Maya (माया) is a very common word used in the spiritual world. Often associated with a web, as per the Advaita school of thought, Maya stops us from experiencing the non-duality in the world. That’s why, often the word माया is often used with another word – पाश which literally means a web.
It is Maya which creates the illusion of separation. Maya creates attachments, desires and suffering. We find references to Maya in multiple texts – from Advaita schools texts like Brahma Sutras and Nath Panthi old texts to work of Sant Kabir which are comparatively modern.
In schools of Advaita, Maya is either looked as a facet of Brahma itself or as its weakness. Avidya – which means lack of knowledge or presence of wrong knowledge if often attributed to presence of माया. As per Nath Sampradayi Yogis, Maya is the cosmic counterpart of Kundalini – the spiral energy in the body. The energy which manifests as Maya in the universe, the same energy manifests as Kundalini in the body.
Kabir has used the word माया quite often in his numerous Bhajans and Sakhis.
माया महा ठगनी हम जानी,
तिरगुन फांस लिए कर डोले बोले मधुरे बानी
The great deceiver, Maya holds the webs of tri-gunas in her hands and entices with her melodious speech.
Wherever you find Brahma, you will find Maya around says Kabir. She is present with Shiva as Bhavani, near Bhakta in form of the idol, with Yogi in form of Yogini and so on. In another Bhajan of his, the same Maya has been described as रमैय्या की दुलहिन – the bride of Ram!
In these two Bhajans, Sant Kabir has taken great efforts to describe how nothing and no-one can remain untouched from the delusions created by Maya. That being said, Kabir has also hinted towards the path to save oneself from the web of Maya.
Kabir says :
हम तो बचीगे साहेब दया से, सब्द डोर गहि उतरे पार
कहत कबीरा सुनो भाई साधो, इस ठगनी से रहो होशियार
He says, name of the lord – Bhakti is the only way one can save oneself from the claws of Maya. Kabir describes Bhakti and Naam (नाम) as the strong rope which will save one from sinking down the waters of Maya.
How does Bhakti help is evade Maya? If you engage with Maya, you are already under attack by her. The best way to escape from Maya is not being seen by her. Maya acts on one’s ego. When there is no ego, Maya has nothing to hold on to.
As Sant Tukaram has said in Marathi :
तृण नाही तेथे पडिला दावाग्नि, जाय तो विझोनी, आपासया |
(If a burning coal falls on land without grass, it will get extinguished as it has nothing to burn).
In same way, lack of ego makes Maya helpless. Kabir has his unique way of describing this.
He says :
धीमर जाल डार क्या करिही मीनहि हो गयी पानी
If all the fish become water, will the fisherman’s web catch them?
The key is losing existence as individual fishes in this vast ocean of divine. Living as consciousness and not as merely the ‘body-mind’.
Kabir says only Bhakti has the power of turning a fish into water – turning a limited being into limitless consciousness.
साहेब सो सब होत हैं, बंदे से कछु नाही | राई सो परबत करें, परबत राई माही ||
Translation : All doing is done by Him (the lord). How can I claim doing something? He can turn a mustard seed into a mountain and fit a mountain in the mustard seed!
Nothing comes close to this Doha of Kabir when it comes to singing out gratefulness in the heart. In today’s world, imagining a task without a doer is implausible. Every action is performed to pursue some motive of the doer. This almost inevitable presence of a doer leaves no space for gratefulness. If I and many more people like me are doing everything and literally running the world, what one has to be grateful about?
Does gratefulness have any place in an economist’s heart?
After reading quite a few economists, I had concluded that the answer was ‘no’. For an economist, everything has ultimately to be ‘profitable.’ He takes everything that ‘is’ as a given to create something which will in turn produce money and if required, occasional employment. Economists, for me, were always the people of brain and no heart. Osho would often say that logic is like a prostitute. I had similar feelings for economics. It serves the best those who have money. For last few decades, economics has played huge rule in increasing the economic polarity.
‘Small is Beautiful’, a book by British statistician and economist E.F. Schumacher came as a ray of hope. Schumacher, in this book, has raised many questions about economics and its purpose. Most of the times, we believe the only way things can be done is the way they are being done. For the economy to grow, we need more automation and as a result, jobs will be gone; we see this happening around us and believe that that’s the only way to prosperity. For raising the standard of living of every person on the earth, we need to destroy and deplete earth’s natural resources. We are being told this and we believe it. That’s the only way things can be done, we console ourselves if we care a bit about ecology.
A tool serves the best the person who holds it. Who is holding the tools for attaining the so called financial prosperity and wellbeing? Who has defined ‘prosperity’? Are those definitions valid? We hardly ask such questions.
