Praful Kumar Web page - Poems of Kabir

 
Poems of Kabīr

 


 


 Neither am I righteous nor non-righteous
Neither am I an ascetic nor a sensualist
Neither do I speak nor do I listen
Neither am I a servant nor a master
Neither am I constrained nor Liberated
Neither am I sad nor jubilant
Neither am I distinctly isolated from anything
Nor am I Identified completely with anything
Neither do I go to the world of hell
Nor do I proceed to the world of heaven
All actions are really my actions
But yet I am distinct from the actions
This truth only a rare exceptional one realizes
Such a person sits in quiescence
Oh Kabīr don't bring forth any creation
And don't efface anything either

 Oh Deer Graze With Knowledge and Discrimination
Graze in the First Forest, Graze in the Second Forest
But Don't Tread into the Third Forest
The Third Forest has Five Hunters
Don't Let them See You
Five Deer and Twenty Five Female Deer
None Among them is Sensible and Shrewd
Killing You They Will Sell Your Flesh
Your Skin will be Used as a Covering
Says Kabīr: "Listen Oh Practicing Aspirant - Offer your Mind."

 What to say of talks that lead to veiling of Truth
Too much talk leads to chaos yet without talk how does one discuss
If you must; then talk with saints With devils it is better to stay mum
Blessing it is to talk with the wise, talking with stupid is waste of time
Says Kabīr: "Half full is forever swaying The fulfilled prefers staying calm."

 Fearlessly I Will Sing the Attributes of the One without Attributes using the Base Lotus as the Steady Seat
I Will Make the Wind Rise in Reverse steadying the Mind's Attachments
I Will Unify the Five Elements, Ingila, Pingala and Sukhman are the Channels
I Will Bathe at the Confluence of the Three Rivers
The Five and Twenty Five I Will Master by my Wish
And String them Together by One Common Thread
At the Summit of Aloneness the Un-struck Anahad Sound Reverberates
I Will Play the Thirty-Six Different Symphonies
Says Kabīr: "Listen Oh Practicing Aspirant, I Will Wave the Flag of Victory"

                                                  

 Kabīr implies that by dividing men into castes, clans and creeds encourage quarrels and feads.
Better than the Brahmin is a donkey who does useful service to man, a dog is better than a low caste as it guards the house,
a cock is better than a Mullah who wakes up a man from his sleep

 The night you passed in sleep and the day in visiting your false friends; Alas! Thus have you wasted the diamond of your life on naught.
You will die one day, perhaps tomorrow; grass will grow on your tomb, and your friends will forget you.
Therefore know your soul soon.
Whom will the son of a harlot call his father?
Worship God in your being and do not waste your life.
Your body is like a jar of unbaked clay; It may break to pieces any momentand all will be over, nowhere is there delight except in God.
This world is a house made of wood, and, lo! it is burning furiously; He who stays in it dies.
The Yogi withdraws from it in meditationand he is saved.
Thy birth as man is a ripe fruitwhich is seen only once; make the most of the practice of devotion and compassionand the acquisition of true Knowledge.
O Kabīr, there is a way out of this illusory world: Know the soul at any cost.

 Listen to the sermon of the Lord, O mind, and enshrine the Shabad of His Word within your mind.
If your intellect remains stable and steady, then doubt shall depart from within you.
The sixty-eight places of pilgrimage remain with one, whose heart is filled with the Lord.
Bhagat Kabīr ji, a deep devotee of the Absolute One, discarded his bodily vesture reciting:
Kabīr, nothing is mine within myself. Whatever there is, is Yours, O Lord.
If I surrender to You what is already Yours, what does it cost me?

 The mother thinks that her son is growing up; she does not understand that, day by day, his life is diminishing.
Calling him, "Mine, mine", she fondles him lovingly, while the Messenger of Death looks on and laughs.
You have misled the world so deeply in doubt.
How can people understand You, when they are entranced by Maya?
Says Kabīr: "Give up the pleasures of corruption, or else you will surely die of them.
Meditate on the Lord, O mortal being, through the Word of His Bani; you shall be blessed with eternal life. In this way, shall you cross over the terrifying world-ocean.

 As it pleases Him, people embrace love for the Lord, and doubt and delusion are dispelled from within.
Intuitive peace and poise well up within, and the intellect is awakened to spiritual wisdom.
By Guru's Grace, the inner being is touched by the Lord's Love.
In this association, there is no death.
Recognizing the Hukam of His Command, you shall meet with your Lord and Master.
Siree Raag, Devotee Kabīr Jee: "Listen, O religious scholar: the One Lord alone is Wondrous; no one can describe Him.
He fascinates the angels, the celestial singers and the heavenly musicians; he has strung the three worlds upon His Thread.
The Unstruck Melody of the Sovereign Lord's Harp vibrates; by His Glance of Grace, we are lovingly attuned to the Sound-current of the Naad.
The Tenth Gate of my crown chakra is the distilling fire, and the channels of the Ida and Pingala are the funnels, to pour in and empty out the golden vat.
Into that vat, there trickles a gentle stream of the most sublime and pure essence of all distilled essences.
Something wonderful has happened-the breath has become the cup.
In all the three worlds, such a Yogi is unique. What king can compare to him?
This spiritual wisdom of God, the Supreme Soul, has illuminated my being.
Says Kabīr , I am attuned to His Love. All the rest of the world is deluded by doubt, while my mind is intoxicated with the Sublime Essence of the Lord.

 Wisdom is not produced in Kashi, nor is wisdom lost in Kashi.
Meeting the True Guru, wisdom is produced, and then, one obtains this understanding.
Listen to the sermon of the Lord, O mind, and enshrine the Shabad of His Word within your mind.
If your intellect remains stable and steady, then doubt shall depart from within you.
The sixty-eight places of pilgrimage remain with one, whose heart is filled with the Lord.
Bhagat Kabir ji, a deep devotee of the Absolute One, discarded his bodily vesture reciting:
Kabīr, nothing is mine within myself. Whatever there is, is Yours, O Lord.
If I surrender to You what is already Yours, what does it cost me?

