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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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Dohe of Kabir

Kabir Doha on Patience: धीरे-धीरे रे मना, धीरे सब कुछ होय

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.

screen-shot-2016-10-15-at-5-05-24-pmYesterday, 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.

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Dohe of Kabir

How Can Indians Become Tolerant? By Understanding Kabir!

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.

tolerance

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.

 

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Kabir

Kabir and His Thoughts on Death

kabir on deathAfter 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.

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Dohe of Kabir 1

Kabir Doha on Awareness: नींद निशानी मौत की, उठ कबीरा जाग

नींद निशानी मौत की, उठ कबीरा जाग,

और रसायन छाँड़िके, नाम रसायन लाग

(Unawareness is a sign of death, wake up, Kabira! Leave aside all the drugs and practice the drug of meditation )

kabirIt 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.

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.

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Dohe of Kabir 1

Kabir Ke Dohe: सुखिया सब संसार है Kabir Doha on Finding True Happiness:

Kabir Doha on HappinessKabir 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.

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Dohe of Kabir 1

Kabir Doha on Relationship: Kabir Khada Bazaar Mein

कबीर खडा बझार में, मांगे सबकी खैर

ना काहु से दोस्ती, ना काहु से बैर

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!

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Dohe of Kabir 1

Doha of Kabir on Greed : Avoid Comparison

रुखा सुखा खाईके ठंडा पानी पी |

देख पराई चुपडी, मत ललचा जी |

[Eat dry and simple food and drink cold water.
Do not look at the buttered bread of others and long for it.]

 

After many days, today I am all set to write about this Kabir Doha on greed. The literal meaning of this Doha is –

Eat dry and simple food and drink cold water.
Do not look at the buttered bread of others and long for it.
 

On the face of it, it seems as if Saint Kabir is telling us to keep away from a lavish life style. For the ages, saints and spiritual preachers tell us to live a simple life. Many of them go ahead and condemn a life which is luxurious and comfortable. Some saints even go ahead and say that a spiritual person can never have a life full of comfort. These saints have somewhere associated luxury and comfort with lack of spirituality.
 

On all this background, it makes sense to understand what Kabir wants to tell us. When Kabir says eat dry food and drink cold water, does he want us to lead a harsh life which is deprived of any comfort and pleasure? One has to be very careful to understand what Kabir is actually saying versus someone else’s interpretation of what he is saying.
On the face of it, this Doha of Kabir is not about leading a harsh and dry life, but it is about being free from any kind of greed. As far as my understanding of Saint Kabir goes, he is not against a luxurious life; he is against comparison with someone who has something better and then longing for it. Kabir will certainly disapprove comparison. Why so?
 

If one gives it a bit of thought, comparison always comes along with the greed. When I compare myself with other, immediately there is some form of greed associated with it. The longing which Kabir is talking about, it comes out of greed. The problem with one who eats dry bread and drinks cold water is, he is always full of comparison and jealousy. But, the interesting part is, the one who has the buttered bread, he is also sailing in the same boat. He is also comparing endlessly with others- the others who have better bread (multigrain/oregano!!) or more butter.
In these two lines, Kabir describes the whole vicious circle of endless human greed which is born out of comparison or vice a versa. Those who think this Doha of Kabir preaches a simple life, they have completely mistaken. This Doha, opens up the infinite world of human greed in two short lines.
 

If one looks at the long string of saints which have spoken a lot about simple lifestyle, most of them could not go to the depth where Kabir goes. Kabir is not bothered about how simple or comfortable your life is; he is bothered about the mind which engages in endless comparison and longing.
 

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Dohe of Kabir

Doha of Kabir on Love: Dhai Akhar Prem Ka

पोथी पढी पढी जग मुवा पंडित भया न कोय

ढाई आखर प्रेम का पढे सो पंडित होय

Translation:

[Entire world is engrossed in reading scriptures but no one has become ‘learned’. The one who understands two and half alphabets of love, attains the wisdom.]

Kabir walked the path of love. This doha of Kabir on love is unique. This doha is probably the most famous of all of his couplets. ‘Dhai Akhar Prem Ka’ is probably the most used phrase which is used to describe the love. Long ago, I used to participate in state and national level debate competitions. Many of these competitions would have at least one topic related to love. It used to be a tough task when almost each of the contestants would repeat this Doha of Kabir in his speech, to describe the love. At that time, I along with many other participants, used to curse Kabir for coming up with this couplet.

Fun apart, when I grew up, studying philosophy, religions, spirituality, at some point I realised that ultimately, everything ends (and hence starts) at love. Love is the point of liberation, love is the boundary line, between human and divine. After this realization, I completely changed my way and this Doha of Kabir, which describes love in all its grandeur, has helped me a lot. It will be very interesting as well as enlightening to explore this wonderful piece in more depth.

[Entire world is engrossed in reading scriptures but no one has become ‘learned’. The one who understands two and half alphabets of love, attains the wisdom.]

Sant Kabir makes some things clearly visible in this doha on love. The first bold point which he makes is about the futility of reading scriptures. This was a very bold statement if one considers the time frame in which Kabir existed. Kabir was a sober saint, who unlike Osho, avoided controversy. But still, Kabir finds it necessary to tell masses that scriptures have lost their edge; that they have lost the magic, the power to transform the lives. It is important to understand that in Kabir’s era, people were engrossed in not only reading scriptures but also in debating and arguing with scholars. People were taking everything intellectually, without catching the flavour. As we are aware, we can write and talk a lot about love. But, unless you actually experience the love, there is no way of knowing it. Imagine Kabir, the one who had tasted this eternal nectar of love, surrounded by scholars (Pundits) endlessly arguing and debating about love. The first line is for all those scholars- who reduce everything to mere intellectual level. Kabir rightly says,

‘The entire world is reading scriptures but no one has become ‘learned’’

Kabir somewhere wants to point out that this direction is itself wrong; the practice of reading scriptures is itself wrong. It’s like finding gold in vegetable market. It is a fundamental mistake.

What is the correct way to understand love?

The next line of this doha of Kabir on love tells the correct direction in which one can find love. Kabir says, the one, who understands two and half alphabets of love, attains the wisdom. In his native language, love is called ‘Prem’ which is a two alphabet word. In spite of this, Kabir says the one who understands two and half alphabets of love, attains wisdom. What is this half alphabet to which Kabir is referring? This puzzle has been a topic of discussion among scholars for years!

Read: Kabir Doha on Importance of Master (Guru)

Now this is utterly ridiculous. In the first line of this Doha, Kabir clearly indicates that love is not for scholars, engaged in debate and arguments. But sadly, for centuries, the scholars are fighting with each other about the interpretation of this Doha, about the meaning of this half alphabet which Kabir has mentioned. As wise seekers can make out, these scholars have still not got the point which Kabir wants us to understand. Through this Dha on love, Kabir simply wants us to understand that love is something beyond words. The literal word love consists of two alphabets; but actual love is something beyond. What is the half alphabet which is invisible? That half alphabet is just an indicator, a pointer telling us to not to stick to words only. That half alphabet is something which one has to discover by living life and not by reading scriptures. Scriptures can only teach you the two alphabets of love. If you stick to scriptures, you will never discover the remaining half alphabet, which has the real essence of love.

Read: Kabir Doha on Truth 

Discovering that half alphabet is the real stuff. Learning scriptures and definitions of love is easy. To understand these definitions verbally and intellectually is also easy. To discover the essence of love through one’s life is difficult. This discovery is the journey on which the seeker is transformed. This Doha of Kabir on love is unique- it clearly tells the limitations of knowledge. It tells the importance of actually walking on the path.

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