Songs of Kabir 100 Poems

15th Century

Trans. Rabindranath Tagore

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Poems 26-50

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II. 75. ônkâr siwae kôî sirjai

All things are created by the Om; The love-form is His body. He is without form, without quality, without decay; Seek thou union with Him!

But that formless God takes a thousand forms in the eyes of His creatures; He is pure and indestructible, His form is infinite and fathomless, He dances in rapture, and waves of form arise from His dance. The body and the mind cannot contain themselves, when they are touched by His great joy.

He is immersed in all consciousness, all joys, and all sorrows; He has no beginning and no end; He holds all within His bliss.


II. 81. satgur sôî dayâ kar dînhâ

It is the mercy of my true Guru that has made me to know the unknown; I have learned from Him how to walk without feet, to see without eyes, to hear without ears, to drink without mouth, to fly without wings; I have brought my love and my meditation into the land where there is no sun and moon, nor day and night.

Without eating, I have tasted of the sweetness of nectar; and without water, I have quenched my thirst. Where there is the response of delight, there is the fullness of joy. Before whom can that joy be uttered?

Kabîr says: "The Guru is great beyond words, and great is the good fortune of the disciple."


II. 85. nirgun âge sargun nâcai

Before the Unconditioned, the Conditioned dances; "Thou and I are one!" this trumpet proclaims.

The Guru comes, and bows down before the disciple: This is the greatest of wonders.


II. 87. Kabîr kab se bhaye vairâgî

Gorakhnath asks Kabîr: "Tell me, O Kabîr, when did your vocation begin? Where did your love have its rise?"

Kabîr answers: "When He whose forms are manifold had not begun His play; when there was no Guru, and no disciple; when the world was not spread out; when the Supreme One was alone—Then I became an ascetic; then, O Gorakh, my love was drawn to Brahma.

Brahma did not hold the crown on his head; the god Vishnu was not anointed as king; the power of Shiva was still unborn; when I was instructed in Yoga.

I became suddenly revealed in Benares, and Râmânanda illumined me; I brought with me the thirst for the Infinite, and I have come for the meeting with Him. In simplicity will I unite with the Simple One; my love will surge up.

O Gorakh, march thou with His music!"


II. 95. yâ tarvar men ek pakherû

On this tree is a bird; it dances in the joy of life. None knows where it is; and who knows what the burden of its music may be?

Where the branches throw a deep shade, there does it have its nest; it comes in the evening and flies away in the morning, and says not a word of that which it means.

None tell me of this bird that sings within me. It is neither coloured nor colourless; it has neither form nor outline; It sits in the shadow of love. It dwells within the Unattainable, the Infinite, and the Eternal; and no one marks when it comes and goes.

Kabîr says: "O brother Sadhu! deep is the mystery. Let wise men seek to know where rests that bird."


II. 100. nis` din sâlai ghâw

A sore pain troubles me day and night, and I cannot sleep; I long for the meeting with my Beloved, and my father's house gives me pleasure no more.

The gates of the sky are opened, the temple is revealed; I meet my husband, and leave at His feet the offering of my body and my mind.


II. 103. nâco re mero man, matta hoy

Dance, my heart! dance today with joy. The strains of love fill the days and the nights with music, and the world is listening to its melodies.

Mad with joy, life and death dance to the rhythm of this music. The hills and the sea and the earth dance. The world of man dances in laughter and tears.

Why put on the robe of the monk, and live aloof from the world in lonely pride? Behold! my heart dances in the delight of a hundred arts; and the Creator is well pleased.


II. 105. man mast huâ tab kyon bole

Where is the need of words, when love has made drunken the heart?

I have wrapped the diamond in my cloak; why open it again and again? When its load was light, the pan of the balance went up; now it is full, where is the need for weighing?

The swan has taken its flight to the lake beyond the mountains; why should it search for the pools and ditches any more?

Your Lord dwells within you; why need your outward eyes be opened?

Kabîr says: "Listen, my brother! my Lord, who ravishes my eyes, has united Himself with me."


