Ramaini 5

kahalown kahown yugan ki bata,
bhule brahma na chinhein bata;
hari har brahma ke man bhai, bibi akshar lai yucti banai;
bibi akshar ka kinh bandhana, anahad shabd joti parmana;
akshar padhi guni raha chalai, sanak sanandan ke man bhai;
ved kiteb kinh bistara, phyle gyle man agam apara;
chahu yug bhaktan bandhal bati,
samujhi na parli motari phati;
bhy bhy prithavi dahu disi dhawai,
asthir hoi na owshadh pawai
hoi bihist jo chit na dolawai,
khasamahi chhar dojakh ko dhawai;
purab disha hans gati hoi, hai samip sandhi bujhai koi;
bhakta bhaktinhi kinh singara, budi gayal sab manjhal dhara;

Sakhi: bin guru gyane dund bhayi, khasam kahi mili bat;
yug yug so kahawaiya, kahu na mani bat;

Meaning

For how long can I talk of the Yugas (ages)? Brahma himself got lost and could not understand the right path. Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma thought of a method for man to get salvation. They made a plan by using two letters ( r-Ra and m-Ma). They made a bond of these letters. If one practiced them he would hear the anahad shabd (divine melody) and see the Light. The scholars study the scriptures and established a path. Sanak Sanandan (sons of Brahma) liked the path. The Vedas and Koran explained the way of salvation in detail, but the people’s mind formed countless numbers of creeds. In the four yugas the devotees formed many creeds, but they could not understand that their bundle of creeds were defective. Being in fear man runs all over the world seeking salvation but, being unsteady in mind, they do not take the proper medicine (prescribed by God). He whose mind does not waver, can obtain heaven. Leaving God, he can go only to hell. When one follows the Eastern direction for realization, one becomes a hansa (liberated soul). Liberation is near at hand if one realizes one’s union with God. Devotees decorated their devotion with rituals but they all drown in the middle of the stream of this material life.

Sakhi: Without knowledge given by the Guru, man is subject to repeated birth and death. People say that they have joined with God but that is false. Guru Kabir taught in every yuga to join with God but nobody obeys his word.

Commentary

Here Guru Kabir is explaining the plight of the people who are preoccupied with their scriptures but do not find the real path to salvation. This has been the condition of the people from age after age and he asks himself the question: “For how long can I talk of the yugas?”. People seem not to understand what a true spiritual life is, and they become entangled with their rituals and external forms of worship and pilgrimages etc. They are seeking salvation by going from one place to another either to temples, to various gurus, to holy places, to places of austerity, to monasteries, to retreats and many other places. They, however, keep on running from place to place and do not find the path to salvation. Guru Kabir states that Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma formed a method for God realization using two letters “ra” and “ma” which spelled the name of God-Ram. This method of obtaining God has been explained in the Vedas and the Koran by attaching oneself to God, but what do people do? They form various creeds and sects and thus become lost. If one followed the practice of uniting oneself with God through meditation, then he will hear the Divine Melody and see the Light of spiritual enlightenment. If he, however, remains occupied with creeds, rituals and dogmas and does not follow the instructions of a true spiritual teacher, then, instead of obtaining liberation, he will be subject to birth and death in repeated cycles i.e. to be in ‘hell’. He states that following the Eastern direction (symbolizing Light or the instruction of a Guru) people would realize that God is quite close at hand, but if their minds remain unsteady, and if they keep on running from here to there, then they will all drown in the middle of the stream of this material world. In the sakhi Guru Kabir laments that although he has been giving the true instruction to people in age after age, people do not obey his words and thus do not obtain liberation.