By Dr Manish Pandit
We started this essay by looking at Delusion from various angles: (Part 2 of that essay here) https://mmpandit.wordpress.com/2021/08/18/source-of-भ्रम्-or-delusion-part-2/
In chapter 1, some of the things which cause pain but are very normal in today’s society are brought to life in the text: The Rishi is asked, for example
अयं च निकृतः पुत्रैर्दारैर्भृत्यैस्तथोज्झितः
स्वजनेन च सन्त्यक्तस्तेषु हार्दी तथाप्यति ।
“This merchant has been driven away/ disowned by his wife, sons and in other words, his entire family BUT he still has intense attachment and love for them.
We see today that so many people undergo some betrayal and get pain as a result due to people in their lives moving away.. yet even after the person/ s have left, there is no peace and instead the mind of the person yearns for those people who may well have treated that person badly.
The Rishi is asked “why is this the case, that despite the king and the merchant have undergone deep pain and have seen the defects in those people and things which they once found enjoyable… YET their mind is still drawn to those same people/objects.
Why did that occur? The answer from thousands of years ago, gives us the reason why people tend to pursue that which gave them pain in the first place… indeed it goes to the roots of attachment itself. In the first part of this essay, I talked about what the Gita says about delusion : https://mmpandit.wordpress.com/2021/07/06/source-of-bhrama-part-1/
The perspective offered by the Prathama Adhyaya of Devi Mahatmyam is nuanced and somewhat different. How, let us see further.
एवमेष तथाहं च द्वावप्यत्यन्तदुःखितौ ॥ ४३॥
दृष्टदोषेऽपि विषये ममत्वाकृष्टमानसौ
The words used are “विवेकान्धस्य” ie. the literal meaning is to be derived from first seeing what विवेक means: here it should be taken to mean the faculty which allows one to decide between what is real and what is merely an illusion. The meaning of the term विवेकान्धस्य therefore is two fold. It means that one is blind to the ability to discern between reality and illusion. This when added to the padam “yat मूढता” will give rise to the only result and that is one of “delusion”.
That too this delusion and blind ignorance are occurring to men such as the king and the merchant who possess knowledge.
Then the question is “Why the delusion?”
After explaining various aspects of delusion, the Rishi comes to the root cause according to him in two specific verses.
That is to say
महामायाप्रभावेण संसारस्थितिकारिणा ।
तन्नात्र विस्मयः कार्यो योगनिद्रा जगत्पतेः ॥ ५४॥
ie.the great delusion is Bhagawan Vishnu’s Yoganidra and it is her because of whom the world is in delusion.
He goes on to proclaim: (and note here the use of the word “सम्मोह्यते”)
महामाया हरेश्चैषा तया सम्मोह्यते जगत् ।
ज्ञानिनामपि चेतांसि देवी भगवती हि सा ॥ ५५
The Great Goddess Mahamaya who by the way is referred to here as the “Great Delusion” forcibly causes the minds of (even those) men of discerning knowledge to be deluded.
This ends my third essay on Delusion.