Tao-Te-Ching 成象(Understanding Maya, s. 6)

Tao-Te-Ching 成象(Understanding Maya, s. 6)
World's Largest Calligraphy: Monumental scrolls of Tao-Te-Ching, Nanjing Int'l Expo Center (Wang Qiming, 2014)

Please see the previous sections before reading this one: https://sikh-translations.ghost.io/tag/commentaries/

In the previous sections, Lao Tse Ji have gone into the relationship between this manifestation (Sargun) and the Formless (Nirgun). Please see these before reading this section. This is another section that grows upon this understanding.

ੴ ਸਤਿਗੁਰਪ੍ਰਸਾਦਿ

Literal: Aad Shakti (谷神, Goddess of Creation) does not die (不死)
Interpretation: The Initial Energy which belongs to the Creator Vaheguru is eternal
Lit: Can be described as (是谓) the Feminine Mysteriousness (玄牝)
Int: This Creative Energy is what we can refer to as Maya.
Lit: [From] the Gate of (之门) Feminine Mysteriousness (玄牝)
Int: From the Initial Shakti [acting as a gate between Nirankaar and Akaar]
Lit: Is (是) what we call (谓) the root (根) of manifestation (谓玄 heavens and earth)
Int: N/A

Maya is not a separate entity or being as it may seem. Vaheguru is the One Doer, nothing is outside of this. When Vaheguru created this manifestation, that process and power are referred to as Aad Shakti (The Goddess is a personification of this energy/process). From Aad Shakti came the 3 quality and 5 Elemental creation as has been discussed before.
Maharaj uses weaponry as a way to understand Shakti. In Chandi Di Vaar, Guru Sahib explain how the Khanda was made first upon which the entire creation came from:
ਖੰਡਾ ਪ੍ਰਿਥਮੈ ਸਾਜਿ ਕੈ; ਜਿਨ ਸਭ ਸੈਸਾਰੁ ਉਪਾਇਆ ॥
Kha[n]daa Prithhmai Saaj[i] Kai Jin Sabh Saisaar[u] Oupaaeiaa
First the Khanda was arranged from which this entire constantly-changing universe originated from
ਬ੍ਰਹਮਾ ਬਿਸਨ ਮਹੇਸ ਸਾਜਿ; ਕੁਦਰਤੀ ਦਾ ਖੇਲੁ ਰਚਾਇ ਬਣਾਇਆ ॥
Brahmaa Bisan Mahaes Saaj[i] Kudharathee Dhaa Khael[u] Rachaae[i] BaNaaeiaa
Brahma Vishnu Mahesh (personifications of Rajogun, Satogun, Tamogun) were [then] arranged, the play of creative power began.
(2nd Pauree)

Like a board game, this board of manifestation has been laid out and wrapped up many times. Yet throughout all this, the Player Vaheguru remains constant. Maharaj moves the pieces:
ਜਬ ਉਦਕਰਖ ਕਰਾ; ਕਰਤਾਰਾ ॥
Jab Oudhkarakh Karaa Karthaaraa
When the Expansion came to be through Doer-Vaheguru
ਪ੍ਰਜਾ ਧਰਤ; ਤਬ ਦੇਹ ਅਪਾਰਾ ॥
Prajaa Dhharath Thab Dhaeh Apaaraa
They took on the Form of the Subjects (like a Kingdom’s Loyal Subjects), then Vaheguru had endless amount of bodies
ਜਬ ਆਕਰਖ; ਕਰਤ ਹੋ ਕਬਹੂੰ ॥
Jab Aakarkh Karath Ho Kabahoo[n]
When Vaheguru retracts everything [back], which Maharaj does time-to-time
ਤੁਮ ਮੈਂ ਮਿਲਤ; ਦੇਹ ਧਰ ਸਭਹੂੰ ॥੩੮੯॥
Thum Mai[n] Milath Dhaeh Dhhar Sabhahoo[n]
All of the bodies/forms which you had taken on, merge back into You
(Sri Charitropakhyan/Benti Chaupai Sahib)

This existence is just like how a video game is played. Although your in-game character may appear different, it is You who controls it. This is how Vaheguru controls everything. The character is not a separate entity from Vaheguru. Just like Vaheguru is not separate from Their creation. The video game depends on the Player but the Player does not depend on the video game.

