My 500th Man in Blue column !
jíhu nirmal báharhu nirmal ||
No-dirt inside and no-dirt outside.
báharhu t nirmal jíhu nirmal satgur te karní kamání ||
Having no-dirt outside and no-dirt inside, through the true Guru, they do good deeds.
kúrr kí soi pahuchai náhí mansá sach samání ||
No falsehood touches them; their desire is to merge in Truth.
janam ratan jiní khattiá bhale se vanjáre ||
Those who earn the jewel of this birth, are noble traders.
kehai nának jin ma(n)n nirmal sadá rehehi gur nále ||20||
Says Nanak, those whose minds have no-dirt, stay with the Guru forever ||20||
For the above translation I consulted the Nitnem Gutka of Harbans Singh Doabia and the ‘Sikhitothemax’ website. I checked the meanings in the ‘Dictionary of Guru Granth Sahib’ by Surinder Singh Kohli.
I have translated ‘nirmal’ throughout as ‘no dirt’, not because I think this is the best translation but because I want to show that ‘mal’ of nirmal and ‘maile’ (dirty) come from the same root.
We see in the second line that having no-dirt inside or outside leads to good deeds. The third line is also logical, persons who are nirmal must live in Truth, and God Truth, with whom they want to merge.
I would like to translate the fourth line as ‘Noble traders will earn the jewel of this birth‘. I think it is more logical to say that through being a noble trader you earn a ‘janam ratan’ than the other way round, but as Guru seems to put it the other way round my understanding must be faulty.
The last line, starting with ‘kehai nának’, is again pretty straightforward.
Those that have met me know that I do not only wear the 5 Ks and the turban but also usually wear a blue Panjabi style outfit. Through my bana I want to tell the world that I am a committed follower of Guru, trying to be Guru’s sant-sipahi (saint-soldier).
I am realistic enough to know that I am not perfect. I am on the way, I do make progress, but there is a long way to go before I can call myself a ‘puran gursikh’.
Everyone who thinks about her/himself as a Sikh, everyone who even wears just a kara (steel bangle) should be on the path to the Guru, the path shown in the Guru Granth Sahib.
It might be only faltering steps that you put on that path, you might repeatedly fall of that very narrow cutting edge of the sword, but Guru will love you for it.
Wearing bana, wearing 5 Ks, doing your nitnem without fail is not enough. If that is all you do you are only clean on the outside. You have to listen to Guru, you have to work on understanding Guru, and then you must apply the teachings in your daily life.
Look like a Sikh, Be a Sikh !
Be clean inside and outside !