Maya 101: A Guide to a fundamental yet complicated concept

Begin Trying to Understand with an Ardaas
Before reading this, please do a short informal Ardaas to Vaheguru to be able to grasp this concept. When initially hearing about Maya/Shakthee within Guru Sahib's Gurbani, daas was confused. It was very different than the Abrahamic concepts by which daas grew up being influenced. Spent a year doing Ardaas – over and over – Please Maharaj! Remove any doubts and help daas understand Aap Ji more and this concept which Aap Ji have presented in Your Form ~ Gurbani. When we hear about something we do not understand, should we reject it? A lot of people have this approach to concepts in spirituality. The problem with this type of approach is: it gives our own previous perceptions priority (Man-math) and does not take the approach of saying Guru Sahib you know best (Gur-math)... 'I may not understand but I ask You for understanding'.
There are many people that end up ruining their spiritual journey because they can't get past their own biases based on their surroundings. So please do Ardaas, ask Maharaj to guide... even if we still do not understand then please ask Maharaj for us not to become negative towards the knowledge we do not understand. When we learn math in the 1st grade, we don't challenge something that comes up high school algebra. In the 1st grade, there is never a mention of letters within math equations but in high school algebra, it has a huge place. Likewise, we might be new to spirituality but the more we dive deeper – the more we start to realize we don't know much about Vaheguru.
Sri Sarbloh Granth is seen as an esoteric granth. A granth that can only be properly understood by a few people with the background knowledge and spiritual practice. The main thing is that there are spiritual concepts being discussed that aren’t simple and not really discussed in Sangat as much due to their complexity. Daas will try to include as much explanation as possible to make the Spiritual Concepts related to Maya understood through Gurprasaadh.
Discussion on Maya in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji
Maya is seen as a trick or an illusion:
ਬਾਬਾ ਮਾਇਆ ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲਾਇ ॥
Baabaa Maaeiaa Bharam[i] Bhulaae[i]
Oh Baba, Maya causes us to be in doubt and mistaken
ਭਰਮਿ ਭੁਲੀ ਡੋਹਾਗਣੀ ਨਾ ਪਿਰੁ ਅੰਕਿ ਸਮਾਇ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Bharam[i] Bhulee DohaagaNee naa Pir[u] A[n]k[i] Samaae[i]
In doubt and mistaken, the bad bride... does not keep her Husband close
(Sri Guru Nanak Dev Sahib Ji Maharaj in Sri Raag, Ang 60)
ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਮਾਇਆ ਮੋਹਣੀ ਸੁਤ ਬੰਧਪ ਘਰ ਨਾਰਿ ॥
Thrisnaa Maaeiaa MohaNee Suth Ba[n]dhhap Ghar naar[i]
Maya causes us to have desires and overly attaches the mind towards
our children, relatives, home, & wife.
ਧਨਿ ਜੋਬਨਿ ਜਗੁ ਠਗਿਆ ਲਬਿ ਲੋਭਿ ਅਹੰਕਾਰਿ ॥
Dhhan[i] Joban[i] Jag[u] Ttagiaa Lab[i] Lobh[i] Aha[ng]kaar[i]
Being wealthy, youthly... the world is deceived through greed and the sense of being separated/having pride.
(Sri Guru Nanak Dev Sahib Ji Maharaj in Sri Raag, Ang 61)
An important thing to discuss is other uses of the term Maya.
Maya is informally referred to as wealth or specifically money. Even among Gursikhs, we don't say paisa or money. We refer to it as Maya, so that we are reminded that it can mislead us into greed. When we are referring to Maya in its original spiritual context, it is not referring to Maya in the same context.
Those who are first getting into Sikhi in the West, grow up hearing about the Abrahamic faiths and their idea of the devil/shaythaan, demons, etc. Then Maya is often misperceived as the same but some sort of female version. This is incorrect. Maya is a representation of both the powers of the universe but also the multiplicity of creation. Due to the multiplicity of creation, the mind ends up misperceiving a lot. Through the collection of the experiences of the 5 senses, the mind develops an ego. Overidentifying with the mind and body. Those who understand the nature of Maya will then be able to transcend it.
ਮਾਧਵੇ ਕਿਆ ਕਹੀਐ ਭ੍ਰਮੁ ਐਸਾ ॥
Maadhhvae Kiaa Kaheeai Bhram[u] Aisaa
