Historical Interpretations of Maya

ManssAbstracts Gallery 4

Maya (Sanskrit: माया māyā) literally “illusion”, “magic”, has multiple meanings in Indian philosophies depending on the context. In ancient Vedic literature, Māyā literally implies extraordinary power and wisdom and it meant “wisdom and extraordinary power” in older languages. In later Vedic texts and modern literature dedicated to Indian traditions, Māyā connotes a “magic show, an illusion where things appear to be present but are not what they seem”. Māyā is also a spiritual concept connoting “that which exists, but is constantly changing and thus is spiritually unreal”, and the “power or the principle that conceals the true character of spiritual reality”. In the art world, the works of M. C. Escher and Victor Vasarely, among others have been cited as demonstration of the Hindu Maya concept. In Buddhism, Maya is the name of Gautama Buddha’s mother.

In Hinduism, Maya is also an epithet for goddess, and the name of a manifestation of Lakshmi, the goddess of “wealth, prosperity and love”. Apart from the Central American culture, Maya was the legendary Greek mother of Hermes by Zeus. To the Romans, Maia/Maya was the incarnation of the earth mother and goddess of spring, after whom they named the month of May. It also meant “Daughter of Atlas.” In Old Persian it denotes “generous.” In many other cultures Maya is a female name. Best known bearers include performer Maya Rudolph, architect Maya Lin and famed author Maya Angelou. “The most beautiful, angelic, ambrosial, enticing, gorgeous, enamoring, pretty, amazing, lovely, lovable, and wonderful girl anyone could ever met.” [Urban Dictionary]

We hope that the visual experience in our gallery serves to inspire our visitors to appreciate the beauty and grandeur of Nature.