One Hundred Poems of Kabir - Platonic Philosophy

One Hundred Poems of Kabir - Platonic Philosophy

One Hundred Poems of Kabir - Platonic Philosophy

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Estate <strong>of</strong> thelateRev. G. StaAley Russell






ThisINTRODUCTIONTHE poet <strong>Kabir</strong>, a selection fromwhose songsis here for the first time<strong>of</strong>fered to English readers,is one <strong>of</strong>the most interesting personalities inthe history <strong>of</strong> Indian mysticism. Bornin or near Benares, <strong>of</strong> Mohammedanparents, and probably about the year1440, he became in earlylife a disciple<strong>of</strong> the celebrated Hindu ascetic Ramananda.Ramananda had brought toNorthern India the religious revivalwhich Ramanuja, the great twelfthcenturyreformer <strong>of</strong> Brahmanism, hadinitiated in the South. Irevivalwas in part a reaction against theincreasing formalism <strong>of</strong> the orthodox

viKABIR'S POEMScult, in partan assertion <strong>of</strong> the demands<strong>of</strong> the heart as against theintense intellectualism <strong>of</strong> the Vedantaphilosophy, the exaggerated monismwhich that philosophy proclaimed. Ittook in Ramanuja's preaching theform <strong>of</strong> an ardent personal devotionto the God Vishnu, as representingthe personal aspect <strong>of</strong> the DivineNature : that mystical"religion <strong>of</strong>love " which everywhere makes itsappearance at a certain level <strong>of</strong>spiritual culture, and which creedsand philosophies are powerless tokill.Thoughsuch a devotion is indigenousin Hinduism, and findsexpression in many passages <strong>of</strong> theBhagavad Gita, there was in itsmediaeval revival a large element <strong>of</strong>syncretism. Ramananda, throughwhom its spirit is said to have reached<strong>Kabir</strong>, appears to have been a man

INTRODUCTIONvii<strong>of</strong> wide religious culture, and full<strong>of</strong> missionary enthusiasm.Living atthe moment in which the impassionedpoetry and deep philosophy <strong>of</strong> thegreat Persian mystics, Attar, Sadi,Jalalu'ddin Rumi, and Hafiz, wereexercising a powerful influence onthe religious thought <strong>of</strong> India, hedreamed <strong>of</strong> reconciling this intenseand personal Mohammedan mysticismwith the traditional theology <strong>of</strong> Brahmanism./Some have regarded boththese great religious leaders as influencedalso by Christian thought andlife :but as this is a point upon whichcompetent authorities hold widelydivergent views, its discussion is notattempted here. We may safelyassert, however, that in their teachings,two perhaps three apparentlyantagonistic streams <strong>of</strong> intensespiritual culture met, as Jewish andHellenistic thought met in the early

viiiKABIR'S POEMSChristian Church :outstandingand it is one <strong>of</strong> thecharacteristics <strong>of</strong> <strong>Kabir</strong>'sgenius that he was able in his poemsto fuse them into one.A great religious reformer, thefounder <strong>of</strong> a sect to which nearly amillion northern Hindus stillbelong,it isyet supremely as a mystical poetthat <strong>Kabir</strong> lives for us. His fate hasbeen that <strong>of</strong> many revealers <strong>of</strong> Reality.A hater <strong>of</strong> religious exclusivism, andseeking above all things to initiatemen into the liberty <strong>of</strong> the children<strong>of</strong> God, his followers have honouredhis memory by re-erectingin a newplace the barriers which he labouredto cast down. But his wonderful songssurvive, the spontaneous expressions<strong>of</strong> his vision and his love ;and itthe didacticisby these, not byteachings associated with his name,that he makes his immortal appeal tothe heart. In these poems a wide

''HeINTRODUCTIONixrange <strong>of</strong> mystical emotion is broughtinto :play from the l<strong>of</strong>tiest abstractions,the most other-worldly passionfor the Infinite, to the most intimateand personal realization <strong>of</strong> God, expressedin homely metaphors andreligioussymbols drawn indifferentlyfrom Hindu and Mohammedan belief.It is impossible to say <strong>of</strong> their authorthat he was Brahman or Sufi, Vedantistor Vaishnavite.is, as he sayshimself," at once the child <strong>of</strong> Allahand <strong>of</strong> Ram." That Supreme SpiritWhom he knew and adored, and toWhose joyous friendship he soughtto induct the souls <strong>of</strong> other men,transcended whilst He included allmetaphysical categories, all credal definitions; yet each contributed somethingto the description <strong>of</strong> that Infiniteand Simple Totality Who revealedHimself, according to their measure,to the faithful lovers <strong>of</strong> all creeds^f

xKABIR'S POEMS<strong>Kabir</strong>'s storyis surrounded by contradictorylegends,reliance can be placed.on none <strong>of</strong> whichSome <strong>of</strong> theseemanate from a Hindu, some froma Mohammedan source, and claimhim by turns as a Sufi and a Brahmansaint. His name, however, is practicallya conclusive pro<strong>of</strong> <strong>of</strong> Moslemancestry and the most :probable taleis that which represents him as theactual or adopted child <strong>of</strong> a Mohammedanweaver <strong>of</strong> Benares, the city inwhich the chief events <strong>of</strong> his life tookplace.In fifteenth -century Benares thesyncretistic tendencies <strong>of</strong> Bhakti religionhad reached full development.Sufis and Brahmans appear to havemet in disputation :the most spiritualmembers <strong>of</strong> both creeds frequentingthe teachings <strong>of</strong> Ramananda, whosereputation was then at its height.The boy <strong>Kabir</strong>, in whom the religious

INTRODUCTIONpassion was innate, saw in Ramanandahis destined teacher ;but knew howwere the chances that a Hinduslightguru would acceptxia Mohammedan asdisciple. He therefore hid upon thesteps <strong>of</strong> the river Ganges, where Ramanandawas accustomed to bathe ;withthe result that the master, comingdown to the water, trod upon his bodyunexpectedly, and exclaimed in hisastonishment, " "Ram ! Ram ! thename <strong>of</strong> the incarnation under whichhe worshipped God. <strong>Kabir</strong> then declaredthat he had received the mantra<strong>of</strong> initiation from Ramananda's lips,and was by it admitted to discipleship.In spite <strong>of</strong> the protests <strong>of</strong> orthodoxBrahmans and Mohammedans, bothequally annoyed by this contempt <strong>of</strong>theological landmarks, he persisted inhis claim ;thus exhibiting in actionthat very principle <strong>of</strong> religious synthesiswhich Ramananda had sought

xiiKABIR'S POEMSRamanandato establish in thought.appears to have accepted him, andthough Mohammedan legends speak <strong>of</strong>the famous Sufi Pir, Takki <strong>of</strong> JhansI,as <strong>Kabir</strong>'s master in later life,I /theHindu saint is the only human teacherto whom in his songs he acknowledgesindebtedness/The little that we know <strong>of</strong> <strong>Kabir</strong>'slife contradicts many current ideasconcerning the Oriental mystic. Ofthe stages <strong>of</strong> discipline through whichhe passed, the manner in which hisspiritual genius developed, we arecompletely ignorant. He seems tohave remained for years the disciple<strong>of</strong> Ramananda, joining in the theologicaland philosophical argumentswhich his master held with all thegreat Mullahs and Brahmans <strong>of</strong> hisday ;and to this source we may perhapstrace his acquaintance with theterms <strong>of</strong> Hindu and Sufi philosophy.

He may or mayINTRODUCTIONxiiinot have submittedto the traditional education <strong>of</strong> theHindu or the Sufi contemplative : itis clear, at any rate, thai; he neveradopted the life <strong>of</strong> the pr<strong>of</strong>essionalascetic, or retired from the world inorder to devote himself to bodilymortifications and the exclusive pursuit<strong>of</strong> the contemplative life. Sideby side /with his interior life <strong>of</strong> adoration,its artistic expression in musicand words' for he was a skilled musicianas well as a poet he lived thesane and diligent lifecraftsman. !<strong>of</strong> the OrientalAll the legends agree onthis point that <strong>Kabir</strong> was a weaver,:a simple and unlettered man, whoearned his living at the loom/ LikePaul the tent-maker, Boehme the cobbler,Bunyan the tinker, Tersteegenthe ribbon-maker, he knew how tocombine vision and industry ;thework <strong>of</strong> his hands helped rather than

xivKABIR'S POEMShindered the impassioned meditation<strong>of</strong> his heart. Hating mere bodilyausterities, he was no ascetic, but amarried man, the father <strong>of</strong> a familya circumstance which Hindu legends<strong>of</strong> the monastic type vainly attemptto conceal or explain and it was fromout <strong>of</strong> the heart <strong>of</strong> the common lifethat he sang his rapturous lyrics <strong>of</strong>divine love. Here his works corroboratethe traditional story <strong>of</strong> hislife.Again and again he extols thelife <strong>of</strong> home, the value and reality<strong>of</strong> diurnal existence, with its opportunitiesfor love and renunciation ;pouring contempt upon the pr<strong>of</strong>essionalsanctity <strong>of</strong> the Yogi, who " hasa great beard and matted locks, andlooks like a goat," and on all whothink itnecessaryto flee a worldpervaded by love, joy, and beautythe proper theatre <strong>of</strong> man's questin order to find that <strong>One</strong> Reality Who

INTRODUCTIONxvhas " spread His form <strong>of</strong> love throughoutall the world." *It does not need much experience<strong>of</strong> ascetic literature to recognize theboldness and originality <strong>of</strong> this attitudein such a time and place.Fromthe point <strong>of</strong> view <strong>of</strong> orthodox sanctity,whether Hindu or Mohammedan,<strong>Kabir</strong> was plainly a heretic ;and hisfrank dislike <strong>of</strong> all institutional religion,all external observance whichwas as thorough and as intense as that<strong>of</strong> the Quakers themselves completed,so far as ecclesiastical opinion wasconcerned, his reputation as a dangerousman. The " simple union "1withDivine Reality which he perpetuallyextolled, as alike the duty and thejoy <strong>of</strong> every soul, was independentboth <strong>of</strong> ritual and <strong>of</strong> bodily austerities ;/the God whom he proclaimed was1 Cf. <strong>Poems</strong> Nos. XXI, XL, XLIII, LXVI,LXXVI.b

xviKABIR'S POEMS" neither in Kaaba nor in Kailash."Those who sought Him needed notto go far; for He awaited discoveryeverywhere, more accessible to " thewasherwoman and the carpenter "than to the self-righteous holy man. 1Therefore fthewhole apparatus <strong>of</strong>piety, Hindu and Moslem alike thetemple and mosque, idol and holywater, scriptures and priests weredenounced by this inconvenientlyclear-sighted poet as mere substitutesfor reality $/dead things interveningbetween the soul and its loveThe 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. 2This sort <strong>of</strong> thing cannot be toleratedby any organized church ;andit is not surprising that <strong>Kabir</strong>, having1<strong>Poems</strong> I, II, XLI.2<strong>Poems</strong> XLII, LXV, LXVII.

INTRODUCTIONxviihis head-quarters in Benares, the verycentre <strong>of</strong> priestly influence, was subjectedto considerable persecution. Thewell-known legend <strong>of</strong> the beautifulcourtesan sent by the Brahmans totempt his virtue, and converted, likethe Magdalen, by her sudden encounterwith the initiate <strong>of</strong> a higher love, preservesthe memory <strong>of</strong> the fear anddislike with which he was regardedby the ecclesiastical powers. Onceat least, after the performance <strong>of</strong> asupposed miracle <strong>of</strong> healing, he wasbrought before the Emperor SikandarLodi, and charged with claiming thepossession <strong>of</strong> divine powers. But SikandarLodi, a ruler <strong>of</strong> considerableculture, was tolerant <strong>of</strong> the eccentricities<strong>of</strong> saintly persons belonging to hisown faith. !<strong>Kabir</strong>, being <strong>of</strong> Mohammedanbirth, was outside the authority<strong>of</strong> the Brahmans, and technicallyclassed with the Sufis, to whom

xviiiKABIR'S POEMSgreat theological latitude was allowed.Therefore, though he was banished inthe interests<strong>of</strong> peace from Benares,his life was spared. This seems tohave happened in 1495, when he wasnearly sixty years <strong>of</strong> age ; it is thelast event in his career <strong>of</strong> which wehave definite knowledge. Thenceforthhe appears to have moved aboutamongstvarious cities <strong>of</strong> northernIndia, the centre <strong>of</strong> a group <strong>of</strong> disciples; continuing in exile that life<strong>of</strong> apostle and poet <strong>of</strong> love to which,as he declares in one <strong>of</strong> his songs, hewas destined " from the beginning <strong>of</strong>time."In 1518, an old man, brokenin health, and with hands so feeblethat he could no longer make the musicwhich he loved, he died at Maghar nearGorakhpur.A beautiful legend tells us that afterhis death his Mohammedan and Hindudisciples disputed the possession <strong>of</strong>

