(stanza), revealed by Guru Nanak Sahib, is accompanied by two saloks
. The first salok, comprising four lines, describes the Divine-play (ras) in creation. This salok suggests that nature performs in the Divine-play in which parts of time and natural elements are characters. The second salok, comprising twenty-six lines, contains four parts. The first part constitutes a satirical narrative of a theatrical performance (ras lila) carried out by actors, performers, or street artists. The second part contrasts the life-play of servants of IkOankar (the Divine) and those of performers entangled in materialistic lifestyles. In the third part, the Guru contrasts desperate performers’ narratives with those doing service out of love for IkOankar. The fourth part satirically compares street artists’ dance rotations to repetitive devices rotating endlessly on their axis to demonstrate how many are trapped in seemingly endless cycles of earthly plays. This pauri reaffirms that to remember Nam in complete love and surrender is to be imbued with IkOankar.
salok m: 1.
ghaṛīā sabhe gopīā pahar kann̖ gopāl.
gahaṇe paüṇu pāṇī baisantaru candu sūraju avtār.
saglī dhartī mālu dhanu vartaṇi sarab jañjālu.
nānak musai giān vihūṇī khāi gaïā jamkālu.1.
Guru Nanak uses the common elements of theater and performance in the context of the stories of the various avatars in Hinduism to present the earth as a theater house, and all of the happenings in the world as a play. There is a comparison between the earthly theatrical performances that tell stories of Ram and Krishan and the larger cosmic play within the cosmic theater on earth. In the cosmic theater, the units of time that exist within the cycle of day and night are the actors, and natural elements on earth, like air, water, and fire, are the ornaments of these actors. The Moon and the Sun, rather than Ram and Krishan, are the incarnations, and the material objects and earthly dealings are the props from which entanglement comes.
Guru Nanak subverts the common experience and understanding of these plays about various incarnations to show how entangled people become in the theatricalities of the performance, distracted by the entertainment value. It is entanglement with earthly theatricalities that prevents us from seeing the larger Divine play, through which we can connect with Wisdom (the Guru, the one who brings enlightenment-light by dispelling ignorance-darkness). The earthly theater that is referred to, the theater that we look at, is entertaining for a moment, but does not give us anything in the long run. Instead, it creates fear, giving us prescriptions of what we must do to get what we want in this life.
Guru Nanak says that earthly theater is wisdomless and deceptive, and that in our trance, engrossed in material play and devoid of Wisdom, we do not even notice that death is eating away at us.
The Wisdom lies in nature, in shifting our focus to the Divine play happening all around us, in the elements, in the passing of time each day, in the moon and the sun as they rise and set.