 I was on fire, but now I have found the Water of the Lord's Name.
This Water of the Lord's Name has cooled my burning body.
To subdue their minds, some go off into the forests; but that Water is not found without the Lord God.
That fire has consumed angels and mortal beings, but the Water of the Lord's Name saves His humble servants from burning.
In the terrifying world-ocean, there is an ocean of peace.
I continue to drink it in, but this Water is never exhausted.
Says Kabīr, meditate and vibrate upon the Lord, like the rainbird remembering the water.

 O Lord, my thirst for the Water of Your Name will not go away.
The fire of my thirst burns even more brightly in that Water.
You are the Ocean of Water, and I am just a fish in that Water.
In that Water, I remain; without that Water, I would perish.
You are the cage, and I am Your parrot.
So what can the cat of death do to me?
You are the tree, and I am the bird.
I am so unfortunate - I cannot see the Blessed Vision of Your Darshan!
You are the True Guru, and I am Your new disciple.
Says Kabīr, O Lord, please meet me - this is my very last chance!

 When I realize that there is One, and only One Lord, why then should the people be upset?
I am dishonored; I have lost my honor.
No one should follow in my footsteps.
I am bad, and bad in my mind as well.
I have no partnership with anyone.
I have no shame about honor or dishonor.
But you shall know, when your own false covering is laid bare.
Says Kabīr , honor is that which is accepted by the Lord.
Give up everything - meditate, vibrate upon the Lord alone.

 If Yoga could be obtained by wandering around naked, then all the deer of the forest would be liberated.
What does it matter whether someone goes naked, or wears a deer skin, if he does not remember the Lord within his soul?
If the spiritual perfection of the Siddhas could be obtained by shaving the head, then why haven't sheep found liberation?
If someone could save himself by celibacy, O Siblings of Destiny, why then haven't eunuchs obtained the state of supreme dignity?
Says Kabīr , listen, O men, O Siblings of Destiny:
without the Lord's Name, who has ever found salvation?

 Those who take their ritual baths in the evening and the morning are like the frogs in the water.
When people do not love the Lord's Name, they must all go to the Righteous Judge of Dharma.
Those who love their bodies and try differentlooks, do not feel compassion, even in dreams.
The wise men call them four-footed creatures; the Holy find peace in this ocean of pain.
Says Kabīr , why do you perform so many rituals?
Renounce everything, and drink in the supreme essence of the Lord.

 What use is chanting, and what use is penance, fasting or devotional worship, to one whose heart is filled with the love of duality?
O humble people, link your mind to the Lord.
Through cleverness, the four-armed Lord is not obtained.
Set aside your greed and worldly ways.
Set aside sexual desire, anger and egotism.
Ritual practices bind people in egotism; meeting together, they worship stones.
Says Kabīr, He is obtained only by devotional worship.
Through innocent love, the Lord is met.

 In the dwelling of the womb, there is no ancestry or social status. All have originated from the Seed of God.
Tell me, O Pandit, O religious scholar: since when have you been a Brahmin?
Don't waste your life by continually claiming to be a Brahmin.
If you are indeed a Brahmin, born of a Brahmin mother, then why didn't you come by some other way?
How is it that you are a Brahmin, and I am of a low social status?
How is it that I am formed of blood, and you are made of milk?
Says Kabīr , one who contemplates God, is said to be a Brahmin among us.

 In the darkness, no one can sleep in peace. The king and the pauper both weep and cry.
As long as the tongue does not chant the Lord's Name, the person continues coming and going in reincarnation, crying out in pain.
It is like the shadow of a tree; when the breath of life passes out of the mortal being, tell me, what becomes of his wealth?
It is like the music contained in the instrument; how can anyone know the secret of the dead?
Like the swan on the lake, death hovers over the body. Drink in the Lord's sweet elixir, Kabīr .

 The creation is born of the Light, and the Light is in the creation.
It bears two fruits: the false glass and the true pearl.
Where is that home, which is said to be free of fear?
There, fear is dispelled and one lives without fear.
On the banks of sacred rivers, the mind is not appeased.
People remain entangled in good and bad deeds.
Sin and virtue are both the same.
In the home of your own being, is the Philosopher's Stone; renounce your search for any other virtue.
Kabīr: O worthless mortal, do not lose the Naam, the Name of the Lord.
Keep this mind of yours involved in this involvement.

 He claims to know the Lord, who is beyond measure and beyond thought; by mere words, he plans to enter heaven.
I do not know where heaven is. Everyone claims that he plans to go there.
By mere talk, the mind is not appeased.
The mind is only appeased, when egotism is conquered.
As long as the mind is filled with the desire for heaven, he does not dwell at the Lord's Feet.
Says Kabīr , unto whom should I tell this?
The Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy, is heaven.

 We are born, and we grow, and having grown, we pass away.
Before our very eyes, this world is passing away.
How can you not die of shame, claiming, "This world is mine"?
At the very last moment, nothing is yours.
Trying various methods, you cherish your body, but at the time of death, it is burned in the fire.
You apply sandalwood oil to your limbs, but that body is burned with the firewood.
Says Kabīr , listen, O virtuous people: your beauty shall vanish, as the whole world watches.

 Why do you cry and mourn, when another person dies? Do so only if you yourself are to live.
I shall not die as the rest of the world dies, for now I have met the life-giving Lord.
People anoint their bodies with fragrant oils, and in that pleasure, they forget the supreme bliss.
There is one well, and five water-carriers. Even though the rope is broken, the fools continue trying to draw water.
Says Kabīr , through contemplation, I have obtained this one understanding.
There is no well, and no water-carrier.

 The mobile and immobile creatures, insects and moths - in numerous lifetimes, I have passed through those many forms.
I lived in many such homes, O Lord, before I came into the womb this time.
I was a Yogi, a celibate, a penitent, and a Brahmchaaree, with strict self-discipline.
Sometimes I was a king, sitting on the throne, and sometimes I was a beggar.
The faithless cynics shall die, while the Saints shall all survive.
They drink in the Lord's Ambrosial Essence with their tongues.
Says Kabīr , O God, have mercy on me. I am so tired; now, please bless me with Your perfection.

 Kabīr has seen such wonders! Mistaking it for cream, the people are churning water.
The donkey grazes upon the green grass; arising each day, he laughs and brays, and then dies.
The bull is intoxicated, and runs around wildly. He romps and eats and then falls into hell.
Says Kabīr , a strange sport has become manifest: the sheep is sucking the milk of her lamb.
Chanting the Lord's Name, my intellect is enlightened.
Says Kabīr , the Guru has blessed me with this understanding.

 I am like a fish out of water, because in my previous life, I did not practice penance and intense meditation.
Now tell me, Lord, what will my condition be? I left Benares - I had little common sense.
I wasted my whole life in the city of Shiva; at the time of my death, I moved to Magahar.
For many years, I practiced penance and intense meditation at Kaashi; now that my time to die has come, I have come to dwell at Magahar!
Kaashi and Magahar - I consider them the same.
With inadequate devotion, how can anyone swim across?
Says Kabīr , the Guru and Ganaysha and Shiva all know that Kabīr died chanting the Lord's Name.

 You may anoint your limbs with sandalwood oil, but in the end, that body will be burned with the firewood.
Why should anyone take pride in this body or wealth?
They shall end up lying on the ground; they shall not go along with you to the world beyond.
They sleep by night and work during the day, but they do not chant the Lord's Name, even for an instant.
They hold the string of the kite in their hands, and chew betel leaves in their mouths, but at the time of death, they shall be tied up tight, like thieves.
Through the Guru's Teachings, and immersed in His Love, sing the Glorious Praises of the Lord.
Chant the Name of the Lord, Raam, Raam, and find peace.
In His Mercy, He implants the Naam within us; inhale deeply the sweet aroma and fragrance of the Lord, Har, Har.
Says Kabīr , remember Him, you blind fool!
The Lord is True; all worldly affairs are false.

 I have turned away from death and turned to the Lord.
Pain has been eliminated, and I dwell in peac and comfort.
My enemies have been transformed into friends.
The faithless cynics have been transformed into good-hearted people.
Now, I feel that everything brings me peace.
Peace and tranquility have come, since I realized the Lord of the Universe.
My body was afflicted with millions of diseases.
They have been transformed into the peaceful, tranquil concentration of Samaadhi.
When someone understands his own self, he no longer suffers from illness and the three fevers.
My mind has now been restored to its original purity.
When I became dead while yet alive, only then did I come to know the Lord.
Says Kabīr , I am now immersed in intuitive peace and poise.
I do not fear anyone, and I do not strike fear into anyone else.

                                                     

  When the body dies, where does the soul go?
It is absorbed into the untouched, unstruck melody of the Word of the Shabad.
Only one who knows the Lord realizes Him.
The mind is satisfied and satiated, like the mute who eats the sugar candy and just smiles, without speaking.
Such is the spiritual wisdom which the Lord has imparted.
O mind, hold your breath steady within the central channel of the Sushmanaa.
Adopt such a Guru, that you shall not have to adopt another again.
Dwell in such a state, that you shall never have to dwell in any other.
Embrace such a meditation, that you shall never have to embrace any other.
Die in such a way, that you shall never have to die again.
Turn your breath away from the left channel, and away from the right channel,
and unite them in the central channel of the Sushmanaa.
At their confluence within your mind, take your bath there without water.
To look upon all with an impartial eye - let this be your daily occupation.
Contemplate this essence of reality - what else is there to contemplate?
Water, fire, wind, earth and ether - adopt such a way of life and you shall be close to the Lord.
Says Kabīr , meditate on the Immaculate Lord.
Go to that home, which you shall never have to leave.

 He cannot be obtained by offering your weight in gold.
But I have bought the Lord by giving my mind to Him.
Now I recognize that He is my Lord.
My mind is intuitively pleased with Him.
Brahma spoke of Him continually, but could not find His limit.
Because of my devotion to the Lord, He has come to sit within the home of my inner being.
Says Kabīr , I have renounced my restless intellect.
It is my destiny to worship the Lord alone.

 That death which terrifies the entire world - the nature of that death has been revealed to me, through the Word of the Guru's Shabad.
Now, how shall I die? My mind has already accepted death.
Those who do not know the Lord, die over and over again, and then depart.
Everyone says, "I will die, I will die."
But he alone becomes immortal, who dies with intuitive understanding.
Says Kabīr , my mind is filled with bliss; my doubts have been eliminated, and I am in ecstasy.

 There is no special place where the soul aches; where should I apply the ointment?
I have searched the body, but I have not found such a place.
He alone knows it, who feels the pain of such love; the arrows of the Lord's devotional worship are so sharp!
I look upon all His soul-brides with an impartial eye; how can I know which ones are dear to the Husband Lord?
Says Kabīr , one who has such destiny inscribed upon her forehead - her Husband Lord turns all others away, and meets with her.

 One who has the Lord as his Master, O Siblings of Destiny - countless liberations knock at his door.
If I say now that my trust is in You alone, Lord, then what obligation do I have to anyone else?
He bears the burden of the three worlds; why should He not cherish you also?
Says Kabīr , through contemplation, I have obtained this one understanding.
If the mother poisons her own child, what can anyone do?

 Without Truth, how can the woman be a true satee - a widow who burns herself on her husband's funeral pyre?
O Pandit, O religious scholar, see this and contemplate it within your heart.
Without love, how can one's affection increase?
As long as there is attachment to pleasure, there can be no spiritual love.
One who, in his own soul, believes the Queen Maya to be true, does not meet the Lord, even in dreams.
One who surrenders her body, mind, wealth, home and self - she is the true soul-bride, says Kabīr.

 The whole world is engrossed in corruption. This corruption has drowned entire families.
O man, why have you wrecked your boat and sunk it?
You have broken with the Lord, and joined hands with corruption.
Angels and human beings alike are burning in the raging fire.
The water is near at hand, but the beast does not drink it in.
By constant contemplation and awareness, the water is brought forth.
That water is immaculate and pure, says Kabīr.

 That family, whose son has no spiritual wisdom or contemplation - why didn't his mother just become a widow?
That man who has not practiced devotional worship of the Lord - why didn't such a sinful man die at birth?
So many pregnancies end in miscarriage - why was this one spared?
He lives his life in this world like a deformed amputee.
Says Kabīr , without the Naam, the Name of the Lord, beautiful and handsome people are just ugly hunch-backs.

