This pauri (stanza), revealed by Guru Nanak Sahib, is accompanied by two saloks. The first salok comprises four lines and highlights a true lover, the steadfast love of the Beloved, and juxtaposes it with the character of a false lover. True love is when a person’s affections are exclusively focused on their beloved; they do not desire attention from anyone else. The second salok comprises two lines and describes the state of a disloyal servant who salutes or bows to their Owner but does not obey the Command. Obeying the Command of the Owner is a primary condition for a servant. In an instructive tone, this pauri inspires one to enshrine the remembrance of the Owner in the heart and abstain from wrongdoings while leading a truthful life.
saloku mahalā 2.
eh kinehī āsakī dūjai lagai jāi.
nānak āsaku kāṁḍhīai sad rahai samāi.
caṅgai caṅgā kari manne mandai mandā hoi.
āsaku ehu na ākhīai ji lekhai vartai soi.1.
Literal Translation
Interpretive Transcreation
Poetical Dimension
Guru Angad deals with duality in the context of love in this first verse, posing a rhetorical question: What kind of love is this, if you still have the other love? What is the love that allows you to leave your Beloved and go love someone else? Whereas in previous ballads, duality was contextualized in material attachments, this is specifically about relationships. Guru Angad says, if we are still attached to the other, instead of the One, then this is not love. The Lover is the one who is always remaining with the One. This is about existing in service and devotion to the Beloved, without a second thought or the metaphorical “wandering eyes.” Guru Angad went through this same experience with Guru Nanak, existing in loving service to Guru Nanak. We experience this in our human relationships, too. If in our relationships, we are distracted, if we are easily able to detach from the one we love as soon as someone else comes along who fulfills a need, then we are not truly in love. And this verse is not only about duality in the relationship — it is also about the ways we keep score. We all have tendencies to think if we put in certain things, the people with whom we have any sort of relationship will owe us something in return, that if we give and take, others must do the same. But the problem arises when we mentally keep score, and the relationship becomes about evening the score, or about who owes who what. If we are measuring our relationships and have a list of positives and negatives, if we are judging “goodness” and “badness,” constantly calculating, then we are not lovers. Lovers cannot be calculating or keeping score, they cannot be set on “winning.” Love is not about accepting one thing in one minute because we deem it to be “good,” while rejecting or questioning another thing the next minute because we deem it to be “bad.” If we are still doing that, we cannot be called lovers, because we do not yet understand the depths of love. Lovers operate in a realm beyond consequences and calculations. Lovers are carefree. Guru Angad is telling us that in love, we do not even think to keep score — there is no score. Everything just is.