Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online

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(2,958 words)

A concept often misunderstood, māyā in Hindu thought has an enduring, if complicated, historical legacy. While the semantic valence of this notion, as with all linguistic terms, needs to be historically and philosophically contextualized, one perduring significance of māyā implicates the magical or tricky nature of phenomenal reality and that reality itself. Thus, the concept māyā is textured both metaphysically and psychologically. Metaphysically, māyā accounts for the plural universe; psychologically, this plurality tends to be distracting and enmeshing –…

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Forsthoefel, Thomas, “Māyā”, in: Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism Online, Editor-in-Chief Associate Editors Knut A. Jacobsen, Helene Basu, Angelika Malinar, Vasudha Narayanan. Consulted online on 01 April 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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