Dohe of Kabir 1

Kabir Doha on Time Management

रात गवाई सोय के, दिवस गावाया खाय I

हिरा जन्म अनमोल था, कोडी बदले जाय I

(You waste the night sleeping and the day eating. The precious life which you have got, will be of no use!)

This is a wonderful Kabir Doha on time management. Do we know the cost of time which we waste each day? A spiritual seeker is equally concerned about his time as an industrialist is. Time is probably the biggest equalizing factor. Everyone is equal as far as availability is concerned. Time does not run slower for a CEO and faster for a beggar; it runs at the same pace. Though time is available equally to everyone, not everyone uses it with equal efficiency.


This Kabir Doha on time management is all compassing- if you think it is only about spirituality, you are mistaken. Through this Doha, Kabir is talking about our life style.
Finding someone, who is 50 years old and thinks that he has wasted his life is not very rare. Almost all of us, at the end of our lives, will feel that we have wasted a whole lot of time in our lives- or our entire lives to be precise. In this Doha, Kabir is reminding us about how we waste our life.


My observation tells me that one of the most important reason behind us wasting our time is our habit of postponing. Let it be spirituality or your normal office work, we tend to postpone things. We like to postpone for many reasons- we are afraid of taking decision, we are not capable of taking decisions, we do not want to hurt anyone by taking any decision.
We postpone in such a way, that no one should come to know that we are postponing. To do that, we make ourselves busy. We keep on doing unnecessary things in our lives, which add zero value, just to keep ourselves away from the things which really matter.
These two simple lines of Kabir subtly bring up this whole fallacy which we continue throughout our lives. Kabir says,

Raat Gavaai Soy ke, Divas Gavaayaa Khaay
(You waste the night sleeping and the day eating)

Do not stick to the superficial literary meaning. In case of Kabir, one has to dig a bit. In the first two lines, Kabir has written about sleep and hunger. Do not take these two words literally; that would be a grave mistake. The sleep is all the delusion and the unawareness. The unawareness about what you want to do, what you really love and what you feel for and care about. This unawareness is the sleep in which we are operating. It is the veil- which keeps us away from doing something that really matters, getting involved with something which we really like.
On social media, a quote from Steve Jobs is often shared, in which he says,

You have limited time. Do not waste it living someone else’s life

Steve Jobs is iterating the same message which Kabir has given centuries ago. Kabir does not want us to do anything fancy. He wants us to do something which is quite obvious- wake up!


The second word in this Doha of Kabir, which catches my attention is ‘hunger’. When Kabir says we waste our days eating, he is not concerned about how much and what we eat. He is bothered about our hunger. The hunger is again a wide term; an umbrella covering many things under it. The normal hunger which we all have, is well justified. The hunger for power, money, fame and what not; that is also justified. The only thing about hunger is, it keeps on growing.


Let us be very frank about it. Every person has his mix of hunger. Some may have large hunger for money and sex but no hunger of fame; some may be concerned only about fame and nothing else! Everyone has his mix. When one is away, away from the sleep, he realizes his hunger and this realization brings about the change. Someone spending 10 years to fulfil his hunger for power and then realizing how futile it was, is okay. The problem which Kabir is pointing out in this Doha is, our hungers expand to fill our available life.
Just today, I read about Parkinson’s Law. It says,

The work expands to fill the time given to complete it.

This is true about our hunger also. Our hungers expand to fill our entire lives. We live for 70-80 years and still we are hungry.


The best way to deal with hunger is, identify it, fulfil it and get rid of it.
I appreciate Kabir so much because of the fact that he was awake and he knew problems of the sleepy people so well. Kabir knows very well how our sleep and hunger work together to keep us away from doing something remarkable. Something remarkable- as remarkable as a gaining a mind which is free from delusions to creating music which takes us away from violence and rage.

Unless one wakes up and comes out of this ever growing hunger, his life will add no value!

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By Mandar Karanjkar

Mandar Karanjkar is author, motivational speaker and consultant based in Pune. Mandar works with handful of organizations helping them with strategy, communication and culture. Mandar is trained in Indian Classical Music over a decade. He is a classical singer and flute player.

Mandar has written columns for many reputed newspapers. Engineer by profession, he conducts workshops and delivers talks on subjects as wide as strategy, innovation, online marketing, spirituality, Kabir, Zen etc.

Mandar is a published author.

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