When consciousness is veiled by Shakthi, the stage is called maya. The effect of this veil is illusion. The illusion causes duality. Duality means considering the Brahman as different from us. This consideration arises out of ignorance. Therefore, shakthi is the cause for ignorance (Here ignorance means lack of knowledge about the aspects of Brahman. We are talking only about saguna Brahman as nirguna Brahman has no aspects). Remember that Shakthi is only the cause, but she herself is the supreme form of intelligence. If this Shakthi or maya or ignorance is not there, probably we may not be discussing about duality. What is duality? Considering Shiva as different from Shakthi and the Brahman different from maya is duality. We have seen that Shakthi cannot be separated from Shiva. If this is to be believed, then there is no difference between maya and the Brahman.
The fact is that evolution or growth or even sustenance or dissolution can take place only when maya stands united with the Brahman. This is because the Brahman (nirguna Brahman) is always pure and is not susceptible to changes or modifications. When maya and the Brahman or Shakthi and Shiva stand united, apart from the three acts of creation, sustenance and dissolution, the three stages of awake, sleep and deep sleep, another important factor called siddhi (super human experience) is also experienced. Siddhi can be explained as the experience of a sadhaka resulting out of his sadhana. He gains experience by practice. This sadhaka and his sadhana still stand associated with worldly experience. The only deficiency is that this worldly experience is not converted into spiritual experience, for which sadhaka alone is responsible. Then a question may arise about the difference between maya and the Brahman. Maya is experiencing the universe caused out of desires and actions. But Brahman is the total bliss.
The important difference between maya and the Brahman is that maya can be experienced and enjoyed and the Brahman can be realized and enjoyed. Enjoying the Brahman is called bliss. We cannot enjoy something about which we are not aware of. That is why realization is a pre condition for bliss. But when we talk about knowing the Brahman, why should we talk about maya? Maya is a part of the Brahman only. As a matter of fact, Shakthi, the physical form of maya was Brahman’s creation with the exclusive purpose of administering the universe. That is why Shakthi is called Sri Mata, the Divine Mother. We cannot ignore our mother under any circumstances. In the same way we cannot afford to ignore the Divine Mother. At the time of great dissolution, Shakthi was the only witness when Shiva was enacting the great dissolution by his cosmic dance. This goes to explain that Shakthi is a part of Shiva. The next question that comes to our mind is who created us; is it by the creator or the creatrix? This question appears as superfluous, because it is like asking who is the cause of our birth, whether our father or mother.
The universal creation is an act of Shivashakthi and not by either one of them. We have seen earlier that Shivashakthi represent kinetic and static energy. Unless there is a static energy, there cannot be kinetic energy. Then why do we talk about getting rid of maya? In fact, we cannot get rid of maya as long as we exist with our gross bodies. The fact is that we should understand the effects of maya in the spiritual path. We will discuss more on this later with relevance to our mind.