Oh Vaheguru! What can we say about the doubt?
ਜੈਸਾ ਮਾਨੀਐ ਹੋਇ ਨ ਤੈਸਾ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Jaisaa Maaneeai Hoe[i] na Thaisaa
The way we accept it, it turns out not to be that way in reality
ਨਰਪਤਿ ਏਕੁ ਸਿੰਘਾਸਨਿ ਸੋਇਆ ਸੁਪਨੇ ਭਇਆ ਭਿਖਾਰੀ ॥
Narpath[i] Aek[u] Si[n]ghaasan[i] Soe[i]aa Supnae Bhaeiaa Bhikhaaree
It's just like the story of the king that fell asleep on the throne,
and became a beggar in his sleep
ਅਛਤ ਰਾਜ ਬਿਛੁਰਤ ਦੁਖੁ ਪਾਇਆ ਸੋ ਗਤਿ ਭਈ ਹਮਾਰੀ ॥੨॥
Achhath Raaj Bichhurath Dhukh[u] Paaeiaa So Gath[i] Bha-aee Hamaaree
The kingdom is in front of him but due to being separated in sleep,
the king is suffering... so is my spiritual state
ਰਾਜ ਭੁਇਅੰਗ ਪ੍ਰਸੰਗ ਜੈਸੇ ਹਹਿ ਅਬ ਕਛੁ ਮਰਮੁ ਜਨਾਇਆ ॥
Raaj Bhue[i]a[n]g Prasa[n]g Jaisae Hah[i] Ab Kachh[u] Maram[u] Janaae[i]aa
It is like the story of the rope & the snake... but now I know the secret
(Bhagat Ravidaas Ji in Raag Soratt[i], Ang 657)
What is the story of the snake & the rope?
Imagine if you were to enter a dark room. You see a snake on the ground and now you are in fear. The snake can hurt you, potentially kill you, etc. So now the fear creates panic and the mind is preoccupied with all of these things related to the fear. Among all that is happening, a light is turned on. Once the light is turned on then the snake is properly visible. The snake is gone. The snake actually turned out to be a rope. Due to the darkness of the room, the fear had made you act although there was no snake at all. This path of spirituality is like this. Due to the separation and deception of the dark room of Maya, we feel separate and the ego-snake exists. When we grow spiritually, the light starts to shine slowly and the ego starts to fade. All that's left is Vaheguru.
In the 9th Ashtapadhhee of Sri Sukhmani Sahib, Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji Maharaj directs traditional people of different Vedic traditions such as Pandits (in general), Vaishnavs (Baisno), but also Shaakaths/Saakaths. Maharaj gives them teachings in a way that directs their minds towards Akaal Purakh Vaheguru:
ਭਗਉਤੀ ਭਗਵੰਤ ਭਗਤਿ ਕਾ ਰੰਗੁ ॥
Bhagouthee; Bhagva[n]th Bhagath[i] Kaa Ra[n]g[u]
A True Devotee of Adhee-Shakthee, will be immersed in the loving Devotion of Bhag-vanth (One who has all Bhag~Yon[i]/Female-context as in Maya... the One who wields the Maya/takes on the Maya = Vaheguru)
(Raag Gaurree, Ang 274)
What is a Saakath?
ਤੁਧਨੋ ਛੋਡਿ ਜਾਈਐ ਪ੍ਰਭ ਕੈਂ ਧਰਿ ॥
Thudhhno Chhod[i] Jaaeeai Prabh Kai[n] Dhhar[i]
If I were to let go of Your Support ~ Oh Vaheguru!
ਆਨ ਨ ਬੀਆ ਤੇਰੀ ਸਮਸਰਿ ॥
Aan na Beeaa Thaeree Samsar[i]
There is no second, compared to You
ਤੇਰੇ ਸੇਵਕ ਕਉ ਕਿਸ ਕੀ ਕਾਣਿ ॥
Thaerae Saevak Ko[u] Kis Kee KaaN[i]
Then what does your sevadaar have in lacking?
ਸਾਕਤੁ ਭੂਲਾ ਫਿਰੈ ਬੇਬਾਣਿ ॥੩॥
Saakath[u] Bhoolaa Phirai BaebaaN[i]
The Saakath is mistaken and wanders in the wilderness (of the illusion)
(Sri Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji in Raag Aasaa, Ang 371)
The Saakath's generally focus on the Form and physical world. Saakaths are usually referred to with a negative connotation in Gurbani due to their inability to perceive Formless-Vaheguru's Presence and see this Universe as the only reality (Saakath explained further below). Guru Sahib teaches us to focus on the Formless through the Form. Whenever we sense the 5-Elemental Universe, all of our 5 senses should consume and bring our minds toward Vaheguru.
As Dhan Dhan Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji Maharaj teaches us in Rehraas Sahib:
ਅੰਤਰਿ ਗੁਰੁ ਆਰਾਧਣਾ ਜਿਹਵਾ ਜਪਿ ਗੁਰ ਨਾਉ ॥
A[n]thar[i] Gur[u] AaraadhhaNaa Jihavaa Jap[i] Gur naao[u]
Internally concentrate on Guru Sahib then chant the name of Guru Sahib with your tongue
ਨੇਤ੍ਰੀ ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਪੇਖਣਾ ਸ੍ਰਵਣੀ ਸੁਨਣਾ ਗੁਰ ਨਾਉ ॥
Naethree Sathigur[u] PaekhNaa SravaNee SunaNaa Gur naao[u]
See Guru Sahib with your eyes, listen to Guru Sahib's Name
ਸਤਿਗੁਰ ਸੇਤੀ ਰਤਿਆ ਦਰਗਹ ਪਾਈਐ ਠਾਉ ॥
Sath[i]gur Saethee Rathiaa Dhargah Paaeeai Ttaao[u]
Become in love with Guru Sahib then you will find a place in Sachkhand
(Sri Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji in Raag Gaujaree, Ang 517)
Maya as Mirage/Illusion

