All matter is believed to be an illusion called Maya, blinding us from knowing the truth. Maya is the limited, purely physical and mental reality in which our everyday consciousness has become entangled. Maya is held to be an illusion, a veiling of the true, unitary Self — the Cosmic Spirit. Maya gets destroyed for a person when they perceive the true self with transcendental knowledge.
It's not that what is perceived does not exist but that erroneous perception sees it for what it is not. In a magic show, when the mesmerist hypnotizes the whole audience and all people see that the mesmerist devours a big sword and cuts the body of a lad in the box. Even so, you are all hypnotized by Maya and ignorance and you take this unreal world as a solid reality. De-hypnotize yourself by getting Knowledge of Ultimate Reality.
Maya deludes us. Maya havocs through the mind. The things that we perceive all round us is a product of the mind. The world does not exist by itself. It is not seen without the aid of the mind. It is imagination alone that assumes the forms of time, space, and motion. For example, unless one retains sight of the void(space) behind it, the sky appears blue at a distance; but look at it closely and you will find that it has no color. The water of the ocean looks blue at a distance, but when you go near and take it in your hand, you find that it is colorless. Humans are deluded through Maya and have become attached to the world.
The finite human mind cannot comprehend the exact relationship between the One and the many, Reality and appearance, the Absolute and the relative. From the standpoint of the relative, there is no Absolute. The Absolute is a mystical experience characterized by the absence of duality. Under the influence of this cosmic ignorance, the all pervading, eternal, and infinite spirit forgets its real nature. It is something like a man going to sleep, which first makes him oblivious of himself and then creates the fantastic dream world. It is also a well known fact that on account of ignorance one sees water in the desert, as in the case of a mirage. As long as the sleep and the illusion last, the experience of the dream and the mirage appear to be real.
Maya creates division, division between the individual soul and the Supreme Soul. On account of Maya, the true self, identifies itself with the finite, material forms and becomes individualized. Maya superimposes upon itself the attributes of the material form with which it is identified. Thus the birthless, deathless, immortal soul, which is of the nature of Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute, appears to be finite, phenomenal being subject to hunger and thirst, pain and pleasure, birth and death etc.. As long as ignorance lasts, these relative characteristics appear to pertain to the soul and to be real. All the individualized, finite beings one sees in the universe are manifestations of the true self through Maya
The most dangerous kind of Maya is considering Intelligence or Knowledge as property.
"To be is to be perceived" (Latin: esse est percipi) is a theory promoted by George Berkeley in the 18th century. Berkeley argued knowledge of the world is sensory and that only sensible objects have real being, as long it is perceived by a mind. God, being omniscient perceives everything perceivable, thus all real beings exists in the mind of God.
“ We are not a human being trying to attain a spiritual experience, but, rather, we are spiritual beings having a human experience.”
- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Maya hides this truth from us through blinding emotions. These strong emotions turn into desires making us forget that we are one, that 'you' and 'I' are forms of the same entity.
- Wikipedia: Maya in Hinduism
- Wikipedia: Nirvana in Jainism
- Wikipedia: Gnosticism
- Wikipedia: American transcendentalism
- Wikipedia: The Matrix (Movie)
- Yin Yang & the western culture
- Maya in Hinduism (hinduwebsite.com)
- The Great Illusion - Maya in Sikhism -srec.gurmat.info
- Brief study on Maya -lawsofbrahman.com
- Establishing the existence of Maya -hinduism.co.za