"He who is deluded by your maya sees not while he sees, understands not while he hears, and knows not the truth while he reads" - Kularnava Tantra
The student of eastern religions and philosophies will very often find the teaching that the world is made from ignorance or from MAYA, and that it is an illusion or a kind of FATA MORGANA.
But the origin of this model was a part of a wide and fundamental vision of creation where Maya is the formative principle.
Even in the bible we can find a hint on MAYA : In the beginning Elohim created heaven and earth. Darkness (Maya !) hovered above the pre-flood and the divine spirit hovered above the waters ( comparable : spirit - A ; darkness - U ; water - M ).
Kashmir Shivaism teaches seven TATTWAS beyond the Divine
* Ishvara-Tattwa and Sad-Vidya - Tattva('Atman'):
* Impure MAYA and the six KANCHUKAS(sheaths) : Kalaa, Vidya, Raga, Kaala, Niyat, Purusha. The Kanchukas are created when the divine light meets the dark forces of Maya. Hence Purusha clothes himself with Pancha-Kanchukas or five envelopes developed from Maya. Anava or Avidya constricts the energy necessary for the activities of Purusha.
Impure māyā is created from Shiva's Ānanda Śakti. It is the instrument for the creation of the dual world. Impure Maya is here a Tattva !
"Maya, which is really barren as it has no power to create on its own, becomes impregnated with soul energy and creates this world of colour and form. The soul, which is the real creator and sustainer of things, no longer creates because it has now withdrawn itself into Brahmand and the regions beyond, leaving Maya to shrink back to its infertile state."(Huzur Maharaj from Radhasoami)
MAYA is therefore one of the 7 essential forces of creation. It is further the basic force of the four lower planes. In the indish mythologie Maya is also created when SHIVA and SHAKTI unite their forces in the DIVINE. This Maya is impure, and above is Mahamaya, which dissolves impure Maya.
Maya is in the Rigveda the lifeforce of the asuras.
Hinduism describes Maya also as a beautiful girl which becomes uglier the more it steps down into the lower planes of creation. In our material world it ends as on old and ugly women with a crutch, in a world with the characteristcs of the nature of death.
(Ann.: This context offers a meditation about Maya (with her illusionary structure) and about beauty. Mara tempts Buudha with pictures of beautiful women, but of course not pictures of green Tara or Vajrayogini...)
The Bhagavata - Purana says in 3.31.40 :The woman, created by the Lord, is the representation of māyā, and one who associates with such māyā by accepting services must certainly know that this is the way of death, just like a blind well covered with grass.
So there exists again the polarity of Shiva and Shakti on the lower planes : Maya - with its destructive etheric structure and the Kanchukas, or later the polarity of Purusha and Prakriti.
The interaction of both creates the 4 lower planes : The buddhic plane, the mental plane, the astral plane and the material plane - which are forms of Maya and of the material etheric forces of white magic.
In the small book of Sri Yuktesvar Giri : "The holy science" You can find a simplified drawing of this structures with illustrations.
In hinduism MAYA is the part of the lower BRAHMAN which coexists in AUM. Through the interaction with forces of the Kanchukas the NADA or Pranava is created.
Maya is as also created (A.A. Bailey, D.K.) through the unification of divine cosmic masters with divine cosmic "female" masters on their cosmic initiations. A modern example is the second cosmic initiation of the KUMARA ( A.A.Bailey) in the PLEYADS with the cosmic "mothers". Through these activities Maya is produced together with other forces of the KANCHUKAS in the ATMIC PLANE.
The old european mystic (Svedenbourgh,Böhme,J. Lorber etc.) speaks of MAYA as of the "anger of god". It is also created when god becomes angry, and so it is destructive and has an evil aspect in itself.
This evil aspect is tamed by the forces of the light which create thereby the later laws of physics.
The New Testament says in Apocal. 14 : " None of the 24 oldest could exist before the anger of the One on the throne and the anger of the lamb."
Tibetan buddhism treats this theme with the allegoric dark angry Buddhas.
Daoism knows the evil Chi-Ru-Masters. In Sant Mat the Kal(Kala means time like in the Kalachakra) is the ruler of the worlds of Maya.
The goal of the "black masters"(Rudra) is MAYA. They are enlightened and abuse everything inclusive the Pranava or NADA for their transformation. A.A. Bailey warns that a disciple can still fall back to the black path until the end of the 4th initiation.
The first goal of the yogi is the true spiritual light of the Paramatma-Purusha, also the highest Purusha above the kashmiric KANCHUKAS in the Tadvidya-Tattva.