This mirage example shows the Mirage of Maya happening on & through the desert of Vaheguru's Presence.... the mirage may seem separate but it is not.

This Universe (every single part of creation and what we see as is existence) is a mirage. Guru Tegh Bahadur Sahib Ji teach us:
ਮ੍ਰਿਗ ਤ੍ਰਿਸਨਾ ਜਿਉ ਝੂਠੋ ਇਹ ਜਗ ਦੇਖਿ ਤਾਸਿ ਉਠਿ ਧਾਵੈ ॥੧॥
Mrig Thrisnaa Jio[u] Jhooto Eih Jag Dhaekh[i] Thaas[i] Utt[i] Dhhaavai
The world is as false as a mirage but people still see it and chase after it.
(Ang 219 in Raag Gaurree).
Most of us will read translations of Shabads which refer to Maya as an Illusion. However, Maya does not simply mean Illusion. Maya refers to the Entire Universe and the active power which creates it, sustains it, and destroys it. A quality of this Maya is that it hides reality and thus, makes things appear differently than they actually are. The mirage example is perfect in describing the physical creation. In a vast desert, we see a sliver of water. We chase after it but it is not actually real. The only thing that is real is the huge desert and the sand. The water is not real. This entire Universe is a mirage and Vaheguru - the Reality. The perceiver’s desires and chases for the water are pointless. Either the person chasing the water will finish or the appearance of water will disappear. By coming to terms with the reality of the desert, the mirage does not affect the perceiver.
Definition of Real/True
What is the spiritual definition of real/reality? It does not mean what we would think in the context of our physical world. In order to be defined as Sath/Real/True, something needs to be True in all 3 tenses: past, present, and future. There cannot be a limitation upon when something can be true or not. Are we real? If we define ourselves as our bodies or minds then the answer is no. There was a beginning, middle, and end to our bodies and minds. Anything which comes to exist will also end/die. The Only One who fits this definition of Spiritually defined Reality/Truth is Vaheguru:
ਆਦਿ ਸਚੁ ਜੁਗਾਦਿ ਸਚੁ ॥ ਹੈ ਭੀ ਸਚੁ ਨਾਨਕ ਹੋਸੀ ਭੀ ਸਚੁ ॥੧॥
Aadh[i] Sach[u] Jugaadh[i] Sach[u] Hai Bhee Sach[u] Nanak Hosee Bhee Sach[u]
Dhan Guru Nanak Dev Sahib Ji:
True during the beginning of existence, True during the beginning of the Jug's,
True right now... will be True in the future.
(Mool Mantar, Sri Japji Sahib)