In our blindfolded journey towards raising the ‘standard of living’ and living conditions, a lot is being destroyed irreparably. Small is Beautiful forces us to let go these blindfolds and forces us to take a panoramic look at the mess that we are creating.
Sant Kabir or any saint for that matter, looked at human beings as just a part of the life.
पत्ती न तोडू जी , पथ्थर न पुजू जी, ना कोई झाड़ सताऊ जी |
Even for my worship and prayers, I would not hurt a tree, says Sant Gorakhnath.
When you read the Dohas or couplets of Kabir, though he does not directly talk about conservation of nature, one can always feel the reverence about ‘what is’. It is this ‘what is’ which is termed as ‘capital’ in an economist’s language.
Small is Beautiful begins with highlighting the utter disregard and lack of reverence we have for the huge capital that we have got. E.F. Schumacher argues that we are taking our capital for granted and using it as if it is income – something that we have earned. One can exercise some free hand while putting to use their income; one has to be extremely cautious about spending capital.
As Schumacher rightly points out, we are thoughtlessly wiping out our capital – clean air, richness of soil, fossil fuels, diversity of species etc. What would be the costs incurred to restore the imbalances caused due to climate change? Hardly anyone knows the answer. The capital that we are using, is invaluable and we have not figured out how to restore it once it is gone.
What’s the problem here? How do we grow sustainably?
In Small is Beautiful, Schumacher beautifully pinpoints the wrong notion on which today’s growth breeds. What Schumacher points out resonates very well with what Kabir professed.
Over the generations, we have been brainwashed that economic prosperity is going to end all human problems. If everyone has enough money, why would people steal and kill? Not religion and philosophy but money will solve all human miseries is the consistent message that every one of us has been hammered with. It seems very logical and utterly sensible, on surface. Schumacher often takes his readers’ attention to the USA – a country which had hardly 5% of the world population at that time but consumed 30-70% of world’s resources and still, was far form being a land of peace. In fact, even today, it is far away from being a land of peace.
Somewhere, we have to understand that material comforts cannot fill the void within. They cannot make humans free of their jealousy and greed. Otherwise, one would not find world’s largest corporations and richest people involved in tax frauds and other serious crimes. If money solved all the human problems and brought true satisfaction, the European Union would not have to fine top German automakers – BMW, Audi, Porsche and Volkswagen for colluding to slow down the rollout of emission control technology. We have to carefully examine whether economics and money in general can really fulfill the promises they make.
While this being said, we cannot ignore what money brings in our lives. Especially when a large portion of the humanity faces hunger and poverty, we have to talk about money reaching more people. Unfortunately, today’s economic models perform poorly when it comes to fairly distributing money. In ‘Small is Beautiful’, Schumacher has in detail laid out parallel models, other ways of deploying technology so as to generate income for a larger number of people. I do not think the economists in demand would pay any serious attention to them as these means, though they would create many jobs and actual prosperity, would slow down the crazy speed of wealth accumulation in the hands of HNIs.
साईं इतना दीजिये जा में कुटुम समाय |
I do not need much, just enough to take care of my family, says Kabir.
For Kabir, that’s where the role of money ends. Where does it end for you and me? For individuals who have a zillion times more money than you and me, it has not yet ended. Rather, they are more insecure, they want even more. Where does this cycle end?
Both Kabir and Schumacher had seen that this circle can never complete itself. When will you, me and our so called economists see this?
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!
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.
धीरे-धीरे रे मना, धीरे सब कुछ होय,
माली सींचे सौ घड़ा, ॠतु आए फल होय।
(Be patient, my mind. Everything takes its own time to take place. Look – even if the gardner pours hundred jugs of water, the trees will bear fruits only when the right season comes.)
One of the values and capabilities that human beings are losing very fast is our patience. Advances in the technology have given us a lot of convenience but have taken away our patience.
Yesterday, while teaching Indian Classical Music in a school, I made the 20 kids just to sit silently for 45 minutes. It is so frustrating to see impatience everywhere. Students are impatient and want to learn fast. Teachers are impatient and want to get done with teaching as soon as possible. While all this speed looks very fascinating and thrilling, we are losing our capability of pursuing the finer things which need patience.
Kabir, in these two lines highlights that things take their own time in spite of you doing whatever you can. Students of arts will agree with Kabir for sure. In spite of you practicing for hours every day, the difference shows up only after a few months or years.
Everything in our life, which is of some value, is never an instant happening. Relationships are built over time. Trust is gained over time. Art is mastered over a period and not overnight. Right success comes after years of consistency, dedication and excellence.
