Deeming the unrealistic world as real and considering Parmatma and self as to dual entities is Maya.
One day Sudama wished to have a glimpse of God’s Maya (illusion). He had heard a lot about Maya but never understood what it was as he was always surrendered to God.
One day, he finally asked Lord Krishna, “What is Maya? What is the form of Maya? How does Maya untangle a man?” He directly sought answers of these questions from Lord Krishna and kept requesting him to show a glimpse of Maya.
Lord Krishna replied that when time comes he shall give him the answers and also show him Maya. Then he said, “Let us go to Yamuna to take bath.” Both of them came to the banks of Yamuna to take bath. After taking bath, Lord Krishna started dressing in Yellow and in the meantime Sudama whent to take a dip in water. At the time of taking dip, Sudama felt that the river was flooded and he was being washed away in it. With great difficulty, by taking the help of a small Rock he came out of the river.
Perplexed and hungry, Sudama was roaming about and finally reached a village. There, an elephant garlanded him. People informed him that their King had died and it is their country’s rule that after the death of their king, whosoever is garlanded by the elephant would be the next king.
The coronation ceremony of Sudama was done. After sometime, he got married and had two sons during the twelve years of his married life. Thereafter, one day his wife passed away. Sudama started weeping in sorrow. People tried to console him. They informed him that it was Mayapuri’s rule that he too would be sent wherever his wife went. He too would have to enter his wife’s funeral pyre.
Sudama was shell shocked to hear this. Now, he forgot mourning the demise of his wife and started weeping for himself. He said that since he was a foreigner, this rule should not be applicable to him.
When people did not listen to him and were making him sit in the pyre, he requested for permission to worship the river once last time. People allowed him to do that and sent four people to keep an eye on him.
Sudama could see death approaching him and in this fear, chanting Lord Krishna’s name, he took a dip in the river and came out crying. Just then, he saw Lord Krishna Standing and getting dressed in yellow. Lord Krishna asked Sudama as to why was he weeping
Sudama was already stunned and when he saw Lord Krishna he was astonished too. He asked Krishna “Where did all that vanish? What all is happening? I am not able to understand anything.”
Lord Krishna said, “This is my Maya.” Maya means “forgetfulness”. Illusion, unreal, myth, ignorance, etc. are Maya. One who forgets me, the God, and thinks that the world is the only truth and is always engrossed in it, he is entrapped in Maya. Deeming the unrealistic world as real and considering Parmatma and self as to dual entities is Maya.
Despite living in the materialistic world, Maya could not touch Sudama till he was devoted or surrendered towards God but as soon as he forgot the God, he was trapped in Maya . In the same manner, worldly man forgetting God, gets entangled in Maya and spends the whole life experiencing joys and sorrows.
Despite living in the materialistic world, if we think of God at every moment (which is possible) then along with enjoying the bliss of God, we can live our worldly life too to the fullest.