Tag Archives: hypocrisy

Quote

Allãh-Rãma,
I live by Your Name:
show me Your mercy,
my Lord.

If Allãh resides
inside a mosque,
then whose is the rest of the land?
Hindus claim His Name
inhabits an idol:
but God can’t be found
in either place.

The southern country
is Hari’s home,
the west is Allãh’s camping ground.
Search your heart,
your heart of hearts:
that’s His abode,
that’s His camp.

The brahmin fasts
once a fortnight,
the qãzĩ fasts for Ramadãn.
Each devotes
eleven months to himself,
then looks for rewards
in a month of fasts.

Why go off to Orissa
for ritual immersions?
Why bow your head in a mosque?
You’re a crook at heart,
you pretend to pray:
why go all the way
on a hajj to the Ka’aba?

These men and women,
The whole lot of them,
are nothing but Your forms.
I’m a child
of Allãh-and-Rãma,
everyone’s my guru-and-pĩr.

Kabir says, listen,
O men and women:
seek shelter with the One and Only.
Repeat His singular Name,
you creatures: for only then
will you be able
to cross life’s ocean.

Note from the translator:

The poem opens by compounding ‘Allãh’ and ‘Rãma’ into a single name, and addressing that compound God directly as a unified divinity. This pada attacks the ‘externalized’ rituals and institutions of both Hinduism and Islam. Its main strategy is to question the reasonableness of central Hindu and Muslim beliefs as well as practices; to point to the unacceptable contradictions within the two religions; to highlight the pretension and hypocrisy embedded in their actual practices; and to expose the absurdity of their practices in relation to their professed principles. The poem then rejects the actuality of Hinduism and Islam by proposing an alternative to both, which claims that God ‘exists’ in the human heart of Self; that all human beings therefore are ‘forms’ of God; that any human is hence God’s ‘child’; that we should therefore seek shelter with that one and only true God; and that we should repeat His divine Name as the sole mantra of mukti. ‘Allãh-Rãma’ is an instance of the ‘theological secularism’ characteristic of the Kabir poets.

— Kabir – Allãh-Rãma – The Weaver’s Songs (transl. Vinay Dharwadker)

Allãh-Rãma by Kabir the Weaver