Guru Arjan Sahib describes the strong influence of Maya over the human mind. Rare are those freed from it by contemplating the virtues of IkOankar (the Divine). Corresponding to the fifteen-day lunar calendar each pauri (stanza) correlates to each day formed by the waxing and waning of the moon. The third pauri depicts how under the influence of Maya, beings are engrossed in sensual pleasures; their lives pass in arrogance, fear, pain, and conflict. To be liberated from this cycle, seekers are advised to pray and seek refuge in IkOankar.
tīni  biāpahi  jagat  kaü   turīā  pāvai  koi.  
nānak    sant  nirmal  bhae   jin  mani  vasiā  soi.3.  
-Guru  Granth  Sahib  297  
Literal Translation
Interpretive Transcreation
Poetical Dimension
In the third salok (couplet), Guru Arjan says, the three qualities of Maya, or attachment to the material and to our worldly relationships, afflict the whole world. Only a rare one finds the fourth quality. The saints have become filth-free, in whose minds the One has dwelled. The three qualities that the Guru invokes on the third lunar day refer to a paradigm in which the whole world is engrossed, of rajo (energy, activity, passion, or ambition; its nature is pain and restlessness), tamo (darkness, ignorance, negativity, or inactivity; its nature is indifference or resistance to action), and sato (knowledge, consciousness, purity, and goodness; its nature is pleasure and happiness). These qualities regulate what people do and what they eat, classify people and food and drink into different categories, and entangle us in a fear-based system that dictates the everyday. The whole world is engrossed in some version of this, whether in the Indic context or other contexts that also classify and regulate our lives. The ones who rise above these three qualities and the system to which they are integral are able to find a fourth quality or state outside of this system. These rare ones are the truth-exemplars and live in a state of contentment and connection with the One.