In the Fifteenth Century, Nanak—a religious reformist—brings into medieval India a new philosophy based on a personal relationship with God. His various hymns chronicle the foundations of his teaching.
ਸਚਹੁ ਓਰੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋ ਉਪਰਿ ਸਚੁ ਆਚਾਰੁ ॥—Truth is highest but higher still is truthful living.
The Baba [Nanak] went to Kashmir and remained some days there. At that time there was in Kashmir a Pandit, Brahm-Das who heard that a Faqir had come. With him (i.e. the Pandit) went two camels laden with the Puranas, and on his neck he had an idol. The Baba upon seeing the load of books recited a hymn now found in the Asa di Var.
ਸਲੋਕੁ ਮਃ ੧ ॥
Shalok 1, Moholla 1, 1.9.
ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਗਡੀ ਲਦੀਅਹਿ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਭਰੀਅਹਿ ਸਾਥ ॥
If by reading and reading a cart be loaded—
If by reading and reading a caravan be filled—
ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਬੇੜੀ ਪਾਈਐ ਪੜਿ ਪੜਿ ਗਡੀਅਹਿ ਖਾਤ ॥
If by reading and reading a boat be laden—
If by reading and reading a cave be filled—
ਪੜੀਅਹਿ ਜੇਤੇ ਬਰਸ ਬਰਸ ਪੜੀਅਹਿ ਜੇਤੇ ਮਾਸ ॥
If by reading as many as there are years—
If by reading as many as there are months—
ਪੜੀਐ ਜੇਤੀ ਆਰਜਾ ਪੜੀਅਹਿ ਜੇਤੇ ਸਾਸ ॥
If by reading as long as life lasts—
If by reading as many as there are breaths—
ਨਾਨਕ ਲੇਖੈ ਇਕ ਗਲ ਹੋਰੁ ਹਉਮੈ ਝਖਣਾ ਝਾਖ ॥੧॥
Oh Nanak!—Of any account there is only the one word;
All else be only egotism and vain prating.
Asa Di Vaar, Sikh Prayer.
NOTE: Featured verse starts about 16:14.
Video courtesy of the Raj Karega Khalsa network.