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Esoteric Psychology II - Chapter II - The Ray of Personality - Some Problems of Psychology
The second is the revelation of the maya of the senses. This maya is a generic term covering three aspects of the phenomenal life, of the three worlds or the three major results of force activity. These serve to bewilder the man and make difficult the lot of the earnest aspirant. It might be of value if I here defined for you the three terms which are applied to these three phenomenal effects: Illusion, Glamor and Maya.

These three phrases have for long been bandied about among so-called occultists and esotericists. They stand for the same general concept or the differentiation of that concept. Speaking generally, the interpretations have been as follows and they are only partial interpretations, being almost in the nature of distortions of the real truth, owing to the limitations of the human consciousness.

Glamor has oft been regarded as a curious attempt of what are called the "black forces" to deceive and hoodwink well-meaning aspirants. Many fine people are almost flattered when they are "up against" some aspect of glamor, feeling that their demonstration of discipline has been so good that the black forces are interested sufficiently to attempt to hinder their fine work by submerging them in clouds of glamor. Nothing could be further from the truth. That idea is itself a part of the glamor of the present time, and has its root in human pride and satisfaction.

Maya is oft regarded as being of the same nature as the concept promulgated by the Christian Scientist that there is no such thing as matter. We are asked to regard the entire world phenomena as maya and to believe that its existence is simply an error of mortal mind, and a form of autosuggestion [472] or self-hypnotism. Through this induced belief, we force ourselves into a state of mind which recognizes that the tangible and the objective are only figments of man's imaginative mind. This, in its turn, is likewise a travesty of reality.

Illusion is regarded in rather the same way, only (as we define it) we lay the emphasis upon the finiteness of man's mind. The world of phenomena is not denied, but we regard the mind as misinterpreting it and as refusing to see it as it is in reality. We consider this misinterpretation as constituting the Great Illusion.

I would point out here that (generally speaking) these three expressions are three aspects of a universal condition that is the result of the activity - in time and space - of the human mind.

  • The Problem of Illusion lies in the fact that it is a soul activity, and is the result of the mind aspect of all the souls in manifestation. It is the soul which is submerged in the illusion, and the soul that fails to see with clarity until such time as it has learnt to pour the light of the soul through into the mind and the brain.
  • The Problem of Glamor is found when the mental illusion is intensified by desire. What the theosophist calls "Kama-manas" produces glamor. It is illusion on the astral plane.
  • The Problem of Maya is really the same as above, plus the intense activity produced when both glamor and illusion are realized on etheric levels. It is that vital, unthinking, emotional mess (yes, that is the word I seek to use) in which the majority of human beings seem always to live. Therefore:
  1. Illusion is primarily of a mental quality and is characteristic of the attitude of mind of those people who are more intellectual than emotional. They have outgrown glamor as usually understood. It is the misunderstanding [473] of ideas and thought forms of which they are guilty, and of misinterpretations.
  2. Glamor is astral in character, and is far more potent at this time than illusion, owing to the enormous majority of people who function astrally always.
  3. Maya is vital in character and is a quality of force. It is essentially the energy of the human being as it swings into activity through the subjective influence of mental illusion or astral glamor or of both in combination.

The vastness of the subject is overwhelming, and it takes time for the aspirant to learn the rules whereby he can find his way out of the worlds of glamor. I seek here only to deal with the theme as it produces effects in the life of the man who has evoked a measure of light within himself. This has served to reveal the three worlds of lower force to him. This revelation, in the early stages, oft deceives him and he becomes the victim of that which has been revealed. It might justly be remarked that all human beings are the victims of the Great Illusion and of its various correlations and aspects. In the cases which we are here considering, the difference lies in the fact that

  1. The man is definitely and consciously aware of himself.
  2. He knows also that he has released a measure of the higher light.
  3. That which is revealed to him is interpreted by him in terms of spiritual phenomena instead of in terms of psychical phenomena. He regards it all as wonderful, revealing, true and desirable.
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