How Beings Become Maya’s Slave

Muhataaj ( ਮੁਹਤਾਜ ) = necessitous, needy, indigent, subservient, dependent, slave of, in control of, ਗੁਲਾਮ, ਪਰ ਅਧੀਨ, ਲੋੜਵੰਦ, ਅਰਥੀਆ etc.

Bemuhataaj ( ਬੇਮੁਹਤਾਜ or ਵੇਮੁਹਤਾਜ ) is the opposite of Muhataaj = independent, self-sufficient, un-needy etc.

Maya’s material nature is composed of three ingredients called ‘Gunas‘ in Sanskrit. In English ‘Gunas‘ can be called ‘qualities’. These three qualities or 3 ‘Gunas’ are Saatav, Raajas, Taamas (Sat, Raj, Tam or Sato, Rajo, Tamo). In English, these three modes of material nature can be called goodness, passion and ignorance, respectively. They are like intertwined strands of the winding cord or rope of Nature. These three qualities are part of Maya or delusive force inherent in the creation. Through this medium, Maya holds in bondage all embodied beings (Jeeva). The SGGS explains to us that trough this medium, Maya holds in bondage all embodied beings (Jeeva).

If we must put it in words, Maya is the delusive or the deceptive force of our conditioned mind (deluded, corrupted, or doubt-ridden etc.) which makes one (1) forget 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).

In a nutshell, Maya is anything and everything which makes a person forget the Creator (Hukam) by creating attachment to the corrupting influences of the worldly temptations.

  • ਮਾਇਆ ਐਸੀ ਮੋਹਨੀ ਭਾਈ ॥ ਜੇਤੇ ਜੀਅ ਤੇਤੇ ਡਹਕਾਈ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : O brother, Maya is so captivating (worldly temptations), that it has deceived all beings in the world. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 1160).
  • ਜਿਉ ਨਲਨੀ ਸੂਅਟਾ ਗਹਿਓ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਮਾਯਾ ਇਹੁ ਬਿਉਹਾਰੁ ॥ ਜੈਸਾ ਰੰਗੁ ਕਸੁੰਭ ਕਾ ਮਨ ਬਉਰਾ ਰੇ ਤਿਉ ਪਸਰਿਓ ਪਾਸਾਰੁ ॥੩॥: O crazy mind! Like the parrot caught in the trap (by sitting on the Nalanee), you are trapped by the affairs (ਵਰਤਾਰਾ, ਸਲੂਕ) of Maya. O crazy mind! Like the weak dye of the safflower, so is the expanse of this material world (i.e. temporary, fleeting etc.). ||3|| (sggs 336).
  • ਮਾਇਆ ਹੋਈ ਨਾਗਨੀ ਜਗਤਿ ਰਹੀ ਲਪਟਾਇ ॥ ਇਸ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਜੋ ਕਰੇ ਤਿਸ ਹੀ ਕਉ ਫਿਰਿ ਖਾਇ ॥ : Maya is a serpent, clinging to the world. Whoever serves her, she ultimately devours that person. (sggs 510).

Now, why do we mortals become Muhataaj or slave of Maya? According to the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS):

  • ਅੰਤਰ ਆਤਮੈ ਬ੍ਰਹਮੁ ਨ ਚੀਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿਆ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾ ਮੁਹਤਾਜੁ ਭਇਆ ॥੭॥ : Within Antar Aatamaa (ਅੰਤਰ ਆਤਮਾ, innermost Self), you do not recognize Brahm; (consequently) you become slave of Maya. ||7|| (sggs 435).
  • ਹਰਿ ਬਿਸਰਤ ਸਭ ਕਾ ਮੁਹਤਾਜ ॥੩॥ : Forsaking God (Virtues), one becomes subservient to all. ||3|| (sggs 802).
  • ਦੁਬਿਧਾ ਰੋਗੁ ਸੁ ਅਧਿਕ ਵਡੇਰਾ ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾ ਮੁਹਤਾਜੁ ਭਇਆ ॥੮॥ : Duality is a very serious disease, (because) a person inflicted with this disease become salve of Maya. ||8|| (sggs 1153).

As indicated in the foregoing verses of the Gurbani (SGGS), the reason we become the Maya’s Muhataaj (slave) is that we have alienated ourselves from our Mool (Source, Jot Saroop), our minds are inflicted the duality (love of the worldly temptations instead of One Truth), and we are unwilling to go within to realize the Creator/Hukam.

