In the previous pauri, it was explained that the being who is clean from within always stays with the Guru. In this pauri, it has been clarified that ‘staying with the Guru’ means the being remains connected to and contemplates on the teachings of the Wisdom (Guru). Such a seeker becomes a follower of the Wisdom. Bliss lies in following the Wisdom.
je ko sikhu gurū setī sanmukhu hovai.
hovai ta sanmukhu sikhu koī   jīahu rahai gur nāle.
gur ke caran hirdai dhiāe   antar ātamai samāle.
āpu chaḍi   sadā rahai parṇai   gur binu avaru na jāṇai koe.
kahai nānaku suṇahu santahu   so sikhu sanmukhu hoe.21.
-Guru Granth Sahib 919
Literal Translation
Interpretive Transcreation
Poetical Dimension
In the twentieth pauri, the twentieth step of the ladder, Guru Amardas revealed that those with pure minds always remain in the presence of the Wisdom. Moving on to the twenty-first pauri, the twenty-first step of the ladder, Guru Amardas says, if any Sikh becomes face to face with the Wisdom-Guru. We pause to understand. Guru Amardas uses the term “sanmukh,” which can be interpreted as “being in front of the face,” “in the presence,” or “face-to-face,” it also implies one who is following. We can understand this term through phrases like, “Look into my eyes” or “Come and stand before my face and speak to me.” Therefore, the line could read, is there a Sikh, a disciple, a learner who agrees and follows the Wisdom-Guru? Think of this as an individual who no longer questions but understands and lives the teaching. Only an individual who feels the presence and is a dedicated follower can truly come “face to face” with the Wisdom-Guru. Guru Amardas emphasizes this further, asking if there is a Sikh who genuinely always faces the Wisdom-Guru with their inner being and their inner self. Guru Amardas tells us and shows us the way to become “sanmukhs.” What do we need to do? We ought to remember and contemplate the “feet” of the Wisdom-Guru in our hearts, within us, and in our inner selves. We pause. We reflect on the symbolism of feet. Feet represents humility, mentorship, coaching, and the willingness to do anything and everything. It signifies our submission, awareness, and constant care for the Wisdom-Guru. We shed the “I” within and solely rely on the Wisdom-Guru for support, and no one else, and we are utterly devoted to the Wisdom-Guru. It is the path to becoming “sanmukh.” Once again, Guru Amardas addresses us as saintly beings, those who can exemplify the truth because the Eternal resides within us. Those who live in this way become Sikhs, disciples, and learners. Guru Amardas concludes this ladder step by urging us to listen, O saintly beings! That Sikh can come face-to-face with the Wisdom-Guru.

We reflect. The terms "sanmukh" and "Sikh" echo three times in this verse, each beckoning our attention. Like an art enthusiast carefully examining a masterpiece, let’s take a moment to inspect our own self-image as Sikhs of the Wisdom-Guru. Are we truly and consistently facing the Wisdom-Guru, much like a sunflower unfailingly turning its face to the sun, within our inner being and the depths of our inner selves? What’s intriguing is the absence of the mind in this verse, focusing instead on our within, our inner being, and our hearts. It’s akin to an archaeologist meticulously excavating a hidden treasure chest, for this verse suggests a rich inner world waiting to be unearthed. Have we fully surrendered our essence as a protege submitting to the wisdom of their mentor, savoring the "feet" of the Wisdom-Guru? In the Indic tradition, “feet” are associated with the Shudras (so-called members of the lowest caste, the laboring class) serving others. The "feet" signify humility and a willingness to engage in the service that few others dare to undertake, performing the humblest tasks gracefully. This mindset becomes the measure of our worthiness as “sanmukhs.” While the bar may seem high, there is also profound hope. The summit is attainable; the path is meticulously marked. This verse serves as a guide for those who aspire to become “sanmukhs.” Those who long to dwell in the constant presence of the Wisdom-Guru. However, suppose we acknowledge something or someone else on the same pedestal as the Wisdom-Guru, much like a collector valuing a mere replica as highly as a priceless artifact. In that case, we fall short of this elevated state. "Sanmukhs" solely and wholeheartedly embrace the "feet" within their beings. They resemble master artisans who skillfully carve exquisite sculptures, each chisel strike revealing the hidden beauty beneath the surface. For those of us embarking on the path to becoming Sikhs or those who proudly proclaim their Sikh identity, this is the path to follow. It’s worth noting that, except for one line in the verse, the term Wisdom-Guru appears in every line, underscoring the unparalleled significance of the Wisdom-Guru in our life journey.

We may ask ourselves: How profound is our commitment to embracing the teachings of the eternal Wisdom? Are we ready to surrender ourselves and follow this guidance? For those of us who call ourselves Sikhs or aspire to be, what concrete steps can we take to bring our lives closer to the way of the Wisdom-Guru? In this context, the symbolism of "feet" is a poignant reminder of humility, mentorship, and a willingness to serve. How can we internalize and manifest these qualities in our daily lives? Can we view ourselves as humble servants of the One, ready to serve with unwavering dedication? Are we preparing to “face” the Guru?