Sikhism does not accept the conventional meaning of Maya-as illusion. • The world is not Maya; it is a creation of God and as such, an abode of the Truthful One, or rather a Temple of Divinity. • According to Sikhism Maya epitomizes the principle duality. • It is this duality which makes one forget the Lord and attracts the man to wealth, beauty, power, or scholarship. • The root of Maya is egoism, the assertion of the self. • It is this which separates a man from his divine self.
By such fetters, man binds himself to his family and to worldly possessions. • Maya is a trap for the soul. • Maya may also take on a more subtle form as self-importance or self-complacency. • It may form different patterns like intellectual pride, family attachment, pleasure-seeking and money-grabbing. • It plays an important part in daily life.
The Guru by his grace gives the antidote for Maya. • It is "The Name" of God, which works the spell. • With it Maya is brought under control and so no longer harasses the disciple. • The residue of Maya accumulates through many births. • It sticks to the individual like glue. • It produces an inbuilt sense of isolation which causes man to forget his own divine essence.
The individual's soul will realize, sooner or later, that a Supreme soul lives within. • This becomes a spiritual awakening which will secure liberation from passion and desire. • This liberation comes through self-control and the practice of virtuous living. • It is the association with the Guru and the company of holy men that facilitates this realization of man's divine origin.
The evil effects of 'Maya' take longer to eradicate. Along with self-effort, the Guru grace is necessary. Guru Nanak Dev Ji, says: • "The true Guru has revealed the One to me. • I have destroyed duality and can now recognize Him, through the Guru's word". • Between man and God is a wall of ignorance, once this is removed, man may realize his kinship with Divinity.
Man possesses a divine essence. • He is not separate from God, but on account of his self-assertion, he thinks he is. • He builds round himself, wall of egoism which makes him forget "God in himself" and in all things. • This is called Agyan or ignorance. • Guru Nanak says, "Ignorance has its roots in the image of the self.“ • Some feel that Maya or the materialistic world, creates the sense of separateness of duality, but whether Maya or ego, the separation of the individual soul from the Universal Soul is the cause of much misery and subsequent transmigration. • Man' concern to build up a separate identity is the root of his suffering.
According to Sikhism, man is responsible for his own actions. • Human self will - the ego - encourages man to bad deeds. • The egoism takes the form of a pride and vanity. These result from learning, power or money. • They lead to arrogance and a sense of superiority which makes one disregard and ignore other men. • This not only alienates them from their fellow-men, but also from God who views with disfavour, any person who stands like a Colossus, in complete oblivion of the Source of All Power. • Egoistic actions are like chains draped round a person's neck.
The cure for egoism lies within. • If a man, subjects his will to God's Will and regards himself only as an instrument of God, he rises above action and its chain of consequences. • Self-assertion is the disease, self-surrender is the cure. • Submission to His Will removes the barrier between man and God. Guru Ramdas Ji says, • "The bride and the bridegroom live together, with a partition of ego between them. Once this partition is removed, the bride enjoys her union with the Creator." (A.G. p.1263).
Only when man understands that all things are subject to God's Will - including himself will he be able to live and move in tune with God. • If, by the assertion of self, they cut themselves off from this Reality, they wander in the wilderness. • But it is possible like the Prodigal Son, to comeback to the bosom of the Father.