Non-Duality of Vaheguru

Is the Creation separate from Vaheguru? Everything in Sikhi starts from Ik-Oangkaar: within this... Vaheguru is seen as non-dual. Non-duality means not separate. Vaheguru is not separate from the Creation. Does this mean that the Creation is Vaheguru? The question isn't so simple to answer with a yes or no. Before any of this creation existed, there was only the Formless Vaheguru (referred to as Nirankaar). Then Vaheguru developed this Initial Power from which this entire creation came to be. This is referred to as Aadh[i] Shakthee (Original Source of Power). In many traditions, people have this idea of Shiv-Shakthee (God-Consciousness and Creation). However, they are often perceived as separate entities. Through the nondual lens, they are accurately perceived when seen as One & Unseparated. It is like we look at the mirage and see it as part of the desert and not a separate thing from the desert.
Maya as a Shadow casted by Vaheguru

Dhan Dhan Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji Maharaj in Raag Go[n]d: ਮਹਾ ਮਾਇਆ ਤਾ ਕੀ ਹੈ ਛਾਇਆ ॥ Mahaa Maaeiaa Thaa Kee Hai Chhaaeiaa॥ This Great-Maya is the Shadow of Vaheguru.

The Universe is like a shadow of Vaheguru. The shadow exists dependent on the casting object. The shadow can disappear but the casting-object will still be present. One cannot separate the shadow away from the casting-object. The shadow gets its form from the casting-object. In the same way, the Universe gets its existence through Vaheguru’s Consciousness.
Understanding Nirgun & Sargun (Two-sides of the same coin)

Definitely worth looking into Plato's Simile of the line but applying it to Sargun & Nirgun

One needs to understand the ideas of Nirgun and Sargun very well in order to understand Maya. Nirgun (Attribute-less Vaheguru) and Sargun (Taking on Attributes). Nirgun is used as a way to describe Vaheguru’s invisible omnipresence within the Creation. Vaheguru’s Created Universe is the Sargun. The Observable Universe can be quantified and described. Vaheguru’s Pure Formlessness cannot. All of this Universe has Names/Concepts and Form. The Names are developed based on characteristics/descriptions. We call a chair based on its definition of being able to sit on it... maybe also has 4 legs etc. How do we describe Vaheguru in this way?
In Jaap Sahib, Guru Gobind Singh Sahib Ji Maharaj are explaining the qualities of the Formless Vaheguru but in the beginning, Maharaj say:
ਤਵ ਸਰਬ ਨਾਮ ਕਥੈ ਕਵਨ ਕਰਮ ਨਾਮ ਬਰਨਤ ਸੁਮਤਿ ॥੧॥
Twai Sarab Naam Kathhai Kavan, Karam Naam Barnath Sumath
How can I describe Your Names? Will use terms from this world to try to describe as best as possible!
(Chhapai Chhand, please excuse the not being in the charan of the , wouldn't allow daas to put in charan)
Vaheguru's Consciousness gives everything existence

The Power behind everything is Vaheguru’s Consciousness. What does consciousness mean? Does it mean Vaheguru’s Thoughts etc? No, this awareness is described as the Light/Jyothee.
Dhan Dhan Guru Nanak Dev Sahib Ji Maharaj teach us in Raag Dhanaasaree:
ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਜੋਤਿ ਹੈ ਸੋਇ ॥
Sabh Mah[i] Joth[i] Joth[i] Hai Soe[i]
Everything/Everyone has this Light inside of them...that Light is of Vaheguru
ਤਿਸ ਦੈ ਚਾਨਣਿ ਸਭ ਮਹਿ ਚਾਨਣੁ ਹੋਇ ॥
This Dhai ChaanaN[i] Sabh Mah[i] ChaanaN[u] Hoe[i]
From Vaheguru's Shine (Consciousness/Awareness), everyone else receive's Shine (Consciousness/Awareness).
(Ang 13)