INTRODUCTIONxixhis body ;which the Mohammedanswished to bury, the Hindus to burn.As they argued together, <strong>Kabir</strong> appearedbefore them, and told them tolift the shroud and look at that whichlay beneath. They did so, and foundin the place <strong>of</strong> the corpse a heap <strong>of</strong>flowers ;half <strong>of</strong> which were buriedby the Mohammedans at Maghar, andhalf carried by the Hindus to the holycity <strong>of</strong> Benares to be burned fittingconclusion to a life which had madefragrant the most beautiful doctrines<strong>of</strong> two great creeds.IIThe poetry <strong>of</strong> mysticism might bedenned on the one hand as a temperamentalreaction to the vision <strong>of</strong>Reality : on the other, as a form <strong>of</strong>prophecy. As it is the special vocation<strong>of</strong> the mystical consciousness to

xxKABIR'S POEMSmediate between two orders, goingout in loving adoration towards Godand coming home to tell the secrets<strong>of</strong> Eternity to other men ;so theartistic self-expression <strong>of</strong> this consciousnesshas also a double character.It is love-poetry, but love-poetry whichis <strong>of</strong>ten written with a missionaryintention/feabir's songsare <strong>of</strong> this kind :outbirths at once <strong>of</strong> rapture and <strong>of</strong>charity. Written in the popular Hindi/not in the literary tongue,? they wererather than to the pr<strong>of</strong>essionallydeliberately addressed^ like the vernacularpoetry <strong>of</strong> Jacopone da Todland Richard Rolle-4-to the peoplereligiousclass ;and all must be struckby the constant employment in them<strong>of</strong> imagery drawn from the commonlife, the universal experience, jIt isby the simplest metaphors, by constantappeals to needs, passions, re-

INTRODUCTIONxxilations which all men understandthe bridegroom and bride, the guruand disciple,the migrant birdthe pilgrim, the farmer,that he drives homehis intense conviction <strong>of</strong> the reality<strong>of</strong> the soul's intercourse with theTranscendent. There are in his universeno fences between the " natural "and " supernatural " worlds ; everythingis a part <strong>of</strong> the creative Play<strong>of</strong> God^ and therefore even in itshumblest details capable <strong>of</strong> revealingthe Player's mind./This willing acceptance <strong>of</strong> the hereand-nowas a means <strong>of</strong> representingsupernalrealities is a trait commonto the greatest mystics. For them,when they have achieved at last thetrue theopathetic state, all aspects <strong>of</strong>the universe possess equal authorityas sacramental declarations <strong>of</strong> thePresence <strong>of</strong> God/; and their fearlessemployment <strong>of</strong> homely and physical

xxiiKABIR'S POEMSsymbols <strong>of</strong>ten startling and even revoltingto the unaccustomed tasteis in direct proportion to the exaltation<strong>of</strong> their spiritual life. The works <strong>of</strong>the great Sufis, and amongst theChristians <strong>of</strong> Jacopone da Todl, Ruysbroeck,Boehme, abound in illustrations<strong>of</strong> this law. Therefore we mustnot be surprised to find in <strong>Kabir</strong>'ssongs his desperate attempts to communicatehis ecstasy and persuadeother men to share it a constantjuxtaposition<strong>of</strong> concrete and metaphysicallanguage ; Jswift alternationsbetween the most intensely anthropomorphic,the most subtly philosophical,ways <strong>of</strong> apprehending man'scommunion with the Divine. Theneed for this alternation, and its entirenaturalness for the mind which employsit, is rooted in his concept, orvision, <strong>of</strong> the Nature <strong>of</strong> God t andunless we make some attempt to

INTRODUCTIONxxiiigrasp this,we shall not go far in ourunderstanding <strong>of</strong> his poems.^<strong>Kabir</strong> belongs to that small group<strong>of</strong> supreme mystics amongst whomSt. Augustine, Ruysbroeck, and theSufi poet Jalalu'ddln Rumi are perhapsthe chief J-who have achievedthat which we mightcall the syntheticvision <strong>of</strong> God. These have resolvedthe perpetual opposition between thepersonal and impersonal, the transcendentand immanent, static anddynamic aspects <strong>of</strong> the Divine Nature! ;between the Absolute <strong>of</strong> philosophyand the " sure true Friend " <strong>of</strong> devotionalreligion. Theyhave donethis,f not by taking these apparentlyincompatible concepts one after theother but ; by ascending to a height<strong>of</strong> spiritual intuition at which theyare, as Ruysbroeck said, " melted andmerged in the Unity," and perceivedas the completing opposites <strong>of</strong> a per-

xxivKABIR'S POEMSfeet Whole. This proceeding entailsfor them-jand both <strong>Kabir</strong> and Ruysbroeckexpressly acknowledgeit auniverse <strong>of</strong> three orders :Becoming,|Being, and that which " is More thanBeing," i.e. God. 1 /God is here feltto be not the final abstraction, butthe one actuality. He inspires, supports,indeed inhabits, both the durational,conditioned, finite world <strong>of</strong>Becoming and the unconditioned, nonsuccessional,infinite world <strong>of</strong> Being ;yet utterly transcends themj)oth.He is the omnipresent Reality] the^"All-pervading" within Whom "the ^worlds are being told like beads." ^In His personal aspect He is the14beloved Fakir," teaching and companioningeach soul. Considered as" the MindImmanent Spirit,He iswithin the mind."j But all these areat best partial aspects <strong>of</strong> His nature,1 Nos. VII and XLIX.

INTRODUCTIONxxvmutually corrective as the Persons:in the Christian doctrine <strong>of</strong> the Trinityto which this theological diagrambears a striking resemblance representdifferent and compensating experiences<strong>of</strong> the Divine Unity withinwhich they are resumed. As Ruysbroeckdiscerned a plane <strong>of</strong> realityupon which " we can speak no more<strong>of</strong> Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, butonly <strong>of</strong> <strong>One</strong> Being, the very substance<strong>of</strong> the Divine Persons " ;so Kablrsays that " beyond both the limitedand the limitless is He, the PureBeing." lBrahma, then,is the Ineffable Factcompared with which " the distinction<strong>of</strong> the Conditioned from the Unconditionedis but a word " : at once theutterly transcendent <strong>One</strong> <strong>of</strong> Absolutistphilosophy, and the personal Lover <strong>of</strong>the individual soul" common to all1No. VII.

xxviKABIR'S POEMSand special to each," as one Christianmystic has it. The need felt by<strong>Kabir</strong> for both these ways <strong>of</strong> describingReality is a pro<strong>of</strong> <strong>of</strong> the richnessand balance <strong>of</strong> his spiritual experience ;which neither cosmic nor anthropomorphicsymbols, taken alone, couldexpress, More absolute than the Absolute,more personal than the fc humanmind, Brahma therefore exceeds whilstHe includes all the concepts <strong>of</strong> philosophy,all the passionate intuitions <strong>of</strong>the heart. He is the Great Affirmation,the fount <strong>of</strong> energy, the source<strong>of</strong> life and love, the unique satisfaction<strong>of</strong> desire/ His creative word is theOm or " Everlasting Yea." The negativephilosophy, which strips from theDivine Nature all Its attributes anddenning Him only by that which Heis not reduces Him to an " Emptiness,"isabhorrent to this most vital<strong>of</strong> poets. Brahma, he says," may

INTRODUCTIONnever be found in abstractions."xxviiHeis the <strong>One</strong> Love who pervades theworld, discerned in His fullness onlyby the eyes <strong>of</strong> love ;and those whoknow Him thus share, though theymay never tell, the joyous and ineffablesecret <strong>of</strong> the universe. 1Now i<strong>Kabir</strong>,achieving this synthesisbetween the personal and cosmicaspects <strong>of</strong> the Divine Nature, eludesthe three great dangers which threatenmystical religion.First, he escapes the excessive emotionalism,the tendencyto an exclusivelyanthropomorphic devotion,which results from an unrestrictedcult <strong>of</strong> Divine Personality, especiallyunder an incarnational form \seen inIndia in the exaggerations <strong>of</strong> Krishnaworship, in Europein the sentimentalextravagances <strong>of</strong> certain Christiansaints.1Nos. VII, XXVI, LXXVI, XC.

xxviiiKABIR'S POEMSNext, he is protected from the souldestroyingconclusions <strong>of</strong> pure monism^inevitable if its logical implications arepressed home : that is, the identity <strong>of</strong>substance between God and the soul,with its corollary <strong>of</strong> the total absorption<strong>of</strong> that soul in the Beingas the goal <strong>of</strong> the spiritual life. /<strong>of</strong> GodForthe thorough-going monist the soul,in so far as it is real, /is substantiallyidentical with God/ and the trueobject <strong>of</strong> existence is the makingpatent <strong>of</strong> this latent identity, therealization which finds expression" inthe Vedantist formula That artthou." But <strong>Kabir</strong> says that Brahmaand the creature are " ever distinct,yet ever united " ;that the wise manknows the spiritual as well as thematerial world to " be no more thanHis footstool." l 1 The soul's unionwith Him is a love union, a mutual1Nos. VII and IX.

INTRODUCTIONxxixinhabitation; that essentially dualisticrelation which all mystical religionexpresses, not a self -mergence whichleaves no place for personality. Thiseternal distinction, the mysteriousunion-in-separateness <strong>of</strong> God and thesoul, is a necessary doctrine <strong>of</strong> all sanemysticism for no scheme which fails;to find a place for it can representmore than a fragment <strong>of</strong> that soul'sintercourse with the spiritual world.Its affirmation was one <strong>of</strong> the distinguishingfeatures <strong>of</strong> the Vaishnavitereformation preached by Ramanuja ;the principle <strong>of</strong> which had descendedthrough Ramananda to <strong>Kabir</strong>.//Last, the warmly human and directapprehension <strong>of</strong> God as the supremeObject <strong>of</strong> love, the souj's comrade,teacher, and bridegroom,/ which is sopassionately and frequently expressedin <strong>Kabir</strong>'s poems, balances and controlsthose abstract tendencies which

xxxKABIR'S POEMSare inherent in the metaphysical side<strong>of</strong> his vision <strong>of</strong> Reality }and preventsit from degenerating into that sterileworship <strong>of</strong> intellectual formulae whichbecame the curse <strong>of</strong> the Vedantistschool. For the mere intellectualist,as for the mere pietist, he has littleapprobation. 1 Love isthroughout his" absolute sole Lord " : the uniquesource <strong>of</strong> the more abundant life whichhe enjoys, and the common factorwhich unites the finite and infiniteworlds. All is soaked in love : thatlove which he described in almostJohannine language as the " Form<strong>of</strong> God." The whole <strong>of</strong> creation isthe Play <strong>of</strong> the Eternal Lover ;theliving, changing, growing expression <strong>of</strong>Brahma's love and joy. f As these twinpassions preside over the generation<strong>of</strong> human life, so " beyond the mists1 Cf. especially Nos. LIX, LXVII, LXXV, XC,XCI.

INTRODUCTIONxxxi<strong>of</strong> pleasure and pain," <strong>Kabir</strong> findsthem governing the creative acts <strong>of</strong>God. His manifestation is love ;Hisactivity is joy. Creation springs fromone glad act <strong>of</strong> affirmation : theEverlasting Yea, perpetually utteredwithin the depths <strong>of</strong> the DivineNature. 1 I In accordance with this concept<strong>of</strong> the universe as a Love-Gamewhich eternally goes forward, a progressivemanifestation <strong>of</strong> Brahmaone <strong>of</strong> the many notions which headopted from the common stock <strong>of</strong>Hindu religious ideas, and illuminatedby his poetic genius movement,rhythm, perpetual change, forms anintegral part <strong>of</strong> <strong>Kabir</strong>'s vision <strong>of</strong>IReality, Though the Eternal and Absoluteis ever present to his consciousness,yet his concept <strong>of</strong> the DivineNature is essentially dynamic. It isby the symbols <strong>of</strong> motion that he most1Nos. XVII, XXVI, LXXVI, LXXXII.c

xxxiiKABIR'S POEMS<strong>of</strong>ten tries to conveyit to us : as inhis constant reference to dancing, orthe strangely modern picture <strong>of</strong> thatEternal Swing <strong>of</strong> the Universe which" lis held by the cords <strong>of</strong> love."It is a marked characteristic <strong>of</strong>mystical literature that the great contemplatives,in their effort to conveyto us the nature <strong>of</strong> their communionwith the supersensuous, are inevitablydriven to employ some form <strong>of</strong> sensuous:imagery coarse and inaccurateas they know such imagery to be,even at the best, i Our normal humanconsciousness is so completely committedto dependence on the senses,that the fruits <strong>of</strong> intuition itselfare instinctively referred to them.In that intuition it seems to themystics that all the dim cravingsand partial apprehensions <strong>of</strong> sensefind perfect fulfilment. Hence their1NO. xvi.

