SP defines Maya and who is our greatest enemy

March 17, 2022 in Articles by Damaghosa dasa

June 13 1974 Paris
Prabhupāda: What do you understand by the word “māyā”?
Yogeśvara: That which is not.
Puṣṭa-kṛṣṇa: Things which we place value on that have no relation to Kṛṣṇa.
Prabhupāda: The māyā is explained very nicely in the Bhāgavata, yathābhāso yathā tamaḥ. Just like sun is reflected in the water, and the light is reflected again on the wall. This is the exact explanation of māyā. Reality, this material world, the man who manufactured all these things, nobody knows where he has gone, but these things are taken as reality. This will be also finished. It will remain as relics, as Rome, relics, but when it was…, the houses were prepared with great enthusiasm as reality. And now it is as relics. So the energy expended for manufacturing those house, that is also māyā, and now they are being visited as relics. That is also māyā. So all these things are māyāra vaibhava, expansion of māyā. So if somebody says that you don’t appreciate these things? No, we appreciate, very much appreciate intelligence. But if you, for this appreciation, if you forget, then it is māyā. Forget Kṛṣṇa.
Puṣṭa-kṛṣṇa: Kṛṣṇa.
Prabhupāda: Then it is māyā. Otherwise, it is reality. If they would have installed Deity worship in these buildings, how much nice it would have been. People chanting, dancing, and taking prasādam, twenty-four hours. Then it is no more māyā. It is reality. Such big, big, nice houses, they should have been places of worshiping Kṛṣṇa. But they’re worshiping bones, keeping some dead bones, and…..

June 12 1974 Paris
Paramahaṁsa: People are believing that at the end of life, there’s just death. So why worry about anything else? Therefore we should just enjoy right now.
Prabhupāda: That is the difference between you and animal. The animal is in the slaughterhouse. He’s not worried. But why you are worried. Suppose if you are brought in the slaughterhouse, and if you know that you’ll be slaughtered, are you not worried? An animal is not worried. He’s eating grass. That’s all. So that is the difference between animal and man. If you are not worried, then you are animal. That’s all.
Bhagavān: You once said that human life is pessimistic.
Prabhupāda: Yes. Dissatisfaction. If you are not worried, that means you are animal. You are not human being.
Puṣṭa-kṛṣṇa: Is that like Prahlāda Mahārāja’s prayer when he saw Lord Nṛsiṁhadeva and he said, “I am not afraid of Your ferocious form, but I am afraid of this material world of saṁsāra.”
Prabhupāda: Yes, yes. He has given nice reference. A devotee, although sees God in His lion feature, and very ferocious, he knows He is God. “He’s my Lord.” But this so-called advancement of material civilization is the greatest enemy. That is not… Material civilization is very, very backward position. Māyā-mohita. He’ll be captivated by the so-called stones and bricks, and he’ll forget God. That is the disease of the western world. They are very much fond of these stones and bricks, and therefore they have no knowledge about God. This electricity, the electrons, the radio, this, everything machine and stones. They have got, forgotten God. Jaḍa-vidyā jato māyāra vaibhava. The more you materially advance, you forget God. So human life is meant for reviving our relationship with God, but if you forget God, then what kind of civilization it is? You are forgetting your real business.
Puṣṭa-kṛṣṇa: Some people use the argument, Śrīla Prabhupāda, that by this advancement of technology, it will free us to think of philosophical.
Prabhupāda: They will free us. They will free us. Oh, that will never come. That will never come. Therefore they are called bahir-artha-māninaḥ. They are captivated by the external feature, and one who is leading them, he’s also blind, and one who is following, he’s also blind. Andhā yathāndhair upanīyamānās te ‘pīśa-tantryām uru-dāmni baddhāḥ [SB 7.5.31]. They do not know that material laws are so strong that they are not free to do anything.
Puṣṭa-kṛṣṇa: They are thinking that the technology will free them.
Prabhupāda: Eh? No. No.
Puṣṭa-kṛṣṇa: The technology cannot…?
Prabhupāda: It will bind them.
Bhagavān: It simply creates newer problems.
Prabhupāda: That’s all.

Paramahaṁsa: Some people glorify suffering in the material world because they say this increases their sense of appreciating the momentary happiness they have.
Prabhupāda: Yes. That is good. (laughter) That is good, yes. “Blessings of adversity.” That is blessing.
Yogeśvara: Blessings of…?
Prabhupāda: Adversity. Yes. Therefore, according to Vedic system, big, big king, they give up their kingdom and becomes a sannyāsī, mendicant, voluntary acceptance of adversity. This is good. To live very comfortably and forget God is not good business.
Devotee: How can a devotee be free from being attracted to this worldliness?
Prabhupāda: Eh?
Devotee: How can a devotee be free…?
Prabhupāda: When he’s attracted by Kṛṣṇa, he’ll forget. Just like we are more or less not attracted by these material features because we have little attraction for Kṛṣṇa. That’s all. So increase your attraction for Kṛṣṇa; you’ll forget all nonsense. Bhaktiḥ pareśānubhavo viraktir anyatra syāt [SB 11.2.42]. The bhakti means more realization of God and forgetting this, all this nonsense. That is bhakti. That is the test of bhakti: how much you have become disinterested with this material advancement. That is bhakti, advancement of bhakti. And the… Caitanya Mahāprabhu therefore says, niṣkiñcanasya. At last, when you’ll feel that “Now I am dispossessed of all this material nonsense,” then you make progress. And so long you’ll feel “I have got this, I have got that, I am in possession of this, I…,” that means your material disease is continuing. When you’ll feel that “I do not have anything material,” that is the beginning of Bhāgavata-dharma.
Devotee: Prabhupāda, what is the devotee’s greatest enemy? A devotee’s greatest enemy?
Prabhupāda: He, he himself. Because he’s a rascal, he’s his greatest enemy. So just get out of this rascaldom, and you become your friend. Nobody is enemy. You are yourself your enemy. Nobody is enemy. (pause) Which one?
Devotees: All glories to Śrīla Prabhupāda. (end)
Some Conclusions–Prabhupada says above….That is the test of bhakti: how much you have become disinterested with this material advancement. That is bhakti, advancement of bhakti. And the… Caitanya Mahāprabhu therefore says, niṣkiñcanasya. At last, when you’ll feel that “Now I am dispossessed of all this material nonsense,” then you make progress
So this theme of becoming relieved of  trying to “make a go of it” by working so hard to accumulate money women and all other things of this world is simply Maya, illusion, or that which is not and which Prabhupada nicely described in the first quote right at the beginning.,of this article. That ability to give up materialism by getting a higher taste is only done by Bhakti yoga, devotion to God-Krsna.
And the proof for this comes to us from SB itself…..
SB 1.2.7-By rendering devotional service unto the Personality of Godhead, Śrī Kṛṣṇa, one immediately acquires causeless knowledge and detachment from the world.
Hare Krsna
damaghosa das