This pauri (stanza), revealed by Guru Nanak Sahib, is accompanied by two saloks. The first salok comprises nine lines and mocks the fake notions of purity regarding food observed by Hindu priests (Brahmin). The second salok contains eight lines and admonishes those who consider women lower in status while depicting the woman’s greatness in human life. This pauri equates Brahmin and Shudra, men and women, all as equals. Therefore, no one can be considered inferior.
saloku m: 1.
pahilā sucā āpi hoi sucai baiṭhā āi.
suce agai rakhionu koi na bhiṭio jāi.
sucā hoi kai jeviā lagā paṛaṇi saloku.
kuhathī jāī saṭiā kisu ehu lagā dokhu.
annu devtā pāṇī devtā baisantaru devtā lūṇu pañjvā pāiā ghirtu.
hoā pāku pavitu.
pāpī siu tanu gaḍiā thukā paīā titu.
jitu mukhi nāmu na ūcarahi binu nāvai ras khāhi.
nānak evai jāṇiai titu mukhi thukā pāhi.1.
Literal Translation
Interpretive Transcreation
Poetical Dimension
Guru Nanak describes what people do to become pure or keep themselves pure, and how it plays a role in the caste system, with women, in our communities, how the Brahmin presents a false dualism, presenting things divided into categories of unnatural, subnatural, and supernatural — presenting a problem that only he has the solution to. Ultimately, this framework eventually comes down to some physical element and the belief that a physical ritual or act will translate into some nonphysical benefit.

The Guru describes the process: first, the Brahmin purified himself by bathing, before consuming food in the cooking square of his client — a cooking square that was purified with a mop of cow dung paste. Then, the client placed the untouched food in front of the Brahmin (who is considered to be pure). The Brahmin ate that pure food and began reciting the prescribed verses serving the purpose of cleansing and purifying. We clean ourselves and think we have become pure, then we squat in our cooking squares after doing the necessary rituals and call those pure, we recite particular things and claim purity merely from the act of recitation. We extend this idea of physical purity to eating and reciting and various ceremonies which are all done to establish or keep purity. The Brahmin says that the ingredients — grain, water, fire, and salt used to prepare the food are all pure; and when clarified butter is added, the entire meal is sanctified. But after that food is ingested, the Brahmin and every other person who ate it then defecates. That so-called pure food becomes impure excrement and repulses people.

The point the Guru is making here is that physical cleanliness does not translate into internal cleanliness, especially because chasing after some kind of physical impurity is futile — everything is full of life and even the purest things turn into other things. Engaging in physical purification through various rituals will not lead us to metaphysical purity, and the body’s impurity or purity has nothing to do with what we put in our stomachs, what water we use to wash ourselves, or which ceremonies we perform. Real internal and meaningful purification comes when we Identify with 1Force (One Universal Integrative Force, IkOankar). Real internal and meaningful purification comes when Nam (1-Identification) comes out of our mouths — when what is said and felt and lived identifies us with 1Force, instead of “purifying” chants. Guru Nanak says, it is a mouth that does not utter the Identification with 1Force which is defiled.