INTRODUCTIONxxxiiiconstant declaration that they see theuncreated light, they hear the celestialmelody, theytaste the sweetness <strong>of</strong>the Lord, they know an ineffablefragrance, they feel the very contact<strong>of</strong> love]" Him verily seeing and fullyfeeling, Him spiritually hearing andHim delectably smelling and sweetlyswallowing," as Julian <strong>of</strong> Norwichhas it. In those amongst them whodevelop psycho-sensorial automatismsthese parallels between sense and spiritmay present themselves to consciousnessin the form <strong>of</strong> hallucinations : asthe light seen by Suso, the musicheard by Rolle, the celestial perfumeswhich filled St. Catherine <strong>of</strong> Siena'scell, the physical wounds felt by St.Francis and St. Teresa. These areexcessive dramatizations <strong>of</strong> the symbolismunder which the mystic tendsinstinctively to represent his spiritualintuition to the surface consciousness.

xxxivKABIR'S POEMSHere, in the special sense-perceptionwhich he feels to be most expressive<strong>of</strong> Reality, his peculiar idiosyncrasiescome out.Now <strong>Kabir</strong>,; as we might expect inone whose reactions to the spiritualorder were so wide and various, usesby turn all the symbols <strong>of</strong> sense; Hetells us that he has " seen without|sight " the effulgence <strong>of</strong> Brahma,tasted the divine nectar, felt theecstatic contact <strong>of</strong> Reality, smelt thefragrance <strong>of</strong> the heavenly flowers J(But he was essentially a poet andmusician :rhythm and harmony wereto him the garments <strong>of</strong> beauty andtruth. Hence in his lyrics he showshimself to be, like Richard Rolle,above all things /a musical mystic.Creation, he saysj again and again/isfull <strong>of</strong> music : it is music.; At theheart <strong>of</strong> the Universe " white musicisblossoming " : love weaves the

INTRODUCTIONxxxvmelody, whilst renunciation beats thetime. It can be heard in the home aswell as in the heavens ;discerned bythe ears <strong>of</strong> common men as well asbythe trained senses <strong>of</strong> the ascetic.Moreover, the body <strong>of</strong> every man isa lyre on which Brahma, " the source<strong>of</strong> all music," plays. Everywhere<strong>Kabir</strong> discerns the " Unstruck Music<strong>of</strong> the Infinite " that celestial melodywhich the angel played to St. Francis,that ghostly symphony which filled1the soul <strong>of</strong> Rolle with ecstatic joy.The one figure which he adopts fromtheuses,Hindu Pantheon and constantlyis that <strong>of</strong> Krishna the DivineFlute Player.2He sees the supernalmusic, too, in its visual embodiment,as rhythmical movement : that mysteriousdance <strong>of</strong> the universe beforethe face <strong>of</strong> Brahma, which isat once1 Nos. XVII, XVIII, XXXIX, XLI, LIV, LXXVI,LXXXIII, LXXXIX, XCVII.Nos. L, LIII, LXVIII.

xxxviKABIR'S POEMSan act <strong>of</strong> worship and an expression<strong>of</strong> the infinite rapture <strong>of</strong> the ImmanentGod. 1Yet in this wide and rapturous vision<strong>of</strong> the universe <strong>Kabir</strong> never losestouch with diurnal existence, neverthe common life. His feetforgetsare firmly planted upon earth ;hisl<strong>of</strong>ty and passionate apprehensionsare perpetually controlled by thethe alert common senseactivity <strong>of</strong> a sane and vigorous intellect,byso <strong>of</strong>ten foun4 in persons <strong>of</strong> real mysticalgenius.\The constant insistenceon simplicity and directness, thehatred <strong>of</strong> all abstractions and philosophizings,2 the ruthless criticism <strong>of</strong> externalreligion: these are amongst hismost marked characteristics.! God isthe Root whence all manifestations," material"and " spiritual," alike1Nos. XXVI, XXXII, LXXVLNos. LXXV, LXXVIII, LXXX, XC.

INTRODUCTIONxxxviiproceed and God is the only need <strong>of</strong>" ;happiness shall be yours whenmanlyou come to the Root." Hencetothose who keep their eye on the " onething needful," denominations, creeds,ceremonies, the conclusions <strong>of</strong> philosophy,the disciplines <strong>of</strong> asceticism,are matters <strong>of</strong> comparative indifference.They represent merely thedifferent angles from which the soulmay approach that simple union withand areBrahma which is its goal;useful only in so far as they contributeto this consummation.So thoroughgoingis <strong>Kabir</strong>'s eclecticism, that heseems by turns Vedantist and Vaishnavite,Pantheist and Transcendentalist,Brahman and Sufi. In the effort totell the truth about that ineffableapprehension, so vast and yet so near,which controls his life, he seizes andtwines together as he might have1No. LXXX.

xxxviiiKABIR'S POEMSwoven together contrasting threadsupon his loom symbols and ideasdrawn from the most violent andconflicting philosophies and faiths. Allare needed, if he is ever to suggestthe character <strong>of</strong> that <strong>One</strong> whom theUpanishad called " the Sun-colouredBeing who isbeyond this Darkness " :as all the colours <strong>of</strong> the spectrum areneeded if we would demonstrate thesimple richness <strong>of</strong> white light. Inthus adapting traditional materialsto his own use he follows a methodcommon amongst the mystics ;whoseldom exhibit any special love fororiginality <strong>of</strong> form. They will pourtheir wine into almost any vessel thatcomes to hand :generally using bypreference and lifting to new levels<strong>of</strong> beauty and significance the religiousor philosophic formulae currentin their own day. Thus we find that'.some <strong>of</strong> <strong>Kabir</strong>'s finest poems have

INTRODUCTIONxxxixas their subjects the commonplaces<strong>of</strong> Hindu philosophy and religion:the Lila, or Sport, <strong>of</strong> God, the Ocean<strong>of</strong> Bliss, the Bird <strong>of</strong> the Soul, Maya,the <strong>Hundred</strong>-petalled Lotus, and the" Formless Form." Many, again, aresoaked in Sufi imagery and feeling.Others use as their material theordinary surroundings and incidents<strong>of</strong> Indian life the :temple bells, theceremony <strong>of</strong> the lamps, marriage,suttee, pilgrimage, the characters <strong>of</strong>the seasons ;all felt by him in theirmystical aspect, as sacraments <strong>of</strong>the soul's relation with Brahma. Inmany <strong>of</strong> these a particularly beautifuland intimate feeling for Nature isshown. 1In the collection <strong>of</strong> songs here translatedthere will be found exampleswhich illustrate nearly every aspect<strong>of</strong> <strong>Kabir</strong>'s thought, and all the fluctua-1Nos. XV, XXIII, LXVII, LXXXVII, XCVIII.

xlKABIR'S POEMStions <strong>of</strong> the mystic's emotion : theecstasy, the despair, the still beatitude,the eager self-devotion, the flashes <strong>of</strong>wide illumination, the moments <strong>of</strong>intimate love. His wide and deepvision <strong>of</strong> the universe, the " EternalSport " <strong>of</strong> creation (LXXXII), theworlds being" told like beads" withinthe Being <strong>of</strong> God (xiv, xvi, xvii,LXXVI), is here seen balanced by hislovely and delicate sense <strong>of</strong> intimatecommunion with the Divine Friend,Lover, Teacher <strong>of</strong> the soul (x, xi,XXIII, XXXV, LI, LXXXV, LXXXVE,LXXXVHI, xcn, xcin; above all, thebeautiful poem xxxiv). As theseapparently paradoxical views <strong>of</strong>Reality are resolved in Brahma, soall other opposites are reconciledin Him :bondage and liberty, loveand renunciation, pleasure and pain(xvii, xxv, XL, LXXXIX). Union withHim is the one thing that matters

INTRODUCTIONxlito the soul, its destiny and its need(LI, LII, LIV, LXX, LXXIV, XCIII,xcvi) ; and this union, this discovery<strong>of</strong> God, is the simplest andmost natural <strong>of</strong> all things, if we wouldbut grasp it (XLI, XLVI, LVI, LXXII,LXXVI, LXXVIII, xcvii). The union,however, is brought about by love,not by knowledge or ceremonialobservances (xxxvm, LIV, LV, LIX,xci) ; and the apprehension whichthat union confers is ineffable"neither This nor That," as Ruysbroeckhas it (ix, XLVI, LXXVI).Real worship and communion is inSpirit and in Truth (XL, XLI, LVI,LXIII, LXV, LXX), therefore idolatryis an insult to the Divine Lover(XLII, LXIX) and the devices <strong>of</strong>pr<strong>of</strong>essional sanctity are useless apartfrom charity and purity <strong>of</strong> soul (LIV,LXV, LXVI). Since all things, andespecially the heart <strong>of</strong> man, are

xliiKABIR'S POEMSGod -inhabited, God -possessed (xxvi,LVI, LXXVI, LXXXIX, xcvii), Hemay best be found in the here-andnow: in the normal, human, bodilyexistence, the " mud " <strong>of</strong> materiallife (in, iv, vi, xxi, xxxix, XL,XLIII, XLVIII, " LXXII). We canreach the goal without crossing theroad" (LXXVI) not the cloister butthe home is the proper theatre <strong>of</strong>man's efforts : and if he cannot findGod there, he need not hope" forsuccess by going farther afield. Inthe home is reality." There loveand detachment, bondage and freedom,joy and pain play by turnsupon the soul ;and it is from theirconflict that the Unstruck Music <strong>of</strong>the Infinite proceeds." <strong>Kabir</strong> says:None but Brahma can evoke itsmelodies."

INTRODUCTIONxliiiIIIThis version <strong>of</strong> <strong>Kabir</strong>'s songsischiefly the work <strong>of</strong> Mr. RabmdranathTagore, the trend <strong>of</strong> whose mysticalgenius makes him as all who readthese poems will see a peculiarlysympathetic interpreter <strong>of</strong> <strong>Kabir</strong>'svision and thought. It has been basedupon the printed Hindi text withBengali translation <strong>of</strong> Mr. KshitiMohan Sen ;who has gathered frommany sources sometimes from booksand manuscripts, sometimes from thelips <strong>of</strong> wandering ascetics and minstrelsa large collection <strong>of</strong> poemsand hymns to which <strong>Kabir</strong>'s name isattached, and carefully sifted theauthentic songs from the many spuriousworks now attributed to him.These painstaking labours alone havemade the present undertaking possible.We have also had before us a

xlivKABIR'S POEMSmanuscript Englishtranslation <strong>of</strong> 116songs made by Mr. A jitKumarChakravarty from Mr. Kshiti MohanSen's text, and a prose essay upon<strong>Kabir</strong> from the same hand. Fromthese we have derived great assistance.A considerable number <strong>of</strong> readingsfrom the translation have been adoptedby us ;whilst several <strong>of</strong> the factsmentioned in the essay have been incorporatedinto this Introduction. Ourmost grateful thanks are due to Mr.Ajit Kumar Chakravarty for the ex-and unselfish mannertremely generousin which he has placed his work at ourdisposal.E. U.

The reference <strong>of</strong> the headlines <strong>of</strong> thepoems is to:Santiniketana ;<strong>Kabir</strong> by Sri KshitimohanSen, 4 parts, Brahmacharyas'-rama, Bolpur, 1910-11.For some assistance in normalizingthe transliteration we are indebted toPr<strong>of</strong>. J. F. Blumhardt.xlvi

I. 13. mo ko kahdn dhunro bandeSERVANT, where dost thou seek Me ?Lo ! I am beside thee.1 am neither in temple nor in mosque :I am neither in Kaaba nor inKailash :Neither am I in rites and ceremonies,nor in Yoga and renunciation.If thou art a true seeker, thou shalt atonce see Me : thou shalt meet Mein a moment <strong>of</strong> time.<strong>Kabir</strong> " says, O Sadhu ! God is thebreath <strong>of</strong> all breath."II1. 16. santan jot na pucho nirgur^iydnIT is needless to ask <strong>of</strong> a saint the casteto which he belongs ;

2 KABIR'S POEMSFor the priest, the warrior, the tradesman,and all the thirty-six castes,alike are seeking for God.It is but folly to ask what the caste<strong>of</strong> a saint may be ;The barber has sought God, thewasherwoman, and the carpenterEven Raidas was a seeker after God.The Rishi Swapacha was a tanner bycaste.Hindus and Moslems alike haveachieved that End, where remainsno mark <strong>of</strong> distinction.IllI. 57. sddho bhdi, jwathi karo addO FRIEND !hope for Him whilst youlive, know whilst you live, understandwhilst you live :deliverance abides.for in life

KABIR'S POEMS 3If your bonds be not broken whilstliving, what hope <strong>of</strong> deliverancein death ?It is but an empty dream, that the soulshall have union with Him becauseit has passed from the body :If He is found now, He is found then,If not, we do but go to dwell in theCity <strong>of</strong> Death.If you have union now, you shall haveit hereafter.Bathe in the truth, know the trueGuru, have faith in the true Name !"<strong>Kabir</strong> says: It is the Spirit <strong>of</strong> thequest which helps I am the slave;<strong>of</strong> this Spirit <strong>of</strong> the quest."IVI. 58. bdgo ndjd re ndjdDo not go to the garden<strong>of</strong> flowers IO Friend !go not there ;In your body is the garden<strong>of</strong> flowers.

4 KABIR'S POEMSTake your seat on the thousand petals<strong>of</strong> the lotus, and there gaze on theInfinite Beauty.I. 63. avadhu, mdyd taji na jayTELL me, Brother, how can I renounceMaya ?When I gave up the tying <strong>of</strong> ribbons,still I tied my garment about me :When I gave up tying my garment,still I covered my body in its folds.So, when I give up passion, I see thatanger remains ;And when I renounce anger, greediswith me still ;And when greedisvanquished, prideand vainglory remain ;When the mind is detached and castsMaya away, still it clingsletter.to the<strong>Kabir</strong> says," Listen to me, dear

KABIR'S POEMS 5Sadhu ! the true path is rarelyfound."VII. 83. candd jhalkai yahi ghat mdhmTHE moon shines in my body, but myblind eyes cannot see it :The moon is within me, and so is thesun.The unstruck drum <strong>of</strong> Eternity issounded within me ;ears cannot hear it.but my deafSo long as man clamours for the /and the Mine, his works are asnaught :When all love <strong>of</strong> the / and the Mineis dead, then the work <strong>of</strong> the Lordisdone.For work has no other aim than thegetting <strong>of</strong> knowledge :When that comes, then work is putaway.

6 KABIR'S POEMSThe flower blooms for the fruit :whenthe fruit comes, the flower withers.The musk is in the deer, but it seeksit not within itself : it wandersin quest <strong>of</strong> grass.VIII. 85. sddho, Brahm alakh IdkhdydWHEN He Himself reveals Himself,Brahma brings into manifestationThat which can never be seen.As the seed is in the plant, as the shadeis in the tree, as the void isin thesky, as infinite forms are in thevoidSo from beyond the Infinite, theInfinite comes ;and from the Infinitethe finite extends.The creature is in Brahma, andBrahma is in the creature :theyare ever distinct, yet ever united.