  • ਏਹੁ ਸਰੀਰੁ ਸਭ ਮੂਲੁ ਹੈ ਮਾਇਆ ॥ ਦੂਜੈ ਭਾਇ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਇਆ ॥: This body becomes the source of the love for Maya for that person, who (apart from God) gets entangled with duality, and gets strayed by doubt. (sggs 1065).
  • ਮਾਧਵੇ ਕਿਆ ਕਹੀਐ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਐਸਾ ॥ ਜੈਸਾ ਮਾਨੀਐ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਤੈਸਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥ : O God, what can we say, we are so deluded by doubt, that what we believe, the reality is not like that. ||1||Pause|| (sggs 657).
  • ਮ੍ਰਿਗ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਜਿਉ ਜਗ ਰਚਨਾ ਯਹ ਦੇਖਹੁ ਰਿਦੈ ਬਿਚਾਰਿ ॥: Reflect in your mind and see for yourself that this world play is like the thirst of the deermistaken for water, who runs towards the mirage in the desert (humans tempted by the world-play also run after it). (sggs 536).

As noted earlier, the opposite word of ‘Muhataaj‘ (slave…) is ‘Bemuhataaj‘ (independent…). The SGGS teaches us that only the Inner Divine Factor (ਅੰਤਰ ਬ੍ਰਹਮ) is ‘Bemuhataaj’ (‘ਬੇਮੁਹਤਾਜੁ’).

  • ਫਰੀਦਾ ਕੰਤੁ ਰੰਗਾਵਲਾ ਵਡਾ ਵੇਮੁਹਤਾਜੁ ॥ ਅਲਹ ਸੇਤੀ ਰਤਿਆ ਏਹੁ ਸਚਾਵਾਂ ਸਾਜੁ ॥੧੦੮॥ : Farid, the loving (beautiful) God is completely self-sufficient (‘Bemuhataaj’). By realizing this loving God, one also becomes self-sufficient. ||108|| (sggs 1383).
  • ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਮੇਰਾ ਬੇਮੁਹਤਾਜੁ ॥ ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਮੇਰੇ ਸਚਾ ਸਾਜੁ ॥ : My Satguru is totally Independent. It is the Guru’s ever-permanent Virtue (that he is always ‘Bemuhtaaj‘ – does not dependent on anyone). (sggs 1142).

The Gurbani forther teaches us that once separated from this Bemuhataaj Inner Self, we become Muhtaaj of all vices or Bikaar (i.e. lust, anger, greed, attachment, and pride and their numerous variations), which pull us down.

  • ਲਬਿ ਲੋਭਿ ਮੁਹਤਾਜਿ ਵਿਗੂਤੇ ਇਬ ਤਬ ਫਿਰਿ ਪਛੁਤਾਈ ॥ : Being dependent on greed, one ruins his/her present and repents later. (sggs 930).
  • ਸਗਲ ਪਰਾਧ ਏਕੁ ਗੁਣੁ ਨਾਹੀ ਠਾਕੁਰੁ ਛੋਡਹ ਦਾਸਿ ਭਜਹਾ ॥ ਆਈ ਮਸਟਿ ਜੜਵਤ ਕੀ ਨਿਆਈ ਜਿਉ ਤਸਕਰੁ ਦਰਿ ਸਾਂਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿਹਾ ॥੩॥ : We are full of all vices and don’t have a single Virtue in us; forsaking the Creator we run after His maid, Maya. Just as a thief becomes quiet when caught red-handed, similarly we mortals become listless when it comes to remembering/realizing the Creator (i.e. Virtues). ||3|| (sggs 1203).

To put it otherwise, when the crooked mind looks for God outside, its delusion thickens and loses itself in Maya’s perpetual slumber. Because, outside, there is the unending prevalence of Maya’s lure everywhere with its corrupting influences (worldly temptations, enticement, enchantment or captivation).

  • ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਿਤ ਜਿਨਿ ਇਹੁ ਰਸੁ ਖੋਇਆ ਜਾ ਸਾਕਤ ਦੁਰਮਤਿ ਲਾਗਾ ॥੩॥ : A person lured by Maya deprived himself of this relish (i.e. Naam) and follows the evil-mindedness of Saakat (unenlightened, separated from God etc.). (sggs 598).
  • ਆਲ ਜਾਲ ਮਾਇਆ ਜੰਜਾਲ ॥ ਹਉਮੈ ਮੋਹ ਭਰਮ ਭੈ ਭਾਰ ॥ : Household bondage (ਘਰਾਂ ਦਾ ਬੰਧਨ – snare…) is Maya’s entanglement. Egotism, attachment, doubt and fear are loads. (sggs 292).

In other words, the worldly intellect (unenlightened Manmukh-Saakat-Mayadhaaree etc.) is Maya’s subsurvient.

  • ਮਾਇਆ ਕਾ ਮੁਹਤਾਜੁ ਪੰਡਿਤੁ ਕਹਾਵੈ ॥ : (The so called scholarly man-ਵਿਦਵਾਨ ਮਨੁੱਖ) while remaining infatuated by the hunger for Maya, still calls (himself) a ‘Pandit‘ (i.e. scholar-ਵਿਦਵਾਨ)! (sggs 231).

