Ramaini 45

hirnakush ravan gow kansa, krishna gaye sur nar muni bansa;
brahma gaye marm nahin jana, bad sab gaye je rahal sayana;
samujhi pari nahin ram kahani, nirvak dudh ki sarvak pani;
rahigow panth thakit bhow pawana, dasho disha ujari bhow gawana;
min jal bhow i sansara, loha ki naw pakhan ko bhara;
khewai sabai marm ham jani, taiyon kahen rahai utrani.

Sakhi: machhri mukh jas kechua, muswan mah girdan
sarpan mahin gahejua, aisi jat dekhi saban ki jan.

Meaning

Hirnakush, Ravan, Kansa, Krishna, the gods, humans, and clans of the sages, all left this world.
Brahma went without knowing the secret; all those who were great and wise also went from the world. No one truly understands the story of Ram. Is it because of using non-nutritious milk or tasteless water?
People’s breaths became exhausted but their paths remained. They all left leaving the ten directions in a void.
This world is like a net and all the souls are like fishes. Ignorance is like a boat of iron carrying a burden of Karmas as stones.
The false gurus reassure their disciples that they know the secret of rowing the boat which is sinking, yet they say that they are reaching the other shore.

Sakhi: Just as the worm is in the mouth of the fish, and as the chameleon in the mouth of the rodent;
and as the muskrat in the mouth of the snake, just so I see the life of all the people departing.

Commentary

This ramaini deals with the transitory nature of this world and the spiritual ignorance in which people live. Hirnakush (Hiranyakashipu), Ravan, Kansa were great, pompous and glorious ancient kings. In spite of their power they had to leave this world. Krishna, the incarnation of God, also went from the world as did the various gods and demi-gods, the sages and ordinary people. The god Brahma who is said to be the creator aspect of God also departed his life. All the people who were great and wise departed from this world. Guru Kabir is stating that all the great beings of the past departed from this world without really knowing the “Truth” about the Eternal, Self-existent and Infinite Ram who dwells within us as Omniscient and Omnipotent Being. He asks the question whether this was due to their use of non-nutritious milk or just plain water. It is certainly due to weakness of human nature which prevents people from realizing God within themselves. Many people have followed their religious paths, but they left the world leaving the paths behind them. Guru Kabir is saying that this world is like a net which traps the soul as the fish becomes trapped. This soul, embodied in the physical from, is beset with ignorance and carries a load of karmas, just as if a boat of iron is carrying a heavy load of stones and is likely to sink. Just so the embodied soul is sinking in this world under the weight of its own karmas. There are many false teachers who say that they know the secret of “rowing” the boat to get to the other shore, and they reassure their disciples that they are rowing and will take them to the other shore when, in fact, the boat they are rowing is actually sinking.

In this sakhi Guru Kabir compares the human being to a few animals that are being eaten by others, such as the worm being eaten by the fish, or the chameleon being eaten by a rodent, and the muskrat being eaten by the snake. He says that people are dying and departing from this world in the same way, being devoured by their own spiritual ignorance and various passions and attachments to the transitory objects of the world. In reality, in order to obtain liberation, one has to use spiritual discernment and purify one’s life in all aspects, before one can safely reach the other shore of this life.