Songs of Kabir

100 Poems

Translated by Rabindranath Tagore

Poems 51-75


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


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.


I. 129. sakhiyo, ham hûn bhâî vâlamâs'î

Dear friend, I am eager to meet my Beloved! My youth has flowered, and the pain of separation from Him troubles my breast.
I am wandering yet in the alleys of knowledge without purpose, but I have received His news in these alleys of knowledge.
I have a letter from my Beloved: in this letter is an unutterable message, and now my fear of death is done away.
Kabîr says: "O my loving friend! I have got for my gift the Deathless One."


I. 130. sâîn vin dard kareje hoy

When I am parted from my Beloved, my heart is full of misery: I have no comfort in the day, I have no sleep in the night. To whom shall I tell my sorrow?
The night is dark; the hours slip by. Because my Lord is absent, I start up and tremble with fear.
Kabîr says: "Listen, my friend! there is no other satisfaction, save in the encounter with the Beloved."


I. 122. kaum muralî s'abd s'un ânand bhayo

What is that flute whose music thrills me with joy?
The flame burns without a lamp;
The lotus blossoms without a root;
Flowers bloom in clusters;
The moon-bird is devoted to the moon;
With all its heart the rain-bird longs for the shower of rain;
But upon whose love does the Lover concentrate His entire life?


I. 112. s'untâ nahî dhun kî khabar

Have you not heard the tune which the Unstruck Music is playing?
In the midst of the chamber the harp of joy is gently and sweetly played; and where is the need of going without to hear it?
If you have not drunk of the nectar of that One Love, what boots it though you should purge yourself of all stains?
The Kazi is searching the words of the Koran, and instructing others: but if his heart be not steeped in that love, what does it avail, though he be a teacher of men?
The Yogi dyes his garments with red: but if he knows naught of that colour of love, what does it avail though his garments be tinted?
Kabîr says: "Whether I be in the temple or the balcony, in the camp or in the flower garden, I tell you truly that every moment my Lord is taking His delight in me."


I. 73. bhakti kâ mârag jhînâ re

Subtle is the path of love!
Therein there is no asking and no not-asking,
There one loses one's self at His feet,
There one is immersed in the joy of the seeking: plunged in the deeps of love as the fish in the water.
The lover is never slow in offering his head for his Lord's service.
Kabîr declares the secret of this love.


I. 68. bhâi kôî satguru sant kahâwaî

He is the real Sadhu, who can reveal the form of the Formless to the vision of these eyes:
Who teaches the simple way of attaining Him, that is other than rites or ceremonies:
Who does not make you close the doors, and hold the breath, and renounce the world:
Who makes you perceive the Supreme Spirit wherever the mind attaches itself:
Who teaches you to be still in the midst of all your activities.
Ever immersed in bliss, having no fear in his mind, he keeps the spirit of union in the midst of all enjoyments.
The infinite dwelling of the Infinite Being is everywhere: in earth, water, sky, and air:
Firm as the thunderbolt, the seat of the seeker is established above the void.
He who is within is without: I see Him and none else.


I. 66. sâdho, s'abd sâdhnâ kîjai

Receive that Word from which the Universe springeth!
That word is the Guru; I have heard it, and become the disciple.
How many are there who know the meaning of that word?

O Sadhu! practise that Word!
The Vedas and the Puranas proclaim it,
The world is established in it,
The Rishis and devotees speak of it:
But none knows the mystery of the Word.
The householder leaves his house when he hears it,
The ascetic comes back to love when he hears it,
The Six Philosophies expound it,
The Spirit of Renunciation points to that Word,
From that Word the world-form has sprung,
That Word reveals all.
Kabîr says: "But who knows whence the Word cometh?


I. 63. pîle pyâlâ, ho matwâlâ

Empty the Cup! O be drunken!
Drink the divine nectar of His Name!
Kabîr says: "Listen to me, dear Sadhu!
From the sole of the foot to the crown of the head this mind is filled with poison."


I. 52. khasm na cînhai bâwari

O man, if thou dost not know thine own Lord, whereof art thou so proud?
Put thy cleverness away: mere words shall never unite thee to Him.
Do not deceive thyself with the witness of the Scriptures:
Love is something other than this, and he who has sought it truly has found it.


I. 56. sukh sindh kî sair kâ

The savour of wandering in the ocean of deathless life has rid me of all my asking:
As the tree is in the seed, so all diseases are in this asking.


I. 48. sukh sâgar men âîke

When at last you are come to the ocean of happiness, do not go back thirsty.
Wake, foolish man! for Death stalks you. Here is pure water before you; drink it at every breath.
Do not follow the mirage on foot, but thirst for the nectar;
Dhruva, Prahlad, and Shukadeva have drunk of it, and also Raidas has tasted it:
The saints are drunk with love, their thirst is for love.
Kabîr says: "Listen to me, brother! The nest of fear is broken.
Not for a moment have you come face to face with the world:
You are weaving your bondage of falsehood, your words are full of deception:
With the load of desires which you. hold on your head, how can you be light?"
Kabîr says: "Keep within you truth, detachment, and love."


I. 35. satî ko kaun s'ikhâwtâ hai

Who has ever taught the widowed wife to burn herself on the pyre of her dead husband?
And who has ever taught love to find bliss in renunciation?


I. 39. are man, dhîraj kâhe na dharai

Why so impatient, my heart?
He who watches over birds, beasts, and insects,
He who cared for you whilst you were yet in your mother's womb,
Shall He not care for you now that you are come forth?
Oh my heart, how could you turn from the smile of your Lord and wander so far from Him?
You have left Your Beloved and are thinking of others: and this is why all your work is in vain.