Mayaic intellect pulls us down and we miss the real purpose of life (realization of the mind’s Jot Saroop – the Creator – within).

  • ਯਾ ਜੁਗ ਮਹਿ ਏਕਹਿ ਕਉ ਆਇਆ ॥ ਜਨਮਤ ਮੋਹਿਓ ਮੋਹਨੀ ਮਾਇਆ ॥ : (Man) is born in this life only to become ONE (with Prabh, Mool, etc. – through Naam…). (But) ever since (man’s) birth, (he) has been enticed and deceived by Maya. (sggs 251).
  • ਲਾਹੇ ਕਾਰਣਿ ਆਇਆ ਜਗਿ ॥ ਹੋਇ ਮਜੂਰੁ ਗਇਆ ਠਗਾਇ ਠਗਿ ॥ : For the sake of earning the (Spiritual) Profit, the mortal comes into the world. But he becomes a serf (of Maya), and is mugged by this mugger (Maya). (sggs 931).

The Gurbani asserts that one comes to know the Truth (the Creator) only when one dwells in his own ‘Aatam Tirath’ (ਆਤਮ ਤੀਰਥ), within.

  • ਸਚੁ ਤਾਂ ਪਰੁ ਜਾਣੀਐ ਜਾ ਆਤਮ ਤੀਰਥਿ ਕਰੇ ਨਿਵਾਸੁ ॥ : One knows the Truth (ਅਸਲੇ ਦੀ ਸਮਝ) only when he dwells in the sacred shrine of pilgrimage of his own soul within (sggs 468).

Thus, the Gurbani’s ‘Satsang’ is Omniscient (Niraakaar, mind’s abidance in Divine Virtues -ਆਤਮਕ ਗੁਣ, ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ…), within (ਅੰਦਰ).

  • ਗੁਣਾ ਕਾ ਹੋਵੈ ਵਾਸੁਲਾ ਕਢਿ ਵਾਸੁ ਲਈਜੈ ॥ ਜੇ ਗੁਣ ਹੋਵਨ੍ਹ੍ਹਿ ਸਾਜਨਾ ਮਿਲਿ ਸਾਝ ਕਰੀਜੈ ॥ ਸਾਝ ਕਰੀਜੈ ਗੁਣਹ ਕੇਰੀ ਛੋਡਿ ਅਵਗਣ ਚਲੀਐ ॥ ਪਹਿਰੇ ਪਟੰਬਰ ਕਰਿ ਅਡੰਬਰ ਆਪਣਾ ਪਿੜੁ ਮਲੀਐ ॥ : O Mind, you have Within your possession Divine Virtues; manifest them in your Spirituality. Since you possess these Divine Virtues O Mind, adopt a Relationship with them. The adoption of this Relationship is the discarding of human vices as you walk the Journey of Spirituality. By treating everyone with love and by doing good deeds, one can win the wrestling of life (battle of life, game of life etc. – ਜੀਵਨ-ਘੋਲ) against (Vices). (sggs 765-766).
  • ਅੰਤਰਿ ਤੀਰਥੁ ਗਿਆਨੁ ਹੈ ਸਤਿਗੁਰਿ ਦੀਆ ਬੁਝਾਇ ॥ : Deep within is the sacred shrine (Teerath) of Giaan (Spiritual Wisdom…), which the Satigur has revealed (sggs 587).

Thus, to transcend Maya’s Muhtaajee (slavery), we can only (ਕੇਵਲ) count on Realization of the Omnipresent God within through internalizing the Message of the Shbad. Because, the one who connected with God from within, only he is said to be God-connected. This is the Gurbani’s edict.

  • ਅੰਤਰ ਆਤਮੈ ਜੋ ਮਿਲੈ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਕਹੀਐ ਸੋਇ ॥ : A person can be called God-connected who is connected with God from within. (sggs 791).


  1. Thank you Veer Gurpreet Singh Ji for sharing your Vichaar,

    ਮਿਲਿਆ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਵੀਛੁੜੈ ਜੇ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਹੋਈ ॥ (729)
    ਮਿਲਿਐ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਨਾ ਮਿਲੈ ਮਿਲੈ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਜੇ ਹੋਇ ॥ (791)

  2. Satkar jog gurmukh T. Singh jio
    Sat bachan ji
    ਅੰਤਰ ਆਤਮੈ ਜੋ ਮਿਲੈ ਮਿਲਿਆ ਕਹੀਐ ਸੋਇ ॥
    Ram-ras piye re ram ras piye re eh ras bisar gaye ras aura


Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. * = required fields. Comment Policy.