Ramaini 47

jarasindhu sishupal sanghara, sahasrarjun chhal so mara;
bad chhal ravan so gow bita, lanka rahal kanchan ki bhita;
duryodhan abhimane gayau, pandav ker marm nahi payau;
maya ke bimb gayal sab raja, utam madhyam bajan baja;
chhow chakave biti dharani samana, ekow jiv pratit na ana
kahan low kahown achetahi gayau, chet achet jhagara ek bhayau;

Sakhi: i maya jag mohini, mohini sab jag jhari,
harichand sat ke karane, ghar ghar sog bikai.

Meaning

Jarasandh and Sishupal were slain; Sahasrarjun was killed deceitfully;
The great deceiver Ravan, who lived in walls of gold in Lanka, was also finished;
Duryodhan got killed because of his pride; no one knows even the whereabouts of the Pandavas;
All the kings, sons of maya, playing the best or mediocre music, also died;
The six emperors died and mingled with the earth; none of them believed in his own mortality;
How much more can I say? Everyone went without attaining realization; yet the wise and the ignorant are busy with their arguments.

Sakhi: This maya is fascinating to the world; the whole world is allured by her;
For the sake of truth Harischandra, in sorrow, sold himself from house to house.

Commentary

The theme of this ramaini is the power of maya and the perishability of the world. Guru Kabir refers to several ancient kings and emperors, who met their death because of their own ego, greed and deceitfulness. They felt invincible. Maya, with its great power of delusion, defeated them all. These rulers were prominent characters in the two great epics of India – the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. (It is beyond the scope of this commentary to go into details about them.) Modern equivalents can be found in some of the dictators of today, (such as President Marcos of Philippines, Chairman Mao Tsetung of China, Baby Doc Duvalier of Haiti, Khomeini the religious dictator of Iran, and several others), who in spite of their assumed power and invincibility have been, or will be, defeated by revolts against them and by death. They are all perishable.

Guru Kabir is teaching here that we should uphold truth at all costs and obtain liberation from this world. We should not become victims of maya and be fooled by her allurements. She arouses the passions, cravings and desires, and these keep us in bondage. We become slaves to them. We should see the Reality of the Divine Being manifesting everywhere and live in thought, word and deed in truth and in purity. He refers to Harischandra who was a king, but in order to uphold the truth, he lost his kingdom and even sold his family and himself to fulfill his word. But what do we see in this world? People are engaged in quarrels, whether they belong to high castes or low castes. They quarrel whether they are intellectual or ignorant. People quarrel on the basis of religious beliefs, races and artificial classes. They are all motivated by their own ego and vanity. They do not think that all of their wrangling is entirely useless, as it will not help them to obtain Self-realization and liberation from this world. They will all die and leave everything behind. Our daily activities should be motivated by the Eternal issues which eventually govern our lives.