If this is an illusion (maya), then when and why did this maya enter in the mind of the first soul that got separated from the Almighty?

Shri Ramacharit Manas says “Ishwar anśa jīva avināśi”, and Bhagavad Gita says “Māmaivanṣo jīva loke”. God is the whole or Anśi and jīva (living being) is the part or anśa. Jīva became ignorant and because of that ignorance it got separated from God. But why did the soul become ignorant? Because it felt that it was separate from God, another individual consciousness. And why did it think it was separate from God? Because of ignorance. Therefore, both mean the same thing.

So the fundamental question is why and when did the jīva become ignorant? There are many questions, to which we have no answers. Saints answer such questions by simply saying, “It is God’s will.” If there is a fire, it is a fact then questions like how did it start, why and when become unimportant. What is important is there is a fire, which can burn down everything to ashes. Hence do not ask questions but get busy with actions that will extinguish the fire.

Similarly get busy with efforts of uplifting yourself from the state of ignorance. As soon as the flame of knowledge is kindled within, either by satsang or by a sadguru, the darkness of ignorance will vanish and you will be united with that ‘Parabrahma‘ (Ultimate Being). Jīvo Brahaiva nāparah” i.e. Jīva itself is Bhrama, not separate from it. You will experience “Aham Brahmāsmi.” “I am Bhrama.”

Because of the ignorance of the soul, the feeling of being a separate jīva developed in it and it got separated from Bhrama. Here an illusion is created that the jīva has acted (separated), while really speaking it is the Bhrama that has acted and manifested itself into many jīva. It attained a gross form. It saw and was seen by others. It ate and gave others to eat. It played. All this is called Lord’s leela. There can be no question as to which jīva separated first? When? etc. because God himself willed and took up many different forms. So there can be no question about first and latter.

But if the jīva believes God’s leela to be his own actions, then it gets trapped in the cycle of birth and death. This is maya or the illusion.

Maya is like a shadow. The jīva perceives the shadow of its ego in the light of God and that is maya. As soon as the ego disappears maya does not remain.

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