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.
nānak ant na japan̖ī hari ke pārāvār.
āpi karāe sākhatī phiri āpi karāe mār.
ikn̖ā galī janjīrīā iki turī caṛahi bisīār.
āpi karāe kare āpi haü kai siu karī pukār.
nānak karṇā jini kīā phiri tis karṇī sār.23.
Literal Translation
Interpretive Transcreation
Poetical Dimension
Guru Nanak continues and asks, what kind of service is it if we are only doing it out of fear of 1Force (One Universal Integrative Force, the Sovereign, also referred to as 1-Ness)? Service rooted in fear cannot be genuine, because if we are motivated by fear then we are still calculating and trying to do whatever we think will score us the most points. We experience this when we are children and we make decisions because we are scared of how our parents will react. We experience this when we see 1Force as a stern father-figure, or fixate on ideas of karma and point systems, worried about the next life and “leveling up.” What does it look like when that fear shifts? The devotee becomes like the Beloved when the fear is gone, when the fear transforms into reverence over time. When a child does something out of respect for their parents, when we do something out of love for the One. That service is rooted in reverence and freedom, where the devotee is lost in the Sovereign, when there is no difference between the two, when the lover becomes one with the Beloved.