Kabir

Kabir:Open your eyes of love, and see Him who pervades this world! consider it well, and know that this is your own country.

Kabir (14401518) was an Indian poet, mystic and philosopher, and one of the Northern India Sants.

SourcedEdit

BijakEdit

Quotes from various translations of the Bijak [Seedling], an early compilation of Kabir's poetry.

  • I've burned my own house down, the torch is in my hand.
    Now I'll burn down the house of anyone who wants to follow me.
    • The Bijak of Kabir (1983;2002) as translated by Linda Hess and Shukdeo Singh.
  • Admire the diamond that can bear the hits of a hammer. Many deceptive preachers, when critically examined, turn out to be false.
    • Sakhi, 168; translation by Yashwant K. Malaiya based on that of Puran Sahib.
  • Don't open your diamonds in a vegetable market. Tie them in bundle and keep them in your heart, and go your own way.
    • Sakhi, 170; translation by Yashwant K. Malaiya based on that of Puran Sahib.
  • A diamond was laying in the street covered with dirt. Many fools passed by. Someone who knew diamonds picked it up.
    • Sakhi, 171; translation by Yashwant K. Malaiya based on that of Puran Sahib.

Songs of Kabîr (1915)Edit

Translations of Kabir's poetry by Rabindranath Tagore, with alternate translations of some passages also provided.

I

  • O servant, where dost thou seek Me?
    Lo! I am beside thee.

    I am neither in temple nor in mosque: I am neither in Kaaba nor in Kailash:
    Neither am I in rites and ceremonies, nor in Yoga and renunciation.
    If thou art a true seeker, thou shalt at once see Me: thou shalt meet Me in a moment of time.
    • Variant translation: Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.
      My shoulder is against yours.

      you will not find me in the stupas, not in Indian shrine
      rooms, nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals:
      not in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding
      around your own neck, nor in eating nothing but
      vegetables.
      When you really look for me, you will see me
      instantly —
      you will find me in the tiniest house of time.
      • As translated by Robert Bly in The Kabir Book (1977) Jai RAM!!
  • Kabîr says, "O Sadhu! God is the breath of all breath.
    • Variant translation: Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
      He is the breath inside the breath
      • As translated by Stephen Mitchell in The Enlightened Heart (1993)

II

  • It is needless to ask of a saint the caste to which he belongs;
    For the priest, the warrior. the tradesman, and all the thirty-six castes, alike are seeking for God.

    It is but folly to ask what the caste of a saint may be;
    The barber has sought God, the washerwoman, and the carpenter —
    Even Raidas was a seeker after God.
  • Hindus and Moslems alike have achieved that End, where remains no mark of distinction.

III

  • O friend! hope for Him whilst you live, know whilst you live, understand whilst you live: for in life deliverance abides.
    If your bonds be not broken whilst living, what hope of deliverance in death?
    It is but an empty dream, that the soul shall have union with Him because it has passed from the body:
    If He is found now, He is found then,
    If not, we do but go to dwell in the City of Death.
    If you have union now, you shall have it hereafter.

IV

  • Do not go to the garden of flowers!
    O Friend! go not there;
    In your body is the garden of flowers.
    Take your seat on the thousand petals of the lotus, and there gaze on the Infinite Beauty.

LXXVI

  • Open your eyes of love, and see Him who pervades this world! consider it well, and know that this is your own country.
  • When you meet the true Guru, He will awaken your heart;
    He will tell you the secret of love and detachment, and then you will know indeed that He transcends this universe.
  • He is the Ultimate Rest unbounded: He has spread His form of love throughout all the world.
    From that Ray which is Truth, streams of new forms are perpetually springing: and He pervades those forms.
  • There the Unstruck Music eddies around the Infinite One;
    There in the midst the Throne of the Unheld is shining, whereon the great Being sits —
    Millions of suns are shamed by the radiance of a single hair of His body.
  • On the harp of the road what true melodies are being sounded! and its notes pierce the heart:
    There the Eternal Fountain is playing its endless life-streams of birth and death.
  • They call Him Emptiness who is the Truth of truths, in Whom all truths are stored!
    There within Him creation goes forward, which is beyond all philosophy; for philosophy cannot attain to Him: There is an endless world, O my Brother! and there is the Nameless Being, of whom naught can be said.
    Only he knows it who has reached that region: it is other than all that is heard and said.
    No form, no body, no length, no breadth is seen there: how can I tell you that which it is?
  • He comes to the Path of the Infinite on whom the grace of the Lord descends: he is freed from births and deaths who attains to Him.
    Kabîr says: "It cannot be told by the words of the mouth, it cannot be written on paper: It is like a dumb person who tastes a sweet thing — how shall it be explained?"

Azfar Hussain translationsEdit

Poems of Kabir, as translated by Azfar Hussain, in Reading About the World, Vol. 2 ISBN 0-8281-0849-8

  • I do not quote from the scriptures;
    I simply see what I see.
  • When the bride is one
    with her lover,
    who cares about
    the wedding party?
  • I am not a Hindu,
    Nor a Muslim am I!
    I am this body, a play
    Of five elements; a drama
    Of the spirit dancing
    With joy and sorrow.
  • A drop
    Melting into the sea,
    Everyone can see.
    But the sea
    Absorped
    In a drop —
    A rare one
    can follow!
  • I am looking at you,
    You at him,
    Kabir asks, how to solve
    This puzzle —
    You, he, and I?

Quotes about KabirEdit

  • While there is evidence that both Hindus and Muslims were ready to assault Kabir physically during his lifetime, they have since his death been ready to assault each other over the privilege of claiming him as their own. ... Some modern commentators have tried to present Kabir as a synthesizer of Hinduism and Islam; but the picture is a false one. While drawing on various traditions as he saw fit, Kabir emphatically declared his independence from both the major religions of his countrymen, vigorously attacked the follies of both, and tried to kindle the fire of similar autonomy and courage in those who claimed to be his disciples.
    • Linda Hess in the Introduction to The Bijak of Kabir (1983;2002)

External linksEdit

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Last modified on 13 April 2014, at 14:31