Ramaini 14

bad so papi ahi gumani, pakhand rup chhaleu nar jani;
vaman rup chhalo bali raja, brahman kinh kown ko kaja;
brahmanhi sab kinhin chori, brahmanhi ko lagat khori;
brahman kinho ved purana, kaisehu kai mohi manush jana;
ek se brahmai panth chalaya, ek se hans gopalahin gaya;
ek se shambhu panth chalaya, ek se bhut pret man laya;
ek se puja jaini bichara, ek se nihuri nimaz gujara;
koi kahu ka hata na mana, jhutha khasam kabir na jana;
tan man bhaji rahu more bhakta, satya kabir satya hai vacta;
apuhi deva apuhi hai panti, apuhi kul aphu hai jati;
sarv bhut sansar newasi, apuhi khasam apu sukhbasi;
kahat mohi bhyal yug chari, kake age kahow pukari.

Sakhi: sanchahi koi na mane, jhuthahi
ke sang jai; jhuthahi jhutha mili raha, ahamak kheha khai

Meaning

This pride is a great sinner; it hypocritically cheated mankind; Lord Vishnu, becoming a dwarf, cheated King Bali; to whom did Brahmin do any good? The Brahmins have deceived the people, and they are to be blamed. Brahmins interpreted the Vedas and Puranas (according to their own motives) so that people will bestow honour on them. Brahma started a path of rituals, and Vishnu sang of the path of devotion. Shiva the path of yoga, and another started the worship of ghosts and spirits. The Jains started one type of worship. And the Muslims started another form as nimaz – bowing and praying towards Mecca. No one accepted the instructions of the others. Kabir does not accept a false master. O my devotees! With body and mind sing Kabir is Truth and the Speaker of Truth. He (God) is Himself God and Himself the Offering; He is Himself the Clan and the Caste. He Himself resides in all beings in the world. He is Himself the Master and the Abode of Bliss. I have been saying this for four yugas; to whom should I shout this message?

Sakhi: No one accepts the truth; all follow the liars; The liar gets together with the liar and the foolish people eat the dust.

Commentary

Although Guru Kabir appears to be critical of the Brahmins, he is in fact pointing out the lack of religious unity among the people of the world. When God is one and He is in fact all manifestations, then what need was there for people to start various religions. If the founders of religions knew the Real Truth – the Absolute – then they would not have created various religions. Because of pride, however, each felt that he had the answer to the Absolute and thus started a religion. He thus states that no one accepted the instructions of the others.

Referring specifically to India, it is necessary to understand that priestcraft held sway over the religious life of the people. The priests who were the Brahmins laid great stress on the studying of the Vedas and the Puranas and other scriptures, but did not delve into themselves to find the Reality of which Guru Kabir is speaking. They were thus not enlightened, nor could they enlighten others. All of them began to follow the exoteric form of the religion, being satisfied with reading the scriptures, praying, going to church, offering alms, making pilgrimages, etc. The people thus become preoccupied with these external observances of religion to the end of their days, and they do not obtain salvation. Guru Kabir is saying that if they followed the esoteric teaching, and realize that God is Himself the Universal, Omnipotent, and Omniscient Being, and that He is Himself the Devotee and the Offering, and He is Himself the Clan and the Caste of all; that God is Himself the manifestation of all beings in the whole universe, and that He dwelt within, then the people could have been truly enlightened. He always stressed the necessity of seeking and knowing Truth, of knowing God, and not to settle for less. He thus said almost in resignation: “to whom should I shout this teaching?”

In this sakhi he summarizes that people do not accept the Truth. They are more enchanted by the “liars” who keep on deceiving them. The foolish people remain unrealized and die without knowing God.