There are several ways of launching a Maya without interface to process some operations in a way more efficient way than launching the GUI. There is the Maya -batch option (mayabatch on windows) and mayapy, also called Maya standalone. Mayabatch is a complete headless Maya without GUI, while mayapy is a python console with the Maya modules imported.
I personally exclusively use mayabatch instead of mayapy because of a lot of bad experience with mayapy and because the calls are cleaner. I even changed a whole studio from mayapy to mayabatch because they had a lot of problems with renders not being done when they were marked as done, the outputs of jobs completely were different from the real execution of jobs. Using mayabatch fixed all of the problems at once.
I also encountered a lot of problems when Pymel was being used too, if you have problems you should investigate that part if you have some or better stay away from it.