He Himself isKABIR'S POEMS 7the tree, the seed, andthe germ.He Himself is the flower, the fruit,and the shade.He Himself is the sun, the light, andthe lighted.He Himself is Brahma, creature, andMaya.He Himself isthe manifold form, theinfinite space ;He is the breath, the word, and themeaning.He Himself is the limit and the limitless: and beyond both the limitedand the limitless is He, the PureBeing.He is the Immanent Mind in Brahmaand in the creature.The Supreme Soul isseen within thesoul,The Point is seen within the SupremeSoul,

8 KABIR'S POEMSAnd within the Point, the reflectionis seen again.<strong>Kabir</strong> is blest because he has thissupreme vision 1VIIII. 101. is ghat antar bag baglceWITHIN this earthern vessel are bowersand groves, and within it is theCreator :Within this vessel are the seven oceansand the unnumbered stars.The touchstone and the jewelappraiserare within ;And within this vessel the Eternalsoundeth, and the spring wellsup.<strong>Kabir</strong> says:friend !" Listen to me, mybeloved Lord is within."My

KABIR'S POEMS 9IXI. 104. aisd lo nahln taisd loHOW may I ever expressword ?O how can I say He isand He is like that ?that secretnot like this,If I say that He is within me, theuniverse is ashamed :If I say that He is without me,it isfalsehood.He makes the inner and the outerworlds to be indivisibly one ;The conscious and the unconscious,both are His footstools.He is neither manifest nor hidden,He is neither revealed nor unrevealed:There are no words to tell that whichHe is.

10 KABIR'S POEMSI. 121. tohi mori lagan lagdyere phakir wdTo Thee Thou hast drawn my love, OIFakir!was sleeping in my own chamber,and Thou didst awaken me ;striking me with Thy voice, OFakir!I was drowning in the deeps <strong>of</strong> theocean <strong>of</strong> this world, and Thoudidst save me :Thine arm, O Fakir !upholding me withOnly one word and no second andThou hast made me tear <strong>of</strong>f allmy bonds, O Fakir !<strong>Kabir</strong> says," Thou hast united Thyheart to my heart, O Fakir !"

KABIR'S POEMS 11XII. 131. ni4 din khelat rahlsakhiydn sangI PLAYED day and night with mycomrades, and now I am greatlyafraid.So highis my Lord's palace, my hearttrembles to mount its stairs :yetI must not be shy,if I would enjoyHis love.My heart must cleave to my Lover ;must withdraw my veil,Iand meetHim with all my body:Mine eyes must perform the ceremony<strong>of</strong> the lamps <strong>of</strong> love."<strong>Kabir</strong> says: Listen to me, friend :he understands who loves.If youfeel not love's longing for yourBeloved <strong>One</strong>, it is vain to adornyour body, vain to put unguent onyour eyelids."

12 KABIR'S POEMSXIIII. 24.hamsd, kaho purdtan batTELL me, O Swan, your ancient tale.From what land do you come, OSwan ? to what shore will youfly?Where would you take your rest,Swan, and what do you seek ?OEven this morning, O Swan, awake,arise, follow me !There isa land where no doubt norsorrow have rule :ol Death is no more.where the terrorThere the woods <strong>of</strong> spring are a-bloom,and the fragrant scent " He is I "is borne on the wind :There the bee <strong>of</strong> the heart is deeplyimmersed, and desires no otherjoy.

KABIR'S POEMS 13XIIIII. 37. afigadhiyd devdO LORD Increate, who will serveThee?Every votary <strong>of</strong>fers his worship to theGod <strong>of</strong> his own creation each :dayhe receives serviceNone seek Him, the Perfect :Brahma,the Indivisible Lord.They believe in ten Avatars ;but noAvatar can be the InfiniteSpirit,for he suffers the results <strong>of</strong> hisdeeds :The Supreme <strong>One</strong> must be other thanthis.The Yogi, the Sanyasi,the Ascetics,are disputing one with another :<strong>Kabir</strong> " says, O brother ! he who hasseen that radiance <strong>of</strong> love, he issaved."

14 KABIR'S POEMSXIVII. 56. dariyd kl lahar dariyao hai jlTHE river and its waves are one surf :where is the difference between theriver and its waves ?When the wave rises, it is the water ;and when it falls, it is the samewater again. Tell me, Sir, whereis the distinction ?Because it has been named as wave,shall it no longer be considered aswater ?Within the Supreme Brahma, theworlds are being told like beads :Look upon that rosary with the eyes<strong>of</strong> wisdom.

KABIR'S POEMS 15XVII. 57.jdnh khelat vasant riturdjWHERE Spring, the lord <strong>of</strong> the seasons,reigneth, there the Unstruck Musicsounds <strong>of</strong> itself,There the streams <strong>of</strong> light flow in alldirections ;Few are the men who can cross tothat shore !There, where millions <strong>of</strong> Krishnasstand with hands folded,Where millions <strong>of</strong> Vishnus bow theirheads,Where millions <strong>of</strong> Brahmas are readingthe Vedas,Where millions <strong>of</strong> Shivas are lost incontemplation,Where millions <strong>of</strong> Indras dwell in thesky,Where the demi-gods and the munisare unnumbered,

16 KABIR'S POEMSWhere millions <strong>of</strong> Saraswatis, Goddess<strong>of</strong> Music, play on the vinaThere is my Lord self-revealed : andthe scent <strong>of</strong> sandal and flowersdwells in those deeps.XVIII. 59. jdnhcet acet khambh douBETWEEN the poles <strong>of</strong> the consciousand the unconscious, there has themind made a swing:Thereon hang all beings and all worlds,and that swing never ceases itssway.Millions <strong>of</strong> beings are there :the sunand the moon in their courses arethere :Millions <strong>of</strong> ages pass, and the swinggoes on.All swing ! the sky and the earthand the air and the water ;andthe Lord Himself taking form :

KABIR'S POEMS 17And the sight <strong>of</strong> this has made <strong>Kabir</strong>a servant.XVIIII. 61. grah candra tapanjotbarat haiTHE light<strong>of</strong> the sun, the moon, andthe stars shines bright:The melody <strong>of</strong> love swells forth, and<strong>of</strong> love's detachmentthe rhythmbeats the time.Day and night,the chorus <strong>of</strong> musicfills the heavens ;and <strong>Kabir</strong>says,"My Beloved <strong>One</strong> gleams like thelightning flash in the sky."Do you know how the moments performtheir adoration ?Waving its row <strong>of</strong> lamps,the universesings in worship day and night,There are the hidden banner and thesecret canopy :

18 KABIR'S POEMSThere the sound <strong>of</strong> the unseen bells isheard."<strong>Kabir</strong> says: There adoration neverceases ;there the Lord <strong>of</strong> theUniverse sitteth on His throne."The whole world does its works andcommits its errors : but few are thelovers who know the Beloved.The devout seeker is he who minglesin his heart the double currents<strong>of</strong> love and detachment, like themingling <strong>of</strong> the streams <strong>of</strong> Gangesand Jumna ;In his heart the sacred water flowsday and night ; and thus theround <strong>of</strong> births and deaths isbroughtto an end.Behold what wonderful rest isin theSupreme Spirit and he !enjoys it,who makes himself meet for it.Held by the cords <strong>of</strong> love, the swing <strong>of</strong>

KABIR'S POEMS 19the Ocean <strong>of</strong> Joy sways to and fro ;and a mighty sound breaks forthin song.See what a lotus blooms there withoutwater ! and <strong>Kabir</strong> says,"My heart's bee drinks its nectar."What a wonderful lotus it is, thatblooms at the heart <strong>of</strong> the spinningwheel <strong>of</strong> the universe !Only a fewpure souls know <strong>of</strong> its true delight.Music is all around it, and there theheart partakes <strong>of</strong> the joy <strong>of</strong> theInfinite Sea.<strong>Kabir</strong> says:" Dive thou into thatOcean <strong>of</strong> sweetness : thus let allerrors <strong>of</strong> life and <strong>of</strong> death fleeaway."Behold how the thirst <strong>of</strong> the fivesenses isquenched there ! and thethree forms <strong>of</strong> misery are no more !<strong>Kabir</strong> says: "It is the sport <strong>of</strong> the

20 KABIR'S POEMSUnattainable <strong>One</strong> : look within,and behold how the moonbeams<strong>of</strong> that Hidden <strong>One</strong> shine in you."There fallsthe rhythmicbeat <strong>of</strong> lifeand death :Rapture wells forth, and all space isradiant with light.There the Unstruck Music is sounded ;it is the music <strong>of</strong> the love <strong>of</strong> thethree worlds.There millions <strong>of</strong> lamps<strong>of</strong> sun and <strong>of</strong>moon are burning ;There the drum beats,and the loverswings in play.There love-songs resound, and lightrains in showers ;and the worshipperis entranced in the taste<strong>of</strong> the heavenly nectar.Look uponlife and death ;there is noseparation between them,The right hand and the left hand areone and the same.

<strong>Kabir</strong> says:KABIR'S POEMS 21" There the wise man isspeechless ; for this truth maynever be found in Vedas or inbooks."I have had my Seat on the Self-poised<strong>One</strong>,I have drunk <strong>of</strong> the Cup<strong>of</strong> the Ineffable,I have found the Key <strong>of</strong> the Mystery,I have reached the Root <strong>of</strong> Union.Travelling by no track, I have cometo the Sorrowless Land :veryeasily has the mercy <strong>of</strong> the greatLord come upon me.They have sung <strong>of</strong> Him as infinite andunattainable : but I in my meditationshave seen Him without sight.That is indeed the sorrowless land, andnone know the path that leadsthere :Only he who is on that path has surelytranscended all sorrow.

22 KABIR'S POEMSWonderful is that land <strong>of</strong> rest, to whichno merit can win ;It is the wise who has seen it, it isthe wise who has sung<strong>of</strong> it.This is the Ultimate Word : but canany express its marvellous savour ?He who has savoured it once, heknows what joyit can give." Knowing it, the ignorantman becomes wise, and thewise man becomes speechless and<strong>Kabir</strong> says:silent,The worshipper isutterly inebriated,His wisdom and his detachment aremade perfect ;He drinks from the cup <strong>of</strong> the inbreathingsand the outbreathings<strong>of</strong> love."There the whole skyis filled withsound, and there that music ismade without fingers and withoutstrings ;

KABIR'S POEMS 23There the game <strong>of</strong> pleasure and paindoes not cease."<strong>Kabir</strong> says: If you merge your lifein the Ocean <strong>of</strong> Life, you willfind your life in the SupremeLand <strong>of</strong> Bliss."What a frenzy <strong>of</strong> ecstasy there isinevery hour ! and the worshipperis pressing out and drinking theessence <strong>of</strong> the hours : he lives inthe life <strong>of</strong> Brahma.I speak truth, for I have acceptedtruth in life ;I am now attachedto truth, I have sweptall tinselaway.<strong>Kabir</strong> says:" Thus is the worshipperset free from fear ;thus have allerrors <strong>of</strong> life and <strong>of</strong> death left him."There the skyis filled with music :There it rains nectar :There the harp -strings jingle, andthere the drums beat.

24 KABIR'S POEMSWhat a secret splendour is there, inthe mansion <strong>of</strong> the sky !There no mention is made <strong>of</strong> the risingand the setting <strong>of</strong> the sun ;In the ocean <strong>of</strong> manifestation, whichis the light <strong>of</strong> love, day and nightare felt to be one.Joy for ever, no sorrow, no struggle!There have I seen joyfilled to thebrim, perfection <strong>of</strong> joy ;No place for error is there."<strong>Kabir</strong> says: There have I witnessed"the sport <strong>of</strong> <strong>One</strong> Bliss !I have known in my body the sport<strong>of</strong> the universe : I have escapedfrom the error <strong>of</strong> this world.The inward and the outward arebecome as one sky, the Infiniteand the finite are united : I amdrunken with the sight <strong>of</strong> thisAll!This Light <strong>of</strong> Thine fulfils the uni-

KABIR'S POEMS 25verse the :lamp <strong>of</strong> love that burnson the salver <strong>of</strong> knowledge."<strong>Kabir</strong> says: There error cannotenter, and the conflict <strong>of</strong> life anddeath is felt no more."XVIIIII. 77.maddh dkdd dp jahdn baitheTHE middle region <strong>of</strong> the sky, whereinthe spirit dwelleth, is radiant withthe music <strong>of</strong> light ;There, where the pure and whitemusic blossoms, my Lord takesHis delight.In the wondrous effulgence <strong>of</strong> eachhair <strong>of</strong> His body, the brightness<strong>of</strong> millions<strong>of</strong> suns and <strong>of</strong> moonsis lost.On that shore there is a city, wherethe rain <strong>of</strong> nectar pours and pours,and never ceases.

26 KABIR'S POEMS"<strong>Kabir</strong> says: Come, O Dharmadas !and see my great Lord's Durbar."II. 20.O MY heart !XIXparamdtam guru nikat virdjainthe Supreme Spirit, thegreat Master, is near you : wake,oh wake !Run to the feet <strong>of</strong> your Beloved : foryour Lord stands near to yourhead.You have slept for unnumbered ages ;this morning will younot wake ?XXII. 22. man tu par utar kdnhjaihoTo what shore would you cross, Omy heart ? there is no travellerbefore you, there is no road :

KABIR'S POEMS 27Where is the movement, where is therest, on that shore ?There is no water ;no boat, no boatman,is there ;There is not so much as a ropeto tow the boat, nor a man todraw it.No earth, no sky, no time, no thing,is there : no shore, no ford !nor mind :There, there is neither bodyand where is the place that shallstill the thirst <strong>of</strong> the soul ? Youshall find naught in that emptiness.Be strong, and enter into your ownbody : for there yourfoothold isfirm. Consider it well, O my heart !go not elsewhere."<strong>Kabir</strong> says: Put allimaginationsaway, and stand fast in that whichyou are."

