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Dohe of Kabir Dohe of Kabir 1

Kabir Doha on Guru and Guru’s Grace

To learn something, being with a Guru is inevitable. To land up on the truth, one has to unlearn. The role of a Guru in unlearning is equally or more important than it is in the process of learning. Sant Kabir has spoken many Dohas or couplets which highlight the role and importance of Guru’s grace. Kabir was a disciple of Ramananada Swami who was himself trained in two distinct traditions – the tradition of Advaita as well as the Nath tradition which has connections with Tantric Buddhism.

While Kabir never explicitly spoke about his Guru, in many of his couplets or Bhajans, he invariably points his listeners or readers to a Guru. In one of his most famous couplets, he says –

गुरु गोबिंद दोनों खड़े काके लागू पाय
बलिहारी गुरु आपनो, गोबिंद दियो बताय

(If I encounter God and Guru both on my way, I will first bow down to the Guru as he is the who showed me where to look for the God.)

In of his other Bhajan, Kabir says :

गुरुजीने दिया अमर नाम, गुरु तो सरीखा कोई नाही
अलख भरा है भण्डार, कमी जामे है नाही

(My Guru introduced me to the inexhaustible one – the god. No one can replace a Guru. He opens up the treasure which is beyond all the measures.)

Most of the times, the quest for truth takes the path of knowledge and what ultimately we reach is a pile of dead information which further confuses us. That’s why, Kabir never talks about reading or studying scriptures. On the other hand, the Guru is the one who has walked on the path. He is the one who has found the key and has also unlocked the puzzle of existence using that key. If one wants to unlock this puzzle for oneself, the only way to do it is being in the company of someone who has already done it.

If one reads all the couplets or Dohas of Kabir and goes through many of his Bhajans, the only actionable guidance that he gives to a seeker is finding a Guru and being in his company. Why so much emphasis on being with a Guru?

Whatever we are seeking, whether we call it truth, god, love, reality – it exists within us and not outside. The Guru is the master of this art of going within. Having known the tricks that our mind plays, Guru is the one who knows how to circumvent those. A seeker can carry out this journey on his own but being with a Guru makes the whole journey smoother and shorter!


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J. Krishnamurti Kabir

Kabir, J. Krishnamurti and Nisargadatta Maharaj : One Truth, Three Manifestations

One of the legendary vocalists of India, Pt. Kumar Gandharva would often say something about Ragas in Indian Classical Music which holds equally true for the absolute truth. As he would say, if you just know trunk of an elephant, you have not known the elephant fully. Knowing elephant fully means being able to recognise it from any angle and perspective. Kumar Ji would often present well known Ragas in perspectives unimaginable to not only listeners but also fellow musicians.

As he would often say, if you just identify an elephant with one of its organs, you are far away from knowing what an elephant is. Once you know what a Raga has to tell, you can go beyond the conventional ‘bookish’ definition of that Raga and unshackle it from the rules. The new perspective might not be as per the definition of that Raga but it will still say what the Raga essentially has to say.

Of course, an artist can take this kind of liberty only after complete understanding of the Raga.

Same holds true for truth and its expression. Roses in a bunch are bound to have different size and shape. The fragrance is essentially the same. When we look at works of different saint or masters, their statements or expression differ but they essentially carry the fragrance of the same truth.

I have been reading Kabir as a little boy and was introduced to Jiddu Krishnamurti during my engineering. Nisargadatta Maharaj, another realised being came into my life much later, in 2016.

Kabir was a 15th century saint who had training in Advaita as well as Nath Panth. Jiddu Krishnamurti was raised under the Theosophical teachings but unlearned and emerged anew. Whereas Nisargadatta Maharaj was a common man with uncommon intelligence who as he would say, sincerely followed what his Guru told him to do.

If we go through teachings of these three saints, we realise that in spite of their different backgrounds and different ways of expression, they were essentially sharing the same fragrance.

