Kabir Doha on Guru : Importance of Guru (Master)

यह तन विषय की बेलरी, गुरू अमृत की खान

सीस दिये जो गुरू मिलै, तो भी सस्ता जान

This body is full of desires and Guru (master) the source of unperishable. It is still cheaper if you meet your Guru (master) at the cost of cutting your head.


This doha (couplet) of Kabir raises many questions in the mind of the reader. Why to condemn our body as a source of desire? Why do we have to find a master or Guru? Can we not manage without a master? Why Kabir says that meeting one’s Guru is more valuable than the life itself?

The sad part is, we always go ahead on the path through the means of questions and looking forward for some answers. The answers which we get, do not solve our questions but rather make us ask more questions; more complex and subtler.

Still, in order to better understand this Doha (couplet), we will go through its elaboration and all the questions which can come up in one’s mind.

Are not desires natural? Why do all the saints keep on cursing the desires so much? Personally, I do not think that Kabir is condemning the desires. He is just putting up a fact in front of us. Nowhere has he said that these desires are to be condemned. He just reminds us that we are full of desires. On the other side, he again tells us that master or Guru is the one who is full of unperishable, free from all the desires. Kabir simply wants us to have a look at the master and then at ourselves.

All of us know that we are full of desires. Few of us who have some spiritual interests, know that we should go beyond the desires. But, in the course of everyday life, we find it hard to tackle the desires and just go along with them. Kabir wants us to just have a look at ourselves and then at the master. The very act of seeing is enough to liberate us from our desires.

Depending on what kind of master he his, a master can either set us free from the desires or he can make our desires universal. Other day, I was reading some teachings of Sri. Nisargadatta Maharaj. Maharaj points out that the problem with desires is their large number and their timid nature. As he teaches, if we transform all these desires in one single universal desire, the desire of the liberation, this single desire will set us free from the very act of desiring.

The other approach is that of Zen masters. They directly talk of going beyond thought as desires are nothing but aggravated form of thought. Whatever may be the way of a master, it points to the state where desires do not exist.

In the next line of this doha, Kabir enlightens us about the ‘value’ of a Guru. We are well aware that everything comes at a price. Sadly, we are quite comfortable paying the cost in terms of money but we can hardly pay in terms of our attention to something, our dedication to something. The only cost which one has to pay to attain truth is desires, greed, anger, lust etc. All of us have all these things in plenty, but we cannot give away even a bit of them for our own interest. Kabir very well knows this. He understands very well the worldly meaning of word ‘cost’ which we have in our minds. To cut away all this questioning, he simply says,

  It is still cheaper if you meet your Guru (master) at the cost of cutting your head.

Actually, that is what a master does- he cuts your head. We are away from the truth only because of our head, it is the single block of our body that is preventing us. Head is a source of thought, logic, desires and everything that follows. Master or Guru is the one who has mastered this surgery- of taking away the head of a person, setting him free from his own desires.

Master teaches us how to observe things and learn without the involvement of thoughts. He shifts the centre of operation from head to heart.


Be assured, you will meet your master only at the cost of your head!


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One response to “Kabir Doha on Guru : Importance of Guru (Master)”

  1. Omkar Avatar

    Hi Mandar,

    Good read, and an insightful post. A Guru finds you from within, the cost is benevolence true love.

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