Ramaini 34

padhhi padhhi pandit karu chaturai, nij mukti mohi kahu samujhai
kahan basai purush kownsa gaun, so pandit mohi sunawahu naun
chari ved brahmai nij thana, mukti ka maram unahu nahi jana
dan punya un bahut bakhana, apane maran ki khabari na jana
ek nam hai agam gambhira, tahawa asthir das kabira.

Sakhi: chiunti jahan na chadhi sakai, rai na thaharai
awagawan ki gam nahin, tahan sakalo jag jai.

Meaning

O pandit, by reading and reading you have shown your cleverness; tell me about your own liberation?
Do you know the Supreme Lord and the village where he dwells? O pandit, tell me his name.
Brahma himself created the four Vedas but he did not know the secret of salvation.
He explained a great deal about alms giving and noble deeds, but he did not know of his own death.
There is one Name which is unfathomable; there the servant Kabir has found tranquility.

Sakhi: Where the ant cannot climb, where the mustard seed cannot get a resting place;
Where birth and death have no power, there let the whole world go!

Commentary

Priests of all religions become versed in their scriptures and display their learning in their various sermons, arguments, debates and discussions. These however are all external learning based on their scriptures and are not based on inner spiritual awakening. The priests (brahmins) of India were no exception. Priestcraft flourished in India and the ordinary people were made to pay obeisances to them as they thought themselves to belong to a high caste. They possessed the requisite spiritual knowledge to perform various ceremonies, to read horoscopes and to practice astrology etc. They preyed on the simplicity and gullibility of other people. Certainly their conduct was not in keeping with a spiritually developed person. It is for this reason that Guru Kabir challenges the pandit to talk about his own liberation, and whether he knows the Supreme Lord, where He dwelt and what was His name? Priests do not generally have answers to these questions, but they would like to have others presume that they possess this knowledge. Guru Kabir knew their shortcomings and, as he was always in sympathy with the average person, he often challenged the learned priests in this manner.

Brahma is one of the trinity who is supposed to have created the universe. He is thought to have produced the four Vedas. These are the most ancient scriptures in the world. From him derived the brahmin caste. In spite of Brahma’s exalted position, Guru Kabir states that he did not know of his own death. His weaknesses are outlined in the Puranas. In the Vedas there is a great deal of instruction about noble deeds, the conduct of life, alms giving and various ceremonials. But they have not helped the priest to obtain liberation. The pandit has six duties: 1. to study the Vedas 2. to teach the Vedas to others 3. to do yajnas (ceremonies) 4. to make others do yajnas 5. to take alms 6. to give alms. An examination of these will show that these activities cannot produce liberation. Liberation results only through an inner spiritual awakening and purification.

Guru Kabir states that he has found tranquility in the Name of God because that Name is profound and unfathomable. He states in this sakhi that the whole world should try to attain that state because it is a ‘state’ of pure Consciousness and not a ‘place’ where an ant can climb or a mustard seed can rest. It is also beyond birth and death which can occur only in material life.