⟵ Back to Inspiration

Humility's Essence: Gatha Insights

May 21, 2024

Vahiguru ji ka Khalsa, Vahiguru ji ki Fatih!

Within the Guru Granth Sahib lies a beautiful composition known as Gatha. Two perspectives exist regarding the origin of this composition within the traditional commentary of the Guru Granth Sahib. According to the first preface, Guru Arjan Sahib composed Gatha in response to a request from the sangat (community), who desired a story to divert their minds from worldly attachments and bodily desires. The second preface suggests that Gatha was composed at the behest of Hari Lal and Krishna Lal, who sought another story from Guru Arjan Sahib after listening to his teachings in Amritsar. The Guru fulfilled their request by uttering this composition.

Bhai Vir Singh further illuminates the significance of Gatha, recounting a moment when Pandits from Madha Desh, unfamiliar with the Panjabi language, visited Guru Sahib. In response, the Guru delivered a discourse in Gatha, transcending linguistic barriers to convey timeless truths.

But what treasures lie within this exquisite composition? On the one hand, Gatha refers to the ancient Prakrit language in which it is composed. On the other hand, it delves into the enigmatic narrative of IkOankar, the One, the All-Pervasive. Within its verses, Gatha extols the glory of IkOankar, inviting seekers to contemplate the divine essence permeating all of creation.

In the opening couplet of Gatha, Guru Arjan Sahib profoundly remarks on the fleeting nature of worldly allurements. The Guru says that camphor, flowers, and fragrances become filthy at the touch of the human body because the body contains marrow, blood, and foul smells. Nanak: Still, the ignorant take pride in this.

We pause.
We reflect.

The juxtaposition of the fragrant and the foul serves as a poignant reminder of the folly of human vanity. We adorn ourselves with fleeting beauty, seeking to mask the inherent filthiness of our physical forms. However, true beauty, true fragrance, transcends the superficial adornments of the body. It is found in humility, in the willingness to confront our internal impurities. Humility destroys pride and makes us fragrant in a profound, lasting way.

Are we willing to consider the transformative power of humility?
Are we willing to shed our pride and embrace humility?

May Wisdom-Guru guide us!

Watch, Listen, Read

1984 Path of the Warrior Saints

Harinder Singh, Senior Fellow of Research and Policy at the Sikh Research Institute, delves deeper into the themes of Genocide Remembrance, Condemnation, and Prevention.

The Sidak Impact: Jasleen Kaur & Ivraj Singh

Sidaker, Ivraj Singh, discusses the power of Sidak and its impact on his life with Sidak Facilitator, Jasleen Kaur. They explore the boundless opportunities for growth and unexpected areas of enlightenment that come from the Sidak experience.

Fakiri Surat – The Fragrance of Bhai Vir Singh

Bhai Vir Singh (1872-1957) is known as “The Sixth River of Panjab.” He was a poet, novelist, editor, exegete, historian, and a journalist. He was the leading figure in the Singh Sabha, the dynamic Sikh renaissance movement in early 20th-century Panjab.

Subscribe for Weekly Emails

Get weekly inspiration delivered right to your inbox.

Thank you! Your submission has been received.
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.