For instance, look at these three statements by these three masters :

A Doha (couplet) of Kabir :

कबीर खड़ा बज़ार में लिए लुकाठी हाथ |
जो जारे घर अपना चलो हमारे साथ ||

(Kabir stands in the market with a burning stick in his hand. The one who can burn his house, can join me on my way)

Here is a quote from Jiddu Krishnamurti :

Have you not noticed that love is silence? It may be while holding the hand of another, or looking lovingly at a child, or taking in the beauty of an evening. Love has no past or future, and so it is with this extraordinary state of silence.

Here is a statement by Nisargadatta Maharaj :

You may die a hundred deaths without a break in the mental turmoil. Or, you may keep your body and die only in the mind. The death of the mind is the birth of wisdom.

If we relook at the Doha of Kabir above, he says only the one who burns his house can join Kabir on his path (the path of truth). By burning house, Kabir is talking about burning our accumulations; not the physical ones but the accumulations in our mind. Our mind is a storehouse of memories, fears, hopes, and what not. Our first step on the path of truth is burning this junk in our mind; Kabir calls it burning one’s house.

If we read the quote by Jiddu Krishnamurti again, he talks about silence. What is the silence he is talking about? This silence is what follows when one realises that ‘I’ is a fabricated entity. He says love has no past and future. Past and future are products of mind; in present, there is no mind.

Nisargadatta Maharaj says it even more crisply – The death of the mind is the birth of the wisdom. Death of body does not necessarily mean death of mind and death of mind happens without death of the body.

In short, these three masters, in their own words are communicating the same fragrance – our falsely created sense of ‘I’ hinders the direct realisation of the truth. We often debate whether tail of the elephant is really the elephant or the legs! Once we focus ourselves on ‘elephant’, trunk as well as legs are parts of the same elephant. In same way, once we realise that the truth that all masters pointed out is one, the expression no more matters or bothers!

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Current Issues Kabir

How would have Sant Kabir responded to the COVID 19 crisis?

How has been the year 2020?

I know, everyone would respond differently to this seemingly simple question. The major length and breadth of 2020 has been occupied by the most unexpected phenomenon : COVID 19. As I go out every morning or evening for the routine walk, I can see a shop or two closing every day and some other shop sprouting with fresh branding and fresh hope.

Well, this one observation sums up what the coronavirus has done; for many of us, it has completely shattered or at least slowed down what was going right whereas for some few, it has opened new doors.

As I do weekly mentoring calls with the participants of ‘Unlock Your Self the Kabir Way‘, a course on Kabir that I teach (this course was started as a result of COVID-19 in the first place!) I realise how the pandemic has positively as well as negatively affected so many of us. since the course is woven around the wisdom of Sant Kabir, often, the participants ask how would have Kabir responded to a pandemic like this.

We believe that many of the problems that we face today did not exist when Kabir lived. Loss of jobs due to artificial intelligence, addiction to cellphones, large number of people turning homeless due to a lockdown, forceful sterilisation of animals; these problems are in a way contemporary, born out of progress(?) of humanity and technology. Would Kabir’s wisdom be inadequate or incapable of solving these multi layered problems?

If we read the words of Sant Kabir, we realise that he has actually touched a large number of issues like untouchability, orthodoxy, religious hatred etc. in his couplets. But it would be a grave mistake to conclude that these problems is what defines the scope of the solution that Kabir has offered.

Kabir had a very integral approach towards problems. Rather, if we study Kabir’s work and dive within with that understanding, we will realise that the core problem is just one. The numerous problems that we face are just manifestations of the one core problem. And since there is just one problem, there is only one solution. What’s that one problem and what’s the one solution?

In one of his Nirguni Bhajans, Kabir says :

पांच पचीसों पकड़ मँगाउजी
एक ही डोर लगाऊंगा |

I will catch the five and twenty five with a single rope.

The word five could mean five senses. These five senses give birth to twenty five problems. If we keep the numbers aside, Kabir is simply highlighting the fact that all the problems that we face are actually born out of disturbances created by the five senses in our mind. As per Kabir, tackling each problem independently is not going to help. One needs to understand the plain simple fact – the problem is because of the ripples created in our mind by these five senses. For example, we get disturbed when we see something that we do not like or when we see cruelty around. We are disturbed when we hear something that is unpleasant to us. Whatever could be the problem, it creates ripples in our mind through our senses.

