According to Vedic scriptures, That which truly is not, but appears to be, is Maya. That which causes infatuation or Moha is Maya.
Maya is an appearance. It is semblance. It is the illusory power of God (Sakthi).
Maya is the illusory power of God. She is the creatrix of this universe. She projects this world for His Lila (sport). Mind, intellect, body, and senses are her forms. She is the energy or mother-aspect of the Lord.
Just as heat is inseparable from fire, coldness from ice, Maya is inseparable from Brahman (God). It is dependent on Brahman.
Maya has countless potencies. Solidity of stone is a power of Maya. Fluidity of water is another power of Maya. Fire is a third burning power. Air is the moving power of Maya. Ether is the void or space power of Maya.
You know you will die, and yet you think you will live forever. This is Maya. You know that the world is full of miseries, and yet you take delight in the perishable objects and will not leave them. This is Maya. You know that the human body is made up of all sorts of impurities, flesh, bone, urine and faecal matter, and yet you rejoice in embracing it under the sway of lust. This is Maya.
Maya causes false glittering and entraps the deluded Jivas (individual souls). She does a little electroplating work. Man is entrapped. He is caught in the wheel of birth and death.
Maya is neither true nor false. It is truly false and falsely true. It is neither real nor unreal. It is not real like Brahman, because it disappears when one gets Knowledge. It is not unreal like a barren woman’s son or the horn of hare, because its presence is felt.
This Maya is a sort of jugglery. You are astonished so long as the juggler is not seen. As soon as the juggler is known, the results are known to be unreal; the wonder ceases at once. When you realize Brahman, the wonder of Maya’s working vanishes.
When the mesmerist hypnotises the whole audience, all people believe that the man is ascending the rope in the air. All people see that the mesmerist devours a big sword and cuts the body of a lad in the box. Even so, you are all hypnotised by Maya and Avidya (ignorance) and you take this unreal world as a solid reality. De-hypnotise yourself by getting Knowledge of Brahman. Then alone you will understand the grand jugglery of Maya.
Maya – The physics of deception: