Maa-ei-aa hoee Naagganee Jagath rehee lapattee.
Eis kee saeva jo karae tis hee ko fir khaaee. (SGGS 510)
ਮਾਇਆ ਹੋਈ ਨਾਗਨੀ ਜਗਤਿ ਰਹੀ ਲਪਟਾਇ ॥
ਇਸ ਕੀ ਸੇਵਾ ਜੋ ਕਰੇ ਤਿਸ ਹੀ ਕਉ ਫਿਰਿ ਖਾਇ ॥
Naaganee means snake. Jagath refers to the world. Lapattee means to cling. Maa-ei-aa is likened to a snake in Gurbani. It is said to be very poisonous and it likes to cling to others. Whosoever goes near to it gets beaten and devoured by it.
What exactly is Maa-ei-aa? Guruji says this about Maa-ei-aa:
Eaih Maa-ei-aa jith Har visarai, Moh oupajai, bhaao dhooja
laa-ei-aa. (SGGS 921)
ਏਹ ਮਾਇਆ ਜਿਤੁ ਹਰਿ ਵਿਸਰੈ ਮੋਹੁ ਉਪਜੈ ਭਾਉ ਦੂਜਾ ਲਾਇਆ ॥
Visarai is to separate. Bhaao means Love. Dhooja is the other. Meaning: Maa-ei-aa (also spelt maya) has the ability to create DUALITY in our minds. This duality leads to a separation between us and God. It makes us love and develop attachment for the OTHER and forget about God.
What is the OTHER? God is ONE and everything else is termed as the other. Everything that is created by God is the other. Therefore the other refers to the creation.
Who is more important? Who should I form an attachment to? God or the creation?
Maa-ei-aa’s work is to put that doubt into our mind. It makes us fall in love with the creation and forget about God. A mind that is under the grip of maa-ei-asa is attached strongly to the creation. This kind of mind has a few distinctive characteristics.
1) It becomes a begging mind:
Koee bheekhakh bheekhia khai. (SGGS 354)
ਕੋਈ ਭੀਖਕੁ ਭੀਖਿਆ ਖਾਇ ॥
Bheekhakh means a beggar. Bheekhia means alms:
Meaning: A mind under the grip of maa-ei- aa acts like a beggar. It has a beggar’s mentality. It comes to GOD with only one purpose and that is to fulfil its desires. It does not have the intention of building a loving relationship with Him. It never stops asking for worldly things.
2) It becomes an unsatiable mind:
The second type of mind in the grip of maa-ei-aa is the insatiable mind.
Koee Raaja rehiaa semaae. (SGGS 354)
ਕੋਈ ਰਾਜਾ ਰਹਿਆ ਸਮਾਇ ॥
In this category are people who have more than enough of everything but their minds are insatiable.
Example of people in this category are kings, politicians, millionaires, billionaires etc. They are rich and powerful but they fear losing their millions. They spend all their energy to increase their monetary worth to protect their inheritance. They like to hoard.
3) The boasters and show off type of mind:
The third type of mind in the grip of maa-ei-aa is the one hungry for respect and honour.
Kis hee Maan, kisai abhimaan. (SGGS 354)
ਕਿਸ ਹੀ ਮਾਨੁ ਕਿਸੈ ਅਪਮਾਨੁ ॥
Maan means respect/ honour. Abhimaan means dishonour/ disgrace. In this category are the boasters and the show offs. They will do anything to show their difference from the ordinary folk. They are very concerned about their image and status in society.
Bhagat Kabirji says that many of the things done by these people are solely to protect their noses and their ears. They like to keep their noses high in society. They do things so that people will praise them and they love to hear their own praises. Everything they do is for show.
Maa-ei-aa is the creation of God. Very rare are those who understand this. Bhagat ji says it can be brought under control with the teachings of the Guru.
The desire for glory and honour is because of the effects of maa-ei-aa on the mind of man. Human beings easily fall prey to it but the men of God are able to fight and release themselves from the bondage.
The method Bhagatji used is as follows:
Naakahu kaattee kaanahu kaattee kaatt koott kai ddaaree. (Rehao) (SGGS 476)
ਨਾਕਹੁ ਕਾਟੀ ਕਾਨਹੁ ਕਾਟੀ ਕਾਟਿ ਕੂਟਿ ਕੈ ਡਾਰੀ ॥
Naakahu means nose. Kaanahu means ears. Meaning: Kabirji says I know maa-ei-aa works through the nose and the ears. The nose likes to show off and the ears love to hear it’s praises. I have made both of these ineffective. I am now not affected either by praise or by criticism anymore.
Both praise and criticism is bad because when praise comes the ego gets inflated and when criticism comes it brings sorrow and pain.
Kinehi bibaekee kaatee thoon. (Rehao) (SGGS 476)
ਕਿਨਹਿ ਬਿਬੇਕੀ ਕਾਟੀ ਤੂੰ ॥੧॥ ਰਹਾਉ ॥
Bibaekee means a wise person. A person who learns from the Guru how maa-ei-aa works and uses this knowledge and work on himself to make it ineffective is wise.
Guruji says the rest of the world is drowning under its negative effects:
Maa-ei-aa mamatha mohanee jin vin dhanthaa jag khaa-ei-aa. (SGGS 643)
ਮਾਇਆ ਮਮਤਾ ਮੋਹਣੀ ਜਿਨਿ ਵਿਣੁ ਦੰਤਾ ਜਗੁ ਖਾਇਆ ॥
Mohanee means enticing. Dhantha means teeth. Meaning: Maa-ei-aa is very enticing. Without teeth it has managed to eat the whole world.
Surinder Kaur Sohan Singh is a Malaysia-based Gurbani enthusiast. This is an edited version of her regular articles shared within a circle of fellow Sikhi seekers. The articles appear on Mondays and Thursdays.
* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.
Day 23: Here comes the storm of spiritual wisdom (Asia Samachar, 11 Oct 2018)
Day 22: The offering that God expects from us (Asia Samachar, 8 Oct 2018)
Day 21: Fareeda jaa lab taa nayhu kiaa? (Asia Samachar, 5 Oct 2018)