Our guru Srila Prabhupada defined maya: maya is that which is not. We are attracted to the various temptations in the world thinking they will make us happy—if I have this, if I am this, if I get this, I’ll be happy. But actually, it is like a spider’s web.
The spider’s web is very symbolic of how the world works. For the fly there is nothing more beautiful than a spider’s web. It is flying around all day landing on all these hard surfaces, and here it finds a really nice soft web to relax. It is the most attractive thing to a fly, just so comfortable and appealing. But the problem is it is not what it appears to be. It traps the fly and causes it suffering.
It is said that we should see though the eyes of the scriptures not through these eyes. Seeing through the eyes of scriptures we can see the world as it is, but seeing through these eyes everything appears to be something that it is really not. False promises are what maya is all about. maya is promising that our happiness is in proportion to the position we have, to the possessions we have, but actual happiness is according to the substance of who we are. Whether we have much or we have little, real happiness is in our own meaningful substantial life and how we are connected to the divine.