In the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS) this material world is likened to the safflower. It’s deceptively enchanting, full of repeated pain and suffering, impermanent, momentary, ephemeral, fleeting etc.
The Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS tells us that only a Gurmukh knows its true nature, which is ‘Koorh-ਕੂੜ’ (false).
Therefore, a person who has become a Gurmukh is the only one who knows how to handle it, without getting ‘burnt‘ in the process!
However, it’s the ignorant one (Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree) who gets fooled by its mirage-like, enchanting and deceptive appearance. As a result, he gets attached to it, and suffers the consequences of his error!
- ਜੈਸਾ ਰੰਗੁ ਕਸੁੰਭ ਕਾ ਤੈਸਾ ਇਹੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ॥: This world is like the (pale, temporary…) color of the safflower (sggs 346).
- ਹਥੁ ਨ ਲਾਇ ਕਸੁੰਭੜੈ ਜਲਿ ਜਾਸੀ ਢੋਲਾ ॥: O friend! Do not touch the safflower (i.e., Maya); if you do, you will get ‘burnt’ (i.e., your love for this deceptive Maya will lead you to sufferings) (sggs 794).
The Creative, Universal Energy has made this massive world-picture very wondrous indeed. But the Gurbani cautions us as follows:
- ਚਚਾ ਰਚਿਤ ਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਹੈ ਭਾਰੀ ॥ ਤਜਿ ਚਿਤ੍ਰੈ ਚੇਤਹੁ ਚਿਤਕਾਰੀ ॥ ਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਬਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਇਹੈ ਅਵਝੇਰਾ ॥ ਤਜਿ ਚਿਤ੍ਰੈ ਚਿਤੁ ਰਾਖਿ ਚਿਤੇਰਾ ॥੧੨॥: CHACHA (a letter of the Gurmukhi alphabet): This created world (of Rabb or Universal Energy…) is (as it were) a very big picture. Forgetting (the love or attachment of this) picture, remember the Artist (Rabb or the Universal Energy…). (Because) the problem is that this (world-form) picture is captivating to the mind. (So, to avoid this attachment) leave the picture (thought) and keep your mind in the picture maker. ||12|| (sggs 340).
- ਮਾਧਵੇ ਕਿਆ ਕਹੀਐ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਐਸਾ ॥ ਜੈਸਾ ਮਾਨੀਐ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਤੈਸਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : O Maadhav (Rabb, Hukam…)! We beings have such an illusion that it cannot be described; what we deem a thing to be, in reality, it is not like that (i.e. we deem the world is a different or separate entity than you is not right) ||1||Pause|| (sggs 657).
So, to escape from this mirage-like, enchanting world, the Gurbani urges us to focus the consciousness on the Maker of this world-picture (Hukam…), not world itself for the Maker pervades it.
- ਕੁਦਰਤਿ ਕਰਿ ਕੈ ਵਸਿਆ ਸੋਇ ॥ ਵਖਤੁ ਵੀਚਾਰੇ ਸੁ ਬੰਦਾ ਹੋਇ ॥: Having created Kudrat, (Hukam: System-Rule-Law of Nature etc.) the Creator Himself resides within it. (A Sikh must focus on this Reality because) to focus on this Reality during Spiritual Journey in life is to recognize oneself as a human being. (sggs 83).
Thus, The Gurmat Wisdom of the SGGS tells us that the real nature of the enchanting world is realized when we wake up to the Wisdom that the world is Mithiya or as unsubstantial as a dream.
Discerning intellect (Bibek Budh) is Awakened by constantly probing the nature of one’s Mool ( Source, Origin, Jot Saroop ….) and learning to dissociate the affinities to the body-senses and the material world.
- ਮਾਈ ਮਾਇਆ ਛਲੁ ॥: O mother! Maya is deceitful. (sggs 717).
- ਬਾਬਾ ਮਾਇਆ ਰਚਨਾ ਧੋਹੁ ॥: O brother! Deceitful (fleeting etc.) is the worldly splendor. (sggs 15).
- ਨਾਨਕ ਕਹਤ ਜਗਤ ਸਭ ਮਿਥਿਆ ਜਿਉ ਸੁਪਨਾ ਰੈਨਾਈ ॥੨॥੧॥: Nanak says, the entire material world is illusion like the nightly dream ||2||1|| (sggs 1231).
