‘Mounted on a Machine’: The Wheels of Time & Maya
In the Bhagavad Gita [18-61] Krishna tells Arjuna that the Lord of all creatures dwells in their hearts (HRDDESE TISTHATI), and that by the Power of the Lord’s MAYA each of us is attached to a machine-like mechanism termed YANTRA RUDHANI in Sanskrit, which literally translates as we are “mounted on a machine”. Each of us is held, fixed and attached to one of these machine-like wheels by the creative power of MAYA-Illusion, that causes all beings to revolve throughout Time (KALA).
This sheds light on why we all feel so helplessly compelled by our own nature to repeat foolishly destructive behavior patterns, even though time and time again we have vowed to change. If self-help books worked there would not be so many of them.
Our individual souls (ATMAN) dwell in the holographic forms of our subtle bodies. Each of these forms has their own unique predestined cosmic pattern. Anyone who has ever seen an (accurately drawn) astrological birth chart will easily understand this concept. It is as if the forms of all people throughout time are always in existence, waiting like a blueprint or matrix to be entered into by an individual soul.
These holographic forms reflect the Cycles of Time. In other words there would be subtle bodies appropriate to each specific cycle of time, from the Satya Yuga through the Kali Yuga. In the Satya Yuga (the Golden Era) our subtle body would not have as yet settled down into any concept of apparent solidity. We experience that cycle of time in something closer to ‘light bodies’.
God/Isness is all frequency waveforms and is analogous to a ubiquitous ocean of consciousness that permeates everything, and simultaneously projects portions of Itself into the temporal illusory hologram. The Creator’s energy eternally flows into the always changing, mutating and transforming holographic matrix made up of preconceived and predestined forms – such as you and me. Krishna calls the human body the ‘field’ (KShETRAM). He tells Arjuna that the God-within, the Self/Atman is the ‘guide’ to your field (Bhagavad Gita 13-1).
For the sake of imagining the idea graphically, I visualize these forms to be highly complex and subtle holographic crystals that our souls manifest through. These crystals are somewhat predestined in the sense that our part in the divine Play is loosely ‘written’ for us as the actors who will inhabit them. This weaves into the doctrine of karma that programs the basic role of the forms before we enter our bodies at birth. However there are some 25 possible variations in each Manvantara according to the Sanskrit Puranic texts.
Maya is like a dream or the jugglery of a conjuror. It pulls and stretches the world…
Brahma Purana 127.20
The Power of the Lord’s MAYA is revealed by an intriguing story in the Brahma Purana [121.44-56]. Narada is said to be a celestial sage and the son of the god Brahma. Narada had pleased the god Vishnu and therefore asked him for the boon of knowing MAYA.
Vishnu tells Narada to “sink unto the water and you will know MAYA.” Narada then “dipped himself under water” and was transformed into the daughter of a king. Narada lives the life of this woman who grows up, marries, and has children, and experiences “unsurpassed pleasures” – and inevitably grief as her husband, father, brothers, sons and grandsons are killed in a terrible battle. She herself builds the funeral pyre and in her great misery jumps into it.
“She was then transformed again into the sage Narada. The fire too assumed the pure luster of cool crystal. The full lake appeared and he [Narada] came out of it.”
The Lord Vishnu laughingly says to Narada, “Who is your son? Tell me, O great sage. With your senses gone whom do you bewail?” Thus Vishnu makes it clear to Narada that in the blink of an eye the power of MAYA has placed this enlightened being into an entire lifetime during which even one as great as the sage Narada had no memory of his true self. Vishnu goes on to say that even the gods cannot “comprehend this incomprehensible Maya.”
I like this story because not only does it illustrate how powerful Maya is, but it also gives us a feeling that time is non-existent outside of the temporal illusory hologram. The fact that Narada goes under water to have this experience is most appropriate as bodies of water are analogous to the vast spectrum of frequency waveforms that constitute consciousness.
We exist in an ocean of consciousness, and over and over throughout the Four Cycles of Time we – as a portion and piece of Isness – enter into these holographic crystal forms, our bodies, or as I like to call them, data-collecting vehicles. These vehicles are, in a manner beyond the comprehension of our ordinary mind, subtly pre-programmed to manifest in specific patterns. God binds Itself in the temporal illusory hologram by the Power of MAYA, which operates through the three GUNAS.
How can we who are bound by Prakriti’s MAYA and deluded in our limited state of consciousness – falsely believing that we are separate from Isness, our SELF, the God-within – hope to overpower the power of the Lord’s MAYA?
In fact what do we ever do? The truth is that we are merely the observer of the actions generated by GUNA-MAYA. As Krishna tells Arjuna – you are not the doer (Bhagavad Gita 5-8). It is only the five senses operating on their objects by the power of guna-maya.
The great genius Kashmir Shaivite Abhinavagupta puts it very clearly in the statement “I DO NOT ACT AT ALL”.
So what freedom do you have and how can you make the return Home? When you are weary of having endless experiences in 100s of Manvantaras in 1000s of bodies, you have the freedom to turn inward and Remember that it was you who bound yourself in the webs of MAYA.
You also have the freedom to choose in every moment what actions will bring you closer to the realization and feeling of Oneness – or on the other hand to choose those actions and thoughts which will further separate you from that, your original state. Actions and thoughts that are ‘good’ will contribute to a higher consciousness, and thus draw you into the frequency waveform known as SATTVA. This state is represented by purity and a serene, calm, focused state of non-attachment and compassion.
When you fall into thoughts that push you down into the lower frequency waveform of Separation, or take actions that are ‘bad’ or ‘evil’, you can learn to feel it immediately. These impure frequencies are the ones of agitation, discomfort, and compulsion that descend and spiral downward into further separation, disease, and death.
It is your choice in every moment. Here in the Kali Yuga Time moves very quickly and you will immediately feel the effects of the choices you make. Your primary freedom is to turn back inward to that which you are and have always been and surrender the delusional thought that you are the “DOER” of anything (Bhagavad Gita 5-8).
As Krishna says: MAM EKAM ShARANAM VRAJA
Take refuge in Me alone – meaning, the God-within you!
It will be the purity of your intention and the intensity of your total surrender to your own Being – the only Real – that will open the floodgates of Grace and Remembrance. Such bring-you-Home Grace will begin the process of lifting the Veil of your self-imposed bondage in the illusion of MAYA. Grace will reveal the Real beneath the appearance of multiplicities in this the temporal illusory hologram we know as Life.
If you are asking yourself why The Creator would make such a universe as this one is, think of it as the supreme and ultimate Adventure! Isness is infinite eternal bliss consciousness – Love. Forever knowing Its own Real nature and never deluded by Prakriti’s Guna-Maya, Isness dives into the time/space continuum for, as the Sanskrit texts say “sport”!
The adventure must be wonderful in the Satya Yuga or Golden Age. We eat from those nectar cups that grow on enormous trees and we manifest whatever we desire in the moment we think of it. The Sanskrit texts say that we spend most of our time in meditation in the Satya Yuga. My own intuition is that this is because we are enjoying various sublimely ecstatic states of union, as our consciousness is still aware of its Oneness with the God-within us all.
As we move through the four yugas, there is still much to be enjoyed. My feeling is that the Treta Yuga is the period of time when women are in our glory, because this is the era of the Hearth. In the Dvapara Yuga the Sacred Warrior protects Dharma, wisdom and truth as is well documented in the epic text the Mahabharata. We can only imagine the pure hearts, the greatness, and heroic deeds of such courageous, knowledgeable, and refined men and their exemplary, steadfast, and virtuous women. This must have been an amazing time when men still had integrity and fought within specific sacred laws only to protect truth.
Of course now we are here in the Kali Yuga and lately, certainly no one would claim this to be a fun time – unless they were on one of those serotonin inhibitors. But in spite of its horrors, the Kali offers the opportunity for enlightenment and Remembrance of the God-within with the least effort. And amazingly according to the Bhagavata Purana, many souls actually look forward to a Kali Yuga for it offers them the experience of immersing themselves in ecstatic Devotion to God in the form of Bhakti Yoga.
Certainly the Kali is the tough time when the Creator – who has wrapped Itself in Maya and intentionally sunk down into delusion – tests Itself and waits to see which parts of Itself, amongst the multitude of Souls that are God expressing in the temporal illusory hologram, will in fact perform the astonishing miracle of waking up.
It must be like seeing the dearest child or the lover you adore succeed at long last! The joy of watching someone you love overcome obstacles and fulfill their potential is something we can all understand. If we are capable of such a loving participation in the happiness of our loved ones, can God’s happiness be any less?
Surely it must be that the Creator rejoices and fills the firmament with harmonies of sweet bliss the moment any Soul turns inward and begins to Remember the Truth. In the Uddhava Gita Krishna says that these beings ‘sanctify the world’ – which to my mind means that they bring the Light of God as Truth back into the darkness we are now living in.
Here in the Kali Yuga, we have not as evolved as the deluded propagandists who work for the world’s tyrants want us to believe. Is progress really measured by more manufactured ‘things’ to consume? We are in fact living in the most dense and solid and unenlightened phase of the four cycles. All of our attempts to control nature have been mired in greed and are leading up to the final Dissolution of the world. As Rene Guenon says, the end of a world is merely the end of an illusion – and in this kalpa, the 454th illusion.
So what can you do, now as we are in the Twilight of the Kali Yuga? You can wake up! You can cease and desist from weeping and wailing about the dastardly deeds of the ratzoid tyrants who have taken over the world and are destroying the planet. In a way, it’s their job. Someone has the pull the Veil tighter and tighter, and draw us further and further down into density until no one can any longer bear it – and everyone at last begins to ask the big questions.
You have the freedom, right now, today, this very moment, to turn within and embrace the God-within you. You can surrender your small frail identity-self ego that is more than likely making your life miserable anyway, right up into the God-within you. It belongs to God. You didn’t create your ego or the three GUNAS that the Lord’s MAYA runs through you. Give it back to its rightful owner. Surrender what you don’t need, in any case. Surrender into the Ocean of SELF, the only Real and find everything you have always wanted.
If you do this you will be accomplishing the single most important and valuable goal of Life. Your realizations will by osmosis radiate out to everyone around you, and they in turn will touch others, and so on and so on. And one fine day even the tyrants will awaken to the fact that God is within them. Perhaps they will say something patently absurd, like “I forgot!”
Then those who have Remembered and want to leave this ‘sport’ will move onto to other universes, and those who make the choice to stay or are still deeply mired in the illusion can look forward to another exciting, challenging, and compelling adventure in the coming Golden Age. There are no losers here. Everyone is God!
In Hindu metaphysics time is cyclical and each period of manifestation is called a KALPA of Brahma, equivalent to 4.32 billion human years.
The KALPA is subdivided into 14 MANVANTARAS.
We are now in the seventh MANVANTARA of this KALPA.
Each MANVANTARA is divided into 71 MAHA-YUGAS of 4,320,000 years each.
We are in the 28th MAHA-YUGA of this MANVANTARA.
Each MAHA-YUGA is made up of four yugas
Each Yuga is preceded by a period of a dawn and followed by a period of twilight. [Linga Purana 1.4.3-6]
V. Susan Ferguson
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Translated & Annotated by a Board of Scholars
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Translated and Annotated by Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare, M.A., PhD
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