I laugh when I hear that the fish in the water is thirsty.
You don’t grasp the fact that what is most alive of all is inside your own house;
and so you walk from one holy city to the next with a confused look!
Kabir will tell you the truth: go wherever you like, to Calcutta or Tibet;
if you can’t find where your soul is hidden,
for you the world will never be real!
— Kabir – Ecstatic Poems (Robert Bly)
When learned priests
forget their stuff,
they read the good old Vedas —
without their books,
they don’t have a clue
to the secret of things.
When they see
they pounce on it
with words like karma,
they apply their theories
of the four ashramas.
They’ve taught the four ages
the gāyatrī mantra —
go ask them
whom it has set free.
Whenever they touch someone
to purify themselves —
tell them who’s really
the inferior one.
They take great pride
in their many good qualities,
but so much vanity
doesn’t make them any good.
Only the One
who’s the Destroyer of Pride
can deal with their arrogance.
Give up the thought
of being proud of your birth,
look for the text
the eternal bodiless
only when the sapling
has spoilt the seed.
— Kabir – Sapling and Seed – The Weaver’s Songs – Page 149
Path presupposes distance;
If He be near, no path needest thou at all.
Verily it maketh me smile
To hear of a fish in water athirst!
Don’t got to the gardens outside, don’t go:
your body itself contains a bower in bloom.
There you can sit on a thousand-petalled lotus,
and gaze upon the ultimate infinite form.
— Kabir – The Weaver’s Songs – Garden – Page 197
Joy is brief.
Sorrow and grief are endless.
The mind’s an elephant,
Air and flame burn as one,
just as when the moth, its eye enchanted by light,
flies straight into the lamp,
and wing and fire flare together.
Who hasn’t found
restful peace in a moment of pleasure?
So you brush aside the truth,
and chase the lies you hold so dear.
At the end of your days
you feel the temptation, you covet joy,
even though old age and death
are close at hand.
The world’s embroiled in illusion, error:
this is the process always in motion.
Man attains a human birth:
why does he waste and destroy it?
— Kabir – Moth – The Weaver’s Songs – Page 151
I have been thinking of the difference between water
and the waves on it. Rising,
water’s still water, falling back,
it is water, will you give me a hint
how to tell them apart?
Because someone has made up the word
“wave,” do I have to distinguish it
There is a Secret One inside us;
the planets in all the galaxies
pass through his hands like beads.
That is a string of beads one should look at with luminous eyes.
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.
— Kabir – Songs of Kabir (First Poem)