28 KABIR'S POEMSXXIII. 33. ghar ghar dlpdk baraiLAMPS burn in every house, O blindone ! and you cannot see them.<strong>One</strong> day your eyes shall suddenly beopened, and you shall see : andthe fetters <strong>of</strong> death will fall fromyou.There isnothing to say or to hear,there isnothing to do :is living, yet dead, who shall neverdie again.it is he whoBecause he lives in solitude, thereforethe Yogi saysaway.Your Lord is near :that his home is faryet you are climbingthe palm-tree to seek Him.The Brahman priest goes from houseto house and initiatesfaith :people into

KABIR'S POEMS 29Alas ! the true fountain <strong>of</strong> life isbeside you, and you have set up astone to worship."<strong>Kabir</strong> says: I may never expresshow sweet my Lord is.Yoga andthe telling <strong>of</strong> beads, virtue andvice these are naught to Him."XXIIII. 38.sddho, so satgur mohi bhdwaiO BROTHER, my heart yearnsfor thattrue Guru, who fills the cup <strong>of</strong>true love, and drinks <strong>of</strong> it himself,and <strong>of</strong>fers it then to me.He removes the veil from the eyes, andgives the true Vision <strong>of</strong> Brahma :He reveals the worlds in Him, andmakes me to hear the UnstruckMusic :He shows joy and sorrow to be one :He fills all utterance with love.

30 KABIR'S POEMS"<strong>Kabir</strong> says:Verily he has no fear,who has such a Guru to lead himto the shelter <strong>of</strong> safety!"XXIIIII. 40.tinwir sdnjh kd gahird dwaiTHE shadows <strong>of</strong> eveningfall thickand deep, and the darkness <strong>of</strong> loveenvelops the body and the mind.Open the window to the west, and belost in the sky <strong>of</strong> love ;Drink the sweet honey that steeps thepetals <strong>of</strong> the lotus <strong>of</strong> the heart.Receive the waves in your body :whatsplendour is in the region <strong>of</strong> thesea !Hark ! the sounds <strong>of</strong> conches and bellsare rising." O brother, behold ! the<strong>Kabir</strong> says:Lord is in this vessel <strong>of</strong> mybody."

KABIR'S POEMS 31II. 48.XXIVjis se rahani apdr jagat menMORE than all else do I cherish atheart that love which makes meIt isto live a limitless life in thisworld.like the lotus, which lives in thewater and blooms in the water :yetthe water cannot touch itspetals, they open beyond itsreach.It is like a wife, who enters the fireat the bidding <strong>of</strong> love.She burnsand lets others grieve, yet neverdishonours love.This ocean <strong>of</strong> the world is hard tocross : its waters are very deep.*'<strong>Kabir</strong> says: Listen to me, OSadhu ! few there are who havereached its end."

32 KABIR'S POEMSXXVII. 45. Hari ne apnd dp chipdydMY Lord hides Himself, and my LordMywonderfully reveals Himself :Lord has encompassed me withhardness, and my Lord has castdown my limitations.My Lord brings to me words <strong>of</strong> sorrowand words <strong>of</strong> joy, and He Himselfheals their strife.I will <strong>of</strong>fer my body and mind to myLord : I will give up my life, butnever can I forget my Lord !XXVIII. 75.onkdr siwde koi sirjaiALL things are created by the Om ;The love-form is His body.

KABIR'S POEMS 33He iswithout form, without quality,without decay :Seek thou union with Him 1But that formless God takes athousand forms in the eyes <strong>of</strong> Hiscreatures :He is pure and indestructible,His form is infinite and fathomless,He dances in rapture, and waves <strong>of</strong>form arise from His dance.The body and the mind cannot containthemselves, when they are touchedby 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.

34 KABIR'S POEMSII. 81.XXVIIsatgur sol daya kar dlnhdIT is the mercy <strong>of</strong> my true Guru thathas made me to know the unknown;I have learned from Him how to walkwithout feet, to see without eyes,to hear without ears, to drink withoutmouth, to fly without wings ;I have brought my love and mymeditation into the land wherethere is no sun and moon, nor dayand night.Without eating, I have tasted <strong>of</strong> thesweetness <strong>of</strong> nectar ;and withoutwater, I have quenched my thirst.Where there is the response <strong>of</strong> delight,there is the fullness <strong>of</strong> joy. Beforewhom can that joy be uttered ?" The Guru is greatbeyond words, and greatis the<strong>Kabir</strong> says:good fortune <strong>of</strong> the disciple."

KABIR'S POEMS 35XXVIIIII. 85. nirgur} age sargurj, ndcai4BEFORE the Unconditioned, the Conditioneddances :"Thou and I are one 1 this trumpetproclaims.The Guru comes, and bows downThis isbefore the disciple:the greatest <strong>of</strong> wonders.XXIXII. 87. <strong>Kabir</strong> kab se bhaye vairdgiGORAKHNATH asks <strong>Kabir</strong> :'Tell me, O <strong>Kabir</strong>, when did yourvocation begin ? Where did yourlove have its rise ? "<strong>Kabir</strong> answers :" When He whose forms are manifoldhad not begun His play : when

36 KABIR'S POEMSthere was no Guru, and no disciple:when the world was not spreadout : when the Supreme <strong>One</strong> wasaloneThen I became an ascetic ; then, OGorakh, my love was drawn toBrahma.Brahma did not hold the crown onhis head ;the god Vishnu was notanointed as king; the power <strong>of</strong>Shiva was still unborn ;when Iwas instructed in Yoga." I became suddenly revealed inBenares, and Ramananda illuminedme ;I brought with me the thirst for theInfinite, and I have come for themeeting with Him.In simplicity will I unite with theSimple <strong>One</strong> ; my love will surge up.O Gorakh, march thou with His"music !

KABIR'S POEMS 37XXXII. 95. yd tarvar men ek pakheruON this tree is a bird :<strong>of</strong> life.it dances in thejoyNone knows where it is : and whoknows what the burden <strong>of</strong> itsmusic may be ?Where the branches throw a deepshade, there does it have its nest :and it comes in the evening andfliesaway in the morning, and saysnot a word <strong>of</strong> that which it means.None tell me <strong>of</strong> this bird that singswithin me.It is neither coloured nor colourless :Itit has neither form nor outline :sits in the shadow <strong>of</strong> love.It dwells within the Unattainable, theInfinite, and the Eternal ;and noone marks when it comes and goes.<strong>Kabir</strong> says:" O brother Sadhu !

38 KABIR'S POEMSdeep is the mystery. Let wise menseek to know where rests thatbird."XXXIII. 100. ntt din sdlai ghdivA SORE pain troubles me day andnight, and I cannot sleep ;I long for the meeting with myBeloved, and my father's housegives me pleasure no more.The gates <strong>of</strong> the sky are opened, thetempleis revealed :I meet my husband, and leave at Hisfeet the <strong>of</strong>fering <strong>of</strong> my body andmy mind.XXXIIII. 103. ndco re mero man, matta hoyDANCE, my heart !joy.dance to-day with

KABIR'S POEMS 39The strains <strong>of</strong> love fill the days andthe nights with music, and theworld is listening to its melodies :Mad with joy, life and death danceto the rhythm <strong>of</strong> this music. Thehills and the sea and the earthdance. The world <strong>of</strong> man dancesin laughter and tears.Why put on the robe <strong>of</strong> the monk, andlive alo<strong>of</strong> from the world in lonelypride ?Behold !my heart dances in the delight<strong>of</strong> a hundred arts ;and theCreator is well pleased.XXXIIIII. 105. man mast hud tab kyon boleWHERE is the need <strong>of</strong> words, whenlove has made drunken theheart?I have wrapped the diamond in my

40 KABIR'S POEMScloak ; why open it again andagain ?When its load was light, the pan <strong>of</strong>the balance went :up now it isfull, where is the need for weighing?The swan has taken its flight to thewhylake beyond the mountains ;should it search for the pools andditches any more ?Your Lord dwells within you why:need your outward eyes be opened?" Listen, my brother !<strong>Kabir</strong> says:my Lord, who ravishes my eyes,has united Himself with me."XXXIVII. 110. mohi tohi Idgl kaise chuteHow could the love between Thee andme sever ?As the leaf <strong>of</strong> the lotus abides on the

water :KABIR'S POEMS 41so thou art my Lord, andI am Thy servant.As the night-bird Chakor gazesallnight at the moon : so Thou artmy Lord and I am Thy servant.From the beginning until the ending<strong>of</strong> time, there is love betweenThee and me ;and how shall suchlove be extinguished ?<strong>Kabir</strong> says: "As the river entersinto the ocean, so my heart touchesThee."XXXVII. 113. vdlam, dwo hamdre geh reMY body and my mind are grieved forthe want <strong>of</strong> Thee ;come to my house.O my Beloved !When people say I am Thy bride, Iam ashamed ;for I have nottouched Thy heart with my heart.Then what is this love <strong>of</strong> mine ? I

42 KABIR'S POEMShave no taste for food, I have nosleep ; my heart is ever restlesswithin doors and without.As water is to the thirsty, so is thelover to the bride. Who is therethat will carry my news to myBeloved ?<strong>Kabir</strong> is restless :<strong>of</strong> Him.he isdying for sightXXXVIII. 126. jag piydri,ab kdn sowaiO FRIEND, awake, and sleep nomore !The nightis over and gone, would youlose your day also ?Others, who have wakened, have receivedjewels ;O foolish woman !youhave lost allwhilst you slept.Your lover is wise, and you are foolish,O woman !

KABIR'S POEMS 43You never prepared the bed <strong>of</strong> yourhusband :O mad one !you passed your time insilly play.Your youth was passed in vain, foryou did not know your Lord ;Wake, wake ! See !your bed isempty He : left you in thenight.<strong>Kabir</strong> says:heart ispierced<strong>of</strong> His music."" Only she wakes, whosewith the arrowXXXVII1. 36. sur parkdd, tdnh rain kahdn paiyeWHERE isthe night, when the sun isshining ? If it is night, then thesun withdraws its light.Where knowledge is, can ignoranceendure ? If there be ignorance,then knowledge must die.

44 KABIR'S POEMSIf there be lust, how can love be there ?Where there is love, there is nolust.Lay hold on your sword, and join inthe fight. Fight, O my brother,as long as lifelasts.Strike <strong>of</strong>f your enemy's head, and theremake an end <strong>of</strong> him quickly: thencome, and bow your head at yourKing's Durbar.He who is brave, never forsakes thebattle : he who flies from it is notrue fighter.In the field <strong>of</strong> this body a greatwar goes forward, against passion,anger, pride, and greed :It is in the kingdom <strong>of</strong> truth, contentmentand purity, that this battleisraging ; and the sword thatrings forth most loudlyis thesword <strong>of</strong> His Name.<strong>Kabir</strong> " says: When a brave knight

KABIR'S POEMS 45takes the field,a host <strong>of</strong> cowardsisput to flight.It is a hard fight and a weary one, thisfight<strong>of</strong> the truth-seeker : for thevow <strong>of</strong> the truth -seeker is morehard than that <strong>of</strong> the warrior, or<strong>of</strong> the widowed wife who wouldfollow her husband.For the warrior fights for a few hours,and the widow's struggle withdeath is soon ended :But the truth-seeker's battle goes onday and night, as longitnever ceases."as life lastsXXXVIIII. 50. bhram kd tola lagd mahal reTHE lock <strong>of</strong> error shuts the gate, openit with the key <strong>of</strong> love :Thus, by opening the door, thou shaltwake the Beloved.

46 KABIR'S POEMS<strong>Kabir</strong> " says: O brother ! do not passby such goodfortune as this."XXXIXI. 59. sddho, yah tan fhdth tanvure kdO FRIEND this !body is His lyre ;He tightens its strings, and drawsfrom it the melody <strong>of</strong> Brahma.If the strings snap and the keysslacken, then to dust must thisinstrument <strong>of</strong> dust return :<strong>Kabir</strong> says:" None but Brahma canevoke its melodies."XLI. 65. avadhu bhitte ko ghar IdweHE isdear to me indeed who can callback the wanderer to his home.In the home isthe true union, in

KABIR'S POEMS 47the home isenjoyment <strong>of</strong> life :why should I forsake my home andwander in the forest ? If Brahmahelps me to realize truth, verilyI will find both bondage and deliverancein home.He is dear to me indeed who haspower to dive deep into Brahma ;whose mind loses itself with easein His contemplation.He is dear to me who knows Brahma,and can dwell on His supremetruth in meditation ;and who can<strong>of</strong> the Infiniteplay the melodyby uniting love and renunciationin life.<strong>Kabir</strong> says:" The home is the abidingplace ; in the home is reality ; thehome helps to attain Him Whois real. So stay where you are,and all things shall come to you intime."

48 KABIR'S POEMSXLII. 76. santo, sahajsamddh bhaliSADHU ! the simple union is thebest.met with myLord, there has been no end to theSince the day when Isport<strong>of</strong> our love.1 shut not my eyes, I close not myears, I do not mortify my body ;I see with eyes open and smile, andbehold His beauty everywhere:I utter His Name, and whatever I see,it reminds me <strong>of</strong> Him ;whateverI do, it becomes His worship.The rising and the setting are one tome ; all contradictions are solved.Wherever I go, I move round Him,All I achieve is His service :When I lie down, I lie prostrate atHis feet.