I. 117. sâîn se lagan kathin hai, bhâî

Now hard it is to meet my Lord!
The rain-bird wails in thirst for the rain: almost she dies of her longing, yet she would have none other water than the rain.
Drawn by the love of music, the deer moves forward: she dies as she listens to the music, yet she shrinks not in fear.
The widowed wife sits by the body of her dead husband: she is not afraid of the fire.
Put away all fear for this poor body.


I. 22. jab main bhûlâ, re bhâî

O brother! when I was forgetful, my true Guru showed me the Way.
Then I left off all rites and ceremonies, I bathed no more in the holy water:
Then I learned that it was I alone who was mad, and the whole world beside me was sane; and I had disturbed these wise people.
From that time forth I knew no more how to roll in the dust in obeisance:
I do not ring the temple bell:
I do not set the idol on its throne:
I do not worship the image with flowers.
It is not the austerities that mortify the flesh which are pleasing to the Lord,
When you leave off your clothes and kill your senses, you do not please the Lord:
The man who is kind and who practises righteousness, who remains passive amidst the affairs of the world, who considers all creatures on earth as his own self,
He attains the Immortal Being, the true God is ever with him.
Kabîr says: "He attains the true Name whose words are pure, and who is free from pride and conceit."


I. 20. man na rangâye

The Yogi dyes his garments, instead of dyeing his mind in the colours of love:
He sits within the temple of the Lord, leaving Brahma to worship a stone.
He pierces holes in his ears, he has a great beard and matted locks, he looks like a goat:
He goes forth into the wilderness, killing all his desires, and turns himself into an eunuch:
He shaves his head and dyes his garments; he reads the Gîtâ and becomes a mighty talker.
Kabîr says: "You are going to the doors of death, bound hand and foot!"


I. 9. nâ jâne sâhab kaisâ hai

I do not know what manner of God is mine.
The Mullah cries aloud to Him: and why? Is your Lord deaf? The subtle anklets that ring on the feet of an insect when it moves are heard of Him.
Tell your beads, paint your forehead with the mark of your God, and wear matted locks long and showy: but a deadly weapon is in your heart, and how shall you have God?


III. 102. ham se rahâ na jây

I hear the melody of His flute, and I cannot contain myself:
The flower blooms, though it is not spring; and already the bee has received its invitation.
The sky roars and the lightning flashes, the waves arise in my heart,
The rain falls; and my heart longs for my Lord.
Where the rhythm of the world rises and falls, thither my heart has reached:
There the hidden banners are fluttering in the air.
Kabîr says: "My heart is dying, though it lives."


III. 2. jo khodâ masjid vasat hai

If God be within the mosque, then to whom does this world belong?
If Ram be within the image which you find upon your pilgrimage, then who is there to know what happens without?
Hari is in the East: Allah is in the West. Look within your heart, for there you will find both Karim and Ram;
All the men and women of the world are His living forms.
Kabîr is the child of Allah and of Ram: He is my Guru, He is my Pir.


III. 9. s'îl santosh sadâ samadrishti

He who is meek and contented., he who has an equal vision, whose mind is filled with the fullness of acceptance and of rest;
He who has seen Him and touched Him, he is freed from all fear and trouble.
To him the perpetual thought of God is like sandal paste smeared on the body, to him nothing else is delight:
His work and his rest are filled with music: he sheds abroad the radiance of love.
Kabîr says: "Touch His feet, who is one and indivisible, immutable and peaceful; who fills all vessels to the brim with joy, and whose form is love."


III. 13. sâdh sangat pîtam

Go thou to the company of the good, where the Beloved One has His dwelling place:
Take all thy thoughts and love and instruction from thence.
Let that assembly be burnt to ashes where His Name is not spoken!
Tell me, how couldst thou hold a wedding-feast, if the bridegroom himself were not there?
Waver no more, think only of the Beloved;
Set not thy heart on the worship of other gods, there is no worth in the worship of other masters.
Kabîr deliberates and says: "Thus thou shalt never find the Beloved!"


III. 26. tor hîrâ hirâilwâ kîcad men

The jewel is lost in the mud, and all are seeking for it;
Some look for it in the east, and some in the west; some in the water and some amongst stones.
But the servant Kabîr has appraised it at its true value, and has wrapped it with care in the end of the mantle of his heart.


III. 26. âyau din gaune kâ ho

The palanquin came to take me away to my husband's home, and it sent through my heart a thrill of joy;
But the bearers have brought me into the lonely forest, where I have no one of my own.
O bearers, I entreat you by your feet, wait but a moment longer:
let me go back to my kinsmen and friends, and take my leave of them.
The servant Kabîr sings: "O Sadhu! finish your buying and selling, have done with your good and your bad: for there are no markets and no shops in the land to which you go."


III. 30. are dil, prem nagar kä ant na pâyâ

O my heart! you have not known all the secrets of this city of love: in ignorance you came, and in ignorance you return.
O my friend, what have you done with this life? You have taken on your head the burden heavy with stones, and who is to lighten it for you?
Your Friend stands on the other shore, but you never think in your mind how you may meet with Him:
The boat is broken, and yet you sit ever upon the bank; and thus you are beaten to no purpose by the waves.
The servant Kabîr asks you to consider; who is there that shall befriend you at the last?
You are alone, you have no companion: you will suffer the consequences of your own deeds.


III. 55. ved kahe sargun ke âge

The Vedas say that the Unconditioned stands beyond the world of Conditions.
O woman, what does it avail thee to dispute whether He is beyond all or in all?
See thou everything as thine own dwelling place: the mist of pleasure and pain can never spread there.
There Brahma is revealed day and night: there light is His garment, light is His seat, light rests on thy head.
Kabîr says: "The Master, who is true, He is all light."

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