Ramaini 23

alp sukh dukh adi ow anta, man bhulan maigar maimanta;
sukh bisrai mukti kahan pawai, parihari sanch jhuth nij dhawai;
anal joti dahai ek sanga, nain neha jas jarai patanga;
karahu bichar jo sab dukh jayi, parihari jhutha ker sagayi;
lalach lagi janam sirayi, jara maran niyarayal ayi;

Sakhi: bharam kai bandhal i jag, yehi bidhi awai jai;
manush janam paike kai, nar kahe ko jahandai.

Meaning

From beginning to end there is little happiness but much suffering. The mind, full of ego, is lost just as an intoxicated elephant. How can man obtain liberation by giving up happiness (sukh)? He gives up truth and runs after falsehood. Man burns in the fires of three types of suffering, just as the moth, with love in its eyes for the flame, burns in it. If someone considers this and gives up friendship with falsehood, then all his sufferings will cease. Because of greed man wastes his life; old age and death are fast approaching

Sakhi: This world is entangled in doubts; in this way man comes and goes; O man! Obtaining human birth, why do you go astray?

Commentary

In this ramaini Guru Kabir instructs us that there is a great deal of suffering in the world. Birth is a suffering, and so is old age and death. During the lifetime there are innumerable sources of suffering and distress. True happiness is rare. This is so, because man does not tap the source of eternal happiness which lies within himself. Instead, he runs after the temporary and vanishing pleasures of the world. These pleasures give momentary happiness which is followed by distress again. There are three types of suffering: 1. those arising within the body, such as mental illnesses, cancers and degenerative diseases 2. those arising from otherbeings, such as those inflicted by animals and humans 3. those caused by the elements of nature, such as floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, droughts, etc. Man burns in these types of sufferings. Guru Kabir here compares man to the moth which is attracted to the flame and gets burned in it. Just so people are attracted to the various sense pleasures, and according to their karmas, have to be born over and over again and endure all types of sufferings. If they considered the Reality which lies within, and obtained salvation, then there will be only eternal happiness and no suffering. But man becomes intoxicated with greed for the pleasures of the world and pays no heed to the fact that death is fast approaching. In the end, it is too late for him to rectify his ways.

In the sakhi Guru kabir says that the world is entangled in doubts, because people do not seek the path of Truth. Thus, they have to come into the world over and over. On obtaining the human birth, endowed with reason and intellect, why do they go astray like an intoxicated elephant?