Shabd 1

santo! bhakti satguru ani!
nari ek purush dui jaya, bujho pandit gyani;
pahan phori gang ek nikari, chahudisi pani pani;
tehi pani dui parvat bude, dariya lahar samani;
udi makhi tarvar ko lagi, bolai ekai bani;
vahi makhi ke makha nahi, garbh raha binu pani;
nari sakal purush vahi khayo, tate rahai akela;
kahahi kabir jo abki bujhai, soi guru ham chela.

Meaning

O Saints! Satguru has brought devotion to the world! There is one woman who produced two males. O learned pandits! Explain this to me! Breaking the stone (mind) a river (meditation) came forth, and found only water, water (God Consciousness) all around; Two mountains (ego and ignorance) drowned in that water; its waves (souls) then merged into the ocean (God). A fly (maya) flew and sat on the tree (world) and spoke only one word (delusion); That fly had no male, but she became pregnant without semen; That female (maya) ate up all the males (people) and only God alone escaped; Kabir says that whoever can explain this will be his guru and he the disciple.

Commentary

The shabdas in the bijak are meant to be sung as any bhajan (hymn). This shabda is very allegorical and paradoxical. It can be said to be a parable, and therefore can be subject to varying interpretations by different people. Saints often use this technique to get people to think in some depth about spiritual life. In this shabda Guru Kabir states that: “O saint or brother devotees! Devotion has been brought by Satguru”. Satguru here means God. It also means any saint who has realized God in his or her own life. The woman referred to is maya which is the creative aspect of God and emanates from God, Himself. Without maya no creation can take place, because creation means a differentiation from the unitary being of God. It is maya that has this ability to allow God to manifest ‘creation’. The two males created here are Jiwa and Ishwar. Jiwa is the soul that has taken on gunas or qualities in order to manifest life. Ishwar is God with attributes who can be thought of as the creative aspect of God. Combined with maya, Ishwar produces the multiform universe. Guru Kabir is asking the learned pandits to explain this parable.

The stone that is broken is the mind, and the river which flows from it is meditation. The mind has to be broken, or subdued, in order for meditation to flow, in an unbroken stream, to God. This meditation then finds itself surrounded by God Consciousness i.e. water everywhere. The two mountains that drown in this water are ego and ignorance, both of which must be overcome in order to meditate. During meditation the wave, or the soul, becomes merged in the ocean or God.

The fly here refers to maya which has flown unto a tree which is the world. In other words, maya manifests itself in the whole world as illusion, which keep people away from direct knowledge of God. People see the material world, but fail to see the Divine power manifesting behind ‘creation’. Maya has only one language and that is to create delusion. Spiritual realization, or God realization, occurs only after maya has been subdued. Maya , herself, needs no male or husband in order to procreate the world. Maya, herself, being the creative energy of God, has brought forth everything in the universe. This maya has, figuratively, eaten up all the males which refer to humanity. Therefore, in order to escape being eaten up by maya , or delusion, it is necessary to stay away from her and to merge into God through meditation.

Because this Shabda has such lofty teachings, and is given in allegorical form, Guru Kabir has stated that whoever can explain this satisfactorily will be considered by him to be the Guru and he, himself, will become the disciple.

This shabda is meant for us to give deep thought to spirituality – the meaning of God, maya, soul, creation and meditation. It is the only way in which we can obtain Divine Knowledge and obtain liberation.