“Material energy has the power to cover knowledge, but this covering cannot be applied to the Supreme Personality of Godhead. It is applicable only to the prajah, or those who are born with material bodies, the conditioned souls.” (Shrila Prabhupada, Shrimad Bhagavatam, 3.26.5 Purport)
Maya is the illusory potency coming from the other world. The proprietor of that realm beyond our vision is the Supreme Personality of Godhead. If the word “God” offends you then you can take the same person to be the origin of everything. He is the beginning to the beginning and the end past the last end. Through His energy known as maya we forget Him. In fact, we forget so many things, sometimes on purpose.
Rajiv was explaining maya to his friend one day. He was trying to get the point across that maya is so strong that even when people know something is staged, they still get emotionally invested. Rajiv reminded his friend of the many times they would get excited over watching an action movie and how their wives would tear up at the end of a film that they liked. To further underscore his point, Rajiv told a story from his childhood.
As with most other male children of that time, I was very much into professional wrestling. I couldn’t get enough of it. As excited as you get to watch game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals today, I would get that excited to watch wrestling. I remember that during those years, they had two syndicated shows that aired on the weekends. I watched them religiously, but nothing much happened. It was highlights and the sort. Mostly it was the good wrestlers easily defeating these guys you never heard of.
But there was this one show that was different. It was called Saturday Night’s Main Event. It aired during the late night time slot on Saturday nights on the NBC television network. Though the show Saturday Night Live usually filled that time slot, since I was so young I thought it was the other way around. I thought Saturday Night Live was the show that got in the way of Saturday Night’s Main Event. So I would get very excited for my show to come on; I would hope that every week they would show a commercial for the show. I think it only came on a few times a year though.
Saturday Night’s Main Event had the best wrestlers going against each other. I could especially see Hulk Hogan, who was my favorite at the time. His fans were called Hulkamaniacs, and I was definitely one of them. I don’t remember too much about these matches, but I remember one time he was involved in a steel cage match. I don’t remember who it was against, but I distinctly recall how afraid I was. Hogan was the champion, and in these matches it always looked like he was going to lose.
We would watch these matches as a family, and everyone would get into it. Of course years later I came to know for certain that the results to these matches were fixed. The moves were real; the people were real; just there was a script. People would tell me that when I was a kid, but I couldn’t believe them entirely. Anyway, I was so nervous watching these matches. And so many people who knew the matches were fixed were at the venue anyway. They were mostly cheering on Hogan. My parents also didn’t ruin the fun for me; they would ask me how Hogan was doing.
Looking back on it now, this gives one side to maya, or illusion. Maya covers our actual knowledge. Sometimes we want that knowledge to be covered, especially when it comes to our inevitable death. From observing others, we know that we are destined to die. Some day we will be on the verge of quitting our body, of leaving everything behind. And yet we act today like it will never happen.
Rajiv then explained to his friend how maya does not act on God. “Maya comes from God, who is all-knowledgeable. When the veil of illusion gets removed one can see things clearly. They see each person for who they are, spirit soul. They see the timeline of the human being as an opportunity for recovering their true knowledge and working towards reaching the best destination: association with God.”
Rajiv told his friend that in this world there is illusion on top of illusion. “At the time of birth we mistakenly identify with our body, and then throughout our journey we forget so many things. We see things the wrong way due to intoxication as well. This incredibly powerful illusion can only be orchestrated by God, and so one who gets His favor can easily transcend it. They get His favor best through bhakti-yoga, or devotional service, which can start today with the routine of chanting the holy names: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.”
Scripted match, the outcome set,
Still the fans very nervous to get.
Illusion with illusion again on top,
No wonder then real knowledge there is not.
Elevate through master of all finding,
And no more through reincarnation grinding.
With love and attention call His names,
At end of life to give you nature the same.