Shabd 15

ramura chali binavan ma ho, ghar chhode jat jolaha ho;
gaj now gaj das gaj unis ki, puriya ek tanai;
sat sut now gand bahatar, pat lagu adhikai;
ta pat tulna (tulai) gaj na amai, paisan ser adhai;
tamai ghatai badhai ratiyo nahi, karkach kare gaharai;
nit uthi baithi khasam so barbas, tapar lagu tihai;
bhingi puriya kam na awai, jolaha chala risai;
kahahi kabir suno go santo, jin yaha shrishti banai;
chhad pasar ram bhaju bowre, bhowsagar kathinai.

Meaning

The weaver is leaving his house, but the maya of Ram goes and makes him create a new house One yard, nine yards, ten yards and nineteen yards, maya made him weave the cloth; She wove seven different threads, nine channels and seventy-two strands, and the cloth became very valuable; This cloth is so great that none other is equal to it, but people not knowing its value, reduce its value to almost nothing; They decrease its value, and cannot increase it, though they struggle very much; When the weaver tries to make good cloth, his wife always rushes on him quarrelling; When the bundle of yarn becomes wet it is useless, and the weaver departs disappointed; Kabir says listen all saints! To him who had made this creation, Give up all the paraphernalia and sing His glories; Oh foolish people! The crossing of this worldly ocean is difficult.

Commentary

This is a very mystical and allegorical shabd in which Guru Kabir talks about the soul, the body, maya, illusions, desires, God and liberation. The weaver is the soul and the house is the body. One yard is the mind and nine yards is the body with its nine apertures. The ten yards are the five organs of sense and five of actions. The nineteen yards are the five organs of sense, five organs of action, five subtle elements, and the mind, intellect, consciousness and ego. This body is made up of all of these various elements. The seven threads are components of the body which are the skin, blood, flesh, sinews, bone, marrow, and semen. The nine apertures are two eyes, two nostrils, two ears, one mouth, one anus and one genital organ. The seventy-two strands are seventy-two different nerves making up the body. Once this body is made, it is really very valuable, but people do not use the body effectively to enhance it progress towards God and liberation. The wife is illusion which confounds the mind, and makes the weaver (the soul) restless and confused. The power of maya creates this illusion, and also fills the mind with the water of desires. This, figuratively, makes the body wet and therefore useless, just as wet yarn cannot be used to make a piece of cloth. In the end Guru Kabir says to give up all these paraphernalia about maya and illusion and discussing the technicalities of the formation of the body etc. He said to free the mind, and sing the glories of God who has created this whole world. Unless we are clearsighted about our devotion and connection with god, then the crossing of this worldly ocean is indeed very difficult.

From this shabd we need to learn that this body is very wonderfully made, and that it must be used wisely to obtain knowledge and freedom. It is not to be subjected to illusion and ignorance which create bondage, resulting in karmic effects and rebirths. Unless liberation is obtained through knowledge, one is doomed to keep on suffering in this worldly ocean.