Shabd 11

santo pande nipun kasai,
bakri mari bhaisa par dhawai, dil me dard na ai;
kari asnan tilak dai baithe, vidhi so devi pujai;
atamram palak me binse, rudhir ke nadi bahai;
ati punit unche kul kahiye, sabha mahi adhikayi;
inte diksha sab koi mange, hansi awe mohi bhai;
pap katan ko katha sunawai, karm karawai nicha;
ham toh duno paraspar dekha, yam laye hai dhokha;
gai badhe te turuk kahiye, inte wai kya chhota?
kahahi kabir suno ho santo, kalima brahman khote.

Meaning

Oh saints! the pandits are skillful butchers. They kill the goat and rush upon the buffalo; they feel no pain in their hearts; They bathe and apply tilak to their foreheads, and sit to systematically perform worship to the Goddess; They destroy the soul in a moment, and cause a stream of blood to flow; They are thought to be holy and of high caste, and in congregations they are honoured; All the people seek initiation from them. Oh, brother! I laugh at seeing such behaviour. They preach how to get rid of sins, yet make others perform lowly actions; I have seen the behaviour of both of them; they are both deceived by Yama; Those who kill cows are called Muslims. Are the pandes any less than they? Kabir says, listen oh saints! In Kaliyug the brahmin is sinful.

Commentary

In this shabda Guru Kabir strongly condemns the practice of sacrificing animals for any reason whatsoever, but most importantly in the worship of any deity. Guru Kabir was ever compassionate towards all living beings. He taught that God gave life to all the creatures and they wish to live just as much as we do. It is thus unethical and immoral for us to deprive them of their lives. Killing is indeed a violent action and, because of the law of karma, everyone who kills must pay a severe penalty.

It is common practice that the priests and their followers who worship the Goddess (Kali, Durga, Bhairavi etc.) practice slaughtering animals in the worship of such Goddess. The question arises then are we to worship a loving and benevolent God, or are we to worship some blood thirsty Goddess? Which worship is noble and worthy to be cultivated? God has given us intelligence and the power to make proper discrimination between right and wrong. How can any divinity be happy when a life is destroyed? There are sufficient numbers of animals all over the world which any divine being can take if he or she wishes. But such is not the case. People make the unreligious rules and then follow them, and then teach them to their disciples. To the Muslims the pig is unclean, and to the Hindus the cow is holy. Both animals have the same life force in them. God made the animals, and people made them holy or unholy, clean or unclean. Just imagine how you would feel if a greater being snatched you and were about to slit your throat? The priests who practice and condone such behaviour do not have compassion in their hearts. Yet these people have disciples and they are honoured. They are often thought to be of high caste when they perform very lowly actions. Are people spiritually blind? What constitutes true religious or spiritual life? It is love for God and all of his creations including all the innocent animals. It is compassion in our hearts for all creatures. It is kindness to all beings. It is to use our vivek our spiritual discrimination, to know the right from the wrong actions. Let us not get fooled and be dragged away from the true spiritual path into the labyrinth which makes us become lost, so that we cannot find our way back to our goal.