As per Sant Kabir’s wisdom, as long as the ripples exist in the mind, whatever the mind does to solve the problem, it will rather add to the problem. The first step, the very essential condition for a solution to come up is lack of these ripples.

That is why Kabir is talking about the one rope- that one rope is awareness. In order to act on a problem, we need a firm ground, a ground which is untouched by the problem. If there are ripples in the mind, the ripples will distort the way the problem is perceived and the response of the mind would also be distorted.

Once we understand this, it is very easy to understand why most of the solutions offered to the problems we face are skewed.

It is very easy to wrongly conclude that by awareness, Kabir means only being aware when you are solving the problem. That’s how generally all the commonly available solutions are. Have a flu? Take a pill and get rid of it. Have inequality? Pass a new legislation and get rid of it.

Interestingly, such solutions give birth to many more problems. The legislation, which is proposed as a solution gives birth to ten more problems – is it drafted fairly, will it be executed properly, will it cause innocent people to suffer?

We have arrived from one problem to infinite problems because of our own solutions. Had we followed Kabir’s approach – awareness, our problems would have been fewer and simpler to deal with.

So, the solution cannot be a ‘use and forget’ kind. When awareness becomes uninterrupted, we realise the most profound fact of the life :

घट घट में राम रमैय्या

In every body, the lord lives.

If we look at all the problems that exist – for humans, animals, environment etc. they are all born out of our belief that we are a separate entity from the rest of the world. This separateness gives rise to all the ripples in our mind. The ripples of insecurity lead to hoarding, the ripples of greed lead to extremely skewed distribution of wealth, ripples of dominance leading to use of this planet as a resource to be exploited.

If we had ingrained this solution of awareness, most of the problems that we are facing, including the coronavirus pandemic, would have not born in the first place. But that does not mean that the solution of awareness is ineffective against the crisis.

If we all look around, we are all panicked or challenged by the pandemic and the suffering it has caused. At the same time, we are doing very little to actually help someone or even ourselves. All our frustration is coming out in the most worthless manner it could – on social media.

If we listen to Kabir, be aware of the situation, observe how it has been playing with our minds, how it has further strengthened our sense of being ‘separate entity’ and with that understanding look at the problems being faced by us as well as people near us, we will be far better at dealing with this crisis!

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Dohe of Kabir

Kabir Ke Dohe : पिसती चक्की देख दिया कबीर रोय

पिसती चक्की देख दिया कबीर रोय।
दुई पाटन के बीच साबूत बचा न कोय।।

 

Meaning : Kabir cries when he looks at these grinding wheels, churning endlessly (Pisati Chakki) and mercilessly, crushing everyone in between them, not sparing anyone. 

 

This is one of the most commonly known Dohas or couplets of Kabir but often, it is misunderstood and misinterpreted.  Kabir is talking about the pair of grinding wheels in between which, we are all getting crushed. 

What does Kabir mean by these grinding wheels? As per the normal understanding, the grinding wheel which Kabir is talking about is this universe. The earth is the base wheel and the sky is the upper wheel. And we humans are like the grains trapped in between these two, getting crushed endlessly. 

So, many people also conclude that Kabir suggests, it is impossible to be happy in this world. This somewhere leads us to inevitability of pain and suffering in life. 

Is that really so? The same Kabir, who talks about the shower of bliss, would he just conclude that suffering is unavoidable? We need a completely different approach to understand this Doha and to catch its real essence. 

The two wheels necessarily symbolise friction. They convey a sense of constant conflict to me. If there is no friction, i.e. no conflict between these two wheels, the ‘suffering’ would immediately stop. I feel, the wheels Kabir is talking about are reality i.e. what exists and our expectations – how we want the things to be. 

If we look at this Doha with this new definition of the grinding wheels, it makes total sense. We are constantly getting crushed by the conflict between ‘what is’ and what we want. A major chunk of our energy goes in fighting with what is and changing it to something that we imagine or some ideal which the society, our parents or we ourselves have given to us. 

