In this posting, I share with you my understanding of the 16th Pauri of Japji Sahib.
I have given serial # to the sentences of this Pauri for easy reference where needed.
1. pMc prvwx pMc prDwnu ] panch parvaan panch parDhaan.
Five accepted five lead.
The literal translation does not provide any direct clue to the meaning. Published translation interpret it as five elected, the chosen ones, accepted ones, approved ones etc. Such meanings raise lots of questions.
‘Karta Purakh’ is not limited; numbers do not mean any thing for ‘Sat’. Numbers have meaning to we humans who are limited; hence this limit of five must be coming from us. What five we humans accept? The answer is the inputs from our five senses organs (i) organ for the sense of touch (ii) organ for the sense of taste (iii) organ for the sense of hearing (iv) organ for the sense of sight and (v) organ for the sense of smell. This is what ‘panch parvaan’ mean to me.
What five lead we human in life? The answer is the organs of action (i) hands (ii) feet (iii) organ of speech (iv) excretory organ and (v) generative organ. This is what ‘panch pardhaan’ mean to me.
2. pMcy pwvih drgih mwnu ] panchay paavahi dargahi maan.
The fives get respect at Dargahi.
The use of word ‘Dargahi’ raises questions. What this Dargahi means, the available literature translates it as ‘court of God’. How can ‘Sat’ who is ‘Nirakaar’ have any thing, which has form? I conclude that literal meaning is not to be taken as it is; the implied meaning has to be looked for. The search tells that ‘Dargahi’, which has a context specific literal meaning as ‘court of God’ can also be understood as ‘spiritual world’.
Hence the meaning of this sentence for me is that ‘The five get respected in spiritual world’.
3. pMcy sohih dir rwjwnu ] panchay sohahi dar raajaan.
The fives look beautiful in the courts of kings.
As was the case with the previous sentence here the words ‘dar raajaan’ have some implied meaning. Kings are associated with wealth; together these two words can be taken to mean ‘material world’.
4. pMcw kw guru eyku iDAwnu ] panchaa kaa guru ayk Dhi-aan.
The fives have one Guru – Dhi-aan
Dhi-aan is a mental process of thinking. To me this sentence means that all the five senses and the five organs of action are controlled by one process – what we are thinking. This is what this sentence means to me.
My Learning from the above four sentences i.e. 1 to 4:
Taken the four sentences together, the learning is that it is very important that we master our thought process.
Depending on about what we are thinking, our sense organs alight on the corresponding object of interest and the organs of action lead us in the direction, which provides satisfaction to the interest that the thought process has created. The human organs of sense and action are the interfaces of the thought process to the real world. What the individual is doing is being watched both, by the material world and by the spiritual world. This watchful eye of the two worlds rates us. Depending on the quality of the individual’s being, she/he is respected in spiritual and material world. Such is the importance of what we think.
5. jy ko khY krY vIcwru ] jay ko kahai karai veechaar.
If someone says, think over it.
6. krqy kY krxY nwhI sumwru ] kartay kai karnai naahee sumaar.
The actions of the doer (here in means ‘Karta Purakh’) cannot be counted.
7. DOlu Drmu dieAw kw pUqu ] Dhoul Dharam da-i-aa kaa poot.
The Dharma of the mythological bull is the off spring of compassion.
Compassion is a virtue; it is intangible. Bull is a physical being. How can a physical being, be a son of an intangible entity. In other words it means that we have to look for the implied meaning.
Here Guru Sahib has used a concept, which is taken from the religious mythology of his time and was part of perception of his audience. Guru Sahib is telling us that the mythological bull that is supposed to support the weight of this planet earth is doing his assigned duty out of compassion. The word ‘poot’ has been used to convey the cause and effect relationship only.
Please keep in mind that use of this mythological concept is used as metaphor to convey an idea. The concept per se is not to be taken as a reality. Soon we will find Guru Sahib asking us a question the answer to it negates the concept. I will point it out when we come to that sentence in this Pauri.
8. sMqoKu Qwip riKAw ijin sUiq ] santokh thaap rakhi-aa jin soot.
The embodied patience (or feeling of contentment) is what keeps it in place.
My Learning from 7th and 8th sentence:
Guru Sahib is telling us that harmony (it may be at individual level, family level, or any other higher level) is important in life. This is achieved if one has patience or a contented frame of mind. The considerations for others, stemming from compassion, give rise to the duties (Dharma) of the individual.
9. jy ko buJY hovY sicAwru ] jay ko bujhai hovai sachiaar.
If someone understands she/he will realise the truth.
My understanding says that from here, in this Pauri Guru Sahib has started unwinding the mythological story. So that no one considers this story to be a fact of nature.
10. DvlY aupir kyqw Bwru ] Dhavlai upar kaytaa bhaar
What load is there on this mythological bull?
11. DrqI horu prY horu horu ] Dhartee hor parai hor hor.
There are many planets (Dhartee) beyond this one.
12. iqs qy Bwru qlY kvxu joru ] tis tay bhaar talai kavan jor.
What is the force that supports their weight?