 I am forever a sacrifice to those humble beings who take the Name of their Lord and Master.
Those who sing the Glorious Praises of the Pure Lord are pure.
They are my Siblings of Destiny, so dear to my heart.
I am the dust of the lotus feet of those whose hearts are filled with the All-pervading Lord.
I am a weaver by birth, and patient of mind.
Slowly, steadily, Kabīr chants the Glories of God.

 From the Sky of the Tenth Gate, the nectar trickles down, distilled from my furnace.
I have gathered in this most sublime essence, making my body into firewood.
He alone is called intoxicated with intuitive peace and poise, who drinks in the juice of the Lord's essence, contemplating spiritual wisdom.
Intuitive poise is the bar-maid who comes to serve it.
I pass my nights and days in ecstasy.
Through conscious meditation, I linked my consciousness with the Immaculate Lord.
Says Kabīr , then I obtained the Fearless Lord.

 The natural tendency of the mind is to chase the mind.
Who has established himself as a Siddha, a being of miraculous spiritual powers, by killing his mind?
Who is that silent sage, who has killed his mind?
By killing the mind, tell me, who is saved?
Everyone speaks through the mind.
Without killing the mind, devotional worship is not performed.
Says Kabīr , one who knows the secret of this mystery, beholds within his own mind the Lord of the three worlds.

 The stars which are seen in the sky - who is the painter who painted them?
Tell me, O Pandit, what is the sky attached to?
Very fortunate is the knower who knows this.
The sun and the moon give their light;
God's creative extension extends everywhere.
Says Kabīr , he alone knows this, whose heart is filled with the Lord,
and whose mouth is also filled with the Lord.

                                      

 The Simritee is the daughter of the Vedas, O Siblings of Destiny.
She has brought a chain and a rope.
She has imprisoned the people in her own city.
She has tightened the noose of emotional attachment and shot the arrow of death.
By cutting, she cannot be cut, and she cannot be broken.
She has become a serpent, and she is eating the world.
Before my very eyes, she has plundered the entire world.
Says Kabīr , chanting the Lord's Name, I have escaped her.

                                 

 I have grasped the reins and attached the bridle; abandoning everything, I now ride through the skies.
I made self-reflection my mount, and in the stirrups of intuitive poise, I placed my feet.
Come, and let me ride you to heaven.
If you hold back, then I shall strike you with the whip of spiritual love.
Says Kabīr , those who remain detached from the Vedas, the Koran and the Bible are the best riders.
Kabīr, the Lord is like musk; all His slaves are like bumble bees.

 'When I was, Hari was not, now Hari is and I am no more: 
All darkness vanished, When I saw the Lamp within my heart. 
The effulgance of the supreme Being is beyond the imagination: 
Ineffable is His beauty, to see it is the only `proof'. 
It was a good thing the hail fell to ground, for it lost its own selfhood:
Melting, it turned into water and rolled down to the pond. 
Him whom I went out to seek, I found just where I was: 
He now has become myself whom before I called `Another'!

 This union with the guru, O Kabir, Sets me free; 
like salt mingled With flour, I am no more I!
Now I have no caste, no creed, I am no more what I am!
O dear brother! By what name would you call me?

 The little chador is woven very thin, very delicate.
Of what is the warp, of what is the weft?
With whose thread is the chador woven?
idā is the warp and pingalā is the weft. 
With the thread of suShumna the chador is woven.
The eight-petaled lotus is the spinning wheel.
The chador is made of the five elements and the three qualities (gunas).
For ten months the Lord keeps making it.
Tamping it down well, He weaves the chador.
That chador covers deities, men, and sages.
When they've wrapped it round, they make the chador dirty.
Das Kabir has carefully covered himself.
He took good care of his chador and is giving it back as good as new.

 Your chador has gotten very old. Now think and understand, O proud one.
A wondrous weaver wove this chador, with the thread of karma as the warp,
Memory and attachment as the weft. Then it looked agreeable to everyone.
But the dirty stains of sins get on it. Touching anything will leave a smudge.
Bring the soap of gnosis to wash it in the water of righteous company of the saints. 
You haven't washed it.
Brother, it's become all ruined now. You've gotten it mixed up with greed and folly.
With covering like this, your life is wasted. You don't know what's good and what's bad.
Understand your fears and live your own soul. This is a thing that's hard to find.
Says Kabir: Hold it very carefully. It won't come into your grasp again..

 Penalty of embodiment, transpires to all
Learned deals with knowledge, ignorant with moans
Says Kabir I would then fear, if it happened only to me
Death, old age and perils, is a must for all
O man, why do you act, why regret the done deed
Having sown Babool, Mango, how can you eat 

 I am so hungry, I cannot perform devotional worship service.
Here, Lord, take back Your mala.
I beg for the dust of the feet of the Saints.
I do not owe anyone anything.  

 O Lord, how can I be with You?
If You do not give me Yourself, then I shall beg until I get You.  
I ask for two kilos of flour, and half a pound of ghee, and salt.
I ask for a pound of beans, which I shall eat twice a day.

 I ask for a cot, with four legs, and a pillow and mattress.
I ask for a quit to cover myself.
Your humble servant shall perform Your devotional worship service with love.
He then goes on to say that he doesn't ask for these out of greed,
rather these are the bare essentials of his life and none can do without them.
Through this hymn, Kabir ji has beautifully shown us the precept of 'hand on job and heart in God'.

 Meditate on the Lord, O mortal being, through the Word of His Bani;
you shall be blessed with eternal life.
In this way, shall you cross over the terrifying world-ocean.
As it pleases Him, people embrace love for the Lord,
and doubt and delusion are dispelled from within.
Intuitive peace and poise well up within, and the intellect is awakened to spiritual wisdom.
By Guru's Grace, the inner being is touched by the Lord's Love.
In this association, there is no death.
Recognizing the Hukam of His Command, you shall meet with your Lord and Master.
Siree Raag, Devotee Kabīr Jee:
Listen, O religious scholar: the One Lord alone is Wondrous; no one can describe Him.
He fascinates the angels, the celestial singers and the heavenly musicians; he has strung the three worlds upon His Thread.
The Unstruck Melody of the Sovereign Lord's Harp vibrates; by His Glance of Grace, we are lovingly attuned to the Sound-current of the Naad.
The Tenth Gate of my crown chakra is the distilling fire, and the channels of the Ida and Pingala are the funnels, to pour in and empty out the golden vat.
Into that vat, there trickles a gentle stream of the most sublime and pure essence of all distilled essences.
Something wonderful has happened-the breath has become the cup.
In all the three worlds, such a Yogi is unique. What king can compare to him?
This spiritual wisdom of God, the Supreme Soul, has illuminated my being. Says Kabīr, I am attuned to His Love.
All the rest of the world is deluded by doubt, while my mind is intoxicated with the Sublime Essence of the Lord.

 I was on fire, but now I have found the Water of the Lord's Name.
This Water of the Lord's Name has cooled my burning body.
To subdue their minds, some go off into the forests;
but that Water is not found without the Lord God.
That fire has consumed angels and mortal beings,
but the Water of the Lord's Name saves His humble servants from burning.
In the terrifying world-ocean, there is an ocean of peace.
I continue to drink it in, but this Water is never exhausted.
Says Kabīr, meditate and vibrate upon the Lord, like the rainbird remembering the water.
The Water of the Lord's Name has quenched my thirst.

  O Lord, my thirst for the Water of Your Name will not go away.
The fire of my thirst burns even more brightly in that Water.  
You are the Ocean of Water, and I am just a fish in that Water.
In that Water, I remain; without that Water, I would perish.
You are the cage, and I am Your parrot.
So what can the cat of death do to me?
You are the tree, and I am the bird.
I am so unfortunate - I cannot see the Blessed Vision of Your Darshan!
You are the True Guru, and I am Your new disciple.
Says Kabīr, O Lord, please meet me -
this is my very last chance!

 When I realize that there is One, and only One Lord, why then should the people be upset?
I am dishonored; I have lost my honor.
No one should follow in my footsteps.
I am bad, and bad in my mind as well.
I have no partnership with anyone.
I have no shame about honor or dishonor.
But you shall know, when your own false covering is laid bare.
Says Kabīr, honor is that which is accepted by the Lord.
Give up everything - meditate, vibrate upon the Lord alone.

 If Yoga could be obtained by wandering around naked, then all the deer of the forest would be liberated.
What does it matter whether someone goes naked, or wears a deer skin, if he does not remember the Lord within his soul?
If the spiritual perfection of the Siddhas could be obtained by shaving the head, then why haven't sheep found liberation?
If someone could save himself by celibacy, O Siblings of Destiny, why then haven't eunuchs obtained the state of supreme dignity?
Says Kabīr, listen, O men, O Siblings of Destiny:
without the Lord's Name, who has ever found salvation?

 Those who take their ritual baths in the evening and the morning
are like the frogs in the water.
When people do not love the Lord's Name,
they must all go to the Righteous Judge of Dharma.
Those who love their bodies and try differentlooks,
do not feel compassion, even in dreams.
The wise men call them four-footed creatures;
the Holy find peace in this ocean of pain.
Says Kabīr, why do you perform so many rituals?
Renounce everything, and drink in the supreme essence of the Lord.

 What use is chanting, and what use is penance, fasting or devotional worship, to one whose heart is filled with the love of duality?
O humble people, link your mind to the Lord.
Through cleverness, the four-armed Lord is not obtained.
Set aside your greed and worldly ways.
Set aside sexual desire, anger and egotism.
Ritual practices bind people in egotism; meeting together, they worship stones.
Says Kabīr, He is obtained only by devotional worship.
Through innocent love, the Lord is met.

 In the dwelling of the womb, there is no ancestry or social status. All have originated from the Seed of God.
Tell me, O Pandit, O religious scholar: since when have you been a Brahmin?
Don't waste your life by continually claiming to be a Brahmin.
If you are indeed a Brahmin, born of a Brahmin mother, then why didn't you come by some other way?
How is it that you are a Brahmin, and I am of a low social status?
How is it that I am formed of blood, and you are made of milk?
Says Kabīr, one who contemplates God,
is said to be a Brahmin among us.

 In the darkness, no one can sleep in peace. The king and the pauper both weep and cry.
As long as the tongue does not chant the Lord's Name, the person continues coming and going in reincarnation, crying out in pain.
It is like the shadow of a tree; when the breath of life passes out of the mortal being, tell me, what becomes of his wealth?
It is like the music contained in the instrument;
how can anyone know the secret of the dead?  
Like the swan on the lake, death hovers over the body.
Drink in the Lord's sweet elixir, Kabīr.  

               

 The creation is born of the Light, and the Light is in the creation. It bears two fruits: the false glass and the true pearl.  
Where is that home, which is said to be free of fear?
There, fear is dispelled and one lives without fear.  
On the banks of sacred rivers, the mind is not appeased.
People remain entangled in good and bad deeds.
Sin and virtue are both the same.
In the home of your own being, is the Philosopher's Stone; renounce your search for any other virtue.  
Kabīr: O worthless mortal, do not lose the Naam, the Name of the Lord.
Keep this mind of yours involved in this involvement.  

 He claims to know the Lord, who is beyond measure and beyond thought; by mere words, he plans to enter heaven.  
I do not know where heaven is. Everyone claims that he plans to go there.  
By mere talk, the mind is not appeased.
The mind is only appeased, when egotism is conquered.
As long as the mind is filled with the desire for heaven, he does not dwell at the Lord's Feet.  
Says Kabīr, unto whom should I tell this?
The Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy, is heaven.

 We are born, and we grow, and having grown, we pass away.
Before our very eyes, this world is passing away.  
How can you not die of shame, claiming, "This world is mine"?
At the very last moment, nothing is yours.  
Trying various methods, you cherish your body,
but at the time of death, it is burned in the fire.  
You apply sandalwood oil to your limbs,
but that body is burned with the firewood.  
Says Kabīr, listen, O virtuous people:
your beauty shall vanish, as the whole world watches.  

