Dance Of The Mind Attached To Maya

First off, what is Maya? Maya is a Sanskrit word which literally means “that which is not” – “Ma” means “not”, “Ya” means “that”. Like mirage (“ਮ੍ਰਿਗ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ”), it never ends and never exists! Thus, Maya is that phenomena which produces the impossible – as the Gurbani indicates what we deem it to be, it is not like that.

  • ਮਾਧਵੇ ਕਿਆ ਕਹੀਐ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਐਸਾ ॥ ਜੈਸਾ ਮਾਨੀਐ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਤੈਸਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: O Maadhav! What can I say about this illusion; what we deem a thing to be, in reality, it is not like that ||1||Pause|| (sggs 657).

As indicated in the following verse of the Gurbani, the Maya is that Cosmic Illusion which makes us (1) forget our Mool (“Hari Visrai“); (2) gives rise to emotional attachment (“Moh Upjai”); and (3) creates duality (“Bhaau Doojaa“).

  • ਏਹ ਮਾਇਆ ਜਿਤੁ ਹਰਿ ਵਿਸਰੈ ਮੋਹੁ ਉਪਜੈ ਭਾਉ ਦੂਜਾ ਲਾਇਆ ॥: This is Maya, by which (1) “Hari” (Mool) is forgotten; (2) (worldly) attachment is born, and (3) the love of duality is set (sggs 921).
  • ਮਾਇਆ ਕਿਸ ਨੋ ਆਖੀਐ ਕਿਆ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਇ ॥ ਦੁਖਿ ਸੁਖਿ ਏਹੁ ਜੀਉ ਬਧੁ ਹੈ ਹਉਮੈ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਇ ॥ ਬਿਨੁ ਸਬਦੈ ਭਰਮੁ ਨ ਚੂਕਈ ਨਾ ਵਿਚਹੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਜਾਇ ॥੬॥: What is called Maya? What does Maya do (through beings under its spell)? (The answer is that, under its spell) these beings are bound by pleasure and pain (i.e., the dualistic principle of Sukh and Dukh, etc); and they do their deeds in “Haumai” (false ego-sense). Without the (Realization of the) Shabad, neither the doubt is dispelled nor Haumai is eliminated from within. ||6||(sggs 67).

The illusioned or the doubt-ridden mind (disconnected from its Mool, duality-stricken, wavering, separated from the Hukam or Bhaanaa…) dances to the tune of Maya due to its hunger or love of Maya (ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀ ਭੁੱਖ, ਮੋਹ).

  • ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹੁ ਇਸੁ ਮਨਹਿ ਨਚਾਏ ਅੰਤਰਿ ਕਪਟੁ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਵਣਿਆ ॥੪॥: The love of Maya makes this mind dance, and the deceit within makes people suffer in pain. ||4|| (sggs 122).
  • ਮਾਇਆ ਡੋਲੈ ਬਹੁ ਬਿਧੀ ਮਨੁ ਲਪਟਿਓ ਤਿਹ ਸੰਗ ॥: Maya dole bahu bidhee manu Laptio tih sang (sggs 258).

To illustrate the point, the Gurbani adduces the example of monkeys. Monkeys are captured in India as follows: A narrow-necked pot, filled with grains and other eatables that monkeys love, is placed on the ground as a bait. As a monkey comes to take the grains, he puts his hand into the narrow-necked pot and grab hold of the grains. Now, since his hand is full of grains, he cannot take his hand out of the narrow-necked pot and escape. In greed, thus, the foolish monkey does not open his hand and let go of the grains so that he can escape. On account of his greed, the monkey gets trapped and caught. Consequently, the monkey loses the freedom he had in the forest of abundance of grains and fresh fruits of his liking. In other words, for a few grains he loses his entire world! Now caught and bound, he cannot freely play and enjoy life to his heart’s liking. Instead, he is made to dance door to door by his captive!

  • ਮਰਕਟ ਮੁਸਟੀ ਅਨਾਜ ਕੀ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਲੀਨੀ ਹਾਥੁ ਪਸਾਰਿ ॥ ਛੂਟਨ ਕੋ ਸਹਸਾ ਪਰਿਆ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਨਾਚਿਓ ਘਰ ਘਰ ਬਾਰਿ ॥੨॥: O crazy mind! The monkey stretches out its hand (into the narrow-necked pot), and takes a handful of grains; now unable to escape (since its hand is full of grains, it cannot take its hand out of the narrow-necked pot and escape. That is, because of the greed, the monkey will not let go of the grabbed grains – ਦਾਣਿਆਂ ਦੀ ਭਰੀ ਹੋਈ ਮੁੱਠ). O crazy mind! (because of its greed, now the monkey) is made to dance door to door ||2|| (sggs 336).

Similarly, the human mind has chained itself to the narrow-necked pot of the body-consciousness (ਸਰੀਰ ਦਾ ਮੋਹ) — the rule of the senses (or Maya…).