In the fast moving world, being patient is probably the most difficult thing; but in long term, it pays off.
हिन्दू कहें मोहि राम पियारा, तुर्क कहें रहमाना,
आपस में दोउ लड़ी-लड़ी मुए, मरम न कोउ जाना।
(Hindus say we worship Rama and Muslims say Rahman. They both die, fighting with each other without even getting a glimpse of him.)
Look at Facebook walls, flooded with posts about intolerance, religious hatred and you will realize the significance of what Kabir said many centuries ago.
As Kabir says, we have converted gods into our possessions and we have brought into limits the limitless.
If one looks at it closely, we stick to a god or a religion because it makes us part of a tribe, or a group. Belonging to a group gives us a feeling of tremendous amount of safety and security. Religious people are not at all interested in god, they are rather interested in this feeling of security that being part of a cult brings.
I can surely say that the intolerance is born out of a false understanding of religion. Rather, a deliberate and wrong understanding of religion which is born out of our insecurity as an animal.
All the spiritual masters spoke about religion at an individual level. Some masters like Osho and Buddha did talk about being part of a community of seekers; but there focus was always an individual.
It is quite clear that the kind of religions we have today, will lead to more and more tension and intolerance. As the times become more difficult, due to increasing population, limited resources, uneven distribution of wealth, people will be more concerned about their own religion and less tolerant about the others.
On a different level, the issue of tolerance is not only about religion. I would rather say, in this particular view, we are rather over tolerant- we tolerate it when people have no water to drink, work in unhealthy and unsafe work conditions, die without getting a morsel of food, are subjected to forced labor etc.
We discuss religious tolerance so much simply because we belong to a particular religion and are afraid of some other religion becoming more powerful than ours.
I look at the above couplet of Kabir in a much wider sense. A Hindu loves Rama, Muslim loves Rahman, Christian loves Christ and so on. Similarly, a capitalist loves situation to make money, a social worker loves the problems in the society, political leaders love divide among the people.
As Kabir rightly says, everyone loves what gives him security and a true religious man is one, who dares to face this insecurity, discovers his individuality and ceases to be a part of a cult.
After many days, I am here, writing about Kabir and what he has written about death. Death is probably the only certain thing in our lives, which we have not yet managed to escape from. Death is the ultimate fear we have in our minds. I thought, it would be enlightening to compile different things that Kabir has said about the death and elaborate a bit on the same.
Death is the ultimate fear because we just deny to accept it. While reading Kabir, one first understands that opinion of Kabir on death is very simple- he accepts death as a part of life. Kabir has written generously written about death. He has tried his best to de-mystify it.
Two of the most famous Nirguni Bhajans from Kabir, which were made popular by late Pt. Kumar Gandharva are dedicated to death. The first of these Nirguni BHajans is, Ud Jayega Hans Akela. The other one is, Kaun Thagava Nagariya Lutal Ho…
It will be very interesting to understand what Kabir points about death in these two Bhajans. The first line of the first Bhajan says, the swan (i.e. the soul) will simply fly away and the world cannot do anything except watching it. That’s how death happens- the life in the body flies away and however much you wish, you cannot do anything except watching the dead body. He tells us, it is impossible to stick back the fallen leaf to the tree. In same way, it is impossible to put back the life again in the body. Kabir says, as you are growing older, day by day, you are going closer to your death. He firmly tells us that after the death, the path we follow depends on what we did when we were alive. In his own words, Kabir says that after the death, master will go his way and the disciple will go his way depending on what they did in their respective lives.
All this makes it quite clear that Kabir was more concerned about what we do when we are alive than what happens after we die. Many Dohas of Kabir do not directly talk about the death, but they talk about how we have limited time in our lives. In such couplets, Kabir emphasises a certain urgency that we should stop doing trivial things and start working on ourselves. This urgency indirectly reminds us of death and the limited time we have before it engulfs us.
In one of his couplets, Kabir also says that unawareness is a sign of death. Kabir is more concerned about the death i.e. unawareness in which we live when we are alive. Kabir says that this unawareness is the real death which prevents us from living our life.
Reading a few of Kabir’s literary pieces about death highlighted many things about death. The fact that death is beyond our control and we should accept it is the most difficult one to digest. This wisdom of Kabir resonates with what Jiddu Krishnamurti has also said about death- we are more afraid of the psychological death, the death of ego than actual physical death.Kabir, in his simple words tells us not to while away our time but use it wisely and utilise whatever time we have towards fruitful activities.
