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.
kapaṛu rūpu suhāvaṇā chaḍi dunīā andari jāvaṇā.
mandā caṅgā āpaṇā āpe kīta pāvaṇā.
hukam kīe mani bhāvade rāhi bhīṛai agai jāvaṇā.
naṅgā dojaki cāliā disai kharā ḍarāvaṇā.
kari aügaṇ pachotāvaṇā.14.
Literal Translation
Interpretive Transcreation
Poetical Dimension
Guru Nanak continues to elaborate on this idea of our physical forms and outward appearances (beauty and clothing), saying that when we leave this world, we will be leaving all of these things behind. Those religious experts performing their religiosity do not actually have a grasp on society and culture but they think they do, they think they are the gatekeepers of that culture because they have fulfilled some sort of checklist. All of the things on their checklist are inconsequential in the hereafter. The only thing we will take with us is our actions, good and bad, and this is the basis on which we will deal with consequences, not on the basis of rituals or displays. And those of us who had power and took advantage of other people, who either actively or passively portrayed themselves as powerful and successful and made false displays of humility, those who issued commands to others at their own whims, will eventually have to walk on a narrow path. Guru Nanak specifically invokes the Muslim idea of hell here, incorporating the Abrahamic faiths into this critique. In Islam, it is believed that on the Day of Judgment, every person will walk a narrow path on a bridge, as thin as a strand of hair, towards Paradise. Underneath the bridge are said to be the fires of hell, where any sinner will fall when attempting to cross over this path. Guru Nanak is critiquing those who deal in exclusivist terms — those same people who might be preaching about this narrow path with their false displays of humility and piety will also have to walk the narrow path they have warned us about. The Guru says that if we do not know how to walk on the narrow path, if our minds are not clear, we will fall into hell naked, with none of our displays or guises, uniforms or beautiful appearances. We will be bare, with only our past actions in tow, and we will be full of fear, because we have been operating without virtues.