KABIR'S POEMS 49He is the only adorable one to me :have none other.My tongue has left <strong>of</strong>f impure words,it sings His glory day and night :Whether I rise or sit down, I cannever forget Him ;Ifor the rhythm<strong>of</strong> His music beats in my" ears.My heart is frenzied,<strong>Kabir</strong> says:and I disclose in my soul what ishidden. I am immersed in thatone great bliss which transcendsall pleasure and pain."XLIII. 79. tlrath men to sab pdni haiTHERE isnothing but water at theholy bathing places and I know;that they are useless, for I havebathed in them.The images are all lifeless, they cannotspeak ;I know, for I have criedaloud to them.E

50 KABIR'S POEMSThe Purana and the Koran are merewords ; lifting up the curtain, Ihave seen.<strong>Kabir</strong> gives utterance to the words <strong>of</strong>experience ; and he knows verywell that all other things are untrue.XLIIII. 82. pdni mm vie piydslI LAUGH when I hear that the fish inthe water is thirsty :You do not see that the Real is inyour home, and you wander fromforest to forest listlessly!Here is the truth ! Go where youwill, to Benares or to Mathura ;if you do not find your soul, theworld is unreal to you.

KABIR'S POEMS 51XLIVI. 93. gagan math gaib nisdn gadeTHE Hidden Banner isplanted in thetemple <strong>of</strong> the sky ;there the bluecanopy decked with the moon andset with bright jewels is spread.There the light <strong>of</strong> the sun and the moonis shining : still your mind tosilence before that splendour.<strong>Kabir</strong> " says: He who has drunk <strong>of</strong>this nectar, wanders like one whois mad."XLVI. 97. sadho, ko hai kdnh se dyoWHO are you, and whence do youcome ?Where dwells that Supreme Spirit, andhow does He have His sport withall created things ?

52 KABIR'S POEMSThe fire is in the wood ;but whoawakens itsuddenly ? Then itturns to ashes, and where goes theforce <strong>of</strong> the fire ?The true guruteaches that He hasneither limit nor infinitude.<strong>Kabir</strong> says:" Brahma suits His languageto the understandinghearer.'*<strong>of</strong> HisXLVII. 98. sddho, sahajai kdyd dodhoO SADHU !purify your bodyin thesimple way.As the seed is within the banyan tree,and within the seed are the flowers,the fruits, and the shade :So the germ iswithin the body, andwithin that germ is the body again.The fire, the air, the water, the earth,and the aether ;cannot haveyouthese outside <strong>of</strong> Him.

KABIR'S POEMS 53O Kazi, O Pundit, consider it well :what is there that is not in thesoul?The water-filled pitcher is placed uponwater, it has water within andwithout.It should not be given a name, lest itcall forth the error <strong>of</strong> dualism."<strong>Kabir</strong> says: Listen to the Word,the Truth, which isyour essence.He speaks the Word to Himself;and He Himself is the Creator."XLVIII. 102. tarvar ek mill bin thdddTHERE is a strange tree, which standswithout roots and bears fruitswithout blossoming;It has no branches and no leaves, itis lotus all over.Two birds sing there ; one is the Guru,and the other the disciple:

54 KABIR'S POEMSThe disciple chooses the manifoldfruits <strong>of</strong> life and tastes them, andthe Guru beholds him in joy.What <strong>Kabir</strong> saysis hard to understand" : The bird isbeyond seeking,yet it is most clearly visible.The Formless is in the midst <strong>of</strong> allforms.I sing the glory <strong>of</strong> forms."XLVIIII. 107. calat mansd acal kinhiI HAVE stilled my restless mind, andmyin companyheart is radiant : for in ThatnessI have seen beyond Thatness,Comrade Himself.I have seen theLiving in bondage, I have set myselffree : I have broken away fromthe clutch <strong>of</strong> all narrowness."<strong>Kabir</strong> says: I have attained theunattainable, and my heart iscoloured with the colour <strong>of</strong> love."

KABIR'S POEMS 55XLIXI. 105. jo disai, so to hai nakinTHAT which you see is not : and forthat 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 theword ;and the ignorant standsgaping.Some contemplate the Formless, andothers meditate on form : but thewise man knows thatBrahma isbeyond both.That beauty <strong>of</strong> His is not seen <strong>of</strong>the :eye that metre <strong>of</strong> His is notheard <strong>of</strong> the ear.<strong>Kabir</strong> says:" He who has foundboth love and renunciation neverdescends to death."

56 KABIR'S POEMSI. 126. murall bajat akhay,d saddyeTHE flute <strong>of</strong> the Infinite isplayedwithout ceasing, and its sound islove :When love renounces all limits, itreaches truth.How widely the fragrance spreads!Ithas no end, nothingstands inits way.The form <strong>of</strong> this melody is brightlike a million suns :incomparablysounds the vina, the vina <strong>of</strong> thenotes <strong>of</strong> truth.LII. 129. sakhiyo, ham hurt bhdlvalamadlDEAR friend,Beloved !I am eager to meet myMy youth has flowered,

KABIR'S POEMS 57and the pain <strong>of</strong> separation fromHim troubles my breast.I am wandering yet in the alleys<strong>of</strong>knowledge without purpose, but Ihave received His news in thesealleys <strong>of</strong> knowledge.I have a letter from my Beloved :inthis letter is an unutterable message,and now my fear <strong>of</strong> death isdone away.<strong>Kabir</strong> says:" O my loving friend !I have got for my giftthe Deathless<strong>One</strong>."LIII. 130. sain bin dard kareje hoyWHEN I am parted from my Beloved,my heart is full <strong>of</strong> misery I have:no comfort in the day, I have noTo whom shallsleep in the night.I tell my sorrow ?

58 KABIR'S POEMSThe nightis dark ;the hours slip by.Because my Lord is absent, Iand tremble with fear.start up<strong>Kabir</strong> says:" Listen, my friend !there is no other satisfaction, savein the encounter with the Beloved."LIIII. 122. kaun murall fabdanand bhayoWHAT is that flute whose music thrillsme 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 longsfor the shower <strong>of</strong> rain ;But upon whose love does the Loverconcentrate His entire life ?

KABIR'S POEMS 59LIVI. 112. $untd nahl dhun kl khabarHAVE you not heard the tune whichthe Unstruck Music isplaying ?In the midst <strong>of</strong> the chamber theharp <strong>of</strong> joy is gently and sweetlyplayed and where is the need <strong>of</strong>;going without to hear it ?If you have not drunk <strong>of</strong> the nectar<strong>of</strong> that <strong>One</strong> Love, what boots itthough you should purge yourself<strong>of</strong> all stains ?The Kazi is searching the words <strong>of</strong> theKoran, and instructing others : butif his heart be not steeped in thatlove, what does it avail, thoughhe be a teacher <strong>of</strong> men ?The Yogi dyes his garments withred : but if he knows naught <strong>of</strong>that colour <strong>of</strong> love, what does itavail though his garments betinted ?

60 KABIR'S POEMS<strong>Kabir</strong> says:" Whether I be in thetemple or the balcony, in the campor in the flower garden, I tell youtruly that every moment my Lordin me."istaking His delightLVI. 73. bhakti kd mdrag jhlna reSUBTLE is the path <strong>of</strong> love !Therein there is no asking and no notasking,There one loses one's self at His feet,There one is immersed in the joy <strong>of</strong>the seeking:plunged in the deeps<strong>of</strong> love as the fish in the water.The lover is never slow in <strong>of</strong>feringhis head for his Lord's service.<strong>Kabir</strong> declares the secret <strong>of</strong> this love.

KABIR'S POEMS 61LVII. 68. bhdl koi satgurusant kahdwaiHE is the real Sadhu, who can revealthe form <strong>of</strong> the Formless to thevision <strong>of</strong> these eyes:Who teaches the simple way <strong>of</strong> attainingHim, that is other than ritesor ceremonies :Who does not make you close the doors,and hold the breath, and renouncethe world :Who makes you perceive the SupremeSpirit wherever the mind attachesitself :Who teaches you to be still in themidst <strong>of</strong> allyour activities.Ever immersed in bliss, having n<strong>of</strong>ear in his mind, he keeps the spirit<strong>of</strong> union in the midst <strong>of</strong> allenjoyments.

62 KABIR'S POEMSThe infinite dwelling<strong>of</strong> the InfiniteBeing is everywhere : in earth,water, sky, and air :Firm as the thunderbolt, the seat <strong>of</strong>the seeker is established abovethe void.He who is within is without : I seeHim and none else.LVIII. 66. sddho, fabd sddhand kvjaiRECEIVE that Word from which theUniverse springeth!That Word is the Guru ;I have heardit, and become the disciple.How many are there who know themeaning <strong>of</strong> that Word ?O Sadhu !practise that Word !The Vedas and the Puranas proclaimit,The world isestablished in it,

KABIR'S POEMS 63The Rishis and devotees speak <strong>of</strong> it :But none knows the mystery <strong>of</strong> theWord.The householder leaves his house whenhe hears it,The ascetic comes back to love whenhe hears it,The Six Philosophies expound it,The Spirit <strong>of</strong> Renunciation points tothat Word,From that Word the world-form hassprung,That Word reveals all."<strong>Kabir</strong> says: But who knows whencethe Word cometh " ?LVIIII. 63. pi le pydld,ho matwdldEMPTY the ICup O be drunken !Drink the divine nectar <strong>of</strong> His Name !<strong>Kabir</strong> says:Sadhu !" Listen to me, dear

64 KABIR'S POEMSFrom the sole <strong>of</strong> the foot to the crown<strong>of</strong> the head this mind ispoison."LIXfilled withI. 52. khasm na cirihai bdwarlO MAN, if thou dost not know thineown Lord, where<strong>of</strong> art thou soproud ?Put thy cleverness away :mere wordsshall never unite thee to Him.Do not deceive thyself with the witness<strong>of</strong> the Scriptures:Love is something other than this,and he who has sought it truly hasfound it.LXI. 56. sukh sindh kl sair kdTHE savour <strong>of</strong> wandering in the ocean<strong>of</strong> deathless life has rid me <strong>of</strong> allmy asking :

KABIR'S POEMS 65As the tree is in the seed, so all diseasesare in this asking.LXII. 48. sukh sdgar men dikeWHEN at last youare come to theocean <strong>of</strong> happiness, do not go backthirsty.Wake, foolish man ! for Death stalksyou. Here ispure water beforeyou drink it at every breath.;Do not follow the mirage on foot, butthirst for the nectar ;Dhruva, Prahlad, and Shukadeva havedrunk <strong>of</strong> it, and also Raidas hastasted it :The saints are drunk with love, theirthirst is for love." Listen to me, brother !<strong>Kabir</strong> says:The nest <strong>of</strong> fear is broken.Not for a moment have you comeface to face with the world :p

66 KABIR'S POEMSYou are weaving your bondage <strong>of</strong>falsehood, your words are full <strong>of</strong>deception :With the load <strong>of</strong> desires which youhold on your head, how can yoube "light ?"<strong>Kabir</strong> says: Keep within you truth,detachment, and love."LXIII. 35. sati ko kaun dikhdwtd haiWHO has ever taught the widowedwife to burn herself on the pyre <strong>of</strong>her dead husband ?And who has ever taughtbliss in renunciation ?LXIIIlove to findI. 39. are man, dhlrajkdhe na dharaiWHY so impatient, my heart ?He who watches over birds, beasts, andinsects,

KABIR'S POEMS 67He who cared for you whilst you wereyet in your mother's womb,Shall He not care for you now thatare come forth ?youOh my heart, how could you turn fromthe smile <strong>of</strong> your Lord and wanderso far from Him ?You have leftyour Beloved and arethinking <strong>of</strong> others : and this iswhy all your work is in vain.LXIVI. 117. sain se lagan kathin hai, bhdlHow hard it is to meet my Lord !The rain-bird wails in thirst for therain : almost she dies <strong>of</strong> her longing,yet she would have noneother water than the rain.Drawn by the love <strong>of</strong> music, the deermoves forward : she dies as shelistens to the music, yet she shrinksnot in fear.

68 KABIR'S POEMSThe widowed wife sits by the body<strong>of</strong> her dead husband : she is notafraid <strong>of</strong> the fire.Put away all fear for this poor body.LXVI. 22. jab main bhuld, re bhdiBROTHER ! when I was forgetful,true Guru showed me themyWay.Then I left <strong>of</strong>f all rites and ceremonies,I bathed no more in the holy water :Then I learned that it was I alone whowas mad, and the whole worldbeside me was sane ;and I haddisturbed these wise people.From that time forth I knew no morehow to roll in the dust in obeisance :1 do not ring the temple bell :I do not set the idol on its throne :I do not worship the image withflowers.

