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.
m: 1.
paṛi pustak sandhiā bādaṅ. sil pūjasi bagul samādhaṅ.
mukhi jhūṭh bibhūkaṇ sāraṅ. traipāl tihāl bicāraṅ.
gali mālā tilaku lilāṭaṅ. dui dhotī bastra kapāṭaṅ.
je jāṇasi brahmaṅ karmaṅ. sabhi phokaṭ niscaü karmaṅ.
kahu nānak nihcaü dhiāvai. viṇu satigur vāṭ na pāvai.2.
Literal Translation
Interpretive Transcreation
Poetical Dimension
Guru Nanak gives specific examples of these kinds of powerful people, focusing on religious experts in the Brahmanical context. These experts read the books and prepare for the debate, they worship idols and sit like cranes with their eyes closed in meditation, but from their mouths, come all sorts of lies. They lie so eloquently, with such skill, with such sharp tongues that their lies come out looking like gold and gems. They read and reflect on their mantras three times a day, they wear garlands around their necks, and religious marks on their foreheads, they wear the uniform of the brahmin. They say this is how we recognize the real Brahmin — through their clothes and their rituals. This is how we recognize any person given a certain spiritual or religious status. They wear a certain uniform. They have a certain appearance that we interpret as “looking the part.” They perform certain rituals that make them more credible in our eyes. They play their part perfectly. But, Guru Nanak says, all of this is worthless — the uniform and the deeds. This is the realization we will have, when, with the eternal Wisdom (the true Guru, the one who brings enlightenment-light by dispelling ignorance-darkness), we remember IkOankar (1Force, One Universal Integrative Force, also referred to as 1-Ness) in loving devotion.