Pauri 3 - Japji Sahib - Pauri 3 | Sikh Philosophy Network
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Pauri 3 Japji Sahib - Pauri 3


Jun 11, 2004
Dear Members,

Once again I share my understanding of Gurbani with you all.

The Summary of this Pauri (3rd Pauri) is that

The ‘Karta Purakh’ is beyond the capabilities of the beings. In the sixth sentence Guru Sahib even say that there is no combination of life and body, which can provide beings the capabilities to comprehend ‘The Absolute’. Guru Sahib tells us that ‘Karta Purakh has been providing the beings since ages in measures that makes the receiver weary of receiving it, but not the ‘The absolute’. To convey the greatness of ‘Karta Purakh’ Guru Sahib tell us in the end that ‘The Absolute’ with all these task which it is performing in such a wide physical spread, since ages, remains free from any tension or stress; on the contrary he remains in a blissful condition all the time, all this is to convey the idea of immenceness of 'Karta Purakh'. In this Pauri Guru Sahib has used the word ‘Gaavia’ to link up this Pauri.

gwvY ko qwxu hovY iksY qwxu ] gaavai ko taan hovai kisai taan.

Guru Sahib says that which ‘Taan’ one can sing; who has that ‘Taan’. Please note ‘Taan’ is a part of Hindustani Classical Music and there is not equivalent English word.

gwvY ko dwiq jwxY nIswxu ] gaavai ko daat jaanai neesaan.

Guru Sahib says to which gift can make one sing, which knows how to reach the target (Neesaan). Here I have taken to be the intended Target to be the Goal, which means ‘The Absolute.

gwvY ko gux vifAweIAw cwr ] gaavai ko gun vadi-aa-ee-aa chaar.

Next Guru Sahib says that to which positive attribute of the ‘The Absolute one can sing’, implying that ‘Karta Purakh’ is so vast that we limited beings cannot cover them.

gwvY ko ividAw ivKmu vIcwru ] gaavai ko vidi-aa vikham veechaar.

Guru Sahib says to which field of learning, thinking or philosophy can one sing, again implying the vastness of ‘Karta Purakh and our own limitations.

gwvY ko swij kry qnu Kyh ] gaavai ko saaj karay tan khayh.

On which instrument one should play till her/his body becomes dust. Implying that no device or the length of time is enough, beings are so limited in comparison to the ‘Karta Purakh’

gwvY ko jIA lY iPir dyh ] gaavai ko jee-a lai fir dayh.

In which life and form one should sing, implying that no combination of life form and body are by themselves is adequate for the task.

gwvY ko jwpY idsY dUir ] gaavai ko jaapai disai door.

Should one sing as if ‘The Absolute is far away.

gwvY ko vyKY hwdrw hdUir ] gaavai ko vaykhai haadraa hadoor.

Should on sing as if the ‘The Absolute’ is very close.

kQnw kQI n AwvY qoit ] kathnaa kathee na aavai tot.

Having elaborated the limitness of the tools we can deploy; Guru Sahib says: there is no shortage of those who will tell the methodology and the variety in what they say. This conveys us that the vastness of the ‘The Absolute ‘ cannot be comprehended. What we learn is a small aspect of ‘Karta Purakh’. Different people understand different way; this results in multiplicity of methodologies and the variety in them

kiQ kiQ kQI kotI koit koit ] kath kath kathee kotee kot kot.

The sayings are endless in numbers

dydw dy lYdy Qik pwih ] daydaa day laiday thak paahi.

Here Guru Sahib again dwells on the enormous nature of ‘Karta Purakh’. Sahib tells us that ‘The Absolute’ keeps giving all the time; it is the receiver who gets tired and weary of receiving.

jugw jugMqir KwhI Kwih ] jugaa jugantar khaahee khaahi.

Though out the ages beings consumers had been consuming.

hukmI hukmu clwey rwhu ] hukmee hukam chalaa-ay raahu.

Guru Sahib once again remind us that ‘Karta Purakh’ through its ‘Hukam’ puts on the path. (The path we deserve, not said in the Pauri but this is my conviction and I am looking for support in Gurbani, which I am sure will be there. I read Siri Guru Granth Sahib with the assumption the it is written to build us spiritually in a progressive manner)

nwnk ivgsY vyprvwhu ]3] naanak vigsai vayparvaahu. ||3||

Here Guru Sahib tells himself, in a way, us that ‘The Absolute’ remains in a blissful state and free from any stress or tension.

This is what I understand from the 3rd Pauri.

With Love and Respect for all.



Jun 11, 2004
Dear Member (sikhphilosophy)

Tann in Hindustani classical music is not equivalent to Tone in english. Taan is a combination of Swaras of the Raga which are sung in a particular way, it is to added depth and beauty to the Raga being sung.

With Love and Respect for all.



