Kabir ke Dohe: Bura Dekhan Jo Mai Chala: Kabir on Social Change

बुरा जो देखन मैं चला, बुरा न मिलिया कोई। 

जो मन खोजा अपना, तो मुझसे बुरा न कोई।।

(I started searching for the devil but could not find anyone. When I searched inside me, realized, no one is more devilish then me.)

This Doha of Kabir nowhere talks about change. Still, I have titled it as a Doha on change in society. The reason is, the point which Kabir makes in this Doha is most important to expect any change in the society.

Why do we need change in the society? Simply, because we want the devil to disappear. Change means fading away of devil from the society and the rise of goodness. So many reformers, sociologists have been talking about changing the society; still, we can see, hardly anything has happened. Man is as greedy as he was. On the worse side, he has all the tools and technology available to exploit others in the society to fulfill his greed.

Isn’t it surprising, that in spite of all the religions, their spiritual masters, social scientists and philosophers trying for so long, we have not been able to initiate the change.

Why so?

This couplet from Kabir unlocks the path to change in the society. It highlights what is preventing the change from taking place. What is it?

In the very first line, Kabir says,

बुरा जो देखन मैं चला, बुरा न मिलिया कोई। 

I go on finding the devil in others; but I could find none.

जो मन खोजा अपना, तो मुझसे बुरा न कोई।।

When I peeped and searched inside my own mind, I realized that there is no one more devilish than me out there.

Please, do not take this literally but try to understand the gist of it. Changing others is certainly not in your hands. You can change yourself but. How is the social change going to happen? Thousands of people telling others that they need to change? Or thousands of people, where each one of them has realized that he needs to change himself?

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I think, all the efforts to change others are an excuse not to change ourselves. Kabir is unlocking a mystery in front of us through these two lines. He says, when you realize and not just intellectually understand that changing yourself is the first urgent step, there won’t be a change in the society.

Kabir tells us to peep inside ourselves and see what lies there- hundreds of desires, frustrations, ambitions, anger, greed and what not. He is suggesting us, that we should first clear our slate and make it clean. This is the true process of change in the society- where every individual tries to change himself, where everyone is concerned more about his own purity than teaching and guiding others.

Many of us will not agree with Kabir and his way of bringing about the social change. We are too much taken up by the thought of changing others and helping other solve their problems. AN unclear mind cannot help other minds be clear. It will just clutter it more.

I find Kabir and his thought about the change most relevant today. He is simply telling us that changing yourself is the only way of changing the society.

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4 responses to “Kabir ke Dohe: Bura Dekhan Jo Mai Chala: Kabir on Social Change”

  1. prachi Avatar

    Nice article.

    1. Mandar Karanjkar Avatar

      Thanks Prachi!


  2. Rajan Soni Avatar
    Rajan Soni

    Great Article

  3. Poornima Avatar

    This is so relevant! Thanks for the reminder, Mandar.

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