 Why do you cry and mourn, when another person dies?
Do so only if you yourself are to live.  
I shall not die as the rest of the world dies,
for now I have met the life-giving Lord.  
People anoint their bodies with fragrant oils,
and in that pleasure, they forget the supreme bliss.  
There is one well, and five water-carriers.
Even though the rope is broken, the fools continue trying to draw water.  
Says Kabīr, through contemplation, I have obtained this one understanding.
There is no well, and no water-carrier.  

 The mobile and immobile creatures, insects and moths -
in numerous lifetimes, I have passed through those many forms.  
I lived in many such homes, O Lord, before I came into the womb this time.  
I was a Yogi, a celibate, a penitent, and a Brahmchaaree, with strict self-discipline.
Sometimes I was a king, sitting on the throne, and sometimes I was a beggar.
The faithless cynics shall die, while the Saints shall all survive.
They drink in the Lord's Ambrosial Essence with their tongues.  
Says Kabīr, O God, have mercy on me.
I am so tired; now, please bless me with Your perfection.  

 Kabīr has seen such wonders! Mistaking it for cream, the people are churning water.  
The donkey grazes upon the green grass; arising each day, he laughs and brays, and then dies.  
The bull is intoxicated, and runs around wildly.
He romps and eats and then falls into hell.
Says Kabīr, a strange sport has become manifest: the sheep is sucking the milk of her lamb.  
Chanting the Lord's Name, my intellect is enlightened.
Says Kabīr, the Guru has blessed me with this understanding.

 I am like a fish out of water, because in my previous life, I did not practice penance and intense meditation.  
Now tell me, Lord, what will my condition be?
I left Benares - I had little common sense.  
I wasted my whole life in the city of Shiva; at the time of my death, I moved to Magahar.  
For many years, I practiced penance and intense meditation at Kaashi; now that my time to die has come, I have come to dwell at Magahar!  
Kaashi and Magahar - I consider them the same.
With inadequate devotion, how can anyone swim across?  
Says Kabīr, the Guru and Ganaysha and Shiva all know
that Kabīr died chanting the Lord's Name.  

 You may anoint your limbs with sandalwood oil,
but in the end, that body will be burned with the firewood.
Why should anyone take pride in this body or wealth?
They shall end up lying on the ground;
they shall not go along with you to the world beyond.  
They sleep by night and work during the day,
but they do not chant the Lord's Name, even for an instant.  
They hold the string of the kite in their hands, and chew betel leaves in their mouths,
but at the time of death, they shall be tied up tight, like thieves.  
Through the Guru's Teachings, and immersed in His Love, sing the Glorious Praises of the Lord.
Chant the Name of the Lord, Raam, Raam, and find peace.
In His Mercy, He implants the Naam within us;
inhale deeply the sweet aroma and fragrance of the Lord, Har, Har.  
Says Kabīr, remember Him, you blind fool!
The Lord is True; all worldly affairs are false.  

 I have turned away from death and turned to the Lord.
Pain has been eliminated, and I dwell in peac and comfort.
My enemies have been transformed into friends.
The faithless cynics have been transformed into good-hearted people.  
Now, I feel that everything brings me peace.
Peace and tranquility have come, since I realized the Lord of the Universe.  
My body was afflicted with millions of diseases.
They have been transformed into the peaceful, tranquil concentration of Samaadhi.
When someone understands his own self, he no longer suffers from illness and the three fevers.
My mind has now been restored to its original purity.
When I became dead while yet alive, only then did I come to know the Lord.
Says Kabīr, I am now immersed in intuitive peace and poise.
I do not fear anyone, and I do not strike fear into anyone else.  

 When the body dies, where does the soul go?
It is absorbed into the untouched, unstruck melody of the Word of the Shabad.
Only one who knows the Lord realizes Him.
The mind is satisfied and satiated, like the mute who eats the sugar candy and just smiles, without speaking.  
Such is the spiritual wisdom which the Lord has imparted.
O mind, hold your breath steady within the central channel of the Sushmanaa.  
Adopt such a Guru, that you shall not have to adopt another again.
Dwell in such a state, that you shall never have to dwell in any other.
Embrace such a meditation, that you shall never have to embrace any other.
Die in such a way, that you shall never have to die again.  
Turn your breath away from the left channel, and away from the right channel, and unite them in the central channel of the Sushmanaa.
At their confluence within your mind, take your bath there without water.
To look upon all with an impartial eye - let this be your daily occupation.
Contemplate this essence of reality - what else is there to contemplate?
Water, fire, wind, earth and ether - adopt such a way of life and you shall be close to the Lord.
Says Kabīr, meditate on the Immaculate Lord.
Go to that home, which you shall never have to leave.

 He cannot be obtained by offering your weight in gold.
But I have bought the Lord by giving my mind to Him.  
Now I recognize that He is my Lord.
My mind is intuitively pleased with Him.  
Brahma spoke of Him continually, but could not find His limit.
Because of my devotion to the Lord, He has come to sit within the home of my inner being.  
Says Kabīr, I have renounced my restless intellect.
It is my destiny to worship the Lord alone.  

 That death which terrifies the entire world -
the nature of that death has been revealed to me, through the Word of the Guru's Shabad.
Now, how shall I die? My mind has already accepted death.
Those who do not know the Lord, die over and over again, and then depart.  
Everyone says, "I will die, I will die."
But he alone becomes immortal, who dies with intuitive understanding.  
Says Kabīr, my mind is filled with bliss;
my doubts have been eliminated, and I am in ecstasy.  

 There is no special place where the soul aches;
where should I apply the ointment?
I have searched the body, but I have not found such a place.  
He alone knows it, who feels the pain of such love;
the arrows of the Lord's devotional worship are so sharp!  
I look upon all His soul-brides with an impartial eye;
how can I know which ones are dear to the Husband Lord?  
Says Kabīr, one who has such destiny inscribed upon her forehead -
her Husband Lord turns all others away, and meets with her.  

 One who has the Lord as his Master, O Siblings of Destiny -
countless liberations knock at his door.
If I say now that my trust is in You alone, Lord,
then what obligation do I have to anyone else?
He bears the burden of the three worlds;
why should He not cherish you also?
Says Kabīr, through contemplation, I have obtained this one understanding.
If the mother poisons her own child, what can anyone do?