- ਮਨੁ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੈ ਰਮਿ ਰਹਿਓ ਨਿਕਸਤ ਨਾਹਿਨ ਮੀਤ ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਮੂਰਤਿ ਚਿਤ੍ਰ ਜਿਉ ਛਾਡਿਤ ਨਾਹਿਨ ਭੀਤਿ ॥੩੭॥ : O friend! The mind that gets entangled in Maya (attachment) cannot get out of this attachment on its own. O Nanak! As the painted picture (on the wall) does not leave the wall, it sticks to the wall. (sggs 1428).
If one is willing to take and live it, the Giaan-Guru (the Wisdom or Aatam Giaan of the SGGS) makes one immune from fraud, deception Pakhand etc. – protects one from being deceived or cheated of his Spiritual Life (Aatmak Jeevan-ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ).
- ਕਹੁ ਕਬੀਰ ਮੈ ਸੋ ਗੁਰੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਾ ਕਾ ਨਾਉ ਬਿਬੇਕੋੁ ॥੪॥੫॥: Says Kabeer, I have found that Guru, whose Name is ‘Bibek(u)’ (Wisdom, Discerning Intelligence…). ||4||5|| (sggs 793).
- ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਭੇਟਿਐ ਸੋਝੀ ਪਾਇ ॥ ਪਰਪੰਚੁ ਚੂਕੈ ਸਚਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥੧॥: Meeting with the Satigur keen understanding is obtained. Then, the ‘Parpanch‘ (the illusion of the material world, deception…) is shattered, and one merges in Truth. ||1|| (sggs 1173).
In nutshell, the Gurbani teaches us to to do everything in the Light of intelligence (Akal). In other words, it is the mind that needs to be free of Mayaic love, attachment, influence, thoughts etc.
- ਸਦਾ ਅਕਲ ਲਿਵ ਰਹੈ ਕਰਨ ਸਿਉ ਇਛਾ ਚਾਰਹ ॥: Your mind always remains connected with (the One Universal Energy, Giaan, Hukam etc., consequently) you remain independent in thoughts (thinking-ਸੋਚ), deeds etc. (i.e. cannot be influenced by Maya etc.). (sggs 1392).
- ਸਾਗਰ ਸੰਸਾਰ ਭਵ ਉਤਾਰ ਨਾਮੁ ਸਿਮਰਤ ਬਹੁ ਤਰੇ ॥: This world is Bhav Saagar; by remembering the Naam many people are crossing (this Bhav Saagar). (sggs 377).
The Gurbani also reveals to us that this Bhav Saagar is NOT some separate entity! Rather, it is within the Sukh Saagar — Here and Now:
- ਭਵ ਸਾਗਰ ਸੁਖ ਸਾਗਰ ਮਾਹੀ ॥: The Bhav Saagar is within the Sukh Saagar. (sggs 323).
The Gurbani’s condition to realize this ‘Sukh Saagar‘ HERE AND NOW is that one must become a Gurmukh!
- ਸੁਖ ਸਾਗਰੁ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਹੈ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਪਾਇਆ ਜਾਇ ॥: Hari Naam is the Sukh Saagar; it is obtained by becoming the Gurmukh. (sggs 29).
Aptly, the Gurbani urges us to engage in this world, but with a detached attitude and Akal (keen understanding, Wisdom, discerning intelligence, ਅਕਲ, ਬਿਬੇਕ-ਬੁੱਧੀ…).
- ਬਿਨੁ ਬੈਰਾਗ ਨ ਛੂਟਸਿ ਮਾਇਆ ॥੧॥: Without detachment, (hunger or love of) Maya cannot be gotten rid of. ||1|| (sggs 329).
The attitude of detachment or Bairaag is the quality of shunning worldly attractions. Simply put: Detachment is being in this world, but not of it. In other words, it is having a mind open to everything, but attached to nothing.
- ਜਿਉ ਜਲ ਮਹਿ ਕਮਲੁ ਅਲਿਪਤੋ ਵਰਤੈ ਤਿਉ ਵਿਚੇ ਗਿਰਹ ਉਦਾਸੁ ॥: As the lotus flower floats unaffected in the water, so does one must remain detached in his own household (sggs 949).
- ਕਹੈ ਨਾਨਕੁ ਗੁਰ ਪਰਸਾਦੀ ਜਿਨਾ ਲਿਵ ਲਾਗੀ ਤਿਨੀ ਵਿਚੇ ਮਾਇਆ ਪਾਇਆ ॥: Says Nanak: By the Gur-Grace (Grace of the Gur-Giaan or Wisdom…) who remain connected (to their Mool, True Nature or Jot Saroop, Aatam Giaan or Wisdom…) realize (Bliss, Mukti or liberation etc.) while using Maya (sggs 921).