Imagine if you are in a dark room, a light would cause you to see. In the same way, the mind and body are darkness (not conscious/not alive/jarr)... it is through Vaheguru’s Light we are given existence/consciousnes. A good comparison to this is a heavily crowded cityscape. There are hundreds upon thousands of lights lighting up the city. They may seem as if they are individual sources producing light. However, there is the same electricity that flows through them all. In the same way, the One Vaheguru provides us with energy for everything in our existence. The energy is the same but the appliance or the device plugged into the electricity makes it appear to be different. Plug in a computer and then the electricity takes the form of the computer. Plug in a toaster and then the electricity takes the form of the toaster. They perform different things but work due to the One Energy Source.
Vaheguru has created, sustains, and will destroy all of the various things through which their consciousness/energy runs and that’s why they are to be seen as One.
Practically being able to apply that, we can see Guru Sahib teaches us:
ਨਮੋ ਸੂਰਜ ਸੂਰਜੇ ... Namo Sooraj Soorajae Bowing down to the Sun of the Suns... what defines a Sun? The bright ball of fire which gives off heat and light... by saying Namo Sooraj Soorajae... we are saying we bow down to that which gives the sun its qualities which define it. If the sun was a lightbulb then it would require electricity to work. So Maharaj is saying to bow down to Vaheguru which gives the sun the ability to burn, give off heat, and produce light (The Sun behind the sun).
Other separate examples from Jaap Sahib, we can understand from:
ਨਮੋ ਕਾਲ ਕਾਲੇ॥
Namo Kaal Kaalae
Bowing down to the Death of deaths
(That which physically forms the cause of someone's death/destruction of a place/thing... Vaheguru is that Consciousness that gives existence to that death/destruction ~ thus, Mahakaal, the very Ultimate Form of Death... even the Killer of ShivaJi, Dharam-Raaj/Jamdhhooth, etc.)
ਨਮੋ ਬੀਜ ਬੀਜੇ ॥
Namo Beej Beejae
Bowing down to the Seed of seeds
(What came first? The chicken or the egg? Vaheguru did... Vaheguru is that Consciousness that gives existence to the Origin of Life ~ thus, the Form of Life-giving)
ਨਮੋ ਪ੍ਰੀਤ ਪ੍ਰੀਤੇ ॥
Namo Preeth Preethae
Bowing down to the Love of loves
(That which we love, Vaheguru is that Consciousness that gives existence to that Love ~ thus, the Form of Love)
So there are two aspects available to us. Vaheguru unchanging and then Vaheguru when they take on the physical form while providing existence to physical forms (Sargun).
Pots are made of clay and will eventually lose pot form but the clay will remain

In the end, are we saying that Vaheguru is the creation? Yes and no. We can make a comparison to a physical example to understand. Is a pot made of clay? Yes. Does this mean that Clay is limited to being a pot? No. Clay can also be used to make bricks and sculptures. It is the One clay that can take on many forms but is not limited to it. So Vaheguru does take on the form of Creation but is not limited to it. Rather, Creation is dependent on the Independent-Vaheguru.
Chart to further understand Nirgun-Sargun

Ik ~ One Vaheguru










Always changing

Consistently Singular





Female~Pervaded/Place of being Present in





Consciousness behind Everything

Actions within the Creation



Ik ~ One Vaheguru

In order to understand this Union of Vaheguru, there are many worldly examples that can be made to understand. Vaheguru as Nirgun is described as male i.e. Akaal Purakh... and the rest of Creation is described as female. This is based on how anatomy works. In order to understand this without making the mind drift towards places of lust... we can use the following example used in electronics:

The Formless pervades and the Form is what is pervaded. Thus, in many instances Vaheguru is described as Sree-Path[i] (the Husband of Maya). Husband in which way? Just like a Husband pervades Their Wife. This relationship is referred to many times in Gurbani. So why is this important for us to know? Where directly masculine terms refer to Vaheguru in a Formless state then feminine terms refer to Vaheguru’s Hukam (a lot of adjective descriptions). The way Maya is described here is how Vaheguru wields Their Creative Power to assist the perceived separated self into becoming One with Vaheguru. When we see Sree Bhagauthee Jee Sahaae or Sree Bhavaanee Jee or Sree Maya-Lakshmee Jee or other terms similar to this... it is referring to Vaheguru’s Sargun Form assisting within this Material World.
Prison of Misperception?