 Without Truth, how can the woman be a true satee -
a widow who burns herself on her husband's funeral pyre?
O Pandit, O religious scholar, see this and contemplate it within your heart.  
Without love, how can one's affection increase?
As long as there is attachment to pleasure, there can be no spiritual love.
One who, in his own soul, believes the Queen Maya to be true, does not meet the Lord, even in dreams.  
One who surrenders her body, mind, wealth, home and self - she is the true soul-bride, says Kabīr.

 The whole world is engrossed in corruption. This corruption has drowned entire families.
O man, why have you wrecked your boat and sunk it?
You have broken with the Lord, and joined hands with corruption.
Angels and human beings alike are burning in the raging fire.
The water is near at hand, but the beast does not drink it in.
By constant contemplation and awareness, the water is brought forth.
That water is immaculate and pure, says Kabīr.  

 That family, whose son has no spiritual wisdom or contemplation - why didn't his mother just become a widow?  
That man who has not practiced devotional worship of the Lord - why didn't such a sinful man die at birth?
So many pregnancies end in miscarriage - why was this one spared?
He lives his life in this world like a deformed amputee.  
Says Kabīr, without the Naam, the Name of the Lord, beautiful
and handsome people are just ugly hunch-backs.  

 I am forever a sacrifice to those humble beings who take the Name of their Lord and Master.  
Those who sing the Glorious Praises of the Pure Lord are pure.
They are my Siblings of Destiny, so dear to my heart.
I am the dust of the lotus feet of those whose hearts are filled with the All-pervading Lord.
I am a weaver by birth, and patient of mind.
Slowly, steadily, Kabīr chants the Glories of God.

 From the Sky of the Tenth Gate, the nectar trickles down, distilled from my furnace.
I have gathered in this most sublime essence, making my body into firewood.
He alone is called intoxicated with intuitive peace and poise, who drinks in the juice of the Lord's essence, contemplating spiritual wisdom.
Intuitive poise is the bar-maid who comes to serve it. I pass my nights and days in ecstasy.
Through conscious meditation, I linked my consciousness with the Immaculate Lord.
Says Kabīr, then I obtained the Fearless Lord.  

 The natural tendency of the mind is to chase the mind.
Who has established himself as a Siddha, a being of miraculous spiritual powers, by killing his mind?
Who is that silent sage, who has killed his mind?
By killing the mind, tell me, who is saved?  
Everyone speaks through the mind.
Without killing the mind, devotional worship is not performed.
Says Kabīr, one who knows the secret of this mystery,
beholds within his own mind the Lord of the three worlds.

 I have grasped the reins and attached the bridle; abandoning everything, I now ride through the skies.  
I made self-reflection my mount, and in the stirrups of intuitive poise, I placed my feet.
Come, and let me ride you to heaven.
If you hold back, then I shall strike you with the whip of spiritual love.  
Says Kabīr, those who remain detached from the Vedas, the Koran and the Bible are the best riders.  



By The Grace Of The True Guru:

 santh milai kishh suneeai keheeai
When you meet a Saint, talk to him and listen.
milai asanth masatt kar reheeai
Meeting with an unsaintly person, just remain silent.
baabaa bolanaa kiaa keheeai  
O father, if I speak, what words should I utter?
jaisae raam naam rav reheeai rehaao  
Speak such words, by which you may remain absorbed in the Name of the Lord.
santhan sio bolae oupakaaree  
Speaking with the Saints, one becomes generous.
moorakh sio bolae jhakh maaree  
To speak with a fool is to babble uselessly.
bolath bolath badtehi bikaaraa  
By speaking and only speaking, corruption only increases.
bin bolae kiaa karehi beechaaraa  
If I do not speak, what can the poor wretch do?
kahu kabeer shhooshhaa ghatt bolai  
Says Kabeer, the empty pitcher makes noise,
bhariaa hoe s kabahu n ddolai
but that which is full makes no sound.

 naroo marai nar kaam n aavai  
When a man dies, he is of no use to anyone.
pasoo marai dhas kaaj savaarai  
But when an animal dies, it is used in ten ways.
apanae karam kee gath mai kiaa jaano  
What do I know, about the state of my karma?
mai kiaa jaano baabaa rae rehaao  
What do I know, O Baba?
haadd jalae jaisae lakaree kaa thoolaa  
His bones burn, like a bundle of logs;
kaes jalae jaisae ghaas kaa poolaa
his hair burns like a bale of hay.
kahu kabeer thab hee nar jaagai  
Says Kabeer, the man wakes up,
jam kaa ddandd moondd mehi laagai
only when the Messenger of Death hits him over the head with his club.

 aakaas gagan paathaal gagan hai chahu dhis gagan rehaaeilae  
The Celestial Lord is in the Akaashic ethers of the skies,
the Celestial Lord is in the nether regions of the underworld; in the four directions, the Celestial Lord is pervading.
aanadh mool sadhaa purakhotham ghatt binasai gagan n jaaeilae  
The Supreme Lord God is forever the source of bliss. When the vessel of the body perishes, the Celestial Lord does not perish.
mohi bairaag bhaeiou  
I have become sad,
eihu jeeo aae kehaa gaeiou rehaao
wondering where the soul comes from, and where it goes.
panch thath mil kaaeiaa keenhee thath kehaa thae keen rae  
The body is formed from the union of the five tatvas; but where were the five tatvas created?
karam badhh thum jeeo kehath ha karamehi kin jeeo dheen rae  
You say that the soul is tied to its karma, but who gave karma to the body?
har mehi than hai than mehi har hai sarab niranthar soe rae  
The body is contained in the Lord, and the Lord is contained in the body. He is permeating within all.
kehi kabeer raam naam n shhoddo sehajae hoe s hoe rae  
Says Kabeer, I shall not renounce the Lord's Name.
I shall accept whatever happens.

