Yogamaya and Mahamaya

Radha-Krishna-with-Gopis

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This morning I was reading again from the 4th chapter of the Sri Caitanya-caritamrta Adi-lila, wherin Srila Prabhupada was describing the yogamaya potency…

…Yogamāyā is the name of the internal potency that makes the Lord forget Himself and become an object of love for His pure devotee in different transcendental mellows. This yogamāyā potency creates a spiritual sentiment in the minds of the damsels of Vraja by which they think of Lord Kṛṣṇa as their paramour.

I thought it would be interesting do do a post on the difference between yogamaya and mahamaya, and define the word yogamaya.

Yogamaya means the mercy of the Supreme Lord which connects a devotee in the transcendental loving service of the Lord, and mahamaya means the external potency of the Lord which puts a conditioned soul into illusion that he will be happy by material adjustment. (Letter to Aniruddha Los Angeles 14 November, 1968)

Yogamāyā means… Here, this is also Kṛṣṇa’s exhibition of māyā, but it is temporary. In the another, spiritual world, that is also exhibition of Kṛṣṇa’s māyā, but it is permanent. Here is a perverted reflection, we say. (Lecture on SB 2.9.2 Melbourne, April 4, 1972)

Yogamāyā means that which connects you. Yogamāyā, the original yogamāyā, is Kṛṣṇa’s internal potency. That is Rādhārāṇī. (from Lecture Seattle, October 18, 1968)

Yogamāyā means forgetfulness. (Lecture on SB 3.25.13 — Bombay, November 13, 1974)

Any pastime conducted by the Supreme Personality of Godhead is an arrangement by yogamāyā, not mahāmāyā.

“The bodies of the inhabitants of Vaikuṇṭha are completely spiritual, having nothing to do with the material body, senses or life air. Therefore, kindly explain how associates of the Personality of Godhead were cursed to descend in material bodies like ordinary persons.”

This very significant question would be difficult for an ordinary person to answer, but Nārada Muni, being an authority, could answer it. Therefore Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira inquired from him, saying, etad ākhyātum arhasi: “only you can explain the reason.” From authoritative sources it can be discerned that associates of Lord Viṣṇu who descend from Vaikuṇṭha do not actually fall. They come with the purpose of fulfilling the desire of the Lord, and their descent to this material world is comparable to that of the Lord. The Lord comes to this material world through the agency of His internal potency, and similarly, when a devotee or associate of the Lord descends to this material world, he does so through the action of the spiritual energy. Any pastime conducted by the Supreme Personality of Godhead is an arrangement by yogamāyā, not mahāmāyā. Therefore it is to be understood that when Jaya and Vijaya descended to this material world, they came because there was something to be done for the Supreme Personality of Godhead. Otherwise it is a fact that no one falls from Vaikuṇṭha. (SB 7.1.35, Purport)

055 2

When you are being gradually advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that is the action of yogamāyā.

Guest: How may we recognize yogamāyā?

Prabhupāda: I do not know what is your question.

Tamāla Kṛṣṇa: He wants to know how we may recognize yogamāyā, how we may know.

Prabhupāda: Yogamāyā? Yogamāyā means that which connects you. Yoga means connection. When you are being gradually advanced in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, that is the action of yogamāyā. And when you are gradually forgetting Kṛṣṇa, that is the action of mahāmāyā. Māyā is acting upon you. The one is dragging you, and one is pushing you opposite way. Yogamāyā. So, just like the example, that you are always under the laws of government. You cannot deny. If you say, “I don’t agree to abide by the laws of government,” that is not possible. But when you are a criminal, you are under the police laws, and when you are gentleman, you are under the civil laws. The laws are there. In any situation, you have to obey the laws of government. If you remain as a civilized citizen, then you are always protected by the civil law. But as soon as you are against the state, the criminal law will act upon you. So the criminal activities of law is mahāmāyā, threefold miseries, always. Always putting in some sort of misery. And the civil department of Kṛṣṇa, ānandāmbudhi-vardhanam. You simply go on increasing the, I mean to say, depth of the ocean of joy. Ānandambudhi-vardhanam. That is the difference, yogamāyā and mahāmāyā. Yogamāyā is… Yogamāyā, the original yogamāyā, is Kṛṣṇa’s internal potency. That is Rādhārāṇī. And mahāmāyā is external potency, Durgā. This Durgā is explained in Brahma-saṁhitā, sṛṣṭi-sthiti-pralaya-sādhana-śaktir ekā chāyeva yasya bhuvanāni bibharti durgā (Bs. 5.44). Durgā is the superintending goddess of this whole material world. Everything is going on under his, under her control. Prakṛti, prakṛti is energy. Energy is accepted as feminine. Just like these materialistic persons, they are also working under some energy. What is that energy? The sex life. That’s all. They’re troubling so much: “Oh, at night I’ll have sex life.” That’s all. That is the energy. Yan maithunādi-gṛhamedhi-sukhaṁ hi tuccham (SB 7.9.45). Their life is based on the sex. That’s all. Everyone is working so hard, culminating in sex. That’s all. This is material life. So energy. The material energy means sex. So that is energy. If a person who is working in the factory, if you stop sex, he cannot work. And when he’s unable to enjoy sex life, then he takes intoxication. This is material life. So energy must be there. Here in the material world the energy is sex, and in the spiritual world the energy is love. Here the love is misrepresented in sex. That is not love; that is lust. Love is only possible with Kṛṣṇa, nowhere else. Nowhere else love is possible. That is misrepresentation of love. That is lust. So love and lust. Love is yogamāyā, and lust is mahāmāyā. That’s all. (from Lecture Seattle, October 18, 1968)

