Māyā
(2,980 words)

A concept often misunderstood, māyā in Hindu thought has an enduring, if complicated, historical legacy. While the semantic valence of this notion, as with all linguistic terms, needs to be historically and philosophically contextualized, one perduring significance of māyā implicates the magical or tricky nature of phenomenal reality and that reality itself. Thus, the concept māyā is textured both metaphysically and psychologically. Metaphysically, māyā accounts for the plural universe; psychologically, this plurality tends to be distracting and enmeshing –…

Cite this page
Thomas Forsthoefel, “Māyā”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Edited by: Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 27 July 2017 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2212-5019_beh_COM_2050230>
First published online: 2012



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