This is the part where Kabir and Krishnamurti come very close to each other. J. Krishnamurti says, when we know (at a superficial level) that we are violent, we invent a non-existent ideal – nonviolence. Which means, the reality is North Pole and we invent a South Pole which is the ideal. An our life becomes a constant struggle between these two poles. 

Acceptance, Krishnamurti says, is the answer and not creating a radically opposite, non-existent ideal. Kabir has put up this problem very nicely. He has explained it very nicely, using a simple metaphor of grinding wheels. What solution does he propose to this problem?

Kabir shares an answer somewhat similar to J. Krishnamurti but in form of another Doha and another analogy.

पाटी पाटी सब कहे, कील कहे ना कोय।
जब कोई कील कहे, तो दुख काहे को होय।।

 

Meaning: Everyone talks about the two grinding wheels and no one talks about the motionless point of pivot which lies at the centre of these two wheels. If one rests there, pain and suffering end. 

 

If you ever have observed the actual grinding wheels, you must have seen the small portion at the centre of the wheels where the movement is almost negligible. The few grains which stay at that spot, remain intact. Kabir is using this analogy to make us move towards our own centres. We are constantly moving out and that’s why the conflict. Can we move in? Can we touch ourselves? Can we, with all our energies look at us and accept us as we are? 

This very acceptance, Kabir says, is liberating. 

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Kabir mysticism osho

Key to Happiness : A Few Insights from Ashtavakra Mahageeta

Ashtavakra Muni can be said to be one of the most rational sages we ever had in India. We often think that spirituality is very thinly related to rationality. The root of this misconception lies in the fact that we, our relationships and our society primarily works through a false structure. The structure itself is irrational and hence, we often find spirituality irrational. In very simple words, if my ruler itself is bent, I will find every straight line skewed. Some of the fundamental truths which Ashtavakra Muni explains in a very straight-forward language, might appear to be absolutely illogical to us. Yet, I am going to talk about a few of them. 

Throughout his Mahageeta, Ashtavakra talks about Sakshibhava (साक्षीभाव) which simply means to be a witness. He calls this witness Drashta (द्रष्टा). Who is witness? A witness is that part of us, or rather that state of being where we just observe things and events without getting affected by them or their outcomes. A witness is concerned about witnessing what is happening and has zero attachment to what happens. Generally, whenever we look at something, we look at it with some sort of attachment. We are concerned more with the outcome as it might either be favourable to us or might also be detrimental to us. When we truly become a witness, Ashtavakra highlights, we move in a state where nothing can affect us; there is nothing favourable and nothing harmful or detrimental. 

Osho, in his volumes of Ashtavakra Mahageeta has explained the concept of ‘Drashta’ or witness in a very unique way. With little help from him, I would be trying my best to simplify what Ashtavakra is hinting at when he says be a Sakshi or Drashta. 

We normally exist in three states. The first mode of being is a Drishya (दृश्य) which means ‘object of someone’s attention’. In this state of being, we strive to be an object of someone’s attention. Most of us are in this state most of the times. We want to get noticed, we want to be talked about. All of us in some way or the other, keep trying to be an object of people’s attention. Our interactions and updates on social media are a testimony to this thirst of almost all of us. The root of our desire to be a ‘Drishya’ is the hollowness that we find within ourselves. We want people to look at us so that we can portray we have some ‘substance’ and we are not hollow. 

The next state of being is Darshak (दर्शक) or the viewer. For someone to be a Drishya, there have to be at least a few Darshaks. While some people try becoming Drishya to fill up their hollowness, some try doing that by being a Darshak. Being a Darshak is far easier than being a Drishya and that’s why, whenever people find a Drishya, they gather around him or her. A Darshak looks at things out of his or her boredom and out of inability of looking within oneself. When a child is bored with one toy, it chases the other; in same way, a Darshak keeps moving from one Drishya to the other. 

When a child is bored with one toy, it chases the other; in same way, a Darshak keeps moving from one Drishya to the other. 

The third state of being is a Drashta (द्रष्टा), the Sakshi or the Witness. A witness is not an ordinary viewer like Darshak. For Drashta, Darshak is Drishya. Which means, a true witness is no more interested in looking at others. He is no more concerned with what happens outside. He observes how the Darshak in him/her is eluded by the Drishya/s outside. 

