Maya uses its dual powers of concealment and projection to put on a grand show that fools everyone. It’s only when we put on our non-duality glasses that the world comes into correct focus. But it’s hard work as proof by the fact that so many of us are fooled most or all of the time. We all just take it to be real, never questioning the thin veneer that separates apparent reality from the truth. Perhaps it’s so hard because we can’t imagine a substrate that is not objectifiable (i.e. consciousness). We can’t imagine anything that’s not within the context of our world. It’s like when someone told you the first time that the universe is infinite. It just boggled your mind and perhaps left you disturbed to the point that you would rather not think about it. Like an infinite universe, we struggle to imagine consciousness as the ultimate substrate of being. We are programmed to always look for another support, something else to stand on. “It’s turtles all the way down,” the Hindus like to say. Most of us stop at God as the ultimate substrate and have learned that it’s taboo to ask questions for which there are no answers such as, “If God created us, who created God?” We are unable to process such concepts and would prefer to put them away in a dresser drawer somewhere, out of sight.
Vedanta isn’t for wimps. It takes guts to want to slice open your own flesh and see what’s inside. Who would do such a thing? Answer: Those who cannot stand living in ignorance; those who sense they are in a dreamscape and begin to look around; those who want nothing more than to have the truth revealed to them. For these people, there is no holding back. Not even the site of their own blood will stop them. They will do their own autopsy. They will cut deep. They will do whatever it takes and stop at nothing to have the truth revealed. Vedanta has a special Sanskrit word for such wanting to know: mumukshutva—burning, all-consuming desire.