bhagtá kí chál nirálí.
The devotees’ manner is different.
Chálá nirálí bhagtáh kerí bikham márag chalná.
The manner of the devotees is different; they follow a difficult path.
Lab, lobh, ahankár taj trisná bahut náhí bolná.
They renounce desire, greed, pride; they do not talk much.
Khannihu tikhí válhu nikí et márag jáná.
The path they go on is sharper than a two-edged sword, and finer than a hair.
Gur parsádí jiní áp tajiá har vásná samání.
By Guru’s Grace, they abandon the self; their desires merge in God.
Kahai nának chál bhagtá jughu jug nirálí. ||14||
Says Nanak, the manner of the devotees, throughout the ages, is different. ||14||
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.
Nirálí is I think the key word in this pauri. This word was also used by Guru Gobind Singh when he said that the Khalsa should look different and be different. This compares with pauri 19 and 20 of Anand Sahib, where Guru writes about being ‘nirmal’ outside and inside.
In this pauri ‘different’ is explained as going on the path where one controls the five passions and does not talk too much. The ’bhagtá’, the devoted ones, follow this very narrow path, they give up the self, their desires become one with God.
I am not sure about the ‘lab lobh’ of the third line, as my dictionary translates both words as greed. I decided to follow the other two translations and use the word desire for ‘lab’. The last three words of that line are simple to translate, but there might be a meaning within a meaning.
There is often mention in Gurbaní of not getting involved in useless controversies. Is that what Guru has in mind here or is it just what it says: bahut, nahí bolna. After all even talking much about Sikhí can be a waste of time. What will convince people is good practice, not a lot of words.
For me, an ex-Christian, there is a pitfall here with the narrow path. Jesus talks about the narrow road to God, but that narrow road is often interpreted as a narrowly defined set of beliefs. Sikhí has a very simple belief system and emphasises good behaviour. That way of life is Guru’s narrow path.
Go on the narrow path, give up your ego and you will merge with God. Where there is ‘me’ there ‘You’ is not. As with much in Sikhí, this is easy to understand, but not easy to practice.
Remember what I wrote before: we are human and make mistakes and we will easily off the cutting edge of the sword. When that happens do not despair, just climb on again and try again to get nearer to God. Be in chardikala, do not give up ! Even after my first hesitant steps on this path I started feeling happier.