What Ashtavakra says about being a Drashta, the same thing has been said by Sant Kabir, in a very different language:

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, realised, the devil is inside me!)

This is the whole gist of being a witness. Looking at oneself; closely observing how we get dragged away and get attached to what we see around us. Once we start understanding how we attach our personal interests to each and everything happening around us, we start realising how being detached from these things leads us to acceptance.  

The outcome of being a Sakshi is to arrive at the magic key to happiness : acceptance. 

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Kabir

The Art of Swimming Through Life Without Getting Entangled : Wisdom of Sant Kabir

Kabir.

When we hear this name, the picture that our minds create is of a saint, living a minimalistic life while maintaining a distance from the society. Living silently in his Kuti, may be surrounded by a few disciples. Loi, which we all assume to be his wife, would be sitting silently in a corner. The constant sound of this weaver’s loom might be the canvas on which the couple lived their ‘non-happening’ life.

Kabir might be going out every day for a few hours to sell the fabric he religiously wove. On the way back, he would be buying few vegetables and some rice. Such a boring life!

On the face of it, the life of Kabir seems so much devoid of ‘life’! People writing and talking about Kabir or singing Kabir have much busier and much more happening lives than the saint himself!

Was Kabir happy with his life? If he comes back on earth now, having lived a simple life, how will he feel when he finds out that people singing his Bhajans and Dohas are celebrities? Kabir, the ultimate creative being, might have lived in a leaking hut all the life. Will Kabir get depressed looking at the scenario around now?

I know the answer. In fact, I know it because Kabir himself has given the answer in one of his Doha’s. He says,

फुलवा भार न ले सके, कहे सखियन सो रोय |
जो जो भिजे कामरी, त्यो त्यो भारी होय ||

We are so delicate, that weight of even a flower is too much to bear! Still, we get involved in life and become heavy like a drenched blanket!

In these two lines, Kabir has beautifully demonstrated a middle way to live life. We are used to live life at the poles; either we get extremely involved in the life or we start rejecting it straight away. Not even one of Kabir’s Dohas are against life. The very fact that Kabir worked as a weaver tells us how well he accepted life and was a part of it.

Kabir asks us neither to get involved in life nor to reject it. He hints at the third possibility – living life totally, without getting entangled in it. The problem is not with life; the problem is when we start getting entangled in it.

To be honest, Kabir is not the only saint who has emphasised this middle way. Another mystic from India, Ashtavakra Muni, who lived much before Kabir, has said the same thing. In fact, not running from life, but living it and looking at it without getting attached has been a central thread running in the wisdom of most of the Indian saints and mystics.

If we take a closer look at the above Doha of Kabir, it is quite clear that the saint was against even slightest of attachment.

We are so delicate, that weight of even a flower is too much to bear!

Attachment is the problem. How large or small that attachment is, makes no difference.

What’s wrong with being attached?

The most fundamental principle in Eastern Philosophy is the principle of ‘negation’. To put it simply, truth cannot be found out positively. Rather, you can just find out what truth is not.

Kabir says,

साहिब है घट माही

Which means, god or truth is within you, rather, you are it!

The problem is, we have identified ourselves with too many things which we are not! In other words, we have attached ourselves to what we are not. When we detach ourselves from all that we are not, we are left with what we are – the Truth.

So, the shortcut to finding god or truth is not finding out what we are, but rather realising what we are not!

We misinterpret that all the saints, including Kabir, are against life. It’s our misinterpretation. They were in fact very much for life; but life devoid of attachments. More entangled and involved we are, farther we are from the truth.

How to cut through the entanglements of life? Again, the answer comes from Kabir.

राम निरंजन न्यारा रे, अंजन सकल पसारा रे

Ram is not the god that we worship. The Ram in Kabir’s Dohas and Bhajans is located inside us. The one who gets entangled, attached and involved.

Kabir says, the Ram within you is the only truth and not the things in which he is involved.