All 3 below are encompassed into the One Non-Dual Vaheguru:
Nirgun – Maha-Maya – Akaar/Maya
Formless – Initial Energy – Creation

Dhan Dhan Guru Arjan Dev Sahib Ji wonderfully explain this further:
ਤੀਨਿ ਗੁਣਾ; ਇਕ ਸਕਤਿ ਉਪਾਇਆ ॥
Theen[i] GuNaa Eik Sakath[i] Oupaaeiaa
Creating the 3 qualities (Rajo, Sato, Tamo) from One Energy
ਮਹਾ ਮਾਇਆ; ਤਾ ਕੀ ਹੈ ਛਾਇਆ ॥
Mahaa Maaeiaa Thaa Kee Hai Chhaeiaa
Maha-Maya is Vaheguru’s Shadow
(Raag Gond, Ang 868)

When we understand this manifestation is a dream, then we begin to see Vaheguru as the Truth/Permanent One. When we put our focus/attention towards something in this manifestation, we should remember that it is a shadow of Vaheguru. The manifestation should draw us back to Vaheguru. Vaheguru’s Creative Power is unlimited because it belongs to the Unlimited Vaheguru.

Lit: It seems to exist (若存) continuously and forever (绵绵)
Int: The play of existence seems real and never-ending
Lit: Don’t(不) use it (用之) strenuously (勤)
Int: Don’t accept it as reality and lose your mind stressing over it

When we watch a film, we often get caught up and project the characters on the screen onto ourselves. When they die or get hurt, it starts to hurt us emotionally. When they get happy, we take on these feelings as well. This is exactly how we get caught up in this manifestation.

Dhan Dhan Guru Gobind Singh Ji Maharaj:
ਮੈ ਹੋ ਪਰਮ ਪੁਰਖ ਕੋ ਦਾਸਾ ॥
Mai Ho Param Purakh Ko Dhaasaa
I am the Slave of the Highest Being
ਦੇਖਨਿ ਆਯੋ ਜਗਤ ਤਮਾਸਾ ॥
Dhaekhan[i] Aayo Jagath Thamaasaa
[I] have come to see this Play
(Bachithar Naatak)

Acting as a witness to the manifestation is the best way to perceive it. Surrendering the mind to Vaheguru’s Hukam is better than having expectations for the film/characters. Just watch in a detached state and avoid getting yourself absorbed. When you emotionally invest in the characters, you will want to control the direction of the film. You’ll feel empty once the film ends.

Dhan Dhan Guru Nanak Dev Ji Maharaj use the akhar to explain to us about this emotional attachment to this manifestation:
ਮੰਮੈ ਮੋਹੁ ਮਰਣੁ ਮਧੁਸੂਦਨੁ ਮਰਣੁ ਭਇਆ ਤਬ ਚੇਤਵਿਆ ॥
Ma[n]mai Moh[u] MaraN[u] Madhhsoodhan[u] MaraN[u] Bhaeiaa Thab Chaethviaa
- stands for the Moh (attachment) which leads to [spiritual] death, Vaheguru is only remembered when death has arrived
ਕਾਇਆ ਭੀਤਰਿ, ਅਵਰੋ ਪੜਿਆ; ਮੰਮਾ ਅਖਰੁ ਵੀਸਰਿਆ ॥੨੮॥
Kaaeiaa Bheethar[i] Avaro Parhhiaa Ma[n]maa Akhar[u] Veesariaa
Within the Body, other akhars were read out and the akhar for Marna/Mauth (Death) was forgotten.
(Patee Likhee)

Recognize the constantly changing nature of the world, it will always be this way. Vaheguru remains constant. The dream arises and ends. The Dreamer is forever. The Witness and the Dreamer are One.

Dhan Dhan Guru Amardas Sahib Ji tell us about how one reaches the state of realization:
ਸੰਸਾ ਇਹੁ ਸੰਸਾਰੁ ਹੈ; ਸੁਤਿਆ. ਰੈਣਿ ਵਿਹਾਇ॥
Sa[n]saa Eih[u] Sa[n]saar[u] Hai Suthiaa RaiN[i] Vihaae[i]
This world is ever-changing, the nights are spent asleep [to spiritual reality]
ਇਕਿ ਆਪਣੈ ਭਾਣੈ ਕਢਿ ਲਇਅਨੁ; ਆਪੇ ਲਇਓਨੁ ਮਿਲਾਇ ॥
Eik[i] AapaNai BhaaNai Katd[i] Laeian[u] Aapae Leion[u] Milaae[i]
Vaheguru wakes them up when Vaheguru wants to, [then] merges them back within Vaheguru
(Sri Raag, Ang 36)

With Vaheguru’s Kirpa, our minds can actualize this Harmony. May Maharaj shine This Light onto our lives. Remember from the previous section, we saw that Maya was like a rope perceived as a snake. The snake never existed but the rope is forever. Maya may seem like a never-ending snake but unlimitedness is a trait of the rope. This is the same way we may misperceive Maya as separate from Vaheguru but it is actually One.

Please forgive any mistakes. Let us know of any clarifications required or corrections in applying Gurbani to Tao-Te-Ching.

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