This pauri (stanza), revealed by Guru Nanak Sahib, is accompanied by two saloks. The first salok, which comprises four lines, describes how inconsiderate behavior impacts all aspects of life by centering on the attribute of indifference in human behavior. The second salok, which contains nine lines, highlights truthful and deceitful characteristics by referring to a person’s inner and outer aspects. This pauri highlights the supreme status and all-pervasiveness of IkOankar (the Divine) while encouraging seekers to fulfill their life purpose by self-endeavor while keeping IkOankar in their hearts.
āpe karṇā kio kal āpe tai dhārīai.
dekhahi kītā āpaṇā dhari kacī pakī sārīai.
jo āiā so calasī sabhu koī āī vārīai.
jis ke jīa parāṇ hahi kiu sāhibu manahu visārīai.
āpaṇ hathī āpaṇā āpe kāju savārīai.20.
Literal Translation
Interpretive Transcreation
Poetical Dimension
Guru Nanak ends by addressing 1Force directly, saying: You created this world, you infused consciousness into it, You created good and bad beings, You made all of this happen, You exist in all things, and You are watching this world-play. You will see what is unfulfilled and what is fulfilled. Everything comes and goes — as they come so they pass, in their own time. Then the question is posed: if whatever has life or breath in it, is created by, pervaded by, watched by 1Force, how can we forget the Sovereign, who has gifted us our lives and breath? Guru Nanak connects this to the earlier statements on middlemen and religious elites, superiority complexes and systems of purity and impurity meant to reinforce hierarchies. The Guru says, we must fulfill the purpose of human life with our own hands, instead of depending on anyone else. We must rise and make our own destinies with our own hands, take care of goodness for ourselves, avoid listening to those who speak empty words tastelessly and without inspiration, those who look religious from the outside. We must do what we need to do in order to live in remembrance of the Sovereign, instead of doing what the religious elite’s codes tell us to do.