  • ਮਾਇਆ ਕੈ ਅਰਥਿ ਬਹੁਤੁ ਲੋਕ ਨਾਚੇ ਕੋ ਵਿਰਲਾ ਤਤੁ ਬੀਚਾਰੀ ॥: So many people dance for the sake of Maya; how rare is (one) who Reflects on the Essence (Tatt Giaan, ਤੱਤ ਗਿਆਨ, ਅਸਲ ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ ਦੀ ਪਛਾਣ). (sggs 506).
  • ਇਨਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਤ੍ਰੈ ਗੁਣ ਬਸਿ ਕੀਨੇ ॥ ਆਪਨ ਮੋਹ ਘਟੇ ਘਟਿ ਦੀਨੇ ॥: This Maya has subjugated beings through the three qualities. Maya has infused its own attachment (love) in each and every heart. (sggs 251).

Is there a solution? The Gurbani says yes – there is the sure solution. But the Gurbani’s remedy prescribes that, instead of dancing to the tune of Mayaic intellect, one must make his mind dance to the tune of Bhagti ( obtaining Understanding of the Gur-Shabad, ਮੰਨ ਨੂੰ ਪਕੀ ਤਰ੍ਹਾਂ ਗੁਰਬਾਣੀ ਸਮਝਾਉਣਾ…).

  • ਮਨੂਆ ਨਾਚੈ ਭਗਤਿ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਏ ॥: As the mind become firmly established or steadfast in Bhagti, the mind dances or frisks (filled with Joy or Bliss-Anand…). (sggs 121).
  • ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਭਾਣੈ ਨਾਚਹਿ ਤਾ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਅੰਤੇ ਜਮ ਭਉ ਭਾਗੈ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Gur kai bhaanai naachahi… (sggs 506).

The Gurbani urges us to become the Gurmukh (one who has transcended Maya and Realized his Mool through the Spiritual Wisdom or Bibek-Budhi of the Gurbani obtained through a sincere Shabad-Vichaar…). In other words, the Gurbani wants us to have the mind fully stabilized in the Shabad-Surti (Naam-Consciousness, Bibek-Budhi of the Gurbani…).

  • ਸਿਧ ਸਾਧਿਕ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗੀ ਨਾਚੇ ਜਿਨ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਬੁਧਿ ਵੀਚਾਰੀ ॥੪॥: Sidh saadhik liv laagee naache jin gurmukhi… (sggs 506).
  • ਸੁਰਤਿ ਮਾਹਿ ਜੋ ਨਿਰਤੇ ਕਰਤੇ ਕਥਾ ਬਾਰਤਾ ਕਹਤੇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Surati maaho jo nirte karte kathaa baartaa… (sggs 480).
  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਨਾਚੈ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਆਗੈ ਅਨਹਦ ਸਬਦ ਧੁਨਿ ਤੂਰ ਵਜਈਆ ॥: Ihu manu naachai satigur aagai anhad sabad… (sggs 834).

Except this Divine Dance of the Gurbani, Baabaa Nanak says all other dances being Mayaic only produce sensuousness in the mind, NOT Bhagti! Thus, the Gurbani indicates the true dancer to be the one who dances with his mind to the tune of Giaan of the Gurbani (who lives Understands the the Gurbani, and lives it), not by his external body-frame or body-consciousness!!

  • ਹੋਰੁ ਨਚਣਾ ਖੁਸੀਆ ਮਨ ਮਾਹ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥: Other dances produce sensuous pleasure in the mind. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 350).
  • ਨਾਚਨੁ ਸੋਇ ਜੁ ਮਨ ਸਿਉ ਨਾਚੈ ॥ ਝੂਠਿ ਨ ਪਤੀਐ ਪਰਚੈ ਸਾਚੈ ॥ ਇਸੁ ਮਨ ਆਗੇ ਪੂਰੈ ਤਾਲ ॥ ਇਸੁ ਨਾਚਨ ਕੇ ਮਨ ਰਖਵਾਲ ॥੨॥: He alone is a dancer, who dances with his mind (not with his body). (Mool) is not satisfied with falsehood; He is pleased only with Truth. So play the beat of the drum in the mind (Spiritual or Aatmik frisk…). (Mool) is the Protector of the dancer with such a mind. ||2|| (sggs 872).

In nutshell, the Gurbani asks us to transform the illusioned mind and its Mayaic dance (i.e., love of Maya – false dance of Maya, ਮਾਇਆ ਦਾ ਝੂਠਾ ਨਿਰਤ, ਮਾਇਆ ਦਾ ਰੰਗ) into the Dance of Truth (Love of Truth: “ਸਤਿ ਨਿਰਤਿ”-Sati Nirati, ਸਤ ਦਾ ਰੰਗ…) through Understanding (ਸੂਝ-ਬੂਝ) of the Gurbani’s Giaan (Divine Knowledge or Wisdom of the Gurbani). Thus, by Reflecting on the Naam (Shabad, Hukam, Gurbani…), one advances Spiritually. This is the Gurbani’s edict:

  • ਸਤਿ ਨਿਰਤਿ ਬੂਝੈ ਜੇ ਕੋਇ ॥ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਪਤ ਤਾ ਕੀ ਗਤਿ ਹੋਇ ॥: Sati nirati boojhai je koi. Naamu japat taakee gati hoi (sggs 284).