KABIR'S POEMS 69It is not the austerities that mortifythe flesh which are pleasing tothe Lord,When you leave <strong>of</strong>f yourclothes andkillyour senses, you do not pleasethe Lord :The man who is kind and who practisesrighteousness, who remains passiveamidst the affairs <strong>of</strong> the world,who considers all creatures onearth as his own self,He attains the Immortal Being, thetrue God is ever with him.<strong>Kabir</strong> " says: He attains the trueName whose words are pure, andwho is free from pride and conceit."LXVII. 20. man na rarigdyeTHE Yogi dyes his garments, instead<strong>of</strong> dyeing his mind in the colours<strong>of</strong> love :

70 KABIR'S POEMSHe sits within the temple <strong>of</strong> the Lord,leaving Brahma to worship astone.He pierces holes in his ears,he has agreat beard and matted locks, helooks like a goat:He goes forth into the wilderness,killing all his desires, and turnshimself into an eunuch :He shaves his head and dyes hisgarments he reads the Gita and;becomes a mighty talker.<strong>Kabir</strong> says: "You are going to the doors<strong>of</strong> death, bound hand and foot !"LXVIII. 9. nd jane sdhab kaisd haiI DO not know what manner <strong>of</strong> God ismine.The Mullah cries aloud to Him : andwhy ? Is your Lord deaf ? Thesubtle anklets that ring on the

KABIR'S POEMS 71feet <strong>of</strong> an insect when it movesare heard <strong>of</strong> Him.Tell your beads,paint your foreheadwith the mark <strong>of</strong> your God, andwear matted locks long and showy :but a deadlyweaponis in your heart,and how shall you have God ?LXVIIIIII. 102.ham se rahd na jayI HEAR the melody <strong>of</strong> His flute,andI cannot contain myself :The flower blooms, thoughit is notspring and ; already the bee hasreceived its invitation.The sky roars and the lightning flashes,the waves arise in my heart,The rain falls ;and my heart longs formy Lord.Where the rhythm <strong>of</strong> the world risesand falls, thither my heart hasreached :

72 KABIR'S POEMSThere the hidden banners are flutteringin the air."<strong>Kabir</strong> says: My heart isdying,thoughit lives."LXIXIII. 2.jo khodd masjidvasat haiIF God be within the mosque, then towhom does this world belong ?If Ram be within the image which youfind upon your pilgrimage, thenwho is there to know what happenswithout ?Hari is in the East : Allah is in theWest. Look within your heart,for there you will find both Karimand Ram ;All the men and women <strong>of</strong> the worldare His living forms.<strong>Kabir</strong> is the child <strong>of</strong> Allah and <strong>of</strong>Ram : He is my Guru, He is myPir.

KABIR'S POEMS 73LXXIII. 9. ll santosh soda samadfishtiHE who is meek and contented, hewho has an equal vision, whosemind is filled with the fullness <strong>of</strong>acceptance and <strong>of</strong> rest ;He who has seen Him and touchedHim, he is freed from all fear andtrouble.To him the perpetual thought <strong>of</strong> Godis like sandal paste smeared onthe body, to him nothing else isdelight :His work and his rest are filled withmusic :he sheds abroad the radiance<strong>of</strong> love." Touch His feet, who is<strong>Kabir</strong> says:one and indivisible, immutable andpeaceful ;who fills all vessels tothe brim with joy, and whose formislove."

74 KABIR'S POEMSLXXIIII. 13. sddh sangat pltamGo thou to the company <strong>of</strong> the good,where the Beloved <strong>One</strong> has Hisdwelling place :Take allthy thoughts and love andinstruction from thence.Let that assembly be burnt to asheswhere His Name is not spoken !Tell me, how couldst thou hold awedding - feast, if the bridegroomhimself were not there ?Waver no more, think only <strong>of</strong> theBeloved ;Set not thy heart on the worship <strong>of</strong>other gods, there is no worth inthe worship <strong>of</strong> other masters."<strong>Kabir</strong> deliberates and says: Thusthou shalt never find the Beloved"!

KABIR'S POEMS 75III. 26.LXXIItor hird hirdilwdkicad menTHE jewelislost in the mud, and allare seeking for it ;Some look for it in the east, and somein the west ;some in the waterand some amongst stones.But the servant <strong>Kabir</strong> has appraisedit at its true value, and haswrappedit with care in the end<strong>of</strong> the mantle <strong>of</strong> his heart.III. 26.LXXIIIdyau din gaunekd hoTHE palanquin came to take me awayto my husband's home, and it sentthrough my heart a thrill <strong>of</strong> joy ;But the bearers have brought me intothe lonely forest, where I haveno one <strong>of</strong> my own.

76 KABIR'S POEMSO bearers, I entreat you by your feet,wait but a moment longer: letme go back to my kinsmen andfriends, and take my leave <strong>of</strong> them.The servant <strong>Kabir</strong> sings:" O Sadhu !finish your buying and selling,have done with your good andyour bad : for there are no marketsand no shops in the land to whichyou go."III. 30.LXXIVare dil, prem nagarkd ant na pdydO MY heart !you have not knownall the secrets <strong>of</strong> this city <strong>of</strong> love :in ignorance you came, and inignorance you return.O my friend, what have youthis life ?done withYou have taken on yourhead the burden heavy with stones,and who is to lightenit for you ?

KABIR'S POEMS 77Your Friend stands on the othershore, but you never think in yourmind how you may meet with Him :The boat is broken, and yet yousit everupon the bank and thus;you arebeaten to no purpose by the waves.The servant <strong>Kabir</strong> asks you to consider;who is there that shall befriendyou at the last ?You are alone, you have no companion:you will suffer the consequences <strong>of</strong>your own deeds.LXXVIII. 55.ved kahe sargwq, ke ageTHE Vedas say that the Unconditionedstands beyondthe world <strong>of</strong> Conditions.O woman, what does it avail thee todispute whether He is beyond allor in all ?

78 KABIR'S POEMSSee thou everything as thine own dwellingplace the mist <strong>of</strong> :pleasure andpain can never spread there.There Brahma is revealed day andnight :there light is His garment,light is His seat, light rests on thyhead."<strong>Kabir</strong> says: The Master, who is true,He isall light."III. 48.LXXVItu surat nain nihdrOPEN your eyes <strong>of</strong> love, and see Himwho pervades this world ! considerit well, and know that this isyourown country.When you meet the true Guru, Hewill awaken your heart ;He will tellyou the secret <strong>of</strong> love anddetachment, and then you willknow indeed that He transcendsthis universe.

KABIR'S POEMS 79This world is the City <strong>of</strong> Truth, itsmaze <strong>of</strong> paths enchants the heart :We can reach the goal without crossingthe road, such is the sport unending.Where the ring <strong>of</strong> manifold joys everdances about Him, there is thesport<strong>of</strong> Eternal Bliss.When we know this, then all ourreceiving and renouncing is over ;Thenceforth the heat <strong>of</strong> having shallnever scorch us more.He is the Ultimate Rest unbounded :He has spread His form <strong>of</strong> lovethroughoutall the world.From that Ray which is Truth, streams<strong>of</strong> new forms are perpetuallyspringing and He :pervades thoseforms.All the gardens and groves and bowersare abounding with blossom ;andthe air breaks forth into ripples<strong>of</strong> joy.

80 KABIR'S POEMSThere the swan plays a wonderfulgame,There the Unstruck Music eddiesaround the Infinite <strong>One</strong> ;There in the midst the Throne <strong>of</strong> theUnheld is shining, whereon thegreat Being sitsMillions <strong>of</strong> suns are shamed by theradiance <strong>of</strong> a single hair <strong>of</strong> His body.On the harp <strong>of</strong> the road what truemelodies are being sounded and!its notes pierce the heart :There the Eternal Fountain is playingits endless life -streams <strong>of</strong> birthand death.theThey call Him Emptiness who isTruth <strong>of</strong> truths, in Whom alltruths are stored !There within Him creationgoes forward,which isbeyond all philosophy; for philosophy cannotattain to Him :

KABIR'S POEMS 81There is an endless world, O myBrother ! and there is the NamelessBeing, <strong>of</strong> whom nought canbe said.Only he knows it who has reachedthat region: it is other than allthat is heard and said.No form, no body, no length, nobreadth is seen there : how can Itellyouthat which it is ?He comes to the Path <strong>of</strong> the Infiniteon whom the grace <strong>of</strong> the Lorddescends : he is freed from birthsand deaths who attains to Him.<strong>Kabir</strong> says: "It cannot be told bythe words <strong>of</strong> the mouth, it cannotIt isbe written on paper:like a dumb person who tastes asweet thing how shall it be explained" ?G

82 KABIR'S POEMSLXXVIIIII. 60. cal hamsd wd de jahdnO MY heart !let us go to that countrywhere dwells the Beloved, theravisher <strong>of</strong> my heart !There Love isfillingher pitcher fromthe well, yet she has no ropewherewith to draw water ;There the clouds do not cover the sky,yet the rain falls down in gentleshowers :O bodiless one ! do not sit on yourdoorstep ; go forth and batheyourself in that rain !There it is ever moonlight and neverdark ;and who speaks <strong>of</strong> one sunonly ? that land is illuminate withthe rays <strong>of</strong> a million suns.

KABIR'S POEMS 83LXXVIIIIII. 63. kahain <strong>Kabir</strong>, uno ho sddhoKABIR says:" O Sadhu ! hear mydeathless words. If you want yourown good, examine and considerthem well.You have estranged yourself fromthe Creator, <strong>of</strong> whom you havesprung you have lost your reason,:you have bought death.All doctrines and all teachings aresprung from Him, from Him theygrow : know this for certain, andhave no fear.Hear from me the tidings <strong>of</strong> this greattruth !Whose name do you sing, and onwhom do you meditate ? O, comeforth from this entanglement !He dwells at the heart <strong>of</strong> all things,so why take refuge in empty desolation?

84 KABIR'S POEMSIf you place the Guru at a distancefrom you, then it is but thedistance that you honour :If indeed the Master be far away, thenwho is it else that is creating thisworld ?When you think that He isnot here,then you wander further andfurther away, and seek Him invain with tears.Where He is far <strong>of</strong>f, there He is unattainable: where He is near, Heisvery bliss.<strong>Kabir</strong> says:" Lest His servant shouldsuffer pain He pervades himthrough and through."Know yourself then, O <strong>Kabir</strong> ; forHe isin youfrom head to foot.Sing with gladness, and keep yourseat unmoved within your heart.

KABIR'S POEMS 85LXXIXIII. 66.nd main dharml nahlnadharmiI 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 tonone.I shall goheaven.neither to hell nor toI do all works ; yet I am apart fromall works.Few comprehend my meaning: hewho can comprehend it, he sitsunmoved.<strong>Kabir</strong> seeks neither to establish norto destroy.

86 KABIR'S POEMSLXXXIII. 69.satta ndm hai sab ten nyardTHE true Name is like none othername !The distinction <strong>of</strong> the Conditionedfrom the Unconditioned is but aword :The Unconditioned is the seed, theConditioned isfruit.the flower and theKnowledge is the branch, and theName is the root.Look, and see where the root is :happiness shall be yours when youcome to the root.The root will lead you to the branch,It isthe leaf, the flower, and the fruit :the encounter with the Lord, itis the attainment <strong>of</strong> bliss, it isthe reconciliation <strong>of</strong> the Conditionedand the Unconditioned.

KABIR'S POEMS 87LXXXIIII. 74.pratham ek jo dpai dpIN the beginning was He alone, sufficientunto Himself :the formless,colourless, and unconditioned Being.Then was there neither beginning,middle, nor end ;Then were no eyes, no darkness, nolight ;Then were no ground, air, nor sky ;n<strong>of</strong>ire, water, nor earth ;no riverslike the Ganges and the Jumna,no seas, oceans, and waves.Then was neither vice nor virtue ;scriptures there were not, as theVedas and Puranas, nor as theKoran.<strong>Kabir</strong> ponders in his mind and says:" Then was there no activity: theSupreme Being remained mergedin the unknown depths <strong>of</strong> His ownself."

88 KABIR'S POEMSThe Guru neither eats nor drinks,neither lives nor dies :Neither has He form, line,colour, norvesture.He who has neither caste nor clannor anything else how may Idescribe 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.LXXXIIkahain <strong>Kabir</strong> vicar keKABIR ponders and says:" He whohas neither caste nor country, whois formless and without quality,fills all space."The Creator brought into being theGame <strong>of</strong> Joy and from the wordOm :the Creation sprang.

KABIR'S POEMS 89The earth is His joy ;His joyis thesky;His joyis the flashing <strong>of</strong> the sun andthe moon ;His joyis the beginning, the middle,and the end ;His joy is eyes, darkness, and light.Oceans and waves are His joy: Hisjoy the Sarasvati, the Jumna, andthe Ganges.The Guru is <strong>One</strong> : and life and death,union and separation, are all Hisplays <strong>of</strong> joy !His play the land and water, the wholeuniverse IHis play the earth and the sky !In playisplaythe Creation spread out, init is established. The wholeworld, says <strong>Kabir</strong>, rests in Hisplay, yet still the Player remainsunknown.

90 KABIR'S POEMSIII. 84.LXXXIIIjhi jhi jantar bdjaiTHE harp gives forth murmurousmusic ;and the dance goes onwithout hands and feet.It isplayed without fingers, it isheard without ears : for He isthe listener.the ear, and He isThe gateis locked, but within thereis fragrance and there the meet-:ingis seen <strong>of</strong> none.The wise shall understand it.LXXXIVIII. 89.mor phaklrwd mdngi jayTHE Beggar goes a-begging, but Icould not even catch sight <strong>of</strong> Him :And what shall I beg <strong>of</strong> the Beggar ?He gives without my asking.<strong>Kabir</strong> says: "I am His own : nowlet that befall which may befall ! "

KABIR'S POEMS 91LXXXVIII. 90.naihar se jiyard phot reMY heart cries aloud for the house<strong>of</strong> my lover the ; open road andthe shelter <strong>of</strong> a ro<strong>of</strong> are all one toher who has lost the city <strong>of</strong> herhusband.My heart finds no joy in anything :my mind and my body are distraught.His palace has a million gates, butthere is a vast ocean between itand me :How shall I cross it, O friend ? forendless ispath.the outstretching <strong>of</strong> theHow wondrously this lyre iswrought !When its strings are rightly strung,it maddens the heart : but whenthe keys are broken and the stringsare loosened, none regardit more.

