Questioner (Q): Isn't everything just Māyā? Then what is God? What is the relationship of God with Māyā?
Acharya Prashant (AP): You see, Māyā becomes all things, correct? Māyā becomes all things. So, you find it expressed in both ways. Sometimes, it is said—Māyā becomes all things and here, it is said—Brahm becomes all things. Both of these are correct. Both of these are right statements expressed at different levels.
Yes, all things are Māyā, but Māyā, we had just said, is nothing but a great power inherent in Brahm. Māyā is the very freedom of Brahm ‘to be’ and then ‘to not to be’. So, when you say, “This is all the game of Māyā,” you are not at all wrong. And it is quite useful to say, “All of this is the game of Māyā,” especially when you feel quite charmed and enthralled by all this. Then it pays to say, “All this is Māyā.”
At the same time, it has to be remembered that Māyā has no power or agency of its own. There aren’t two competent truths: Brahm and Māyā. And this is where the Upanishads greatly differ from many other philosophical streams. At the heart of religion is philosophy, right?
And it has been commonplace to say that there is God and there is Satan, and God and Satan have been shown as adversaries. That's not the way in Vedānta. In Vedānta, Satan doesn't compete with Brahm. In Vedānta, Satan, who can be broadly equated with Māyā, is rather the power of Brahm to do as Brahm pleases.
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Acharya Prashant is an emerging champion of socio-spiritual awakening in the world today. An alumnus of IIT-Delhi and IIM-Ahmedabad, and a former Civil Services officer, Acharya Prashant is an acclaimed Speaker, Vedanta Teacher and author of over 50 books. Apart from that he wears various hats: a veganism promoter, an environmental activist, a science activist, a campaigner against superstition, and a champion of essential human freedom. Know More