Songs of Kabir 100 Poems

15th Century

Trans. Rabindranath Tagore

Poems 76-100

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III. 48. tû surat nain nihâr

Open your eyes of love, and see Him who pervades this world! Consider it well, and know that this is your own country.

When you meet the true Guru, He will awaken your heart; He will tell you the secret of love and detachment, and then you will know indeed that He transcends this universe.

This world is the City of Truth, its maze of paths enchants the heart. We can reach the goal without crossing the road, such is the sport unending. Where the ring of manifold joys ever dances about Him, there is the sport of Eternal Bliss. When we know this, then all our receiving and renouncing is over; Thenceforth the heat of having shall never scorch us more.

He is the Ultimate Rest unbounded. He has spread His form of love throughout all the world.

From that Ray which is Truth, streams of new forms are perpetually springing; and He pervades those forms.

All the gardens and groves and bowers are abounding with blossom; and the air breaks forth into ripples of joy. There the swan plays a wonderful game, There the Unstruck Music eddies around the Infinite One; There in the midst the Throne of the Unheld is shining, whereon the great Being sits.

Millions of suns are shamed by the radiance of a single hair of His body.

On the harp of the road what true melodies are being sounded! and its notes pierce the heart; There the Eternal Fountain is playing its endless life-streams of birth and death.

They call Him Emptiness who is the Truth of truths, in Whom all truths are stored! There, within Him, creation goes forward, which is beyond all philosophy; for philosophy cannot attain to Him.

There is an endless world, O my Brother! and there is the Nameless Being, of whom naught can be said. Only he knows it who has reached that region; it is other than all that is heard and said. No form, no body, no length, no breadth is seen there; how can I tell you that which it is?

He comes to the Path of the Infinite on whom the grace of the Lord descends; he is freed from births and deaths who attains to Him.

Kabîr says: "It cannot be told by the words of the mouth, it cannot be written on paper; It is like a dumb person who tastes a sweet thing—how shall it be explained?"


III. 60. cal hamsâ wâ des' jahân

O my heart! let us go to that country where dwells the Beloved, the ravisher of my heart!

There Love is filling her pitcher from the well, yet she has no rope wherewith to draw water; There the clouds do not cover the sky, yet the rain falls down in gentle showers.

O bodiless one! Do not sit on your doorstep; go forth and bathe yourself in that rain! There it is ever moonlight and never dark; and who speaks of one sun only? That land is illuminate with the rays of a million suns.


III. 63. kahain Kabîr, s'uno ho sâdho

Kabîr says: "O Sadhu! hear my deathless words. If you want your own good, examine and consider them well.

You have estranged yourself from the Creator, of whom you have sprung; you have lost your reason, you have bought death.

All doctrines and all teachings are sprung from Him, from Him they grow. Know this for certain, and have no fear.

Hear from me the tidings of this great truth!

Whose name do you sing, and on whom do you meditate? O, come forth from this entanglement! He dwells at the heart of all things, so why take refuge in empty desolation?

If you place the Guru at a distance from you, then it is but the distance that you honour. If indeed the Master be far away, then who is it else that is creating this world?

When you think that He is not here, then you wander further and further away, and seek Him in vain with tears. Where He is far off, there He is unattainable; where He is near, He is very bliss.

Kabîr says: "Lest His servant should suffer pain He pervades him through and through."

Know yourself then, O Kabîr; for He is in you from head to foot. Sing with gladness, and keep your seat unmoved within your heart.


III. 66. nâ main dharmî nahîn adharmî

I am neither pious nor ungodly, I live neither by law nor by sense,

I am neither a speaker nor hearer, I am neither a servant nor master, I am neither bond nor free, I am neither detached nor attached.

I am far from none; I am near to none. I shall go neither to hell nor to heaven. I do all works; yet I am apart from all works.

Few comprehend my meaning; he who can comprehend it, he sits unmoved.

Kabîr seeks neither to establish nor to destroy.


III. 69. satta nâm hai sab ten nyârâ

The true Name is like none other name!

The distinction of the Conditioned from the Unconditioned is but a word. The Unconditioned is the seed, the Conditioned is the flower and the fruit. Knowledge is the branch, and the Name is the root.

Look, and see where the root is; happiness shall be yours when you come to the root. The root will lead you to the branch, the leaf, the flower, and the fruit.

It is the encounter with the Lord, it is the attainment of bliss, it is the reconciliation of the Conditioned and the Unconditioned.


III. 74. pratham ek jo âpai âp

In the beginning was He alone, sufficient unto Himself: the formless, colourless, and unconditioned Being.

