This pauri (stanza), revealed by Guru Nanak Sahib, is accompanied by three saloks. The first salok, comprising twelve lines, states that the entire creation and its parts are created by the eternal IkOankar (the Divine). All of creation is a manifestation of the eternal IkOankar. The second salok contains nine lines and reflects upon the greatness of IkOankar. In the third salok, comprising five lines, the world is described as the abode of IkOankar. IkOankar administers the creations according to the command of IkOankar. Only those on whom the One showers grace through Wisdom (Guru) can understand this mystery. This pauri reaffirms that the deeds of human beings are judged based on truth, and so, the meaningfulness of human existence lies solely in the practice of living truthfully.
nānak jīa upāi kai   likhi nāvai dharamu bahāliā.
othai sace saci nibaṛai   cuṛi vakhi kaḍhe jajmāliā.
thāu na pāini kūṛiār   muh kāl̖ai dojaki cāliā.
terai nāi rate se jiṇi gae   hāri gae   si ṭhagaṇ vāliā.
likhi nāvai dharamu bahāliā.2.
Literal Translation
Interpretive Transcreation
Poetical Dimension
Guru Nanak is setting a scene, using theatrics to get a point across about the dark picture other religions have created to describe the end time or judgment day.

Dharam is a word that can be explained in many ways: role, responsibility, righteousness, religion, duty, or law. We will explain it using the word Principle — believed to be running, taking care of and evaluating the entire phenomenal expanse. In this scene, Guru Nanak takes us to judgment day as described in other faiths, and refers to the King of Righteousness, who judges all of our deeds or principles, ultimately deciding where we go. In the Indic sense, this figure keeps the accounts (heading up the “Account of Principle”) and decides which door will be opened for each of us when we arrive.

Those who are not in tune with the eternal One, who have not acted in the world with an understanding of the 1Force that pervades creation — they are classified as vice-filled lepers (those who are not as “healthy”) and separated out. These people are sent to “hell” or a state of suffering (again, remembering that this is a scene being set and not a literal description), with “blackened faces” (a poetic phrase seen in Indic texts meant to indicate embarrassment or shame).

Guru Nanak is challenging a scoring system that cares less about what you do and more about what or who you accept as a leader or holy person. In the scene being set, there is no mention of who you must follow in order to be “saved,” but instead what you can do in the world to practice principle-centeredness. The “saving” is the freedom we realize when we are able to see that we have no one to answer to other than the Principle. The practice of behavioral transformation through the Wisdom is the Principle that becomes the basis for evaluation of our lives. Those whose behavior exhibits principle-centeredness, feel the 1Force, and see that door opened for them, here and now.