Maya, the mother of Siddhartha who became Buddha or
the Enlightened One is revered as Maha Maya (the great illusion) or Maya Devi
(Queen Maya) in Buddhism. The name ‘Maya’ in Hinduism, as well as Buddhism,
means ‘illusion’, however, in the context of Mahayana and Tantric Buddhism,
Maya encapsulates all the qualities of the divine motherhood and is worshipped as
the protector of mothers and progeny.
A popular depiction of Maya, this brass murti shows
her standing in the Lumbini groove where she is said to have birthed
Siddhartha. A Sal tree, usually shown as her support is missing from the scene.
Instead, Maya’s raised hand is in the Shuni Mudra, a gesture of patience,
hinting at the labour pains she is facing and her unshakable endurance. As the
protectress and provider of children, Maya is always seen as a youthful maiden,
with exquisite features and godly ornamentation. Her crown, jewellery, and the
patterns of her dress clearly tell the place of the origin of her imagery-
Tibet. Maha Maya with her left hand, forms the Vitarka mudra, a gesture that
symbolizes enlightenment, discussion, and the spread of Buddhist knowledge. The
heavenly brass idol of Maya stands on an upturned lotus flower pedestal.
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