What is Maya ?
Maya is the power of Brahman which is the source and creator of this world.
Adi Sanakara mentioned in Vivekchudamani verse 108 :
अव्यक्तनाम्नी परमेशशक्तिः अनाद्यविद्या त्रिगुणात्मिका परा ।
कार्यानुमेया सुधियैव माया यया जगत्सर्वमिदं प्रसूयते ॥ १0८ ॥
“Maya, is the power of the Lord. She is without beginning, is made up of the three Guṇas and is superior to the effects (as their cause). She is to be inferred by one of clear intellect only from the effects She produces. It is She who brings forth this whole universe.”
Power of Maya
According to scriptures , Maya possess two powers :
Vikṣepa Shakti (projecting power) – The power which project a false object, Like water is projected in a mirage.
Avarana Shakti ( Concealing power ) – The power to hide the original objects, Like sand is hidden and it is reflected as water in a mirage.
In case of Mirage where sand is reflected into water, there not seeing the sand is Concealing power and water is Maya’s Projection power.
According to Vedanta, Maya has concealed the Atman which is our true nature and project it as a physical body.
Adi Sanakara has said in Vivekchudamani verse 144
एताभ्यामेव शक्तिभ्यां बन्धः पुंसः समागतः ।
याभ्यां विमोहितो देहं मत्वात्मानं भ्रमत्ययम् ॥ १४४ ॥
“It is from these two powers that man’s bondage has proceeded – beguiled by which he mistakes the body for the Self and wanders (from body to body).”