This pauri (stanza), revealed by Guru Nanak Sahib, is accompanied by five saloks. The first salok comprises two lines, followed by two separate lines of ‘rahau,’ while the second salok comprises three. The first and second saloks describe the Sikh perspective on pain (dukh) and comfort (sukh). The third salok, which contains four lines, explains that devotion to IkOankar (the Divine) ought to be important to everyone. The fourth salok comprises three lines and designates IkOankar as the only source of illumination, the supreme, and the original source of all consciousness. The fifth salok, which contains two lines, highlights the importance of the Guru as the source of all wisdom essential for mental equipoise. This pauri reveals that in contrast to institutional education, truthful conduct is the only measure of significance in the court of IkOankar.
saloku m: 1. Ki Var & section:Pauri 12 & footnote:4>
dukhu dārū sukhu rogu bhaiā   sukhu tāmi na hoī.
tūṁ kartā karṇā mai nāhī haü karī na hoī.1.
balihārī kudrati vasiā. terā antu na jāī lakhiā.1. rahāu.
jāti mahi joti joti mahi jātā akal kalā bharpūri rahiā.
tūṁ sacā sāhibu siphati suāl̖iu jini kītī so pāri païā.
kahu nānak karte kīā bātā jo kichu karṇā su kari rahiā.2.
Literal Translation
Interpretive Transcreation
Poetical Dimension
Guru Nanak starts out this verse by talking about pain. The Guru says that suffering has become the cure, and happiness, or comfort, a disease. This is not about physical suffering, but instead about any of the various spiritual ailments, one might experience — psychological, mental, and emotional suffering. The Guru tells us that suffering from these spiritual ailments can be the cure for the ailments themselves. When there is too much pleasure or sense indulgence, or even just a sense of security and comfort, these things can actually become maladies, because when we are comfortable or when we have been swallowed by those sense indulgences, there is no Longing for connection with 1Force (IkOankar, One Universal Integrative Force, also referred to as 1-Ness). Guru Nanak says this suffering or pain is the cure because it allows us to reflect, it lifts us out of our indulgence and into introspection.

But Guru Nanak does not dwell on the pain. In the next line, the focus is on the infinite Creator or IkOankar. The Guru says, even when we are talking about Your infinitude, the pain must be located in this context. Our pain cannot be the biggest thing in the room. In fact, the Guru acknowledges that our pain is not the biggest thing out there. This is a shift in perspective, a conscious contextualizing and a zooming out, situating all of us not within our suffering, but within all of creation as a whole, within the vastness of 1Force. The Guru addresses this creation’s infinite Creator and says, You are residing in the creation and I adore you. I cannot measure your limits or grasp them. You do everything and I cannot do anything, and when I am in pain, I remember you.

We have all experienced this feeling, even the most religious of us — when we are in desperation or need, we pray to anyone, we make promises to the sky, we feel small and helpless and we remember this nothingness we are a part of. We remember that we are nothing. This is when that feeling of Longing comes back, when we are reminded that our indulgence or comfort is not everything, that there is something else, much bigger than we can even fathom.

Guru Nanak continues addressing 1Force, saying, everything is within You and born out of You, You are all-pervading, You are the eternal One. The Guru then reflexively gets into the higher kind of Longing for connection to this all-pervading eternal One.

If You are the Light, the Dweller in all things, if You are indescribable and transcendental, if You are the creation itself and the songs of Your praise are magnificent, then why is my song something else? Finally, Guru Nanak ends with a series of statements: The mysteries of the Creator are unfathomable, only the Creator knows them. Whatever needs to be done, the Creator continues to do that in accordance with the Will.