Then was there neither beginning, middle, nor end; Then were no eyes, no darkness, no light; Then were no ground, air, nor sky; no fire, water, nor earth; no rivers like the Ganges and the Jumna, no seas, oceans, and waves. Then was neither vice nor virtue; scriptures there were not, as the Vedas and Puranas, nor as the Koran.

Kabîr ponders in his mind and says, "Then was there no activity: the Supreme Being remained merged in the unknown depths of His own self."

The Guru neither eats nor drinks, neither lives nor dies; Neither has He form, line, colour, nor vesture.

He who has neither caste nor clan nor anything else—how may I describe His glory? He has neither form nor formlessness, He has no name, He has neither colour nor colourlessness, He has no dwelling-place.


III. 76. kahain Kabîr vicâr ke

Kabîr ponders and says: "He who has neither caste nor country, who is formless and without quality, fills all space."

The Creator brought into being the Game of Joy; and from the word Om the Creation sprang.

The earth is His joy; His joy is the sky; His joy is the flashing of the sun and the moon; His joy is the beginning, the middle, and the end; His joy is eyes, darkness, and light.

Oceans and waves are His joy. His joy the Sarasvati, the Jumna, and the Ganges.

The Guru is One; and life and death, union and separation, are all His plays of joy! His play the land and water, the whole universe! His play the earth and the sky! In play is the Creation spread out, in play it is established.

The whole world, says Kabîr, rests in His play, yet still the Player remains unknown.


III. 84. jhî jhî jantar bâjai

The harp gives forth murmurous music; and the dance goes on without hands and feet. It is played without fingers, it is heard without ears; for He is the ear, and He is the listener.

The gate is locked, but within there is fragrance; and there the meeting is seen of none.

The wise shall understand it.


III. 89. mor phakîrwâ mângi jây

The Beggar goes a-begging, but I could not even catch sight of Him.

And what shall I beg of the Beggar? He gives without my asking.

Kabîr says: "I am His own; now let that befall which may befall!"


III. 90. naihar se jiyarâ phât re

My heart cries aloud for the house of my lover.

The open road and the shelter of a roof are all one to her who has lost the city of her husband.

My heart finds no joy in anything; my mind and my body are distraught.

His palace has a million gates, but there is a vast ocean between it and me; How shall I cross it, O friend? For endless is the outstretching of the path.

How wondrously this lyre is wrought! When its strings are rightly strung, it maddens the heart; but when the keys are broken and the strings are loosened, none regard it more.

I tell my parents with laughter that I must go to my Lord in the morning; They are angry, for they do not want me to go, and they say: "She thinks she has gained such dominion over her husband that she can have whatsoever she wishes; and therefore she is impatient to go to him."

Dear friend, lift my veil lightly now; for this is the night of love.

Kabîr says: "Listen to me! My heart is eager to meet my lover; I lie sleepless upon my bed. Remember me early in the morning!"


III. 96. jîv mahal men S'iv pahunwâ

Serve your God, who has come into this temple of life! Do not act the part of a madman, for the night is thickening fast.

He has awaited me for countless ages, for love of me He has lost His heart. Yet I did not know the bliss that was so near to me, for my love was not yet awake.

But now, my Lover has made known to me the meaning of the note that struck my ear; Now, my good fortune is come.

Kabîr says: "Behold! how great is my good fortune! I have received the unending caress of my Beloved!"


I. 71. gagan ghatâ ghaharânî, sâdho

Clouds thicken in the sky! O, listen to the deep voice of their roaring; The rain comes from the east with its monotonous murmur.

Take care of the fences and boundaries of your fields, lest the rains overflow them; Prepare the soil of deliverance, and let the creepers of love and renunciation be soaked in this shower.

It is the prudent farmer who will bring his harvest home; he shall fill both his vessels, and feed both the wise men and the saints.


III. 118. âj din ke main jaun balihârî

This day is dear to me above all other days, for today the Beloved Lord is a guest in my house; My chamber and my courtyard are beautiful with His presence.

My longings sing His Name, and they are become lost in His great beauty. I wash His feet, and I look upon His Face; and I lay before Him as an offering my body, my mind, and all that I have.

What a day of gladness is that day in which my Beloved, who is my treasure, comes to my house!

All evils fly from my heart when I see my Lord. "My love has touched Him; my heart is longing for the Name which is Truth."

Thus sings Kabîr, the servant of all servants.


I. 100. kôi s'untâ hai jñânî râg gagan men

Is there any wise man who will listen to that solemn music which arises in the sky?

For He, the Source of all music, makes all vessels full fraught, and rests in fullness Himself.

He who is in the body is ever athirst, for he pursues that which is in part; But ever there wells forth deeper and deeper the sound "He is this—this is He"; fusing love and renunciation into one.

Kabîr says: "O brother! that is the Primal Word."


I. 108. main kâ se bûjhaun

To whom shall I go to learn about my Beloved?

