Gurbani Word Of The Day: painaṇ

Theme for the Week:
Somehow or the other, we have started focusing more on form and less on content, hence losing the true essence of Gurbani’s teachings. In other words, we are more concerned with our visible shape or appearance rather than our spiritual or inner development.

Clothing and attire are only a part of the form we present to the world. There are so many other kinds of forms, and they are inherent in the multitude of rituals we all do and are exposed to.

Guru Nanak was acutely aware of the superficial and ritual beliefs and practices of his times. Throughout his preaching tours, he was preaching content and connection with the Divine. 

Retaining the terms and language used by the people, he drew their attention to the real things which should be practised to bring spirituality into life.

This section is about form (outer shape, appearance, clothing and attire, etc.) versus content.

ਪੈਨਣੁ (painaṇ)
Meaning: noun: Clothing, dress.

ਰਤਾ ਪੈਨਣੁ  ਮਨੁ ਰਤਾ   ਸੁਪੇਦੀ  ਸਤੁ ਦਾਨੁ॥
rataa painaṇ  man rataa   supedee  sat daan
The ideal red dress is: one’s mind is imbued (with divine love). The ideal white dress is: (one adopts and practices) a truthful, charitable nature in life
– Guru Nanak Sahib, Guru Granth Sahib, 16

Message: Some people love to wear crimson. Some religious people like to wear white. Whatever the significance of the various colours, instead of trying to show ostensibly that one is holy, it is essential that we imbibe the qualities represented by the colours for spiritual development.

If red colour represents love, let’s dye our minds with the colour of love and affection for the Divine and His creation. Similarly, if white colour represents truthfulness or purity, let’s dress ourselves in the attire of truth and empathy for others in our daily life.

It is equally important to develop and practise the virtues of love, righteousness and kindness as it is to put on our favourite dresses in red crimson, white or any other colour.

The best portion of a good man’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love. -William Wordsworth, poet, 1770-1850

Etymology: From painhi, verb (to wear) from Sanskrit pinahati (ties on, having dressed) → Kashmiri pahanun (to wear handsome clothes) and Punjabi pahiṇnaa (to wear).


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