This pauri (stanza), revealed by Guru Nanak Sahib, is accompanied by two saloks. The first salok comprises eight lines and advises humility for all beings through the metaphor of the Silk-cotton tree, which does not appear valuable but is indeed internally useful. The second salok comprises ten lines and depicts that adoration of IkOankar (the Divine), realized with steadfast conviction, is the path; other ritualistic lifestyles are fruitless. This pauri explains vain individuals that take pride in their ephemeral form and wealth are discourteous to others. They, too, must leave everything behind and depart from this world empty-handed. For these prideful individuals, remorse is their only company.
saloku m: 1.
simmal rukhu sarāirā ati dīragh ati mucu.
oi ji āvahi ās kari jāhi nirāse kitu.
phal phike phul bakbake kammi na āvahi pat.
miṭhatu nīvī nānakā guṇ caṅgiāīā tatu.
sabhu ko nivai āp kaü par kaü nivai na koi.
dhari tārājū tolīai nivai so gaürā hoi.
aprādhī dūṇā nivai jo hantā mirgāhi.
sīsi nivāiai kiā thīai ridai kusudhe jāhi.1.
Literal Translation
Interpretive Transcreation
Poetical Dimension
Guru Nanak uses the extended metaphor of the silk-cotton tree to describe powerful people who outwardly present themselves as being mighty and successful, but who ultimately do not live up to appearances. The silk-cotton tree is tall and thick, and birds come to it with hopes of relishing its flowers and fruits. But they return disappointed, its flowers scentless, its fruits tasteless, and its leaves of no worth. This is a statement about status, that no matter a person’s outward status or appearance, the sweetness cannot be talked about or physically displayed — it is exhibited in one’s sweet humility. We might look up to people we consider to be successful and powerful, these tall and mighty pillars of our communities, large and small, and due to the way they present themselves, we might think that we can go to them for help or advice. We think we can rely on them. But it is those people who present themselves as powerful and humble who might end up disappointing us with their empty talk. When powerful people have empty humility, this is what leads us to disappointment. Guru Nanak talks about the necessity of sweet humility. This sweet humility is the essence of all virtues and goodness. If we are great and high and impressive and beautiful but we are lacking in that sweetness, then what good is any of the rest of it?

Guru Nanak then distinguishes between the appearance of sweet humility and real inner sweet humility. It is not good enough to physically bow in humility, or to claim that we are low, or to perform this sweet humility for other people. If we were to weigh our actions on a scale, we would be able to see who is actually living in sweet humility. Because Guru Nanak says, even a hunter who hunts deer, bows twice as much while taking aim — those who have criminal intent, those who engage in “bad” behaviors will actually bend twice as much as those people who do not engage in these behaviors. What good is it then, to bow our heads if in our hearts there is no sweet humility, no cleansing?