The origin of Maya

Acharya Prashant
4 min readJan 2, 2021

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Acharya Prashant (AP): ‘Maya’ and ‘Brahm’ are beginningless for you because the question is coming from you. So, to you these two are beginningless. Why are these two beginningless? Why can’t their origin be known? Because Maya does not comprise of an entity called Maya. Maya is verily the questioner himself. Maya resides in the questionnaire. All questions are Maya. A question implies a lack of knowledge. So, the questionnaire is Maya.

If you can reach the beginning of Maya then you say, “I have reached the beginning of Maya” and here Maya is no more, right? When you reach the beginning of something, is that thing anymore there? No. You have reached the end of that thing, right? If you have reached the end of that thing who is there now still remaining to say, “Oh! I have reached the end of that thing.”

See, you are the one who is trying to trace the origin of Maya, right? So, you trace the origin of Maya and you, let’s assume reach the origin, somehow. And upon managing to reach the origin what do you exclaim? You say, “Oh! I found the beginning of Maya.” So, you found the beginning of Maya and you still remain to say that you have found the beginning of Maya.

If you indeed do still remain to say that the beginning of Maya has been found then what remains alive and intact in your form?

Maya itself.

If Maya still remains alive and intact in your form, have you reached the beginning of Maya? So, the beginning of Maya is, therefore, reached only when the quest to reach the beginning of Maya is dropped. So, Maya remains as long as there is a darkness about the nature of Maya. That darkness itself exhibits in the form of the question. Where there is light, there are no questions, or are there?

Remaining yourself, which means remaining Maya bound, you cannot receive an answer to the question, “from where did Maya or ‘Avidya’ begin?”

The beginning is the end.

How is beginning the end?

Because if you have reached the beginning, you have reached a point beyond which there is no more the same substance of which the beginning is being sought.