 bhujaa baandhh bhilaa kar ddaariou  
They tied my arms, bundled me up, and threw me before an elephant.
hasathee krop moondd mehi maariou  
The elephant driver struck him on the head, and infuriated him.
hasath bhaag kai cheesaa maarai  
But the elephant ran away, trumpeting,
eiaa moorath kai ho balihaarai  
"I am a sacrifice to this image of the Lord."1
aahi maerae thaakur thumaraa jor  
O my Lord and Master, You are my strength.
kaajee bakibo hasathee thor rehaao  
The Qazi shouted at the driver to drive the elephant on.
rae mehaavath thujh ddaaro kaatt  
He yelled out, ""O driver, I shall cut you into pieces.
eisehi thuraavahu ghaalahu saatt  
Hit him, and drive him on!""
hasath n thorai dhharai dhhiaan  
But the elephant did not move; instead, he began to meditate.
vaa kai ridhai basai bhagavaan  
The Lord God abides within his mind.
kiaa aparaadhh santh hai keenhaa
What sin has this Saint committed,
baandhh pott kunchar ko dheenhaa  
that you have made him into a bundle and thrown him before the elephant?
kunchar pott lai lai namasakaarai  
Lifting up the bundle, the elephant bows down before it.
boojhee nehee kaajee andhhiaarai
The Qazi could not understand it; he was blind.
theen baar patheeaa bhar leenaa
Three times, he tried to do it.
man kathor ajehoo n patheenaa  
Even then, his hardened mind was not satisfied.
kehi kabeer hamaraa gobindh  
Says Kabeer, such is my Lord and Master.
chouthhae padh mehi jan kee jindh  
The soul of His humble servant dwells in the fourth state.

 naa eihu maanas naa eihu dhaeo  
It is not human, and it is not a god.
naa eihu jathee kehaavai saeo  
It is not called celibate, or a worshipper of Shiva.
naa eihu jogee naa avadhhoothaa
It is not a Yogi, and it is not a hermit.
naa eis maae n kaahoo poothaa
It is not a mother, or anyone's son.
eiaa mandhar mehi kaan basaaee  
Then what is it, which dwells in this temple of the body?
thaa kaa anth n kooo paaee rehaao  
No one can find its limits.
naa eihu girehee naa oudhaasee  
It is not a house-holder, and it is not a renouncer of the world.
naa eihu raaj n bheekh mangaasee  
It is not a king, and it is not a beggar.
naa eis pindd n rakathoo raathee  
It has no body, no drop of blood.
naa eihu brehaman naa eihu khaathee  
It is not a Brahmin, and it is not a Kh'shaatriya.
nw iehu qpw khwvY syKu ]
naa eihu thapaa kehaavai saekh  
It is not called a man of austere self-discipline, or a Shaykh.
naa eihu jeevai n marathaa dhaekh  
It does not live, and it is not seen to die.
eis marathae ko jae kooo rovai  
If someone cries over its death,
jo rovai soee path khovai  
that person loses his honor.
gur prasaadh mai ddagaro paaeiaa  
By Guru's Grace, I have found the Path.
jeevan maran dhooo mittavaaeiaa  
Birth and death have both been erased.
kahu kabeer eihu raam kee ans  
Says Kabeer, this is formed of the same essence as the Lord.
jas kaagadh par mittai n mans  
It is like the ink on the paper which cannot be erased.

 thoottae thaagae nikhuttee paan  
The threads are broken, and the starch has run out.
huaar oopar jhilakaavehi kaan  
Bare reeds glisten at the front door.
kooch bichaarae fooeae faal
The poor brushes are scattered in pieces.
eiaa munddeeaa sir chadtibo kaal  
Death has entered this shaven head.
eihu munddeeaa sagalo dhrab khoee  
This shaven-headed mendicant has wasted all his wealth.
aavath jaath naak sar hoee rehaao  
All this coming and going has irritated him.
thuree naar kee shhoddee baathaa  
He has given up all talk of his weaving equipment.
raam naam vaa kaa man raathaa  
His mind is attuned to the Lord's Name.
larikee larikan khaibo naahi  
His daughters and sons have nothing to eat,
munddeeaa anadhin dhhaapae jaahi  
while the shaven-headed mendicants night and day eat their fill.
eik dhue mandhar eik dhue baatt  
One or two are in the house, and one or two more are on the way.
ham ko saathhar oun ko khaatt  
We sleep on the floor, while they sleep in the beds.
moodd palos kamar badhh pothhee  
They rub their bare heads, and carry prayer-books in their waist-bands.
ham ko chaaban oun ko rottee  
We get dry grains, while they get loaves of bread.
munddeeaa munddeeaa hooeae eaek  
He will become one of these shaven-headed mendicants.
eae munddeeaa booddath kee ttaek  
They are the support of the drowning.
sun andhhalee loee baepeer  
Listen, O blind and unguided Loi:
einh munddeean bhaj saran kabeer
Kabeer has taken shelter with these shaven-headed mendicants.
khasam marai tho naar n rovai  
When her husband dies, the woman does not cry.
ous rakhavaaraa aouro hovai  
Someone else becomes her protector.
kakhavaarae kaa hoe binaas  
When this protector dies,
aagai narak eehaa bhog bilaas
he falls into the world of hell hereafter, for the sexual pleasures he enjoyed in this world.
eaek suhaagan jagath piaaree  
The world loves only the one bride, Maya.
sagalae jeea janth kee naaree rehaao  
She is the wife of all beings and creatures.
Sohaagan gal sohai haar  
With her necklace around her neck, this bride looks beautiful.
santh ko bikh bigasai sansaar  
She is poison to the Saint, but the world is delighted with her.
kar seegaar behai pakhiaaree
Adorning herself, she sits like a prostitute.
santh kee thithakee firai bichaaree
Cursed by the Saints, she wanders around like a wretch.
santh bhaag ouh paashhai parai  
She runs around, chasing after the Saints.
gur parasaadhee maarahu ddarai  
She is afraid of being beaten by those blessed with the Guru's Grace.
saakath kee ouh pindd paraaein  
She is the body, the breath of life, of the faithless cynics.
ham ko dhrisatt parai thrakh ddaaein  
She appears to me like a blood-thirsty witch.
ham this kaa bahu jaaniaa bhaeo  
I know her secrets well
jab hooeae kirapaal milae guradhaeo  
in His Mercy, the Divine Guru met me.
kahu kabeer ab baahar paree
Says Kabeer, now I have thrown her out.
sansaarai kai anchal laree
She clings to the skirt of the world.
 



volker doormann - 2005.11.03

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