If the body is covered with dirt,
Water can wash it away.
If the clothes are soiled and polluted,
Soap and water can wash them clean.
Even if mind is filled with evil,
Love for His name can dye you in His hue.
Saint or sinner are no empty words;
All our actions have been recorded.
Man sows and he himself reaps the harvest.
Nanak says, By divine order are some saved and others reborn.
By visiting holy places, austerities, compassion, and good deeds,
You may gain respect from others;
But he who listens to God and meditates on His name,
His heart is filled with love and he is deeply cleansed.
All virtues are Yours, O Lord. Nothing is in me.
Without virtuous actions, no true devotion exists.
Yours is the only true word. You are the sound.
You are Brahma. Your power is magnificent and self-directing.
What was that time, what date, what season,
What month when You assumed form and creation began?
The pundits knew it not,
Or they would have written it in the holy books;
Neither did the kazis know,
Or they would have put it in the Koran;
Nor did the yogis know the day, the time,
The season and month when it happened.
The creator who creates all creation,
He alone knows.
How should one praise Him and express His greatness?
How can one know Him?
He is supreme. His name is great.
Everything happens as He ordains.
Whoever credits himself as worthy,
Gains no honor before Him.
Religion is an internal bath. When we travel from place to place our clothes become dirty and collect dust. This is easily removed by washing. But as we travel through time, dust gathers on the mind, which is not as easy to remove as the dust in the clothes. Because the body is external the water required to cleanse it is available outside; since the mind and its dust are within we have to acquire some cleaner within.
Every moment the dust keeps gathering within, even if you do nothing but sit. A man may indulge in no activity, yet his body requires a bath each day. The mind is never inactive, but always doing something or other; a tranquil mind is rare. So dust is gathering on your mind every moment, which, no matter how many times you bathe during the day, cannot be cleansed by the outside water.
This sutra relates to water within. It is priceless. If you understand it well enough to recognize the lake within, you will have acquired a key to transform you life. Whatever keys you hold now, none is effective. Had even one worked, there would be no further need to understand Nanak. Though you have many keys, your ego will not allow you to admit that they are useless.
Mulla Nasruddin was a servant in a rich man’s house. One day he told his master, “I wish to retire. I can serve you no longer. After all there’s a limit to one’s endurance. You have no faith in me, and I cannot bear it any longer.”
“How can you say, Nasruddin,” the master asked, “that I do not trust you? Aren’t the keys of my safe always lying on the table?”
“Yes,” said the Mulla, “But none of the keys fits the safe.”