ਸਤਿਗੁਰੁ ਬੰਦੀਛੋੜੁ ਹੈ ਜੀਵਣ ਮੁਕਤਿ ਕਰੈ ਓਡੀਣਾ । Satigur Mera Bandhee Chorr Hain | Guru Sahib is the Emancipator/Liberator ~ They make the Detached Ones liberated while they are still alive (Bhai Gurdaas Ji)

Like a prisoner is stuck in a prison. One of their friends comes from outside of the prison dressed up as a prisoner to get them out. The friend dresses like a prisoner to enter but is not imprisoned to begin with. When they get out, the prisoner realizes that there was no prison to begin with and the friend was not a separate being either but Their Own True Unlimited Self.
The following section is from our Shastar Naam Maalaa Steek (8th Doharaa):
This concept of Maya is quite difficult for many to understand. Many people hear Lakshmi, Chandi, Durga, Saraswathee etc, and get confused by thinking that they are used is in the same context as Hindu worship.
Daas cannot remember who has said this (please share if you know Sangat Ji) but this concept perfectly introduces this topic. Imagine explaining difficult concepts such as prosperity, destruction, wisdom, & arts to the average illiterate person. It would be hard for them to wrap their heads around all of these and at the same time engrain their details. What if these concepts were represented by characters? Prosperity is personified by Lakshmi, Power/Strength is personified by Durga, Wisdom, and Arts are personified by Saraswathee yet all of these Devi's are different aspects of the Originating Devi ~ Aad Shakti ~ Primal Power. This is the Ultimate Form of Worship for those of the Saakath tradition (Shaktism) yet even this Aad Shakti comes from Vaheguru. If you were to take away all of the names and only leave behind the concepts then you understand the truth. Guru Sahib blesses us with the understanding that all of these powers belong to Vaheguru. From Nirankaar (no creation/unmanifested), Maharaj has created an Initial Power. From this Initial Power came multiple different sub-powers.
Note: Saakath is usually translated as a skeptic but what Saakath really refers to is someone who thinks that this creation/universe/manifestation is reality. The Gurmukh is able to transcend this creation by seeing the Truth: Vaheguru is everywhere and also outside of this creation while being within it.
Sant Giani Surjit Singh Mehron Wale explain this in a perfect manner within Pavithar Jeevan (Jeevani of Dhan Dhan Mata Sahib Devaan Ji). The following is a paraphrased selection of the introduction (bhoomikaa):
 'The Indivisible Nirgun (Formless) Akaal Purakh had a 'thought' and then They manifested the Expansion of Maya. From One word, They established Their Creation. From 5 elements came all of the different galaxies and Vaheguru became the Master of All Realms and became present in All Bodies.
 That Initial Creative Energy (Kudhrath) created Incarnations of Creative Energy (like Brahmaa, etc). From One Maya, came 100,000s and then from 100,000s came 100,000 more, and so on. In Every Power of Kaal Purakh, there are 10,000,000 Brahmands (Universes). Every Brahmand has 10 Avatar-like beings, many sage-like beings like Vyas Muni, Religious Scholars, Beings like Prophet Muhammad, and The Companions Associated with Them. All of this is from The One Maya.
 Akaal Purakh is watching this Entire Play of Theirs & to save Their Saints or to maintain order. Vaheguru takes on forms like Chandikaa and Narsingh. Vaheguru is ‘Agam’ (meaning we can't comprehend what Vaheguru is) but They pervade throughout Their Kudhrath (Energy). Maharaj are the Holder of All Sorts of Power and give Their Lovers the Bibek Buddhee (mindset to be able to differentiate between what is Real and what is not real).
 Maharaj comes in different forms to care for Their Mother Earth. In this same way, Waheguru took on the Form of 10 Guru Sahibs with Their Wives – representing the Energy They wield (Aad Shakti, Bhavani, Kudhrath...).
 There is a Katha from when Dhan Dhan Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj were about to leave Their Physical Body. A Gursikh named Bhai Santokh Singh tried to grasp Maharaj's Feet and he wasn't able to. This event was to teach that Waheguru's Form is not of the 5 elements. In Suraj Prakash, there is a reference to Maharaj Ji's Bachans: "In reality, I do not have any form... for your Love... for the saving of this Sansaar... for you to focus on... I have taken on 10 Forms... now you can see Me in the Form of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji Maharaj. I was the Form of Shabad and I still am the Form of Shabad. Don't misunderstand that I am a physical body. I have taken on the Sargun Saroop (Form) for your benefit"
 Maya (Energy) is what has developed this entire creation, the One who wields Maya also pervades within it. When Vaheguru are not in Manifestation then They are Pure Nirgun. In order to take Sargun form, Vaheguru takes on the Form/Qualities of Maya. In reality, it is all One but because of our ignorance, it seems different and we develop a Nirgun/Sargun divided way of approaching it.
 So where do weapons come in? Maharaj has made the Path of Understanding these difficult spiritual concepts easier -- especially for those who constantly surround themselves with a battle-ready mentality'.
Nirgun Vaheguru = Warrior, Maya/Sargun = Weapons
 The Warrior wields the Weapons and all of the Force comes from the Warrior. The Use of the Weapon is dependent on the Warrior but not the other way around.
Vaheguru's Game of 'Hide & Go Seek'

