Yasodhara was a Koliyan prince. Maya and Pajapati were his sisters together with a brother Dandapani. As the mother of Buddha was Queen Maya, so he became the father in law to the Buddha. Queen Maya also gave birth to Mahapajapati Gotami, the first Buddhist nun to request ordination from the Buddha. She was also the first woman to join the Sangha.
KALI: Maya is to be considered as the maiden-aspect of Goddess Kali. Hence she is the also known as Mahakali and symbolizes the giver of awareness. ‘I, my, mine and thine’ are the work of Maya adding egoism to reality. Mother Kali is out to destroy this covering power of illusion. Goddess Maya always creates the unawareness of individual self. Hence goddess Maya Shakti is the celestial power which brings out the evolution of this present world. This makes possible by a relationship of the three gunas: sattva, rajas and tamas. Extraterrestrial awareness becomes entity realization by its own Maya.
Life is unimaginable without Goddess Maya but maya is not the goddess of illusion. Maya means illusion which in turn is defined as that thing which appears to be real but not real. In Sanskrit ‘maya’ means that which cannot be explained. In order to declare something to be real, it has to be experienced and it has to be explained. Illusion is available only for experience and cannot be explained. The illusion by a magician can be experienced but not explained. If that can be explained then, it is no longer an illusion.
The young Kali in the name of Maya, embodies all three aspects of the maternal trinity. Her colors were white, red, and black, the colors of the Gunas, or the Virgin-Mother-Crone. Like every other form of Kali, she was Creator, Preserver, Destroyer. She was also a spirit dwelling perpetually in women.
MYTHOLOGY: Some two-thousand five hundred years ago, King Suddhodana married a beautiful Koliyan princess named Maha Maya. They ruled over the warrior tribe called the Sakyas. The kingdom was next to the Koliya tribe, in the north of India. This is the present day Nepal. Kapilavastu at the foothills of Himalayas was the capital of the Sakya country. Queen Maha Maya was the daughter of King Anjana of the Koliyas.
Maya was a beauty so the name Maya, meaning "vision" was given to her. But it was Maya's virtues and talents that were her most wonderful qualities, for she was endowed with the highest gifts of intelligence and piety. King Suddhodana was indeed worthy of his lovely wife. He himself was called "King of the Law" because he ruled according to the law. There was no other man among the Sakyas more honored and respected. The king was admired by his nobles and courtiers, as well as by the householders and merchants. Such was the noble family from which the Buddha was to arise.
Soon Maya became pregnant and her womb became transparent like a crystal basket. One full moon night, sleeping in the palace, the queen had a vivid dream. She felt herself being carried away by four devas to Lake Anotatta in the Himalayas. The devas clothed her in heavenly cloths, anointed her with perfumes, and bedecked her with divine flowers after the bath.
Then a white elephant, holding a white lotus flower in its trunk, appeared and went round her three times, entering her womb through her right side. Finally the elephant disappeared. Maya awoke. Elephant is a symbol of greatness in Nepal and Maya knew a message has been delivered to her. The next day, early in the morning, the queen told the king about the dream. All this puzzled the King and he sent for the council of wise men to interprete the dream.
It was the conceited thoughts of the wise men that the devas have chosen Maya as the mother of the Purest-One and the child will become a very great being. This pleased the royal couple. In anticipation, the whole kingdom celebrated the news. They eagerly for the birth of the new prince, and Queen Maya enjoyed a happy and healthy pregnancy.
The child was born in awareness and looking like a young Sun, he leapt on to the ground. Wherever he touched, a lotus sprang up. He looked to the four cardinal points, to the four half-points, above and below and saw deities and mortals acknowledging his supremacy. He made seven steps northwards, a lotus appearing at each footfall. His birth was greeted by Asita, a sage from the Himalayas who likened him to Skanda, son of Agni. Astrogers predicted his greatness to come. He was named Siddharta. There are accounts to say that Mahamaya, filled with joy, died two days after birth. Her sister Prajapati, another of Suddhodana’s wives, took charge of the infant.
Hara Hara Mahadeva.
by Yogi Ananda Saraswathi