Ramaini 4

pratham charan guru kinh bichara, karta gawai sirjanhara;
karam kai kai jag bowraya, sakti bhakti lai bandhini maya;
adbud rup jati ki bani, upji priti ramaini thani;
guni anguni arth nahi aya, bahutak jane chinhhi nahi paya;
jo chihhein tako nirmal anga, anchinhhe nar bhaye patanga.

Sakhi: chinh chinh ka gawahu bowre, bani pari na chinh,
adi ant utpati parlai, apuhi kahi dinhh.

Meaning

In the beginning guru ( Brahma) began to think that he should sing the glory of God the creator. To obtain God he created many actions (rituals) with desires, and because of them the people became foolish. Because of devotion with desire maya placed them in bondage. Brahma created languages in wondrous form and variety. When love came up in him, he created the ramainis (prayers). Scholars and non-scholars alike could not understand them and many could not realize there value. Whoever could understand them became purified, and who could not understand them became insects (subject to birth and death).

Sakhi: O foolish people, you think that you know the language, but not knowing it, what are you saying? The language itself explained that there is beginning and end, creation and destruction.

Commentary

In this ramaini Guru Kabir deals with scriptures which resulted from language, and with religious actions which are motivated by desire to obtain certain benefits. Brahma is supposed to be the originator of the Vedas which are the holy scriptures of India. Brahma, however, was not the Almighty God, and he felt the need for doing devotion to God. He thus created the various scriptures and religious duties, rites and ceremonies. People of the world have started to follow these scriptures and to carry out the prescribed rituals always having in their mind certain hopes of reward, thus making their devotion selfish. Meaningful devotion must have no selfish desire attached to it, and must be done purely for the glorification of God. Guru Kabir points out that following the prescribed practices, the people have become foolish and bound up by maya. They are foolish in the sense that they are not progressing spiritually to a knowledge of the Soul and a knowledge of God dwelling within.

Those who could understand the secret of devotion became enlightened, but those who could not, failed to obtain salvation. They were attracted to the illusion of maya just as a moth is attracted to a flame and sacrifices its life.

In the sakhi Guru Kabir is trying to arouse the people by asking what are they saying? They say the words most certainly, but does it create the dawning of Self knowledge in their heart? He tells them that the same language they are using has explained to them that there is a beginning, an end, and creation and destruction, but that they do not know the secret of any of these by merely following the scriptures and practicing the rites and rituals.