Sri Guru Granth Sahib encapsulates the story of human life:
He came into the world to obtain the four great blessings,
he came to dwell in the home of energy and matter.
But he forgot the One Lord, and he has lost the game.
The four blessings are Dharm, Arth, Kaam, and Moksh. The human being is to use the physical assets available (Arth, Kaam), in a principled manner (Dharm), and work towards self-realisation (Moksh). But why is the game being lost?
He came to the world with that one purpose,
But his life is consumed by the enticements of Maya.
In his seminal writings, Bhai Gurdas writes about King Janak, and introduces us to a remarkable thought. The Gurmukh is one who is always turned towards God. In defining the Gurmukh, Bhai Gurdas mentions this state as mayavichudasi – the renunciate amongst possessions. The Gurmukh also interacts with the physical Maya – Arth and Kaam – but in a dharmic framework, to move for moksh. All the four attributes are engaged with holistically, at the same time, and in the same geographic space.
Sometimes, we conduct this engagement in a disjointed manner. We engage with Arth and Kaam in youth, and pursue Dharm and Mokshat an older age. We look for Maya in our workplace, and for God in the temple.
We fail, because the four blessings when pursued in harmony, remain blessings; pursued separately, they become fearful curses.
We cannot seek Maya in our office and factory, and God in the temple. Symptoms of this malady are abundantly found in society, with greed and corruption in the workplace, and “holy” places not fragrant with His name, but reeking of arrogance and intolerance.
By identifying with Maya, we become as false as Maya,
Identify with Him, and we become exalted, merge in Him.