II. 110. mohi tohi lâgî kaise chute

How could the love between Thee and me sever? As the leaf of the lotus abides on the water, so thou art my Lord, and I am Thy servant. As the night-bird Chakor gazes all night at the moon; so Thou art my Lord and I am Thy servant.

From the beginning until the ending of time, there is love between Thee and me; and how shall such love be extinguished?

Kabîr says: "As the river enters into the ocean, so my heart touches Thee."


II. 113. vâlam, âwo hamâre geh re

My body and my mind are grieved for the want of Thee; O my Beloved! come to my house.

When people say I am Thy bride, I am ashamed; for I have not touched Thy heart with my heart.

Then what is this love of mine? I have no taste for food, I have no sleep; my heart is ever restless within doors and without. As water is to the thirsty, so is the lover to the bride. Who is there that will carry my news to my Beloved?

Kabîr is restless; he is dying for sight of Him.


II. 126. jâg piyârî, ab kân sowai

O friend, awake, and sleep no more! The night is over and gone, would you lose your day also?

Others, who have wakened, have received jewels; O foolish woman! you have lost all whilst you slept.

Your lover is wise, and you are foolish, O woman! You never prepared the bed of your husband; O mad one! you passed your time in silly play. Your youth was passed in vain, for you did not know your Lord;

Wake, wake! See! your bed is empty; He left you in the night.

Kabîr says: "Only she wakes, whose heart is pierced with the arrow of His music."


I. 36. sûr parkâs', tanh rain kahân pâïye

Where is the night, when the sun is shining? If it is night, then the sun withdraws its light.

Where knowledge is, can ignorance endure? If there be ignorance, then knowledge must die.

If there be lust, how can love be there? Where there is love, there is no lust.

Lay hold on your sword, and join in the fight. Fight, O my brother, as long as life lasts. Strike off your enemy's head, and there make an end of him quickly; then come, and bow your head at your King's Durbar.

He who is brave, never forsakes the battle; he who flies from it is no true fighter.

In the field of this body a great war goes forward, against passion, anger, pride, and greed; It is in the kingdom of truth, contentment and purity, that this battle is raging; and the sword that rings forth most loudly is the sword of His Name.

Kabîr says: "When a brave knight takes the field, a host of cowards is put to flight. It is a hard fight and a weary one, this fight of the truth-seeker; for the vow of the truth-seeker is more hard than that of the warrior, or of the widowed wife who would follow her husband. For the warrior fights for a few hours, and the widow's struggle with death is soon ended; But the truth-seeker's battle goes on day and night, as long as life lasts it never ceases."


I. 50. bhram kâ tâlâ lagâ mahal re

The lock of error shuts the gate, open it with the key of love; Thus, by opening the door, thou shalt wake the Beloved.

Kabîr says: "O brother! do not pass by such good fortune as this."


I. 59. sâdho, yah tan thâth tanvure ka

O friend! this body is His lyre; He tightens its strings, and draws from it the melody of Brahma. If the strings snap and the keys slacken, then to dust must this instrument of dust return.

Kabîr says: "None but Brahma can evoke its melodies."


I. 65. avadhû bhûle ko ghar lâwe

He is dear to me indeed who can call back the wanderer to his home.

In the home is the true union, in the home is enjoyment of life; why should I forsake my home and wander in the forest?

If Brahma helps me to realize truth, verily I will find both bondage and deliverance in home.

He is dear to me indeed who has power to dive deep into Brahma; whose mind loses itself with ease in His contemplation.

He is dear to me who knows Brahma, and can dwell on His supreme truth in meditation; and who can play the melody of the Infinite by uniting love and renunciation in life.

Kabîr says: "The home is the abiding place; in the home is reality; the home helps to attain Him Who is real. So stay where you are, and all things shall come to you in time."


I. 76. santo, sahaj samâdh bhalî

O sadhu! the simple union is the best.

Since the day when I met with my Lord, there has been no end to the sport of our love.

I shut not my eyes, I close not my ears, I do not mortify my body; I see with eyes open and smile, and behold His beauty everywhere; I utter His Name, and whatever I see, it reminds me of Him; whatever I do, it becomes His worship.

