This pauri (stanza), revealed by Guru Nanak Sahib, is accompanied by two saloks comprising two lines each. The first salok instructs the individual that the pleasure of IkOankar (the Divine) cannot be bought with service; it is a gift received only through the grace of IkOankar. The second salok describes the uniqueness of a servant. It states that the sign of an honest servant is the desire to merge with the Owner. This pauri emphasizes the countless qualities and greatnesses of IkOankar.
saloku mahalā 2.
eh kinehī dātī āpas te jo pāīai.
nānak karmāti sāhib tuṭhai jo milai.1.
Literal Translation
Interpretive Transcreation
Poetical Dimension
Guru Nanak continues with the theme of service in this verse, asking what kind of gift it is that can be obtained by one’s own effort, in order to emphasize that any gift we receive is because of the grace of the Sovereign, a result of the utter happiness of the Sovereign. Gifts are not earned as compensation for doing certain things. There is an element here of answering the yogis who have no concept of grace, who instead chalk all things up to effort. These yogis believe that anything we receive is a result of our own efforts, that we receive the things we deserve due to those efforts. They invoke karma and think that everything we experience, every blessing we receive, is all due to our own actions, having nothing to do with feeling the grace. But Guru Nanak is saying that real grace or the real true miracle is when one is just like the one who serves. This is not like the love we have with children or spouses, we are not trying to become like them. This is about Love with a capital L, when we are so consumed with the Beloved that we want to be like them in every respect. This is not a transactional love, where we silently keep score, adding points to the scoreboard and framing everything within the context of karma and our own actions. This is a Love rooted in devotion and service, a Love which transforms us.