Q: Is māyā a “temporary fix” for the jīva who is disinclined to Krishna?
It need not be a temporary fix. If a jīva is happy with māyā, so be it; Mission accomplished. Krishna’s mission is to expand happiness, so if a jīva is happy with māyā, his mission is accomplished. Therefore not all jīva end their relationship with māyā. Only some do.
To us it may seem odd to hear that a jīva can be happy with māyā, because we currently live in a very stressful yuga with fairly unhealthy bodies and minds. But there are many, many other ways to exist in māyā besides being a human being on the Internet in 2016. If some of these living conditions satisfy the jīva, great; Mission accomplished.
Those who do not find satisfaction in māyā, however, are more fortunate – for they have a chance to be attracted to something even greater.
Q: I understand that time is continuous; and I also understand that māyā is one of Krishna’s shaktis so she has always existed. Still I am wondering if there was any point in time where māyā was not available to individual consciousness which lead them to become ‘lost souls’ in the darkness?
No. Śāstra describes the relationship of jīva and māyā as anadi. (“Without a previous condition”). For example Krishnadas Kaviraja (in Cc) uses the phrase anādi-bahirmukha (“oriented away [from Krishna] without a previous condition”). Śrī Jīva (in Ts) uses the phrase anādi-bhagavad-ajñāna (“unaware of Bhagavān, without a previous condition”). Krishna himself (Gītā 7.27) says that the māyā (moha) of jīva is inherent in their sarga (“their initial condition”).
Krishna and his śaktis are eternal. He has three categories of śakti: jīva, māyā, and bhakti. All three are eternal. Krishna is the enjoyer. Jīva is the contributor to the enjoyment. Bhakti is the means by which a jīva experiences pleasure by contributing to Krishna’s pleasure. Māyā is the means by which a jīva seeks pleasure independently.
Vraja Kishor (www.vrajakishor.com)