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Carl Jung on Maya and the Great Illusion


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Zarathustra Seminars

[Carl Jung on Maya and the “Great Illusion.”]

Now India has a very helpful idea in that respect.

Their idea of the great illusion, Maya, is not mere foolishness.

One might ask why the god should create the world when it is only his own illusion, but Maya has a purpose.

You see, matter is Prakrti, the female counterpart of the god, the goddess that plays up to Shiva, the blind creator that doesn’t know himself-or to Prajapati, another name of the creator.

In the Samkhya philosophy Prakrti dances Maya to the god, repeating the process of the great illusion innumerable times so that he can understand himself in all his infinite aspects.

Thus the veil of Maya is a sort of private theater in which the god can see all aspects of himself and so become conscious.

The only chance for the creator god to know himself is when Prakrti is performing for him.

And this is despite the fact that it is his illusion, that it is Maya and should be dissolved because illusion means suffering and suffering should be dispelled.

One might say, “Stop your illusion as soon as possible, your illusion will make you suffer.”

Prakrti nevertheless goes on dancing Maya because the point is, not that you should not suffer, but that you should not be blind, that you should see all aspects.

So the compensation is there, only it is on a much greater scale than we thought. If you have dreams that recommend the wrong way, the destructive way, it is that they have the purpose-like the dancing of Prakrti-of showing you all aspects, of giving you a full experience of your being, even the experience of your destructiveness.

It is a gruesome game: there are cases which are just tragic, and you cannot interfere.

Nature is awful, and I often ask myself, should one not interfere? But one cannot really, it is impossible, because fate must be fulfilled.

It is apparently more important to nature that one should have consciousness, understanding, than to avoid suffering. Carl Jung, Zarathustra Seminar, Pages 1415-1416.

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