Translation below:

'Just like a child in the village may hide and tell all the kids to look for him/her (playing 'Hide & Go Seek')... the child uses multiple different ways to hide themselves. They may use grass, clothes, or any other cover to hide. In the same way, Akaal Purakh (Pure-Formless Vaheguru) is playing a game of 'Hide & Go Seek' and using Their Maya as cover. We have to find Akaal Purakh. Those who find the hiding-child, the child tells them to hide with them while the others find them. This can be compared to the Saints who have found Akaal Purakh. Vaheguru then keeps them close. At other times, the Saints tell everyone where Akaal Purakh is (how to find Vaheguru) and that Akaal Purakh was right in front of them the whole time. In this same way, someone who has figured out this play just says remove the veil of Maya (illusion used to hide) and then you will find Akaal Purakh. The person who sees this will say Blessed is the Maya & Blessed is Vaheguru because they realize the Manifest & Unmanifest is a Game. Like Guru Gobind Singh Ji says in Jaap Sahib:
ਖੇਲ ਖੇਲ ਅਖੇਲ ਖੇਲਨ ਅੰਤ ਕੋ ਫਿਰ ਏਕ ॥੮੧॥
Khael Khael Akhael Khaeln A[n]th Ko Phir Ek
Playing the game, they unwrite the game, when it is all over...
it is all merged into the One.
All the doings and undoings are within the Game of Akaal Purakh and will eventually be brought back to the Formless-One Akaal Purakh Vaheguru'
How do we worship then?
In Sri Sukhmani Sahib, Dhan Dhan Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji Maharaj teaches us:
ਨਿਰਗੁਨੁ ਆਪਿ ਸਰਗੁਨੁ ਭੀ ਓਹੀ ॥
nirgun[u] Aap[i] Sargun[u] Bhee Ohee
Vaheguru is the Formless/Attributeless Themselves
but Vaheguru is also the One who takes on the Form


Please watch this video we made to understand worship of Vaheguru better.

