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from Goddesses and Heroines
|Exerpt from Goddess & Heroines by Patricia
[Used by permission. This text is NOT included in the Goddess Oracle]
Like Shakti ("energy") and Prakriti ("nature"), Maya is less a goddess than one of the great philosophic concepts of Indian Hinduism embodied in female form. In Hindu thought, the male energy is essentially passive, while the female is the force of action. Maya is one of those active powers: the constant movement of the universe, pervasive to the atomic level. There is no life--no existence, even--without Maya, but she is so powerful that we cannot see the essence of things and mistake her movement for reality. For this reason, Maya is often called "the veil of illusion," the dance of multiplicity that distracts us so that we cannot see all matter as essentially identical.
Illusion, however--as the sages have stressed--is not the same as falsehood. Maya is not a negative force, but can be a mesh through which we perceive the ultimate reality of existence--if we are not distracted by her magnificent creativeness and complexity.
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Published by Llewellyn, copyright 1997. Used by permission of the author.