Mystic Verses of Guru Kabir Sahib
Death is standing on your head.
Wake up, friend!
With your house in the middle of traffic,
how can you sleep so sound?
Wooden structure, termite,
eating all he can.
Death dwells in the body.
No one understands.
Nearby they sink and don’t come up;
it makes me wonder.
In illusion’s swift stream,
how can you slumber?
Into the looking-glass cavern
the dog goes running.
Seeing his own reflection,
he dies barking.
The best of all true things
is a true heart.
Without truth no happiness,
though you try
a million tricks.
They don’t listen to wise words
and won’t think for themselves.
Kabir continues to scream.
The world goes by like a dream.
Drop falling in the ocean—
Ocean absorbed in the drop—
a rare one knows.
Make your own decision.
See for yourself while you live.
Find your own place.
Dead, what house will you have?
Creature, you don’t see
In the end no one belongs to you.
Kabir says, it’s difficult,
this wheel of time.
Say it: Ram’s [God’s] indestructible name.
If you leave Hari, there’s no place to go.
Wherever you go, you’re just a moth.
Do you see the trap? Then don’t burn.
to Ram’s name, [God’s name] and learn
how the insect gives its heart
to the bee. The world is heavy with the load of grief.
Creature, if you can think or see,
make an effort! Your thoughts are useless
waves, you can’t see this shore
or the other.
The world: an ocean of desire.
Ram’s support: a ship.
Take Hari’s refuge: the sea will be
as wide as a calf’s hoofprint.
The musician plays a peerless instrument
with eight sky-mouths thundering.
Only you are played, only you thunder,
your hand alone
runs up and down.
In One Sound thirty-six ragas, speaking
an Endless Word.
The mouths a shaft,
the ear a sounding gourd—
the true teacher made the instrument.
The tongue a string,
the nose a peg—
he rubs on the wax of Maya.
Light bursts in the sky-temple
at a sudden reversal.
Kabir says, clarity comes
when the Musician lives
in your heart.
If anyone can hear,
he’ll fly to the sky without wings
and live, not die, says Kabir.