This pauri (stanza), revealed by Guru Nanak Sahib, is accompanied by two saloks. The first salok consists of five lines and describes the futility of worldly education that results in egoism. The second salok, composed of twenty-three lines, states that the rituals practiced by people have been rendered worthless. This pauri, while addressing IkOankar (the Divine), advises seeking the company of individuals who are in remembrance IkOankar.
saloku m: 1.
paṛi paṛi gaḍī ladīahi   paṛi pari bharīahi sāth.
paṛi paṛi beṛi pāīai   paṛi paṛi gaḍīahi khāt.
paṛīahi jete baras   baras   paṛīahi jete mās.
paṛīai jetī ārjā   paṛīahi jete sās.
nānak lekhai ik gal   horu haümai jhakhaṇā jhākh.1.
Literal Translation
Interpretive Transcreation
Poetical Dimension
Guru Nanak shifts the conversation from the personal discovery of inner truth in the previous ballad to the ways in which we attempt to connect with that truth. Most people do what we are all taught from a young age to do if we are searching for answers or meaning or knowledge — we read, we learn, and we read some more. Guru Nanak quantifies this endless search for knowledge, to make the point that despite the value in seeking knowledge, in being hungry to learn, the ending point cannot be that we have ingested as much knowledge as we can, or read as many books as there are days in a lifetime. Guru Nanak is asking us to think about the thing that comes after — what is our goal? Are we getting there?

There are many people who become very smart, who soak up knowledge like a sponge and spend every waking moment learning more and more, who become intellectuals who are good at proving their points, good at debate, good at displaying all of the things they have learned. But if all we are going to do is read and read and read, without any kind of direction other than flexing our own intellectual ego in front of other people, then maybe what we are doing is wasting our time.

Guru Nanak asks us to think about this, and says that even with all of that knowledge, if we have not understood that one thing, everything else is just frustration and ego. Reading and learning and building our knowledge is great, but if we have not figured out that one thing, we will remain dissatisfied and frustrated. This is not to say that those things are not worth pursuing. But a directionless pursuit of knowledge is futile. That one thing will give us the direction that allows us to take all of our learning and do something with it. Do we know what that one thing is?