Prabhupada, can you explain mahamaya and yogamaya? Was Arjuna under yogamaya or mahamaya?

Prabhupāda: So any other question? Yes?

Upendra: Prabhupāda, can you explain mahāmāyā and yogamāyā? Was Arjuna under yogamāyā or mahāmāyā?

Prabhupāda: Arjuna, when he was thinking in terms of his personal sense gratification, he was under mahāmāyā. And when he agreed to execute the order of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, then he’s under yogamāyā.

Upendra: How is it Arjuna, if he was eternally liberated…

Prabhupāda: Because he is living entity, he is marginal. There is chance of… Marginal means… I have explained several times. Just like the land. Between the ocean and the land, there is a portion of land which is sometime merged within water, sometimes it is land. So a living entity’s position is like that, marginal energy. He may be under the influence of yogamāyā or he may be under the influence of mahāmāyā. When he is under the influence of mahāmāyā, that is his conditional life. And when he is under the influence of yogamāyā, he’s free. Chant Hare Kṛṣṇa. (from Lecture Seattle, October 7, 1968)

Māyā which drags a person from the Supreme Personality of Godhead is called jaḍamāyā, and the māyā which acts on the transcendental platform is called yogamāyā.

The distinction between the two māyās-yogamāyā and mahā-māyā-is described as follows. Kṛṣṇa’s rāsa-līlā with the gopīs and the gopīs’ bewilderment in respect to their husbands, fathers-in-law and other such relatives were arrangements of yogamāyā in which mahāmāyā had no influence. The Bhāgavatam gives sufficient evidence of this when it clearly says, yogamāyām upāśritaḥ. On the other hand, there were asuras headed by Śālva and kṣatriyas like Duryodhana who were bereft of devotional service in spite of seeing Kṛṣṇa’s carrier Garuḍa and the universal form, and who could not understand Kṛṣṇa to be the Supreme Personality of Godhead. This was also bewilderment, but this bewilderment was due to mahāmāyā. Therefore it is to be concluded that the māyā which drags a person from the Supreme Personality of Godhead is called jaḍamāyā, and the māyā which acts on the transcendental platform is called yogamāyā. When Nanda Mahārāja was taken away by Varuṇa, he saw Kṛṣṇa’s opulence, but nonetheless he thought of Kṛṣṇa as his son. Such feelings of parental love in the spiritual world are acts of yogamāyā, not of jaḍamāyā, or mahāmāyā. This is the opinion of Śrīla Viśvanātha Cakravartī Ṭhākura. (SB 10.1.69, Purport)

Śrī Caitanya-caritāmṛta
By His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupāda
Ādi-līlā Chapter 4, Text 29-30

TEXT 29

mo-viṣaye gopī-gaṇera upapati-bhāve
yoga-māyā karibeka āpana-prabhāve

SYNONYMS

mo-viṣaye—on the subject of Me; gopī-gaṇera—of the gopīs; upapati—of a paramour; bhāve—in the position; yoga-māyā—yogamāyā, Lord Kṛṣṇa’s internal potency; karibeka—will make; āpana—her own; prabhāve—by the influence.

TRANSLATION

“The influence of yogamāyā will inspire the gopīs with the sentiment that I am their paramour.