Jan 22, 2005
Re: My understanding of 3rd Pauri of Japji Sahib

S. Amarpal Singh ji

The gist of Japji can be understood properly only in the background of the religions that were practiced when Guru Nanak appeared on the scene. Hindus and Muslims were then two major mutually-opposing faiths, each group claiming to be the follower of the true faith and the other as nonbeliever. And followers of Guru Nanak belonged to these religions only.
In accordance with the order already indicated, where Guru Nanak prepared our mind for spiritual flight. After detailing rituals and His Hukam in first and second stanza, Guru Nanak wanted to make sure that before he set off the spiritual flight, mind of people is not stained with any confusion. So he presents his dialogue in third stanza on various sermons prevailed during his ministry. He says millions and millions of people have created innumerable articles and tales most of which lead people to worship sun, moon, fire, snake, ocean, mountains, stones, plantations and other inanimate objects etc. thus created more and more confusions. However, without the true guide people could not realize the Truth. Thus they were following useless pursuit. Moreoever, the creator of these articles or tales presents them in such a way that devotee start worshipping them only instead of God. Thus they not only have divided mankind into different religions and races but divided authority of God even to different deities by worshiping them and lead themselves to intolerances.
In this stanza Guru Nanak has selected some of the most talked and believed expressions of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, out of millions of expressions made by millions of devotees as Creator, Destroyer and Reviver. He says some are signing that it is Brahma who is the creator of the universe. Some are singing it is Vishnu who is provider of sustence and it is Shiva who is destroyer. But he says in first line whosoever has been blessed by His Hukam only sings that it is God and only God who is creator, destroyer and reviver. And it is His Hukam only which prevails and not authority of any of above deities.
Gaavaei ko taan hovai kisaei taan, Gaavaei ko daat jannaei neesan

Those blessed with inborn power of knowledge sing virtues of God; Whereas others sings of the boundless bounty (of different avatars deities etc), Knowing this a mark of their Generosity to be.

Gaavaei ko gun vade-aa-ee chaar, Gaavaei ko vidya vikhom veechaar.
Some sing vishnu's glorious excellences and exalted state; Some glorify Him through deep philosophic intricacies. (This line is dedicated to vishnu who was considered as philospher)

Gaavaei ko saaj karay tan khay, Gaavaei ko jee laei fir dayh.
Some sing vishnu fashions the body out of mud and matter and then when he desires reduces it to dust. Some sing Shiva that He takes away the life and then restores it (When He desires)

Gaavaei ko jaapaei disaei duir. Gaavaei ko vaikhaei haadraa huduir.
Some sing that He is transcendent and is away in the seventh sky; some sing that He is observing us face to face and is very close by.(This line refers to Islamic belief and Vedant belief))

Kathnaa kathi na aavaei toat. Kath kath kathi koati koat koat.
There is no end of the expressions of God; Millions upon Millions continue discoursing expression of glory without an end.

Daydaa dayh layday thak paa-eh. Jugaa jugantor khaa-ee khaa-eh.
(though people pray to other than Him) The Great Giver constantly gives (His gifts) those who receive get tired of receiving. Through the ages the partakers partake His gifts.

Hukami Hukom cholaa-ey raaho. Nanak vigsaei way-parvaa-o.
(But inspite of all confusion) He is the commander, By His commandments He runs this universe. Saint Nanak! He is ever blissful and carefree (because He is not attached).

The most enchanting attribute of God is that inspite of their not worshipping Him, He is Bountiful. He gives to the mankind endless gifts with Grace and delight. Mankind may get tired while receiving these gifts, but God is ever happy in showering His blessings on the mankind. Let us take the case of the gift of “One Breath.” For everyman has these “breaths” which in sense are numbered. Beyond that not even a single “Breath” can be attained by any means of wealth or power. It is said; Alexander the Great fell seriously ill en route to his country from India. Two Royal most eminent physicians with him declared the ailment to be incurable. Still Alexander begged for life for a few moments to reach his home to tell his mother that he had fulfilled her blessings to conquer the world in twelve years. In lieu thereof Alexander offered half of his empire to the physicians. But they expressed their helplessness and Alexander died on the way to home at the predestined moment. Can any deity or other elements give them gift of single breath.

It will be quite useful to mention some of the other point of view expressed by other Avtars, Prophets, Seers (Pirs), and Paigambers. Islam had their own perspective, so do the Buddha and Mahavir. By Islamic perspective spectacle of beautiful sceneries created in the universe is considered absolute power of God, whereas as per Gurbani, this is only one of His Power. Buddha and Mahavir’s perception is that communion with Him can only be set up by staying away from eye-catching sceneries of nature. Sri Krishan who is accepted by ancient rishis as 16 powers Avtar, believed life is a leela (sport) (and he took it accordingly) whereas for Purshotam Ram who is accepted as 14 powers Avtar, life was only principle and for the sake of principle he stayed away from his wife Sita with no fault of hers, but through Guru Nanak “Anant kalah hoey thakar chadiya - infinite powers, perfection and the fruitful rewards of God got exposed.” - Guru Granth ang.1081.2. For Guru Nanak life was principle as well as play but with principle. Tenth Guru Nanak (Guru Gobind Singh) proved this by making battlefield as play with principle by applauding Bhai Ghanneia who was serving water and applying bandage to the injured soldiers of the enemy in the battlefield. So Guru started the system, what now is called as Red Cross?

Regards Sahni Mohinder


Nov 5, 2010
Sat Sri Akaal,

Gavey. Repeated Saying

Many are saying its its, many are saying its far, the way one understands one says.

Hukmee Supreme Who has power of decision.
Hukam. . Natural Law
Chalaye acceptance and followance
Raho. On way to move on this path
Nanak . Says Nanak
Vigasey. In bliss
Veparvaho Carefree

For eg. If one understand centrifugal force at turns
Aware persons will have check on vehicle speed through awareness.
One may not check board of speed limit or policeman standing after turn to check speed, one is carefree, as understanding, accepting and followance of Natures Law.

For others there is Speed Limit Sign and may miss sign, speed limit,

Awareness to law awareness, acceptance and followance leads to carefree Nature.

Contradiction to Step 3 shall be discussed to improve thinking process.

Waheguru Ji Khalsa
Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh

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Shabad Vichaar by SPN'ers

By the 5th Guru Arjan Dev, the shabad is on Ang 616 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, translation by Dr. Sant Singh Khalsa.

ਸੋਰਠਿ ਮਹਲਾ ੫ ॥
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