Guru Nanak Sahib describes the many units of time, seasons, philosophies, and doctrines existing in one universe to emphasize the importance of associating exclusively with IkOankar (the Divine) alone.
rāgu āsā mahalā 1.
chia ghar chia gur chia updes.
guru guru eko ves anek.1.
bābā jai ghari karte kīrati hoi.
so gharu rākhu vaḍāī toi.1. rahāu.
visue casiā ghaṛīā paharā   thitī vārī māhu hoā.
sūraju eko ruti anek.
nānak karte ke kete ves.2.2.
-Guru Granth Sahib 12-13
Literal Translation
Interpretive Transcreation
Poetical Dimension
The second stanza is written in Rag Asa, the musical mode of hope. This stanza is about expectation. Guru Nanak establishes a context with the first line, stating that there are six schools of thought in Indic philosophy, six founders, and six teachings, but at the end of the day, the real Guru, the real Wisdom, is only One, with multiple forms. The real thought is only One.

Guru Nanak addresses us, saying, O wise one! In the home where the Creator is being glorified — in that body, in that heart, in that school of thought, remember that home. This is a very loving way of addressing us, acknowledging that we all have the potential to adopt wise behaviors because the Wisdom is always there. In the first stanza, Guru Nanak referred to pouring the oil as a form of encouragement for the bride on the wedding day. The use of this address serves as a kind of lyrical and symbolic oil-pouring, a form of encouragement by the Guru for all of us in our journeys.

The Guru says that we must reflect on which of the infinite ways of being and infinite schools of thought speaks to us. Which of them glorifies the One in the ways that we connect with? That glorification of the One is how we become great. Guru Nanak says that we must figure out how our greatness will come out. It will come out when we connect with the one who shows us the praise or glory of the One. And even when we find what does that for us, we must also realize that the origin of all these different ways of being is the One.

Guru Nanak further illustrates this by saying that all the units of time, from a moment to a year, all the blinks of eyes, seconds, minutes, quarters of a day, make up a month. The sun is one, but the seasons are many. The sun is constant as the seasons change. This sun is equated with the Origin. For us, Guru Nanak is the sun. For Guru Nanak, Guru is IkOankar (One Universal Integrative Force, 1Force). Guru Nanak urges us to reflect on what it is that matters. Truly, all that matters is praise. Praise is Identification with IkOankar. It is the remembrance of IkOankar. It is what helps us understand IkOankar emotionally and experientially, not just intellectually. It is an understanding that every other thought and the manifestation of thought has one Origin.

There is an urging for us, the wise ones, to appreciate the many forms and figure out which is for us. We can look at different archetypes and systems and schools and mystics, and those are all helpful, but have we done our own evaluations to make sense of what works for us? For many people, the open-endedness of these questions can be scary. We like to be told what to do, what to believe, how to behave. But the idea that there are infinite ways of doing all of these things rooted in the same Origin is hard to internalize, especially when the schools’ Guru Nanak is referencing are starkly different and disagree on many things. It is not that these schools of thought are all the same; in fact, there are stark differences in how they perceive the world and what they believe our purpose is. And though we like to condemn, judge, and separate, Guru Nanak repeats that the Origin of these schools is One. We must figure out which works for us as individuals. We can become great by choosing a path that helps us invoke the glory of the One, the praise of the One. Even within schools of thought, we can adopt various behaviors that help us discover the One, remember the One, and identify with the One. Even after we have chosen our paths, we must ask ourselves, are we building ourselves or building the path? Are we praising ourselves or praising the One?