92 KABIR'S POEMSI tellmy parents with laughter that Imust go to my Lord in the morning ;They are angry, for they do not want"me to go, and they say: Shethinks she has gained suchdominion over her husband thatshe can have whatsoever shewishes ;and therefore she is impatientto goto him."Dear friend, lift my veil lightly now ;for this is the night <strong>of</strong> love.<strong>Kabir</strong> says:" Listen to me !Myheart is eager to meet my lover :I lie sleepless upon my bed. Rememberme early in the "morning !III. 96.LXXXVIjw mahal men &iv pahunwdSERVE your God, who has come into<strong>of</strong> life !this templeDo not act the part <strong>of</strong> a madman,for the night is thickening fast.

KABIR'S POEMS 93He has awaited me for countless ages,for love <strong>of</strong> me He has lost Hisheart :Yet I did not know the bliss thatwas so near to me, for my love wasnot yet awake.But now, my Lover has made knownto me the meaning <strong>of</strong> the note thatstruck my ear :Now, my good fortune is come.<strong>Kabir</strong>" says: Behold ! how greatismy good fortune I have received!the unending caress <strong>of</strong> my Beloved"!LXXXVIII. 71. gagan ghatd ghahardm, sddhoCLOUDS thicken in the sky !O, listento the deep voice <strong>of</strong> their roaring ;The rain comes from the east with itsmonotonous murmur.

94 KABIR'S POEMSTake care <strong>of</strong> the fences and boundaries<strong>of</strong> your fields, lest the rains overflowthem ;Prepare the soil <strong>of</strong> deliverance, andlet the creepers <strong>of</strong> love and renunciationbe soaked in this shower.It is the prudent farmer who willbring his harvest home ;he shallfill both his vessels, and feed boththe wise men and the saints.LXXXVIIIIII. 118.dj din ke main jdun balihdrlTHIS dayis dear to me above all otherdays, for to-day the Beloved Lordis a guest in my house ;My chamber and my courtyardarebeautiful with His presence.My longings sing His Name, and theyare become lost in His great beauty:

KABIR'S POEMS 95I wash His feet, and I look upon HisFace ;and I lay before Him as an<strong>of</strong>fering my body, my mind, andall that I have.What a day <strong>of</strong> gladness is that dayin which my Beloved, who is mytreasure, comes to my house !All evils fly from my heart when I seemy Lord."My love has touched Him ; myfor the Nameheart islongingwhich is Truth."Thus sings <strong>Kabir</strong>, the servant <strong>of</strong> allservants.LXXXIXI. 100. koi 6untd hai jndnl raggagan menwise man who will listenIs there anyto that solemn music which arisesin the sky ?

96 KABIR'S POEMSFor He, the Source <strong>of</strong> all music,makes all vessels full fraught, andrests in fullness Himself.He who is in the body is ever athirst,for he pursues that which is inpart :But ever there wells forth deeper anddeeper the sound " He is thisthis is He " ; fusing love andrenunciation into one.<strong>Kabir</strong> " says: O brother ! that is thePrimal Word."XCI. 108. main kd se bujhaunTo whom shall I go to learn aboutmy Beloved ?<strong>Kabir</strong> says: "As you never mayfind the forest ifyou ignore thetree, so He may never be found inabstractions."

KABIR'S POEMS 97XCIIII. 12.saijiskirit bhdshd padhi llnhdI HAVE learned the Sanskrit language,so let all men call me wise :But where is the use <strong>of</strong> this, when Iam floating adrift, and parchedwith thirst,and burning with theheat <strong>of</strong> desire ?To no purpose do you bear on yourhead this load <strong>of</strong> pride and vanity."<strong>Kabir</strong> says: Layit down in the dustand go forth to meet the Beloved.Address Him as your Lord."XCIIIII. 110.carkhd calai surat virahin kdTHE woman who isparted from herlover spins at the spinning wheel.The city <strong>of</strong> the body arises in itsbeauty ;and within it the palace<strong>of</strong> the mind has been built.H

98 KABIR'S POEMSThe wheel <strong>of</strong> love revolves in the sky,and the seat is made <strong>of</strong> the jewels<strong>of</strong> knowledge :What subtle threads the womanweaves, and makes them fine withlove and reverence !<strong>Kabir</strong> says:" I am weaving the garlandWhen my Lover<strong>of</strong> day and night.comes and touches me with Hisfeet, I shall <strong>of</strong>fer Him my tears."XCIIIIII. 111. kotm bhdnu candra tar agoBENEATH the great umbrella <strong>of</strong> myKing millions <strong>of</strong> suns and moonsand 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 ICould my love but reach to myLover ! Could but the fiery heat<strong>of</strong> my heart be cooled I

<strong>Kabir</strong> says:KABIR'S POEMS 99" When you unite lovewith the Lover, then you havelove's perfection."XCIVI. 92. avadhu begamSADHU 1myland.ded hamdrdland is a sorrowless1 cry aloud to all, to the king and thebeggar, the emperor and the fakirWhosoever seeks for shelter in theHighest,in my land !let all come and settleLet the weary come and lay hisburdens here !So live here, my brother, that you maycross with ease to that other shore.It is a land without earth or sky,without moon or stars ;For only the radiance <strong>of</strong> Truth shinesin my Lord's Durbar.

100 KABIR'S POEMS<strong>Kabir</strong> says:naught is" O beloved brother !essential save Truth."xcvI. 109. sdln ke sangat sdsur dlI CAME with my Lord to my Lord'shome : but I lived not with Himand I tasted Him not, and mylike a dream.youth passed awayOn my wedding night my womenfriendssang in chorus,and I wasanointed with the unguents <strong>of</strong>pleasure and pain :But when the ceremony was over, Ileft my Lord and came away, andkinsman tried to console memyupon<strong>Kabir</strong> says:the road." I shall go to my Lord'shouse with my love at my side;then shall I sound the trumpet<strong>of</strong> triumph ! "

KABIR'S POEMS 101XCVII. 75. samajh dekh man mil piyarwdO FRIEND, dear heart <strong>of</strong> mine, thinkwell !ifyou love indeed, then whydo you sleep ?If you have found Him, then giveyourself utterly, and take Him toyou.Why do you loose Him again andagain ?<strong>of</strong> rest has come toIf the deep sleepyour eyes, why waste your timemaking the bed and arranging thepillows ?"<strong>Kabir</strong> says: I tellyou the ways <strong>of</strong>love ! Even though the head itselfmust be given, why should you"over it ?weep

102 KABIR'S POEMSXCVIIII. 90. sdhab ham men, sdhabturn menTHE Lord is in me, the Lord is in you,as life is in every seed. O servant !put false pride away, and seek forHim within you.A million suns are ablaze with light,The sea <strong>of</strong> blue spreads in the sky,The fever <strong>of</strong> life is stilled, and allstains are washed away ; whenI sit in the midst <strong>of</strong> that world.Hark to the unstruck bells and drums !Take your delight in love !Rains pour down without water, andthe rivers are streams <strong>of</strong> light.<strong>One</strong> Love it is that pervades the wholeworld, few there are who know itfully :

KABIR'S POEMS 103They are blind who hope to see itbythe light <strong>of</strong> reason, that reasonwhich is the cause <strong>of</strong> separationThe House <strong>of</strong> Reason isvery far away !How blessed is <strong>Kabir</strong>, that amidstthis great joy he sings within hisown vessel.It is the music <strong>of</strong> the meeting <strong>of</strong> soulwith soul ;It is the music <strong>of</strong> the forgetting <strong>of</strong>sorrows ;It is the music that transcends allcoming in and all going forth.XCVIIIII. 98. fitu phdgun niyar dnlTHE month <strong>of</strong> March draws near :ah,who will unite me to my Lover ?How shall I find words for the beauty<strong>of</strong> my Beloved ? For He is mergedin all beauty.

104 KABIR'S POEMSHis colour is in all the pictures <strong>of</strong> theworld, and it bewitches the bodyand the mind.Those who know this, know what isthis unutterable play <strong>of</strong> the Spring."<strong>Kabir</strong> says: Listen to me, brother !there are not many who havefound this out."II. 111.XCDCNarad, pydr so antar ndhiOH Narad ! I know that my Lovercannot be far :When my Lover wakes, I wake ;whenHe sleeps, I sleep.He is destroyed at the root who givespain to my Beloved.Where they sing His praise, there Ilive ;When He moves, I walk before Him :my heart yearns for my Beloved.

KABIR'S POEMS 105The infinite pilgrimage lies at His feet,a million devotees are seated there.<strong>Kabir</strong> says:" The Lover Himself revealsthe glory <strong>of</strong> true love."II. 122.koi prem ki pengjhuldo reHANG up the swing <strong>of</strong> love to-day !Hang the body and the mind betweenthe arms <strong>of</strong> the Beloved, in theecstasy <strong>of</strong> love's joy :Bring the tearful streams <strong>of</strong> the rainyclouds to your eyes, and cover yourheart with the shadow <strong>of</strong> darkness:Bring your face nearer to His ear, andspeak <strong>of</strong> the deepest longings <strong>of</strong>your heart.<strong>Kabir</strong>"says: Listen to me, brother !bring the vision <strong>of</strong> the Beloved inyour heart."Printed by R. & R. CLAHIC, LIMITED.

BY RABINDRANATH TAGOREGITANJALI (SONG OFFERINGS> ACollection <strong>of</strong> Prose Translations made by theAuthor from the original Bengali. With anIntroduction by W. B. YEATS, and a Portrait byW. ROTHENSTEIN. Crown 8vo. 45. 6d. net.ATHENsEUAf. "Mr. Tagore's translations are <strong>of</strong> trancelikebeauty."' 'NA TION. Only the classics <strong>of</strong> mystical literature providea standard by which this handful <strong>of</strong> Seng Offerings ' can beappraised or understood."THE GARDENER.LYRICS OF LOVEAND LIFE. Translated by the Author from theoriginal Bengali. With Portrait Crown 8vo.45. 6d. net.DAILY MAIL. "Flowers as fresh as sunrise. . . .<strong>One</strong> cannot tell what they have lost in the translation, but asthey stand they are <strong>of</strong> extreme beauty. . . . They are simple,exalted, fragrant episodes and incidents <strong>of</strong> every day transposedto faery."DAILY NEWS. "The verses in this book are far finerand more genuine than even the best in Gitanjali."THE CRESCENT MOON.CHILD-POEMS. Translated by the Author. With 8Illustrations in Colour. Pott 410. 43. 6d. netGLOBE. "In The Crescent Moon Rabindranath Tagore<strong>of</strong>fers a revelation more pr<strong>of</strong>ound and more subtle than thatin the Gitanjali. He opens to us the child-mind. . . . Hisrevelation <strong>of</strong> the child -mind is richer, more complete, moreconvincing, than any <strong>of</strong> which we have had previous knowledge."THE KING OF THE DARKCHAMBER. A Play. Translated by KSHITISHCHANDRA SEN. Crown 8vo. 45.ACADEMY.od. net." We have no space to do more than suggestthe wealth <strong>of</strong> meaning contained in this wonderful play, for it isa work <strong>of</strong> art which reveals a thousand facets to every seeing eye."LONDON :MACMILLAN AND CO., LTD.

BY RABINDRANATH TAGORECHITRA. A Play. Translated by the Author.Crown 8vo. 2s. 6d. net.OBSERVER."An allegory <strong>of</strong> love's meaning, clear as apool in the sunshine. . . . We find in Mr. Tagore that for whichArjuna groped in his love, ' that ultimate you, that bare simplicity<strong>of</strong> truth," and never more than in this little work <strong>of</strong>beauty, Chitra."THE POST OFFICE. A Play. Translatedby DEVABRATA MUKERJEA.2s. 6d. netMANCHESTER GUARDIAN.'Crown 8vo.'A delicate, wistful thing,coloured with beautiful imagery;for a moment it lifts a corner<strong>of</strong> the veil <strong>of</strong> worldly existence."SADHANA : THE REALISATION OF LIFE.Lectures. Extra Crown 8vo. 53. net.PALL MALL GAZETTE. "The beauty <strong>of</strong> the Ianguagein which Rabindranath Tagore's philosophy is enshrineddefies analysis almost as completely as the l<strong>of</strong>tiness <strong>of</strong> thethought. It is a rhapsody that compels and convinces. . . .Sadhand isamongst the great messages <strong>of</strong> modern times."THE PASSING OF SPRING. By Mrs.B. K DAS. With an Introduction by RABIN-DRANATH TAGORE. Crown 8vo.THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MAHAR-SHI DEVENDRANATH TAGORE(Father <strong>of</strong> RABINDRANATH TAGORE). Translatedby SATYENDRANATH TAGORE and INDIRA DEVI.With Introduction by EVELYN UNDERBILL, andPortrait. Extra Crown 8vo. 73. 6d. netLONDON : MACMILLAN AND CO., LTD.

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BINDING SECT. JUN 9 1969Kablr<strong>One</strong> hundredpoems <strong>of</strong> <strong>Kabir</strong>PLEASE DO NOT REMOVECARDS OR SLIPSFROM THIS POCKETUNIVERSITY OF TORONTO LIBRARYPK <strong>Kabir</strong>, 15th cent.2095 <strong>One</strong> hundred poems <strong>of</strong>K33A28 <strong>Kabir</strong>1915

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