To make it simple, when we get attached to something, we should move the eyes within and try finding out the one who is being attached. When this process happens more frequently, one realises that this feeling of attachment is just an illusion. The Ram within is beyond any attachment.

The simplicity in Kabir’s life is not because of lack of life; that simplicity came out of lack of attachments. Though his life looks non-juicy on the face of it, it was throbbing with the nectar of life!

Steering through life without getting entangled is one of the most precious pearls of wisdom which Kabir gave the world!

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Kabir

Kabir and Krishnamurti : Drawing Some Parallels

Kabir and the simplicity of his words have always stunned me. So has the intensity of the words of Jiddu Krishnamurti. While reading and singing Kabir with one’s totality, one can experience the truth, suddenly flashing like a thunder in the dark sky filled with clouds. On the other hand, when one completely surrenders to Krishnamurti’s writings and flows with them without holding anything back, one can actually see the movement of the mind. And then comes a moment, when the mind completely stops; and the truth again shines itself up like a thunder in the dark sky.

Kabir shares his experience of truth while Krishnamurti, through his writings, pushes you to it.

Some two years ago, I happened to listen to a Kabir’s Bhajan sung by Pt. Kumar Gandharva : नैय्या मोरी निके निके चालन लागी. The Bhajan compares us to the boatman sailing his boat through the turbulent currents of life. Kumarji’s rendition of this Bhajan is extraordinarily beautiful and I listened to this particular composition dozens of times. I always stumbled upon the last stanza:

कहे कबीरा जो बिन सिर खेंवे, सो यह सुमती बखाने ।

या बहू हित की अकथ कथा है, बिरले खेवट हि जाने ।।

(Kabir says, the one who sails without using his head, becomes available to the wisdom (intelligence). This secret to the wisdom cannot be told by one person to the other; rarely, a sailor will be able to discover it.)

In short, Kabir is talking about a way of life which involves keeping aside one’s ‘head’! I found it very difficult to grasp this line fully. Once again, Kabir had shared a thunder, a pulse of truth which my mind was unable to comprehend.

After few days, while I was reading one of the Krishnamurti’s books, where he was talking about how mind is a result of conditioning, I stumbled upon the following line:

“Any action that has come out of an idea, will lead to sorrow.”

Krishna ji tried so hard to make us realize that we are constantly operating from our mind, which is essentially a collection of memories, which is adding further to our misery. Only a quiet yet alert mind, which seeks nothing, can operate through the intelligence, says Krishna Ji.

What Krishnamurti has shared so elaborately and step by step, hoping that we would not only read his books but will actually observe our minds and the movement of thought, Kabir has revealed that in a single stroke.

Both the saints are pointing in the same direction – where mind sees its own limitation and becomes quiet; to make way for the ‘सुमती’ in Kabir’s words and ‘intelligence’ in Krishnamurti’s words. The containers are different, content is same.

 

 

 

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Kabir

The Current Crisis at Infosys and a Few Words From Kabir

Infosys. This word resonates with a loss of almost INR 22,000 crores for its share holders. A company, which was once talked about for its work culture and for being a great work place, is today being talked about for the turmoil, which reflected into a huge loss to the share holders.

On the surface, there might be many reasons, including the Panaya deal and others which we believe, have led to this chaos; but if one analyses the situation closely, the main reason behind all this chaos is lack of trust or at least a feeling of lack of trust.

The founder share-holder has his own reasons to doubt and disapprove the moves of the CEO. The other board members doubt the founder-share holder’s accusations. The CEO says he is not getting the required support, which simply means he does not trust the board and finally quits.

Kabir says,

पढ़ा सुना सीखा सभी, मिटी ना संशय शूल |

कहे कबीर कैसो कहू, यह सब दुःख का मूल ||

We keep doubting and cannot trust in spite of all the knowledge that we gather.  Kabir says, it pains to explain that confusion is the root of sorrow.

Great technology does not build  great company. Great systems and procedures do not build a great company. Technology, systems and processes and other such things certainly contribute to the growth of a company but great companies are built by great culture and trust is undoubtedly the most important contributor to build a great culture. If one looks at the situation at Infosys, the trust is missing at the apex level.

Corporate world would be so much better if companies focused on culture instead of just profits.