The rising and the setting are one to me; all contradictions are solved. Wherever I go, I move round Him, All I achieve is His service; When I lie down, I lie prostrate at His feet.

He is the only adorable one to me; I have none other.

My tongue has left off impure words, it sings His glory day and night; Whether I rise or sit down, I can never forget Him; for the rhythm of His music beats in my ears.

Kabîr says: "My heart is frenzied, and I disclose in my soul what is hidden. I am immersed in that one great bliss which transcends all pleasure and pain."


I. 79. tîrath men to sab pânî hai

There is nothing but water at the holy bathing places; and I know that they are useless, for I have bathed in them.

The images are all lifeless, they cannot speak; I know, for I have cried aloud to them.

The Purana and the Koran are mere words; lifting up the curtain, I have seen.

Kabîr gives utterance to the words of experience; and he knows very well that all other things are untrue.


I. 82. pânî vic mîn piyâsî

I laugh when I hear that the fish in the water is thirsty.

You do not see that the Real is in your home, and you wander from forest to forest listlessly! Here is the truth! Go where you will, to Benares or to Mathura; if you do not find your soul, the world is unreal to you.


I. 93. gagan math gaib nisân gade

The Hidden Banner is planted in the temple of the sky; there the blue canopy decked with the moon and set with bright jewels is spread. There the light of the sun and the moon is shining; still your mind to silence before that splendour.

Kabîr says: "He who has drunk of this nectar, wanders like one who is mad."


I. 97. sâdho, ko hai kânh se âyo

Who are you, and whence do you come?

Where dwells that Supreme Spirit, and how does He have His sport with all created things?

The fire is in the wood; but who awakens it suddenly? Then it turns to ashes, and where goes the force of the fire?

The true guru teaches that He has neither limit nor infinitude.

Kabîr says: "Brahma suits His language to the understanding of His hearer."


I. 98. sâdho, sahajai kâyâ s'odho

O sadhu! purify your body in the simple way.

As the seed is within the banyan tree, and within the seed are the flowers, the fruits, and the shade; So the germ is within the body, and within that germ is the body again.

The fire, the air, the water, the earth, and the aether; you cannot have these outside of Him.

O, Kazi, O Pundit, consider it well: what is there that is not in the soul?

The water-filled pitcher is placed upon water, it has water within and without. It should not be given a name, lest it call forth the error of dualism.

Kabîr says: "Listen to the Word, the Truth, which is your essence. He speaks the Word to Himself; and He Himself is the Creator."


I. 102. tarvar ek mûl vin thâdâ

There is a strange tree, which stands without roots and bears fruits without blossoming; It has no branches and no leaves, it is lotus all over.

Two birds sing there; one is the Guru, and the other the disciple; The disciple chooses the manifold fruits of life and tastes them, and the Guru beholds him in joy.

What Kabîr says is hard to understand: "The bird is beyond seeking, yet it is most clearly visible. The Formless is in the midst of all forms. I sing the glory of forms."


I. 107. calat mansâ acal kînhî

I have stilled my restless mind, and my heart is radiant; for in Thatness I have seen beyond That-ness. In company I have seen the Comrade Himself.

Living in bondage, I have set myself free; I have broken away from the clutch of all narrowness.

Kabîr says: "I have attained the unattainable, and my heart is coloured with the colour of love."


I. 105. jo dîsai, so to hai nâhîn

That which you see is not; and for that which is, you have no words.

Unless you see, you believe not; what is told you you cannot accept.

He who is discerning knows by the word; and the ignorant stands gaping.

Some contemplate the Formless, and others meditate on form, but the wise man knows that Brahma is beyond both. That beauty of His is not seen of the eye; that metre of His is not heard of the ear.

Kabîr says: "He who has found both love and renunciation never descends to death."


I. 126. muralî bajat akhand sadâye

The flute of the Infinite is played without ceasing, and its sound is love.

When love renounces all limits, it reaches truth.

How widely the fragrance spreads! It has no end, nothing stands in its way.

The form of this melody is bright like a million suns; incomparably sounds the vina, the vina of the notes of truth.


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