PURPORT

Yogamāyā is the name of the internal potency that makes the Lord forget Himself and become an object of love for His pure devotee in different transcendental mellows. This yogamāyā potency creates a spiritual sentiment in the minds of the damsels of Vraja by which they think of Lord Kṛṣṇa as their paramour. This sentiment is never to be compared to mundane illicit sexual love. It has nothing to do with sexual psychology, although the pure love of such devotees seems to be sexual. One should know for certain that nothing can exist in this cosmic manifestation that has no real counterpart in the spiritual field. All material manifestations are emanations of the Transcendence. The erotic principles of amorous love reflected in mixed material values are perverted reflections of the reality of spirit, but one cannot understand the reality unless one is sufficiently educated in the spiritual science.

TEXT 30

āmiha nā jāni tāhā, nā jāne gopī-gaṇa
duṅhāra rūpa-guṇe duṅhāra nitya hare mana

SYNONYMS

āmiha—I; nā jāni—shall not know; tāhā—that; nā jāne—will not know; gopī-gaṇa—the gopīs; duṅhāra—of the two; rūpa-guṇe—the beauty and qualities; duṅhāra—of the two; nitya—always; hare—carry away; mana—the minds.

TRANSLATION

“Neither the gopīs nor I shall notice this, for our minds will always be entranced by one another’s beauty and qualities.

PURPORT

In the spiritual sky the Vaikuṇṭha planets are predominated by Nārāyaṇa. His devotees have the same features He does, and the exchange of devotion there is on the platform of reverence. But above all these Vaikuṇṭha planets is Goloka, or Kṛṣṇaloka, where the original Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, fully manifests His pleasure potency in free loving affairs. Since the devotees in the material world know almost nothing about these affairs, the Lord desires to show these affairs to them.

In Goloka Vṛndāvana there is an exchange of love known as parakīya-rasa. It is something like the attraction of a married woman for a man other than her husband. In the material world this sort of relationship is most abominable because it is a perverted reflection of the parakīya-rasa in the spiritual world, where it is the highest kind of loving affair. Such feelings between the devotee and the Lord are presented by the influence of yogamāyā. The Bhagavad-gītā states that devotees of the highest grade are under the care of daiva-māyā, or yogamāyā: mahātmānas tu māṁ pārtha daivīṁ prakṛtim āśritāḥ (Bg. 9.13). Those who are actually great souls (mahātmās) are fully absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, always engaged in the service of the Lord. They are under the care of daivī-prakṛti, or yogamāyā. Yogamāyā creates a situation in which the devotee is prepared to transgress all regulative principles simply to love Kṛṣṇa. A devotee naturally does not like to transgress the laws of reverence for the Supreme Personality of Godhead, but by the influence of yogamāyā he is prepared to do anything to love the Supreme Lord better.

Those under the spell of the material energy cannot at all appreciate the activities of yogamāyā, for a conditioned soul can hardly understand the pure reciprocation between the Lord and His devotee. But by executing devotional service under the regulative principles, one can become very highly elevated and then begin to appreciate the dealings of pure love under the management of yogamāyā.

In the spiritual loving sentiment induced by the yogamāyā potency, both Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa and the damsels of Vraja forget themselves in spiritual rapture. By the influence of such forgetfulness, the attractive beauty of the gopīs plays a prominent part in the transcendental satisfaction of the Lord, who has nothing to do with mundane sex. Because spiritual love of Godhead is above everything mundane, the gopīs superficially seem to transgress the codes of mundane morality. This perpetually puzzles mundane moralists. Therefore yogamāyā acts to cover the Lord and His pastimes from the eyes of mundaners, as confirmed in the Bhagavad-gītā (7.25), where the Lord says that He reserves the right of not being exposed to everyone.

The acts of yogamāyā make it possible for the Lord and the gopīs, in loving ecstasy, to sometimes meet and sometimes separate. These transcendental loving affairs of the Lord are unimaginable to empiricists involved in the impersonal feature of the Absolute Truth. Therefore the Lord Himself appears before the mundaners to bestow upon them the highest form of spiritual realization and also personally relish its essence. The Lord is so merciful that He Himself descends to take the fallen souls back home to the kingdom of Godhead, where the erotic principles of Godhead are eternally relished in their real form, distinct from the perverted sexual love so much adored and indulged in by the fallen souls in their diseased condition. The reason the Lord displays the rāsa-līlā is essentially to induce all the fallen souls to give up their diseased morality and religiosity, and to attract them to the kingdom of God to enjoy the reality. A person who actually understands what the rāsa-līlā is will certainly hate to indulge in mundane sex life. For the realized soul, hearing the Lord’s rāsa-līlā through the proper channel will result in complete abstinence from material sexual pleasure.

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