Māyā

Firstly, Rabindranath Tagore whose writings are highly influenced by his vedic knowledge. In Gitanjali he says :-

[71] That I should make much of myself and turn it on all sides, thus casting coloured shadows on thy radiance – such is thy maya.

Thou settest a barrier in thine own being and then callest thy severed self in myriad notes. This thy self-separation has taken body in me.

The poignant song is echoed through all the sky in many-coloured tears and smiles, alarms and hopes ; waves rise up and sink again, dreams break and form. In me is thy own defeat of self.

This screen that thou has raised is painted with innumerable figures with the brush of the night and the day. Behind it thy seat is woven in wondrous mysteries of curves, casting away all barren lines of straightness.

The great pageant of thee and me has overspread the sky. With the tune of thee and me all the air is vibrant, and all ages pass with the hiding and seeking of thee and me.

 In the poem ‘Ami’ (“I”) in Shyamali, Tagore takes the anthropomorphic view of life and uses the concept of maya to show that Brahman in a state of ‘no-maya’ – a barren , pre-creation existence resorts to ‘yes-maya’ where there is the first desire to create multiplicity, to have man as a colourful presence in the vacuous emptiness. Few paragraphs are extracted here (the complete version with a commentary from “The Concept of Indian Literature” is hyperlinked above) :-

But there is the Infinite One deep in sadhana
in the heart of finite man,
saying, “you and I are one.”
In that oneness of you and I darkness and light become one,
rose shape, rose rasa,
no-maya flowered into yes-maya,
in line and colour, in pain and pleasure.
Don’t call this philosophy,
My heart thrills with the joy of creation
as I stand brush and colour-bowl in hand
in the hall of this cosmic-I…

…The day man disappears
his eyes will take away all the world’s colours.
The day man disappears
his heart will take away all the world’s rasa.
Then Shakti vibrations alone will energise the sky,
there will be no light anywhere.
The musician’s fingers will strum in a veena-less hall
a soundless raga.
A poem-less Creator will sit alone
in a blue bereft sky
lost in the coordinates of a personality-less existence

In terms of space Tagore refers to the –‘ that cosmic mansion stretching across endless and uncountable reaches of space upon space of splendid desolation…’ and in terms of time he writes about the Mahakala time that goes on for yuga upon yuga till the stage of cosmic dissolution when the poem-less Creator will again sit alone in a blue bereft sky lost in the co-ordinates of a personality-less existence. The choice of words here in this poem knit together difficult concepts with soundless ease….