Kabîr says: "As you never may find the forest if you ignore the tree, so He may never be found in abstractions."


III. 12. samskirit bhâshâ padhi lînhâ

I have learned the Sanskrit language, so let all men call me wise; But where is the use of this, when I am floating adrift, and parched with thirst, and burning with the heat of desire?

To no purpose do you bear on your head this load of pride and vanity.

Kabîr says: "Lay it down in the dust, and go forth to meet the Beloved. Address Him as your Lord."


III. 110. carkhâ calai surat virahin kâ

The woman who is parted from her lover spins at the spinning wheel.

The city of the body arises in its beauty; and within it the palace of the mind has been built.

The wheel of love revolves in the sky, and the seat is made of the jewels of knowledge.

What subtle threads the woman weaves, and makes them fine with love and reverence!

Kabîr says: "I am weaving the garland of day and night. When my Lover comes and touches me with His feet, I shall offer Him my tears."


III. 111. kotîn bhânu candra târâgan

Beneath the great umbrella of my King, millions of suns and moons and stars are shining!

He is the Mind within my mind; He is the Eye within mine eye.

Ah, could my mind and eyes be one! Could my love but reach to my Lover! Could but the fiery heat of my heart be cooled!

Kabîr says: "When you unite love with the Lover, then you have love's perfection."


I. 92. avadhû begam des' hamârâ

O sadhu! my land is a sorrowless land.

I cry aloud to all, to the king and the beggar, the emperor and the fakir—Whosoever seeks for shelter in the Highest, let all come and settle in my land! Let the weary come and lay his burdens here!

So live here, my brother, that you may cross with ease to that other shore.

It is a land without earth or sky, without moon or stars; For only the radiance of Truth shines in my Lord's Durbar.

Kabîr says: "O beloved brother! Naught is essential save Truth."


I. 109. sâîn ke sangat sâsur âî

I came with my Lord to my Lord's home; but I lived not with Him and I tasted Him not, and my youth passed away like a dream.

On my wedding night my women-friends sang in chorus, and I was anointed with the unguents of pleasure and pain. But when the ceremony was over, I left my Lord and came away, and my kinsman tried to console me upon the road.

Kabîr says: "I shall go to my Lord's house with my love at my side; then shall I sound the trumpet of triumph!"


I. 75. samajh dekh man mît piyarwâ

O friend, dear heart of mine, think well! if you love indeed, then why do you sleep?

If you have found Him, then give yourself utterly, and take Him to you.

Why do you loose Him again and again? If the deep sleep of rest has come to your eyes, why waste your time making the bed and arranging the pillows?

Kabîr says: "I tell you the ways of love! Even though the head itself must be given, why should you weep over it?"


II. 90. sâhab ham men, sâhab tum men

The Lord is in me, the Lord is in you, as life is in every seed. O servant! put false pride away, and seek for Him within you.

A million suns are ablaze with light, The sea of blue spreads in the sky, The fever of life is stilled, and all stains are washed away when I sit in the midst of that world.

Hark to the unstruck bells and drums! Take your delight in love! Rains pour down without water, and the rivers are streams of light.

One Love it is that pervades the whole world, few there are who know it fully.

They are blind who hope to see it by the light of reason, that reason which is the cause of separation—The House of Reason is very far away!

How blessed is Kabîr, that amidst this great joy he sings within his own vessel.

It is the music of the meeting of soul with soul; It is the music of the forgetting of sorrows; It is the music that transcends all coming in and all going forth.


II. 98. ritu phâgun niyarânî

The month of March draws near; ah, who will unite me to my Lover?

How shall I find words for the beauty of my Beloved? For He is merged in all beauty. His colour is in all the pictures of the world, and it bewitches the body and the mind. Those who know this, know what is this unutterable play of the Spring.

Kabîr says: "Listen to me, brother, there are not many who have found this out."


II. 111. Nârad, pyâr so antar nâhî

Oh Narad! I know that my Lover cannot be far. When my Lover wakes, I wake; when He sleeps, I sleep.

He is destroyed at the root who gives pain to my Beloved.

Where they sing His praise, there I live. When He moves, I walk before Him. My heart yearns for my Beloved. The infinite pilgrimage lies at His feet, a million devotees are seated there.

Kabîr says: "The Lover Himself reveals the glory of true love."


II. 122. kôî prem kî peng jhulâo re

Hang up the swing of love to-day! Hang the body and the mind between the arms of the Beloved, in the ecstasy of love's joy.

Bring the tearful streams of the rainy clouds to your eyes, and cover your heart with the shadow of darkness.

Bring your face nearer to His ear, and speak of the deepest longings of your heart.

Kabîr says: "Listen to me, brother! bring the vision of the Beloved in your heart."

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