Songs of Kabir

100 Poems

Translated by Rabindranath Tagore

Poems 26-50


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: and 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 to-day 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."

top of page