THE BLANKET OF MAYA AND BEAR
The Atma Tattwam is one and indivisible. On the bank of a river, once a group of children were tending their cows. It was the monsoon and all of a sudden a furious current of water developed. Because it was a fast current, one bear, which slipped into the water, was drawn into the midstream and was being carried away. One of the boys looked at the floating mass, and from a distance, it appeared to him to be a bundle of blankets floating in the water. He said to his companion. "I shall jump into the water and get the blanket out", and he jumped into the water. With the mistaken idea that it is a bundle of blankets the boy embraced with his hands the bear. Then the bear also embraced him with its own hands. However much the boy tried to extricate himself; the bear did not leave him. It held him fast. The boys on the shore shouted: "Oh my dear companion, leave the bundle and you come away." The boy in the water, struggling to escape, cried out. "Though I want to escape from it, it does not allow me to escape." So in this river of life, Maya plays like the bear and we mistake it to be a bundle of blankets. Hoping that it would offer us solace, comfort and happiness, we jump into the river and try to catch it. At a later stage when we want to extricate ourselves from it, we find it impossible to do so. This illusion is created by Maya but the 'divine principle is always one. Visistadvaita has been teaching from time immemorial that though the forms are different, there is only one Purusha, which is the Unity in the diversity and multiplicity of forms.