In the trance of maya, the illusory, man thinks his body to be all; thus he pursues all manner of empty activity. In jagratawastha, the waking state, he seeks contentment in foolish pleasures, in the satisfaction of lust and in intoxicants.
In the world of his imagination, man experiences pleasure and pain in swapnawastha, the dream state. Man feels a measure of relief in sushuptawastha, the state of deep sleep, where all the deceptions of illusion end and man lapses into tamas guna, life-energy’s lethargic state.
First, let us understand a few words.
In the trance of maya, the illusory, man thinks his body to be all; thus he pursues all manner of empty activity.
First, it will be good to understand the word maya. Generally, people understand that maya is the name for any phenomenon that does not truly exist, that is not real. Hence, people translate it into English as “illusion.” That translation is totally wrong.
The meaning of maya is not illusion, the meaning of maya is hypnosis. The meaning of maya is that man’s mind has the capacity to manifest whatsoever it believes. Whatever it believes will begin to happen to it. Its belief becomes the actuality. Whatsoever it accepts and believes, that same thing begins to happen. Maya is a faculty of the mind, and it is the collective expansion of it that is seen in the world. The state of hypnosis that all human beings together create throughout the world becomes what is called the maya of the world. For example, in one individual’s madness, only he is mad; but if the whole crowd were to go mad, then what would come out of it would drive the whole world mad.
Maya is the name for the mind’s ability to become hypnotized. Hypnosis means that what we believe starts to happen. If we take a few examples, it will become more clear.