This pauri (stanza), revealed by Guru Nanak Sahib, is accompanied by two saloks. The first salok comprises four lines, and the second salok contains three. Both saloks revolve around the theme of IkOankar (the Divine), the Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer of the entire creation. All pain and pleasure in the life of a being are per the Will. The director of all world-plays is IkOankar alone; all individuals live life per the Will of IkOankar. This pauri demonstrates the indescribable greatness of IkOankar.
vaḍe kīā vaḍiāīā kichu kahaṇā kahaṇu na jāi.
so kartā kādar karīmu de jīā rijaku sambāhi.
sāī kār kamāvaṇī dhuri choḍī tinnai pāi.
nānak ekī bāharī hor dūjī nāhī jāi
so kare ji tisai rajāi.24.1. sudhu
Literal Translation
Interpretive Transcreation
Poetical Dimension
Guru Nanak says, there are countless greatnesses of the Great. Nothing can be said or stated with certainty about them. That 1Force alone is the creator, owner, and bestower of grace, who makes sustenance available to beings, wherever they are. We go wherever 1Force takes us. We perform as the Origin dictates. We may have our judgments, as humans do, but there is something much bigger happening here. There is no way we can understand all of this greatness, no way we can purport to know or understand all of this existence, and definitely no way we can cast our judgments on others without that understanding. Guru Nanak leads by example here, emphasizing that there is no other place of shelter for Nanak, other than the One — no other place of refuge that frees us. This seems to be a re-centering or re-emphasis on one of the themes of the Song of 1-Ness, an urging towards self-reflection and introspection, to observe and be wary of the hypocrisy and corruption around us, yes, but to also turn inwards instead of pointing fingers at others, to chisel ourselves towards understanding, to see that we are all a part of this big 1Force whose greatness we do not entirely understand, that none of us are past the point of no return, that there is always room for a change in behavior, that the vessel was never incomplete, that grace is always present.

Journey Towards 1-Ness

Guru Nanak takes us through the journey of this Song of Hope, of realizing the 1Force to feeling 1-Ness and allowing the 1-Ness to transform us. This transformation requires our very foundations to be shaken until they crumble. The foundations of the status quo, of creating dichotomies and othering, and of social hierarchies, are demolished, and something new is built on top of the rubble. There is an urgent call to awareness of the world around us, to see the thing that connects us all, and to allow that realization of 1-Ness to motivate our behaviors.

Guru Nanak urges us to build on the potentialities that exist within each of us, to solve the riddle of I-ness, to shift from asserting our I-ness to denying it in favor or 1-Ness. It is when we have resolved our I-ness that we see the gateway to the One, or 1Force, and become free, free from our sense of self and free from binaries. Guru Nanak shows us that the resolution of I-ness comes with deep knowledge of the self and the Self. Guru Nanak shows us that the sense of self can shift so that it becomes about the larger I-ness, and is no longer egocentric. There is an annihilation of the ego or the self, replaced by the Self, which happens when we have received the deep knowledge from the Wisdom (the Guru, the one who brings enlightenment-light by dispelling ignorance-darkness). I-ness transforms into 1-Ness.

Everything is 1-Ness. But we cannot feel the 1-Ness if we are still caught up in I-Ness. We cannot feel the 1-Ness if we are caught up in the dichotomies we witness in public and private, in the form of theatricality masquerading as religion, in the form of hypocrisies we witness at the personal and community levels, and in various religious and political dimensions. Guru Nanak shows us how to transcend dichotomies and dualities at the physical level, the intellectual level, and the spiritual level by identifying with the 1-Ness and its vastness. Guru Nanak shows us that if there is interconnectedness within us, if 1-Ness permeates the ways we think and the ways we witness and experience the world, if it transforms us from the inside out and fuels our behaviors, we can create harmony in society. This is about the internal and the external coming together, about hope that there is always 1-Ness, and it happens to permeate the realities that we construct when enough individuals transcend our own dualities. Guru Nanak urges us to allow 1-Ness to transform us.

Guru Nanak reminds us that we are all vessels. This transformation takes time and effort and it is not easy. But that none of us are past the point of no return. There is always room in these vessels for a change in behavior, a shift in focus, and 1Force’s grace is always present. There is always hope for 1-Ness to transform us, for us to become Lovers.

Guru Nanak urges us to become Lovers who no longer constantly keep score and strategize. Guru Nanak urges us to become Lovers who serve the Beloved in Love, whose behaviors have become so transformed from the inside out that there is no longer any anxious questioning. There is a calmness to this kind of Lover, a faith that is unbreakable. This is about Love with a capital L, when we are so consumed with the Beloved that we want to be like the Beloved 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 from ordinary beings into divine-like beings.