There are many people throughout the world that worship this same Vaheguru in different ways. Either in the Absolute Formless or through the qualities of Vaheguru. There is nothing without Vaheguru. Why do people worship certain deities? It is not because of duty but because of the qualities they have. People worship a deity for prosperity, fertility, etc. Vaheguru is the True Giver of All. Knowingly or unknowingly – everyone is worshipping Vaheguru. Knowing the relationship between creation and Vaheguru can help us to be able to see Vaheguru through their creation. We have to realize that we are of the world of Maya. We are currently reading and writing this through Maya. Guru Sahib takes on the form of Maya in order to bring our minds to transcend it to the Formless Vaheguru.
ਜਗੁ ਸੁਪਨਾ ਬਾਜੀ ਬਨੀ ਖਿਨ ਮਹਿ ਖੇਲੁ ਖੇਲਾਇ ॥
Jag[u] Supanaa Baajee Banee Khin Mah[i] Khael[u] Khaelaae[i]
The World is a Dream, created as a Play/Movie, in a second the entire play is acted [or in a second the game is played out]
ਸੰਜੋਗੀ ਮਿਲਿ ਏਕ ਸੇ ਵਿਜੋਗੀ ਉਠਿ ਜਾਇ ॥
Sa[n]jogee Mil[i] Aek Sae Vijogee Utt[i] Jaae[i]
There are those who unite with the One-Vaheguru
and there are those who leave it while still separated [and suffering]

(Dhan Dhan Sri Guru Nanak Dev Sahib Ji in Sree Raag, Ang 18)
There are many questions that arise about other beings and whether they are real or not. When one realizes that this entire world is like a dream/mirage then we are as real as them. The only real/truth that exists is that which brings you closer to reality. If there are stories and concepts that bring you closer to worshipping Vaheguru and snapping the mind out of this misperception then it is better to attach to them than to continue in duality.

Sant Jarnail Singh Ji receiving Darshan of Mata Sahib Deva Ji. Through Mata Ji, Sant Ji were able to get Darshan of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj (there is a deeper spiritual secret behind this)

Those who transcend this Maya by understanding its nature,
then this Maya becomes a helper:
ਨਾਨਕ ਹਰਿ ਨਾਮੁ ਜਿਨੀ ਆਰਾਧਿਆ ਅਨਦਿਨੁ ਹਰਿ ਲਿਵ ਤਾਰ ॥
Naanak Har[i] naam[i] Jinee Aaraadhhiaa Andhin[u] Liv Thaar
Guru Sahib: whoever has concentrated on the Name of Vaheguru,
they have a Divine Stream of connection – Day & Night
ਮਾਇਆ ਬੰਦੀ ਖਸਮ ਕੀ ਤਿਨ ਅਗੈ ਕਮਾਵੈ ਕਾਰ ॥
Maaeiaa Ba[n]dhee Khasam Kee Thin Agai Kamaavai Kaar
Maya is the Slave of Vaheguru and so, carries out the actions of the Worshippers of Vaheguru
(Dhan Dhan Guru Amardas Sahib Ji Maharaj in Raag Aasaa, Ang 90)
In the 1st Bani of Sri Sarbloh Granth, Vaheguru Ji are being worshipped through Their Power. Through Their Power, we remember Vaheguru. In Usthath Sree Maya Lachhmee Jee Kee, Vaheguru is referred to in feminine terms because they take on Maya to do Kaar. This distinction is made to differentiate Sargun & Nirgun.
The Formless Vaheguru does not act (Akrai/Akaram). Just like electricity runs through an appliance but the electricity does not do the action, it is the device or appliance which acts. Thus, Sargun-Vaheguru still has Formless-Vaheguru within it. It may appear separated and in multiples but it is all actually One.
The Very Form of all of this Maya is represented by Mata Sahib Devaa Jee. Mata Sahib Devaa Jee is wedded to Dhan Dhan Sri Guru Gobind Singh Jee Maharaj (representing Sargun & Nirgun). Our Guru Sahib's History contains these spiritual secrets within it but the average person is too lost in the illusion to care. If you made it this far, please read this section again. This is meant for – the jagiyaasoo's (spiritual seekers) – those who truly wish to be liberated and not those who wish to argue.
Hopefully, this is enough information to be able to begin reading Sri Sarbloh Granth accurately. If not, please continue to do Ardaas to Maharaj. Please start to read all Gurbani with these concepts in mind and it will change your way of reciting. Please forgive any mistakes and do make any suggestions.
Guru Panth Da Daas,

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