Maaya and Daiva are two unique Indian concepts that have not yet been fully appreciated by the world. Both offer brilliant explanations about mysteries that engross everything in this universe. While maaya demystifies the apparent reality that surrounds us, daiva helps us in living with an uncertain future. Indian philosophers had propounded these theories thousands of years ago, but ordinary Indians are still struggling to comprehend them. What should have been an integral and uncontroversial part of our curriculum is deliberately kept out just to satisfy the false (pseudo)secular credentials. And instead we force ourselves to study every other theory that has drifted into our landscape from alien lands. Most of us have even lost the natural inquisitiveness of normal human beings to understand what is one’s own.
Nature and future are two indispensable components in everyone’s life. Together they provide the environment and incentive to live on. Ancient seers of India had succeeded to a great extent in explaining the philosophical aspects of these concepts to the ordinary folks then. Daiva and Maaya are the key components of their explanations in this regard. Whatever we consider as real is indeed maaya and whatever is unknown with regard to the future are revered in the form of daiva. The interpretations of daiva as various forms of the unique God (Ishwar) and maaya as a notion that we perceive as real can be considered as the best available treatises that can explain anything to a modern rational man. If everyone can get a chance to learn about these vital irreligious aspects in India today, there will be much more vigor and vitality in our society instead of rivalry and hatred.
As infinitesimal part of this universe we are deeply immersed in the happenings around us and we live on with the belief that it is all for real. But we can easily understand that it is not so when we consider our experience while waking up from a dream. If it was a sweet one we feel sorry about being woken up and if it was horrible we feel thankful. Be it a dream or otherwise, it is our very same self that has experienced it. Similarly is the vast difference in our perception when we consider someone as a suspected terrorist and he finally turns out to be a pious and religious man. There are several more instances where this same nature of experience can be perceived for totally different realities. And then drugs, magic and special effects can also produce such similar experience on a human as compared to whatever we normally consider as real. So what is the sanctity of considering anything as real? A more logical perception is to take everything as unreal. And that was what our forefathers considered as maaya.
Our whole perception about this universe is only a maaya and each of us interprets it the way we want or understand. And there cannot be anything for real in a world where each and every one of us is enveloped in maaya. Adi Sankara was only stating the obvious when he propounded the theory of maaya. It is not difficult for any ordinary man to understand this but it will be extremely difficult to admit it so. The Western concept of ‘seeing is believing’ is an absurdity that has become a belief. The effect of maaya is so much that anyone who can develop the capability to dismiss the mundane problems as being part of maaya will be considered as insane and not wise. But even a convinced understanding of the truth about maaya in everyone’s mind can go a long way in raising the overall tolerance level in our society and nation. We can appreciate and tolerate each other much better if we have a common understanding about the unreality that surrounds us.
More interesting than an unrealistic nature that surrounds us is the unknown future that awaits us. In many ways it is the uncertainty and anonymity about our future that drives us towards an omnipotent and omnipresent God. If there are ways to gain sure knowledge about future, almost all our temples, churches and mosques will be empty. Ancient seers of India propounded the concept of daiva precisely on this basis of uncertain future. As the Sanskrit term indicates Daiva means destiny or destination or simple future for every single entity in this universe. Howsoever significant or insignificant, all entities (animate or inanimate) have a specific purpose of being present in this universe. Being alive and evolved, humans indulge in the added task of seeking their destiny. The close relationship that exists in India between daiva (as destiny) and daiva (as a form of God) becomes relevant in this respect.
The basis of all religious beliefs is the fear or respect for the unknown. Each and every moment in our lives is pregnant with any number of possibilities, all of them uncertain. For a human being, it can be glory, luck, death, bankruptcy, defamation, starvation and what not. The priorities, importance and response to each of this can vary between individuals, depending upon his likings, age, status and background. Surrender and prayers being natural for any unsure individual in an uncertain environment, what is wrong in attributing separate forms of God for each of this unknown possibilities and worshipping with hope of getting the best? Such compartmentalization can provide better focus and intensity for the believers and their beliefs. In fact the glorious belief of a triumvirate of Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh providing overall controls over Creation-Sustenance-Destruction in this universe provides the most comforting picture for all the rationally religious humans.
Contribution of India’s ancient seers to the commonwealth of human knowledge is virtually unparalleled and unrivalled. Maaya and daiva are just two of those that have not caught much attention of the philosophers outside India. As always it is left to those outside India to discover and develop the wisdom pearls of ancient India for the progress of mankind. While pseudo-secularism and lack of positive nationalism are preventing Indians from re-discovering their own glorious heritage, professionals abroad are grabbing and borrowing from the endless storehouse of Sanatana Dharma for development and progress of their own countries. As unlucky giants of virtue, Indians are in deep slumber, unable to recover from the damages inflicted by unworthy Brahmin and foreign rulers.