Ramaini 3

pratham arambh kown ko bhiyau,
dusar pragat kinh so thiyau;
pragate brahma, vishnu, shiv,
shakti; prathame bhakti kinh jiw ukti;
pragate pawan, pani ow chhaya, bahu bistar kepragati maya;
pragate and, pind, brahmanda, prithvi pragat kinh now khanda;
pragate sidh, sadhak, sanyasi, i sab lagi rahe avinashi;
pragate sur, nar muni sab jhari, tehi ke khoj pare sab hari;

Sakhi: jiv shiv sab pragate, we thakur sab das
kabir owr jane nahi, ram nam ki as.

Meaning

Who existed in the very beginning? Who was the next who existed? In the beginning Brahma, Vishnu, Shiv and Shakti appeared. They did devotion to God. Then wind, water and fire (which produce shadow) appeared. And Maya appeared and manifested as many forms of life. Then appeared egg-laying and viviparous animals, and the universe. The earth appeared and was divided into nine parts. Then appeared siddhas (adepts) sadhaks (devotees) and sanyasis (renunciates), and they were devoted to the Eternal. Then appeared gods, men and munis (philosophers) and they all searched for God, but they were unsuccessful.

Sakhi: All the jiwas (slaves) and shivas (masters) appeared. They are the masters (shivas) and slaves (jiwas) (i.e. of high and low castes). Kabir says: ‘ I do not recognize any of these. I have only one hope – the Name of God.”

Commentary

In this third ramaini Guru Kabir expands further on the mythological concept of creation. He first asks the question: “Who existed in the beginning and who existed next?” He then becomes more specific than previously and lists, in no particular order, the various Gods, other beings and elements in the universe. From God and his creative power, Maya, came the three “god sons” Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Shakti is energy and is also used for Maya or the female principle of creation. Creation is the process which starts from the subtle and progresses to the gross aspect of manifestation. Thus ether is the most refined natural element in creation and it progressively manifested as air (wind), fire, water and earth. Then appeared all the various forms of life. All the various physical forms of manifestation are due to the power of Maya. There appeared the various species of living things such as egg-laying and viviparious (live born) animals, along with those microscopic beings that divide by cell division and budding. Plant life is also one among the four categories of living beings. Once humans arrived in the world they took up various forms such as ordinary people, sidhas or those who have perfected themselves with austerity; devotees, renunciates, and philosophers. Man then created the various gods and goddess such as Indra, Varuna, Surya, Durga, etc. just as the Greeks developed their various gods and goddesses. Hinduism is also full of gods and goddesses. Guru Kabir is saying that all these various categories of man and gods did devotion to the Supreme God but they all failed to achieve salvation because they were all full of human frailties of passions, ego, anger, etc., just as the Greek mythological gods were. In this ramaini Guru Kabir talks essentially of creation on the one hand, and the various class systems or divisions in society on the other. In the sakhi he points out that among all the people, some were of low caste such as slaves, and others were of higher caste and were thought of as masters. At the end he summarizes his own position by saying that he does not recognize any of the mythology or the class distinctions created in the world. Just as he emphasized the importance of God at the end of the first two ramainis, he again states that there is only one hope for liberation, and that lies in the Name of God (realization of God as the Indwelling Self).