Categories
Dohe of Kabir

Kabir Doha on Recognizing Hidden Gems Around Us

चन्दन गया बिदेस, सब कोई कहत पलास।
ज्यो ज्यो चूल्हा झोंकिये, त्यों त्यों महके बास।।

Imagine a block of sandalwood visiting another country, where people do not know anything about it; people will simply think that it is an ordinary block of wood. But when they start burning it in their stoves, due to its unique and beautiful smell, they will soon realize their mistake.

Once the sandal is put in the stove, it’s gone!

Similarly, we fail to recognize great people when they are among us and realize their value only after they are gone, burnt in the crematoriums.

When I look at my own life, I feel grateful that I could meet so many beautiful souls and mentors. At the same time, I also realize that many of my friends and other people in my circle who also meet and interact with these ‘gems’ fail to recognize them and their grace.

Kabir has used a very beautiful metaphor for what we experience in our lives. He says, not everyone is able to recognize a block of sandalwood by just having a look at it. Some will know its value just by looking at it, while some will find it out only after burning it.

Why is it so? Why we fail to recognize ‘sandalwoods’ around us? One of the most common reasons is, we never look at a person with open heart; rather we just look at him or her through lenses of our own expectations, priorities and demands. Before we truly know a person, based on our impression and our expectations, we create a static image of that person and then we keep on referring to that image instead of the actual person. In order to discover a gem, one has to keep aside all the expectations and demands.

Secondly, one has to be at ease and without any hurry. If you take a block of sandalwood in your hand and just hold it for a few seconds, you will start getting the mild smell of it. Same is with people. We always meet for a purpose, are in a hurry to talk rather than listening to the other person. We always have an agenda and are never at ease. To feel the grace, one has to be at ease; without hurry and without any agenda.

The society is full of so many incredible people! One just has to keep aside the baggage to feel their grace…

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Dohe of Kabir

How to live a fruitful life: Wisdom from a Doha by Sant Kabir

हरिजन तो हारा भला, जीतन दे संसार ।
हारा तो हरी सो मिले, जीता जम के द्वार ।।

English translation of Doha:

A seeker of truth is happy with the fact that he has not conquered anything and is a loser from the worldly perspective. The whole world is after conquering something and let them conquer. The one who conquers will meet death and the so called loser will meet the lord.

Kabir says, a true seeker is happy as he or she is. He is not looking after conquering anything. Strangely, whatever we call as ‘living’ is nothing but an unending quest to conquer. Our education system is based on defeating others and securing the first position. The competition everywhere around us forces to conquer. Sadly, life is nothing but an unending battle. After we win one battle, a bigger and more complex one is always waiting for us.

When Kabir says a true seeker is happy with not conquering anything, he is highlighting that true seeker is no more interested in the competition. His growth is inspired from within and not forced from outside. Interestingly, when one is caught in this endless cycle of conquering, there is no time left to remain still and reflect.

This is exactly what happens with us. We have kept our lives so busy that we do not have time even to pause for a minute and question where are we heading! The one, who is not in a hurry to win the next battle, has ample of time to reflect, contemplate and improve. Zen saints as well as Indian mystics like Ashtavakra have given a lot of importance to witnessing. Just observe yourself, your thoughts as a third person. This witnessing can only happen when one is not in hurry; when one is at ease with himself or herself. Kabir says, better to be a loser, who has ample of time to be at peace with himself than a blind winner.

In the second line of this doha, Kabir says, the so called loser will meet the lord and the conquerer will meet the death. Clearly, the one who is not in the race will first think and then choose what he wants in his life and has a  higher chance of ultimately finding it. His actions wont be governed by others and the outer circumstances. He will act out of his wisdom. Such a person is more likely to have a fruitful life. On the other hand, the one who is tirelessly fighting and competing in his life, will one day realize that his time has come to an end before he could really ‘win’ anything.

This doha of Kabir enlightens us about two modes of living our lives – the first one is blind, governed by outer competition whereas the second one prompts us to know ourselves better and ultimately accomplish something fruitful. Both the doors are open; which one to choose lies in our hands!