"jīv jāgo, jīv jāgo, gauracānda bole
kota nidrā jāo māyā-piśācīra kole"
"Lord Gauranga is calling, "Wake up, sleeping souls! Wake up, sleeping souls! How long will you sleep in the lap of the witch called Maya?" - from a song by Bhaktivinode Thakur.
When someone is fast asleep and he needs to woken up, there are two ways to do it. One is "a soft way" and the other, is "the hard way". The soft way is by making a sound or by ringing an alarm and the hard way is by shaking the person up till he wakes up. If the soft way doesn't work then one has to incorporate the hard way. Similarly, there are two ways in which we, the sleeping souls are woken up from our slumber of ignorance and illusion. The first and the soft way is when we wake up from illusion by hearing the sound of the truth, the sound of God, either in the form of His message or in the form of His Holynames. This sound vibration is called "shabda-brahman" or "God in the form of sound". Spiritual sound vibrations have the power to penetrate our thick blanket of illusion and wake us up.
But if we fail to voluntarily wake up from our deep and cozy sleep of illusion then, Maya who is the energy of God wakes us up the hard way - by shaking us and jolting us with the realities of life. When the reality hits, we realize that it was a wake-up call, prodding us to wake up to a life of reality and give up our dream life. So in one sense, God and His energy, Maya do the exact same job in all our lives i.e. wake us up. Just that, God does it the soft way but Maya does it the hard way. Most of us need a sample of both these experiences to wake up. But, if we are slowly, day by day waking up to a life of reality, to a life of the soul then we are faring well in life. We may be slow wakers, that's okay but let us not be adamant sleepers.