In addition to “dream”, the Gurbani calls material world or Maya as “Jhooth” (false or fake), and “Mithiyaa or Bharam” (unreal, fleeting, temporary, perishable, illusion, etc.). “Mithia” (pronounced Mithiyaa or Mithiaa ) is really an interesting word.
- ਮਿਥਿਆ ਭਰਮੁ ਅਰੁ ਸੁਪਨ ਮਨੋਰਥ ਸਤਿ ਪਦਾਰਥੁ ਜਾਨਿਆ ॥: Mithiya bharam ar supan manorath sat padaarath jaaniaa: (Watching this Leelaa) the man believes worldly objects (ਪਦਾਰਥ) to be True (permanent, etc.), but they are like objects (ਪਦਾਰਥ) seen in the dream (i.e., untrue) – “ਮਿਥਿਆ ਭਰਮੁ ” (Mitthiyaa Bharam) (sggs 485).
Calling this world false, illusion, unreal, dream, etc., does not mean this world is non-existent. If this world was nonexistent then it would not have been experienced by us. Then is it real? According to the Gurbani and all other Indian scriptures, it is not real either.
If this world is neither real nor unreal, then what is it?
It cannot be called real because it is subject to change every moment, like our mind. Thus, this material world is neither real nor unreal. Anything that cannot be described as real or unreal is called “Mithyaa” or illusion in the Indian scriptures. When we call this world illusion, it simply means that “what we deem it to be, it is not like that”. We think it to be permanent, it is not; we think it to be nonperishable, it is not; we think it to be changeless, it is not; we think it to be eternal, it is not; we think it to be forever, it is not; we think it to be never-ending, it is not; we think it to be unlimited or infinite, it is not; we think it to be the reality, it is not, and so on. If a person mistakes a rope for a snake (or a pole for a ghost) in the darkness, then would the snake or ghost vision be real? No.
Hence, if a person does not consider this world as Mithyaa, then it will become the cause of his attachment, followed by the “greatest pain” that arises from the bondage to the world and its gross objects.
- ਮਤ ਭੂਲਹੁ ਮਾਨੁਖ ਜਨ ਮਾਇਆ ਭਰਮਾਇਆ ॥: Mat bhoolahu maanukh jan Maya bharmaya: Do not be fooled, O mortal being, by the illusion of this Maya (sggs 812).
- ਮਿਥਿਆ ਤਨੁ ਧਨੁ ਕੁਟੰਬੁ ਸਬਾਇਆ ॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਹਉਮੈ ਮਮਤਾ ਮਾਇਆ ॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਰਾਜ ਜੋਬਨ ਧਨ ਮਾਲ ॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਕਾਮ ਕ੍ਰੋਧ ਬਿਕਰਾਲ ॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਰਥ ਹਸਤੀ ਅਸ੍ਵ ਬਸਤ੍ਰਾ ॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਰੰਗ ਸੰਗਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਪੇਖਿ ਹਸਤਾ ॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਧ੍ਰੋਹ ਮੋਹ ਅਭਿਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਆਪਸ ਊਪਰਿ ਕਰਤ ਗੁਮਾਨੁ ॥ ਅਸਥਿਰੁ ਭਗਤਿ ਸਾਧ ਕੀ ਸਰਨ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਜਪਿ ਜਪਿ ਜੀਵੈ ਹਰਿ ਕੇ ਚਰਨ ॥੪॥: Mithiya tanu dhanu oopar karat gumann …: False are body, wealth, and all relations. False are ego, and the illusion of possessiveness. False are power, youth, wealth and property. False are lust and wild anger. False are chariots, elephants, horses and (expensive and beutiful) clothes. False is the love of Maya, and reveling in the sight of it. False are deception, emotional attachment and pride. False is to be pride of oneself. Bhagti is permanent that is performed by surrendering to the Holy. O Nanak! Live by meditating, meditating on the Lotus Feet of the Lord. ||4|| (sggs 268).