(Unawareness is a sign of death, wake up, Kabira! Leave aside all the drugs and practice the drug of meditation )
It has been quite a few weeks and I have not written anything on Kabir. Today, a friend of mine asked me to suggest her few Kabir Dohe. While suggesting her, I came across this Kabir Doha, which talks about awareness. There are many debates going around use of chemicals and drugs to boost awareness. This Doha of Kabir, guides all the seekers that they should never depend on chemicals to maintain their awareness. It seems, use of chemicals to maintain awareness is not something which has recently started and even in those days, drugs were used for lifting awareness.
In the first line of this Doha, Kabir says that sleep is an indication of death. Needless to say, when Kabir uses word ‘sleep’, he is talking about our unawareness. He is not talking about the sleep which we have every night, but the sleep which controls us every moment even when we are fully aware. If one observes her life closely, it can be easily known that even when we are awake, we are under sleep. We talk, walk, and take crucial decisions in the spell of this sleep. Whenever we fight with someone or hate someone, we do it in the sleep. Kabir says, this sleep is an indication of death. So true, if we live our lives under the without awareness, we are not at all living.
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Kabir is humbly telling us all that whatever time we have spent on this earth, we have not lived at all. We are all dead men walking. Kabir is asking us to wake up. He is calling us back to life again. He is inviting us to become alive again, full with our awareness.
It seems Kabir knew us very well. When he says ‘get up!’ he was sure that we would ask him- how? Hence, in the next line of this Doha, Kabir himself answers the question. He says,
और रसायन छाँड़िके, नाम रसायन लाग
In one simple line, Kabir tells us the right way and also the wrong way. It is very easy to get hooked to something which assures a fast success. There are many experiments, conducted by different bodies about use of drugs to attain bliss and awareness. It has been found out that some drugs can take us to the same heights where some form of meditation will take us. There is a glitch here which everyone should understand.
Drugs make you dependent. The first thing which a seeker should always accept is, he should not be dependent on anything. The true bliss and awareness comes from within and not from outside. Kabir rightly warns us- he says, live all the drugs and chemicals aside. The only thing which you should practice is meditation, he says.
If one takes the meaning of the second line literally, it simply means, leave aside all the drugs and start taking the name of the lord. Considering Kabir and his broad perspective, he is asking us not to endlessly chant lord’s name, but to dive in within us. He wants us to go within ourselves and find the source of awareness inside us.
Kabir has spoken a lot about man and his sleep and his hunger. In the last Doha of Kabir on time management, he tells us how the hunger and lack of awareness waste our entire lives. Isn’t it quite interesting to know what happens to the one who is awake? The one who has come out of his sleep and hunger? How does that person live his life, the one who is beyond this delusion and hunger to gain something?
This Doha of Kabir answers this question. I would like to thank my friend Sachin who shared this Doha with me. The inherent beauty of this Doha made me take out time and write. This Doha is very simple and yet can be misinterpreted very easily. It is quite easy to take its meaning upside down. सुखिया सब संसार है, खाये और सोये I
दुखिया दास कबीर है, जागे और रोये I (The entire world is happy, engrossed in sleep and hunger. Look at poor Kabir, he is awake and crying!)
The first line of this couplet is,
सुखिया सब संसार है, खाये और सोये I
(The entire world is happy, engrossed in eating and sleeping)
This is quite true. See the people around- they are so happy with their daily lives. Look at the students who have just passed out from their colleges and joined their jobs freshly. Huge and lavish offices, anytime access to coffee and fruit juices, salaries dropped into their accounts on the last day of every month. Life is so perfect! Music, movies, dine outs with friends; there is so much of fun in the life.
Almost all the people we see around, are happy with their lives- full of delusion and the eternal hunger of collecting more and more stuff. Then sometimes, they get troubled by something- some rape happening somewhere, elections, reservations. They read and immaturely respond to the manipulated news and fabricated photos on social media; that gives them a feeling of bringing about a change. Once their feeling of guilt goes away through all these activities, they are back to the routine- sleep and hunger. The life goes on..
The one who has come out of the trap of sleep and hunger, is an altogether different person. He is no more in delusions. He is no more interested in gathering useless things to fulfil his hunger and possessiveness. He never does anything to fulfil his mind- to maintain his social status, image or come out of his guilty feeling. He does things because he understands the need of doing them. He has actually passed the stage of being obsessed with oneself. He can think beyond himself. He is ready to identify a need and start doing something about it. The next line of this Doha is,
दुखिया दास कबीर है, जागे और रोये I
Please pay attention to the words Kabir uses in this Doha. This is a taunt from Kabir to those around him who would be saying to him-
“Why are you so worried about others? Leave it, enjoy your life. Eat good food, sleep well and be happy”
Almost each and every saint gets this kind of reactions from people surrounding him. Everyone who tries to do something different, gets this advice. I also often get a similar advice from many around me. Kabir is pointing out this irony- the world thinks that those who eat and make merry are happy and the ones like Kabir or Socrates, who are awake, trying to wake up others are drenched in sorrow.
