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.
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!