This pauri (stanza), revealed by Guru Nanak Sahib, is accompanied by two saloks. The first salok comprising six lines, proposes and establishes the perspective of Guru Granth Sahib against the backdrop of the popular understanding of ages in the Sanatan tradition. In the second salok, which comprises fourteen lines, each age correlates to each Veda, symbolically describing the prevalence of all four ages. The end of the salok imparts a lesson in adoration of IkOankar (the Divine). This pauri conveys that an individual can only cross the world-ocean with wisdom from the Guru.
m: 1.
People connect different Vedas, avatars (incarnations) and Divine-principles with different ages. But, through symbolic description of the popular belief, the Guru is explaining that it doesn’t matter in which age or time a person lives, freedom is obtained only through Divine devotion and by staying humble. –Shabdārth, Srī Gurū Granth Sāhib, Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee, Amritsar, 2017, page 470

In some manuscripts the word ‘sāmu’ is noticed.
kahai setambaru suāmī   sac mahi āchai sāci rahe. sabhu ko saci samāvai.
rigu kahai rahiā bharpūri. rām nāmu devā mahi sūru. nāi laïai parāchat jāhi. nānak   taü mokhantaru pāhi.
juj mahi jori chalī candrāvali kān̖ krisanu jādamu bhaïā. pārjātu gopī lai āiā   bindrāban mahi raṅgu kīā.
kali mahi bedu atharbaṇu hūā   nāu khudāī alahu bhaïā.
nīl bastra le kapaṛe pahire   turk paṭhāṇī amalu kīā.
cāre ved hoe saciār. paṛahi guṇahi tin̖ cār vīcar.
bhāü bhagti kari nīcu sadāe. taü nānak   mokhantaru pāe.2.
Literal Translation
Interpretive Transcreation
Poetical Dimension
Guru Nanak focuses this verse on the four main Vedas in accordance with larger Hindu thought, looking at what knowledge is coming into play in each era, and what people believe at large. But the chronology of the Vedas is disrupted, as he starts with the Samved, which in Hindu thought is the fourth Veda.

When the Samved is invoked (associated with Satyug), the Divine wears only white. According to Samved, the white-robed Divine gives a sermon and says, always remain in the Eternal, the One who is always there, the One who is Self-sustained and Self-existent.

When the Rigved is invoked (associated with Treta age), it says that there is immanence, that the Divine is always present in the creation. This is where Ram comes into play, as the powerful entity to complete this cycle. Among the warriors, Ram claims that he is the one fulfilling what is mentioned in the Rigved. People of this time say that Ram is the greatest warrior in this context, and that by taking the name of Ram, identifying with Ram, becoming like Ram, one can be liberated.

When the Yajurved is invoked (associated with Duapur age), the character of Krishan is the focus. Guru Nanak invokes popular folklore and describes the character of Krishan and says that Krishan, who was part of the Yadav clan, used his power to pick up Chandravali in deception, took her away from her home and her husband, brought her to Vrindavan, and pressured her to enter into relations with him. This popular folklore is presented often as a romantic encounter, where the story is spun to paint Krishan in a more flattering light. Guru Nanak also mentions another popular folklore, about Satibhama, who was another one of Krishan’s maidens. Satibhama wanted the famous Parjat tree, known to fulfill wishes. So Krishan went to heaven and stole the tree from Indra, the king of the gods, bringing it down from heaven to earth. While Satibhama and Krishan were married, Krishan was pursuing Chandravali in deception. In both stories, which Guru Nanak mixes together, we see how power was used and misused, how misdeeds with Chandravali were justified or covered up with gifts to Satibhama, how stories like this get spun a certain way. We see this with powerful leaders today, who spin their own stories in ways that are more flattering, who distract the people they have wronged with gifts or status symbols or questions of what is factual and what is not. We see powerful people tell brazen lies, so that the masses fixate on these lies, exhausted with constant fact-checking. Guru Nanak is telling us that these dramas are going on and they are entertaining stories, but we must not get caught up in them. If we get caught up in them, we will focus on the drama itself. If we get distracted by debating facts, we will forget the larger picture.

When the Atharva Veda is invoked (associated with Kalyug), Guru Nanak says, I know your Ved says something else, but I am witnessing this age (this is when the Mughals have come to the subcontinent), and the name that matters is Allah and Khuda, these are the names commonly used for the Divine in this time. And instead of white, now the Muslims and the ruling classes wear Blue, the Turks and Pathans are ruling. Guru Nanak says, according to your system it is the Yajurved but the reality is that we are in the Kalyug.

It was believed that whoever read and reflected on these Vedas, their thoughts became noble and they attained liberation. Guru Nanak says, let us not say that these four Vedas have fulfilled their mission. Recounting past glories does not matter. We can read these and figure out how to get liberation for each era but we must reflect as well, resulting in behavioral change. This is relevant to what we see today, where we fixate on the literalism of any text, particularly religious texts, and allow that literalism to take over. Guru Nanak says, if we are really after freedom, we must live in humility, and exist in loving devotion of 1Force (IkOankar, One Universal Integrative Force, also referred to as 1-Ness).