Gurbani Word Of The Day: Paatshaah

ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹੁ (paatshaah)
Meaning: noun: Padishah, great king, emperor, sovereign; a title used by the former shahs of Iran and sultans of Turkey.

ਸਾਹੁ ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹੁ ਸਭੁ ਹਰਿ ਕਾ ਕੀਆ   ਸਭਿ ਜਨ ਕਉ ਆਇ ਕਰਹਿ ਰਹਰਾਸਿ॥
saah paatshaah sabh hari kaa keeaa   sabh jan kau aai karahi rahraas.
The Shah, the Padshah – everyone is created by the Divine; they all come and bow before a devotee of the Divine.
Guru Ram Das, Guru Granth Sahib, 305

An Early Painting of Fateh Ali Shah
Portrait of Nasir Al-Din Shah, Iran, Circa 1850

Message: The high and low under one umbrella

Do you fear anyone, especially those, who you feel are more powerful than you?

Here is the remedy.

When we enshrine the Almighty Sultan of creation in our heart, it helps us to overcome our fear and accomplish our tasks calmly.

Our over-dependence on other human beings stops when we feel the Divine within and around us.

When the true Padishah or the King of kings is realised, then everyone seems to be on our side.

Even the mighty and powerful praise and pay respect to you when you are leading a devoted and honest life.

ਪਾਤਿਸਾਹੁ ਛਤ੍ਰ ਸਿਰ ਸੋਊ॥ ਨਾਨਕ ਦੂਸਰ ਅਵਰੁ ਨ ਕੋਊ॥
Nanak! The Divine is the Padishah or the King of even the canopied kings; actually there is no other than or beyond Him.
-Guru Arjan Sahib, Guru Granth Sahib, 258


  1. Commonly, the word paatshaah (Padishah) is used to mean the Guru or the Divine (the true Padishah) in Gurbani.
  2. Likewise, shah (king) is also now a part of English.


Etymology: From Persian paadishaah, from Old Persian pati (lord) + shah (king, ruler). In this context, Gurbani is preserving its older form.

Summary of the Week:
Human beings have different physical characteristics but are all one species, all children of the Divine.

Gurbani points out that everything in this world is temporary or transitory in nature.

Why then are we engrossed in the pursuit of material wealth and power, often at the expense of seeking spiritual union with the Divine? Why then the hubris of the rich and powerful?

However, Gurbani does not say that we must altogether abandon earthly desires and live as ascetics forever seeking spirituality.

In fact, mankind is enjoined to do honest work/labour and to share these honest earnings with the needy whilst pursuing true spirituality.

The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him. -Niccolo Machiavelli, political philosopher and author, 1469-1527



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