Random Musings-Part 22- Draupadi Vastra-Haran and Maya
In the Mahabharata, in the scene of Draupadi Vastra-Haran, Lord Krishna comes and saves Draupadi. Krishna uses his power to project a vastra/cloth of infinite length that kept wrapped around Draupadi. Dusshasana kept pulling her Vastra/Saree for a long time but was not able to disrobe her.
This incident is significant in understanding the origin of the Universe as well as the power of the Lord. Some questions can be asked about the manifestation of Saree by Krishna. How did it happen? Did Krishna himself become Saree/Vastra and wrapped around Draupadi? Or did any of his limbs- may be hands or legs transformed into Saree and wrapped around Draupadi? Or Did the Saree appeared out of Krishna in some Mysterious way about which we can only conclude that there is a Saree that is effect and there is Krishna who is the cause but the manner/process by which he projected the Saree is mysterious and cannot be spoken/understood logical?
Similarly, whether the Brahman himself became Universe through real transformation? or whether a part of him transformed into Universe? or whether the Universe was projected/appeared in a mysterious way beyond logical understanding?
We see that, the Krishna neither became Saree himself nor did he transform a limb of him into Saree. Instead Saree appeared out of him in a mysterious way. Even after the projection of Saree, the Identity or nature of Krishna remained intact. So, Krishna was both Material and Intelligent cause of the Saree but without himself transforming into Saree. Hence, the saree had only an empirical reality. It existed only as an appearance. And nothing can be said about the manner in which it was produced.
Similarly, the Universe neither appeared due to real transformation of Brahman nor due to transformation of a portion of Brahman. Instead it appeared out of Brahman in a mysterious and inconceivable manner. This mysterious process by which Brahman manifested Universe is called as “Maya” and as it is inconceivable and unspeakable, it is called “Anirvachaniya”. Further, this projection of Universe did not cause any change in the nature of Brahman which is Birthless, immutable, without divisions. We can only perceive through our senses the Universe which is the effect. Further we can understand from Vedas that Brahman is the cause (material and intelligent), but the process, the Maya by which this manifestation happens cannot be explained. Hence, Universe has an existence only as an apparent and temporary existence. And this mysterious power by which Brahman manifest this Universe from itself is called as “Maya” which is described as “Ishwara Shakti”.