The answer to the question of Guru Sahib is known to all of us; it is the nature, which supports the weight of all these planets, there is no bull. This tells us that the stories of mythology are true and false at the same time. They are true because these stories contain some message linked to truth; they are a way i.e. the medium to introduce some abstract truth to the listener depending upon the level of her/his enlightenment. Yet they are false because they are stories only. This is what Guru Sahib has demonstrated in this Pauri from sentence 7 to 12.
My Learning from 7th to 12th sentence:
Guru Sahib has said in the 9th sentence that ‘if someone understands she/he will realise the truth’. The question that he has asked in the subsequently in 12th sentence leads us to the fact that nature is supporting the weight of all the planets and such bodies in the sky. This makes me think that the clue to the ‘Sat’ is in this Pauri. After deliberating over it, I came to the conclusion that nature is part of ‘Sat’ and if that is so, the ‘Cosmic Intelligence’ is ‘Sat’. I have applied this understanding to the ‘Mool Mantra’ of Siri Guru Granth Sahib and found to be matching. This I have already posted on www.sikhphilosophy.net .
13. jIA jwiq rMgw ky nwv ] jee-a jaat rangaa kay naav.
Beings and species are names of colours.
Guru Sahib is saying that all beings are one. Their different forms and appearances are just like colours. In side all these only the ‘The One’ dwells.
14. sBnw iliKAw vuVI klwm ] sabhnaa likhi-aa vurhee kalaam.
The ever-flowing pen inscribed them all.
Guru Sahib in this is tells us that the source of all is ‘One’ and this source is inexhaustible. The use of the term ‘ever flowing pen’ is a metaphor here.
15. eyhu lyKw iliK jwxY koie ] ayhu laykhaa likh jaanai ko-ay.
How account or text get written no one knows.
16. lyKw iliKAw kyqw hoie ] laykhaa likhi-aa kaytaa ho-ay.
What the written text will be like?
My learning from 5th and 16th sentence:
Guru Sahib, in layman’s language (which is correct as Sikh religion is for all layer of humanity no matter how much one is educated), is conveying to us the enormous complexities in understanding what creates a living entity – a being.
17. kyqw qwxu suAwilhu rUpu ] kaytaa taan su-aalihu roop.
What a rhythm and beauty.
Published literature translates the ‘taan’ of Gurbani as power in English. I am not convinced that this is right. Each sentence of Siri Guru Granth Sahib has one central idea; it belongs to one common packet of enlightenment; words supports that central idea. Here if the word ‘Power’ is used for ‘taan’, it disturbs the harmony of the sentence – Power and Roop do not belong to the same domain. Taan is a word used in Hindustani classical music. Taan is used to beautify the raga being sung. The word rhythm belongs to the same nature as beauty i.e. Roop. For this reason I have translates the word taan of Gurbai to rhythm in English.
18. kyqI dwiq jwxY kOxu kUqu ] kaytee daat jaanai koun koot.
What gift/attribute and who knows to what extent/depth/intensity?
19. kIqw pswau eyko kvwau ] keetaa pasaa-o ayko kavaa-o.
Such a vast expanse you created with a single utterance.
20. iqs qy hoey lK drIAwau ] tis tay ho-ay lakh daree-aa-o.
On which lakhs of streams stated flowing.
The correct literal translation of daee-aa-o is river. I have used the word stream because it cavers all that flows; it includes all that is in nature – living and non-living: life also flows.
21. kudriq kvx khw vIcwru ] kudrat kavan kahaa veechaar.
How can the nature be stated or thought off?
22. vwirAw n jwvw eyk vwr ] vaari-aa na jaavaa ayk vaar.
I cannot be sacrificed even once.
23. jo quDu BwvY sweI BlI kwr ] jo tuDh bhaavai saa-ee bhalee kaar.
What you like is the right work
24. qU sdw slwmiq inrMkwr ]16] too sadaa salaamat nirankaar. ||16||
Ever present formless.
Summary of my learning form this Pauri:
Guru Sahib has touched five aspects in this Pauri.
(i) In the first four sentences, Guru Sahib gives us the clue as to how we can evolve, both materially and spiritually, and become a better being. He asks us to master our thoughts.
(ii) From 5th to 8th sentence, Guru Sahib tells us about the importance of virtues. He uses the mythological story to convey the idea of cause and effect subtly emphasising the cause and effect relations. He tells us the need for harmony, which comes from patience, which comes from contentment, which come from compassion and which demands doing ones duties.
(iii) From 9th to 12th sentences he demolishes the mythological story. He paints the canvas for us and asks us a question. The answer to this question tells us that the mythological concept is not a reality.
(iv) Further, based on the hint Guru Sahib has given in 9th sentence, the same answers to the question asked in 12th sentence leads me to conclude that the ‘Cosmic Intelligence’ is ‘Sat’. How to be one with this ‘Sat’ is still I have to discover.
(v) From 13th to 24th sentence Guru Sahib tells us that how small we human are in front of ‘Karta Purakh’. The essence of this part is that what ‘Karta Purakh’ does is the best for us. Guru Sahib pays tribute to ‘Karta Purakh’ before closing this Pauri. As a follower of Guru Sahib I too do the same. This is my learning.
With Love and Respect for all.