  1. A daily journey towards mool within,a daily truthful journey can only save us from maya.

  2. Please refer to Punjabi Vyakaran 10-part series class on You Tube hosted by Bhai Amrit Pal Singh ji from Edmonton, Canada Singh Sabha Gurudwara Sahib ji.

    I learnt a lot from this and want to spread the word.
    Reason I mentioned it here is also as I saw Parkash Singh’s ji comments in English like
    “Hari Jan Naachae Hari Hari Dhiya-e”
    It should be just pronounced as “Har” and “Naam” without any U letter since “Aunkar” in punjabi grammar is used to identify a singular/masculine noun/adjective and can’t be translated in English or Hindi literally as such. “Aunkar” is not supposed to be pronounced when being used with Nouns (Nao) and it’s Adjectives (Visheshan)

    So, It is my most humble request to all of you here on this site is to visit above link on YouTube and Expand your horizons/knowledge about Gurbani Grammar and be able to understand well The Profound Gurbani and enjoy the Bliss.

  3. One should look for a Quote as
    ਖੰਡ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੰਡ ਤ੍ਰੈ ਗੁਣ ਨਾਚੇ ਜਿਨ ਲਾਗੀ ਹਰਿ ਲਿਵ ਤੁਮਾਰੀ ॥ ਜੀਅ ਜੰਤ ਸਭੇ ਹੀ ਨਾਚੇ ਨਾਚਹਿ ਖਾਣੀ ਚਾਰੀ ॥੫॥
    This Quote is very important for knowing •ਸਤਿ ਨਿਰਤਿ.
    One can see it is Simran of NAAMu which is being refered as ਸਤਿ ਨਿਰਤਿ. or ਨਾਚੁ in the Quote
    ਨਾਚੁ ਰੇ ਮਨ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਆਗੈ .

    One can also see a Quote as
    “Hari Jan Naachae Hari Hari Dhiya-e”


  4. •ਸਤਿ ਨਿਰਤਿ ਬੂਝੈ ਜੇ ਕੋਇ is an important hint for the Specic DANCE one should know from within Gurbanee. There is a Quote to understand this •ਸਤਿ ਨਿਰਤਿ .which is being posted in next message for consideratio.

  5. If we look at this Quote from Gurbanee as
    ਨਾਚੁ ਰੇ ਮਨ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਆਗੈ ॥ ਗੁਰ ਕੈ ਭਾਣੈ ਨਾਚਹਿ ਤਾ ਸੁਖੁ ਪਾਵਹਿ ਅੰਤੇ ਜਮ ਭਉ ਭਾਗੈ ॥ ਰਹਾਉ pp506
    One finds that there is clear direction to Mun for a specific DANCE ਨਾਚੁ.
    What is this DANCE is important to understand.

  6. …seek guidance from the Gur shabd on any and every issue that causes duality in our mind…

    Thank you Bhai Sahib Ji for taking the time to share Vichaar.
    • ਗੁਰ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਮਨਿ ਦ੍ਰਿੜਾਏ ਰਹਸਾਏ ਨਹੀ ਆਏ ਸਹਜਾਏ ਮਨਿ ਨਿਧਾਨੁ ਪਾਏ॥ (sggs 408).

  7. Guru’s word enlightens human mind to emancipate self from worldly affairs and helps join with the source of emanation. Such enlightenment is meant for human mind to free from the clutches of MAYA

    Thank you Bhai Sahib Ji for taking the time to share Vichaar.
    • ਇਹੁ ਤਨੁ ਮਾਇਆ ਪਾਹਿਆ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਲੀਤੜਾ ਲਬਿ ਰੰਗਾਏ ॥ ਮੇਰੈ ਕੰਤ ਨ ਭਾਵੈ ਚੋਲੜਾ ਪਿਆਰੇ ਕਿਉ ਧਨ ਸੇਜੈ ਜਾਏ ॥੧॥ (sggs 721).

  8. Bhai Sahib jio,
    How nice of you to dwell on so deep into Gurbani. It is extremely helpful to educate our mind. Guru’s word enlightens human mind to emancipate self from worldly affairs and helps join with the source of emanation. Such enlightenment is meant for human mind to free from the clutches of MAYA, but both are creation of God and interrelated. Each has its own attributes and one has to pass through life and in turn transcend self into a composure state. Self realisation takes a long journey; a gradual process of progression but God’s Grace is essential. One must strive on, understand Guru’s word and live accordingly.

  9. Veer jeeo
    Waheguru ji ka khalsa,Waheguru ji ki fateh!!
    Words are once again failing me to convey my gratitude to you for writing another wonderful article based on Gurbani.Sahib Sri Guru Gobind Singhji was a great divine visionary.He declared Sri Guru Granth sahibji as our eternal Guru, so that we may seek guidance from the Gur shabd on any and every issue that causes duality in our mind.Today’s write up has clearly , with gurbani references,thrown light on the ever unstable human mind.

    Balwant Singh Seera

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