Path on Which the Water Woman is Plundered

When the subtler philosophical truth that has not been personally experienced, one cannot grasp it directly. However, with the help of allegories, metaphors and similes, the real nature of the Supreme Reality and this material world (Maya) becomes relatively easier to grasp, provided their definite purpose and intention are kept in the mind. They have extensively been used in the Gurbani with a definite purpose and intention. Hence such mystical or figurative presentations, allegories, metaphors and similes should neither be taken literally, nor their significance stretched beyond the Gurbani’s intention and purpose. They are meant for most of us who can only appreciate the relative knowledge.

For example, consider this verse of the Gurbani (from Sri Guru Granth Sahib):

  • ਜਿਹ ਪੈਡੈ ਲੂਟੀ ਪਨਿਹਾਰੀ ॥ ਸੋ ਮਾਰਗੁ ਸੰਤਨ ਦੂਰਾਰੀ ॥੧॥: Jis paidai lootee pnaihaaree…: That path (way, ਰਸਤਾ, ਮਾਰਗ, etc.), upon which the water woman is plundered – that path is far removed from the Saints. ||1|| (sggs 393).

Let’s very briefly try looking at this verse from a 1) worldly standpoint (worldly meanings, ਅਖਰੀ ਅਰਥ); and 2) from a Gurbani’s standpoint (Spiritual meanings or ਅਖਰਾਂ ਤੋਂ ਪਰੇ ਦੇ ਅਰਥ).

A brief Panihari (ਪਨਿਹਾਰੀ) storyline: In a draught, arid, dry, or desert like environment (e.g., Rajasthan in India), water is scarce, thus, pretty precious commodity. Panihari (ਪਨਿਹਾਰੀ) plays very important role in communities of such region. Panihari women are generally considered by the society of the so called lower caste or Jaat (mind you here: the Gurbani does not believe in the madness of Jaat-Paat!). To fetch water for the family and cattle, the water woman (Panihari-ਪਨਿਹਾਰੀ) walks long distance through the desolated area (sometime several miles) everyday (specially early morning). In Addition to being considered of lower caste or Jaat, the society considers water women as subordinate to men, therefore often subject to oppression, abuse, plundering…

Worldly meanings: Generally, meanings of this verse are seen (in Teeka) based on literal meanings of the term ‘Panihari‘, which is:

Panihari (ਪਨਿਹਾਰੀ – pronounced Panihaaree ) = A water woman, or a female carrier of the water, or a woman who fetches water…

Deeper meanings (Spiritual meanings or ਅਖਰਾਂ ਤੋਂ ਪਰੇ ਦੇ ਅਰਥ):

Panihari (ਪਨਿਹਾਰੀ – pronounced Panihaaree ) = Our Budhi (ਬੁੱਧੀ-intellect), Jeeva, ਜੀਵ-ਇਸਤ੍ਰੀ…

Our Budhi (ਬੁੱਧੀ-intellect) gets plundered when it walks on the path (way…) of Maya. “Plundered” means it gets illusion-ed, deluded, tainted, conditioned, corrupt, divided, scattered, Etc. Because of doubts (ਭਰਮ), Dubidha, Duality (Doojaa-Bhaav), spiritual ignorance, false ego-sense (Haumai), Bikaar (lust, anger, greed, etc.), it confounds her Mool (ਮੂਲ: Source, Origin, Jot, Truth, Reality, which is beyond Maya’s influence…) with the Body-frame (body-consciousness)…

This Mada of Durmat or Maya (wine of Maya, Mayaic efforts, love of Maya, ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀ ਭੁੱਖ, ਮਾਇਆ ਦੀ ਭਟਕਣਾਂ…) creates separation or distance between the mind and its Mool within (ਮੂਲ: Source, Origin, Jot, Truth, Reality…). And thus she gets plundered.

However, the Gurmukh (i.e., Sant) stay away from that path (i.e., the way of Maya) or that path (i.e., the way of Maya) stays away from the Gurmukh.

Who is the Gurmukh? the Gurmukh transcends Maya; he abides in the Divine Hukam (ਹੁਕਮੀ ਬੰਦੇ-ਅਮਲੀ ਜੀਵਨ, ਹੁਕਮੀ ਜੀਵਨ…); he is linked to his Mool within (ਮੂਲ: Source, Origin Truth…) and ever remains so; he is contented in all situations (Sat Santokhee); he is the follower of the Truth; his mind is linked to Antar-Aatmaa; his Akal (ਅਕਲ , wisdom, intellect, reason, etc.) follows the Gurbani; he restrains his mind instead of following his mind; he remains in the state of “ਇਕ ਮਨਿ ਇਕ ਚਿਤਿ ” – Ik Mani Ik Chiti; he is detached in the midst of Maya – ਮਾਇਆ ਵਿਚ ਉਦਾਸੀ; he is established in Bibek Budhi – ਜਿਸ ਨੂੰ ਗੁਰਮਤ ਦੀ ਪੂਰੀ ਸੋਝੀ ਹੈ; he knows all the “Way of the soul” (“ਜਾਨੈ ਆਤਮ ਕੀ ਰਹਤ”, ਆਤਮਕ ਜੀਵਨ…); he is Jeevan Mukat (living Liberated or Enlightened); he is Aatam Giaanee or Brahm Giaanee ; he is established in Chauthaa Pada or Turiyaa Avasthaa (Tenth Gate, Sahaj Avasthaa – Natural State of Being; Sunn Samaadhi, ਆਤਮਕ ਅਡੋਲਤਾ, Shabad-Surti, etc.)…

  • ਇਹੁ ਮਨੁ ਨਿਹਚਲੁ ਹਿਰਦੈ ਵਸੀਅਲੇ ਗੁਰਮੁਖਿ ਮੂਲੁ ਪਛਾਣਿ ਰਹੈ ॥: Ihu manu nihachalu hiradai vaseeale gurmukhi moolu pachhaani rahai: By becoming the Gurmukh, when one Realizes his Mool (Source, Origin…), then his mind (that has become stable-ਅਡੋਲ) abides in the Heart within (sggs 945).


  1. Jis paidai lootee pnaihaareeIhu manu nihachalu hiradai vaseeale gurmukhi moolu pachhaani rahai its is by Gurmukh.

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