The universe is woven, over and under, back and forth, out of the fabric of the illusory energy of the Supreme Person. What games do you think you can play here? For as a spider spins its web to catch insects, so the great cosmos has been spread out to capture your mind in the network of samsara: repeated birth and death. Sages of old saw through this deadly fantasy, and proclaimed that spirit is real, while this universe is but a passing dream.
However, nowadays scientists consume billions of dollars yearly in a bid to eventually hold this universe in their hands. They hope to conquer space, time, and matter, and thus establish humanity as the only lord of existence. As their first step towards this goal they declared themselves independent of the control of nature’s laws. Nicolas Beardiev, a Russian physicist, was once lecturing to a group of students about the unreality of time. He argued that time is only a product of our minds; therefore, human beings could easily master time through practical application of scientific theories. Suddenly however, he glanced at his watch and exclaimed, “I’m late for an appointment!” Thus he broke off his lecture and left his students dumbfounded.
When we say the universe is an illusion we do not mean like professor Beardiev – that cosmic phenomena is dependent upon our mental attitudes. We mean that our minds have been simply hypnotically overwhelmed by the kaleidoscopic, ever-changing, endlessly complicated tapestry of illusory material energy; thus we are simply bewildered and trapped within contradiction.
Science hopes to attain a definite understanding about this material existence or ‘maya’, but maya means eternally indefinite. As Swami Prabhupada has explained, the scientific study of maya is like trying to count the drops of water in a mirage of the ocean. There cannot be, and will not be any arrival at the truth by this process.