Gurbani Word Of The Day: pahilai

Theme for the Week:
We all human beings witness each other transitioning from baby to old age. Guru Sahib uses these stages of development of human body, to remind us of our ultimate aim.

This week we will go through these stages of human body development, and by week’s end, we will see how through all these stages we may connect with the Divine.

This week’s verses are from a hymn relating to ten stages of human life described by Guru Nanak Sahib. The Guru tells about human life, from birth to death. He talks about childhood, maturing to youth, desires that develop in the mind, remorse, and anger in later life when one realizes that one has not led a virtuous life, and then one turns gray, breathing becomes heavy and finally one passes on.

ਪਹਿਲੈ (pahilai)
Meaning: adverb: At the first (stage of life).
ਪਹਿਲੈ ਪਿਆਰਿ ਲਗਾ ਥਣ ਦੁਧਿ॥ ਦੂਜੈ ਮਾਇ ਬਾਪ ਕੀ ਸੁਧਿ॥
pahilai piaar lagaa thaṇ dudh. doojai maai baap kee sudh.

At the first stage of life, one falls in love with the mother’s breast milk. At the second stage of life, one learns of mother and father. – Guru Nanak Sahib, Guru Granth Sahib, 137
Message: In the above verse, Guru Sahib covers the first two stages. The first stage as a newborn infant, one is concerned only with food. In this juncture, the human being as an infant loves mother’s milk. That’s what we all need as newborn babies: when hungry be fed, and then fall asleep.

The second stage is when we become a bit more aware of our surrounding. Then we start realizing the provider of food that is, parents, mother, and father.

However, besides love and care, we need some help and guidance and also a positive and conducive environment. We are fortunate if we had all these and should be profoundly grateful.

And if we feel we have not received love, guidance, and stable upbringing then let’s provide them to those who are in need within our own families and surrounding communities. This is how we can make this world a better place, not only for ourselves but for others too.

Also, we need to look at our lives and ask ourselves: “Are we still in the first and second stage? Is our whole life about food and sleep?

Etymology: From Sanskrit prathil (first) → Prakrit pahil/pahillai → Old Punjabi pahilaa.



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