Osho – The word MAYA has to be understood. In English there is no equivalent word: ‘illusion’ is not right. In the east we call real that which is eternal, timelessly there; has always been, will always be, there was never a time when it was not — this eternal we call the real, the true. Exactly opposite to it is the unreal, the untrue — which has never been, will never be. Between the two is MAYA. MAYA means that which appears to be and yet is not. It is just in the middle of the real and the unreal. It is a lie but it appears like truth. It is a decorated lie, and very convincing. When it is there it appears absolutely true; you know it.
In the night when you dream you never suspect. Even very skeptical people, atheists, don’t suspect. In a dream there is nobody who suspects. Even great doubters who suspect everything don’t suspect the dream; when the dream is there it appears absolutely true. Absurd things also look true.
When the dream is there it is real. It is so real that even absurdity does not make you doubt. In the morning when you open your eyes, suddenly it is unreal. Now from where had it come? — it had come from your own unawareness. It was your projection. It was not there outside you, it was inside you; it was your game. And when you were so lost in it it became real. In the morning you are awake, the projection is withdrawn; you can see now that it was unreal.
When it was not, and now again there is a time when it is not. Should we call it unreal? But then it was there in the middle. In the evening it was not, in the morning it is not again, but in the night it is there. So how can you call it unreal? So in the east we invented a new term. We call it MAYA: what is unreal but appears as real because of our unconsciousness.
MAYA is almost like magic — something which is not but can be made to appear as if it is. It shows something about you. A dream shows something about the dreamer. For example, if you dream about women, sex, and things like that, that simply shows that in your waking life you must be trying to be celibate, or you must be trying to go beyond sex. You must be repressing sexuality. The repressed bubbles up in your dream, becomes a projection.
If in the night you dream always about fasting and dinners and things like that, that simply means you must be trying to starve yourself in some way or other. You must be fasting, or you may be a food-maniac. You must be doing something wrong; your body is not satisfied. That dissatisfaction arises in your dream. Or you are repressing something that arises in your dream. It simply shows that your life is not going rhythmically. There is something disturbing its rhythm. That disturbance arises in the dream, becomes a projection.
It shows something about the person who is dreaming.
Source – Osho Book “Discipline of Transcendence Vol 4”