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.
m: 1.
kumbhe badhā jalu rahai jal binu kumbhu na hoi.
giān badhā manu rahai gur binu giānu na hoi.5.
Literal Translation
Interpretive Transcreation
Poetical Dimension
Guru Nanak focuses this verse on the mind, the greatest of the senses, using an example from worldly life. The Guru uses the metaphor of the pitcher that, by definition and function, stores water. This is an essential part of its pitcher-ness, dependent on storing water. The Guru says that just as without the water in it, the pitcher is not really a pitcher (because it is not fulfilling its central essential role) and the pitcher is necessary to keep the water still, similarly, the mind (the greatest of all senses) of a person can only remain stable when it is confined in the pitcher of the Wisdom’s (the Guru, the one who brings enlightenment-light by dispelling ignorance-darkness) knowledge; knowledge cannot be received without the Wisdom, and without the knowledge, the mind is not even worth calling the mind. We can become the best pitcher we can be, or the best mind we can be, but without the water or the knowledge, we might as well be nothing.