAti, differences (bheda) peaceful (sukha) consciousness (citi) wise (vipra) know (vid)  from that /etc (aadya) self (aham) activity (krtim) and (ca)
bursts open/ make evident (sphutayati)  son (suta) wife (dara) house (geha) attachment (moham) you (tva) devised (ghaTita) motions/actions/events/operations (ghaTana) able/fit/sharper/clever (patiyas) mAyA

Crossing over (not just) the differences of guna, varna, jAti etc, creation of knowing intelligence, self etc from the peaceful consciousness, bursting open the attachments to son, wife, house.  mAyA devises these operations ably. Thus mAyA divides homogenous entities leading to attachments and bonding within them.

Sloka 5

vidhi hari hara vibhedám apya khande
bata viracayya budhán api prakámam
bhramayati hari hara vibheda bhává na 
ghatita ghataná patèyasè máyá.

Rule (vidhi) hari hara differences (vibhedam) reachable (apya)   broken up in water (apya khanda) indeed (bata) fashions (viracaya) knowledge/entropy (budhan) also (api) desires/energy excitations (prakAmam) illusory (bhramayati) hari hara differences (vibheda)  exist (bhav) not (na) devise (aghatita) operations (ghatana) ably/smartly (patiyase) mAyA.

The differences in rules/laws of hari (Mass/Information processing) hara (Energy/consciousness) fragments the waters, indeed fashions the knowledge (entropy) and desires (energy). The hari hara (energy-mass) difference is illusion, exists not. But hari-hara (energy and mass) follow different rules. This difference in rules/vidhi fashions the evolution of knowledge and desires of beings. mAyA devises the operations/events ably by making entities adapt to different rules of environment.


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