I can actually see the Kabir in front of my eyes- sitting in the market place and selling pieces of fabric. While doing so, he is endlessly awakening people through his couplets. People around are thinking- ‘What’s wrong with Kabir? If he focuses his energy on his work instead of all this advice, he can sell much more fabric, earn more money, eat well, collect many more things around him and sleep peacefully’
Those who think Kabir is sad, are absolutely wrong. He is not sad, he is full of bliss and compassion. His compassion makes him look sad; but remember, he is happier than all the people surrounding him; he is floating in bliss.
In these two lines, Kabir tells us the delusion. We are all like the dog licking the dry bone. The bone is rough. As the dog goes on licking it, his tongue gets cut all across. His own blood comes out and the dog is under the delusion that the blood is coming out of the bone. Those who are living their lives under the influence of sleep and hunger, are like this dog- hurting themselves in order to suck out more pleasure from the life.
In these two lines, Kabir is highlighting the eternal truth- unless you go beyond yourself, you will not find happiness in your life. Of course, you can have a delusion of happiness and enjoy it for your entire life, but you will totally miss the taste of true happiness and satisfaction.
Kabir says: “I stand in a market place and I desire the welfare of all. I am neither looking for any friendship, nor am I an enemy to any one.”
I am sure this is the right time to share this doha of Kabir on relationship and networking with you all. The insight which Kabir shares from this Doha, is absolutely valid even today and will certainly remain so. This Doha of Kabir is certainly most relevant when it comes to networking.
Today’s world moves around relationships. Everyone tries to connect with more and more people. Everyone is ‘networking’ for a ‘mutually beneficial’ relationship. We have hundreds of social networks at our disposal to do it. We are active there; posting updates and waiting for others to like or retweet these updates. Then we have some more serious stuff like LinkedIn and Meetups. The utterly big number of social networks highlights the human instinct to connect with others.
But honestly, we are all using social networks for our own benefits- you to share some pictures which tell how different you are from others, pictures which tell how you are more successful or happier than others etc. and maybe I to promote my blog and capture more readers. Most of the times, we connect out of our psychological need or some selfish motive. Hardly someone becomes a Seth Godin and writes purely for others to learn something from it.
Kabir, through this Doha on relationships, is touching upon this fallacy. See how wonderfully Kabir has described today’s situation. He says,
Kabir Khada Bazar Me (Kabir is standing in a marketplace)
True, we are also standing in marketplace, in a Bazaar where everyone has come to get more in less money. The fact about market place is, most competitive ones become the most famous ones and make more money. Social networks or all our relationships for that matter are like marketplace where everyone wants more publicity, more likes and ultimately more fame and money. So, it might be digital in nature but we are also standing in the same market place about which Kabir is talking. But, these is a big difference between the ways we stand. This difference is made clear in the second half of the first line.
The difference is, Kabir is in marketplace for everyone’s welfare.
Kabir was a weaver by profession. He used to weave and sell fabric in the market. He could have easily wished for selling more fabric than his competitors; he instead wished for everyone’s welfare. It is this tendency that makes the difference. This is what makes Kabir different from us. If we sit down honestly and open up the boxes of our relationships, what are they filled with? It’s all about taking. We like someone because he makes us laugh, someone other because we become more knowledgeable, someone other because he makes us feel safe or protected and this goes on. There might be some relationships where we give; but we give for some subtle gain- the subtle satisfaction which our ego gets.
Kabir is not interested in all this, he is just concerned with welfare of others. The next line- Na kaahu se dosti, naa kaahu se bair
Though Kabir is for everyone’s welfare, he is not interested in any kind of friendship with anyone, nor does he want to make an enemy with anyone. To put it simply, he is talking about a relationship which is beyond friendship and enmity. I guess almost every one of us might have been through the ‘best friend’ ships. Most of the times, these relationships fail. Why is it so? The relationships fail because they are built to take something from the other. Kabir is no more interested in give and take. He is no more bothered about the relationships- where people come together to give and take.
Kabir is talking about the attitude which brings about the change. The activities which are done without any kind of expectations bring about phenomenal change. Take example of Baba Amte, the Magsaysay Award winner. He started without without any expectation, not at all bothered about fame, publicity and money.
We need change makers who will work without any selfish motive; Kabir is certainly a lighthouse!