Shabd 20

koi ram rasik ras piyahuge, piyahuge sukh jiyahuge,
phal lankrit bij nahi bakla, shuk panchhi (tahan) ras khai,
chuwai na bund anga nahi bhijai, das bhanwar sab sanga lai,
nigam risal chari phal lagai, tame tini samai,
ek duri chahen sab koi, jatan jatan (kahu) birle pai,
gaye basant grisham ritu ai, bahuri na tariwar tar ai,
kahai kabir swami sukh sagar, ram magan (hoi) so pawai

Meaning

Only very few people drink the nectar of God’s love and obtain a blissful life; This bliss is like a juicy fruit but without seed or skin; the parrot enjoys its nectarine juice; This nectar does not fall in drops, nor does it wet any part of the body of those devotees who swarm like bees to obtain it; The Vedas are like a fruit tree bearing four fruits, of which three are close and perishable. The fourth is far away, yet desired by all, but rarely obtained with great effort; Spring has vanished and summer has arrived, and the soul unfortunately cannot again reach that tree of salvation; Guru Kabir says the master is the ocean of bliss and those absorbed in Him will obtain that bliss.

Commentary

In this shabd Guru Kabir discusses the differences between those few fortunate devotees who will drink the bliss of God’s love and obtain salvation, and those who swarm like bees to obtain nectar but cannot obtain it. The nectar here is bliss which is obtained by realizing God as the indweller. This is also salvation. Guru Kabir states that those who drink the nectar of God’s love will obtain this bliss. Figuratively, this bliss has no seed and no skin which are parts that are thrown away. Once this is obtained, then there is no part such as any negative things to be thrown away. Bliss is complete in itself. The parrot is the fortunate soul who drinks the nectar of bliss. The word shuk means parrot. It is allegorically used to refer to Shukacharya who was a sage said to have realized God in the mother’s womb. He had given up maya and attained bliss before birth.

Guru Kabir is saying that many devotees swarm to religious and spiritual places, but not even a drop of the bliss falls on them to wet them i.e to give them realization. He states that the scriptures have outlined four fruits – dharm, arth, kam, moksh – righteousness, wealth, fulfillment of desires, and liberation. The first three are really materialistic and perishable, but the fourth, liberation, is difficult to obtain even after great effort.

Guru Kabir states that the spring season (youth) has departed and summer (old age and death) has arrived. The soul will not again have the opportunity to attain that state of bliss unless it is reborn again and struggles upward to obtain liberation. In conclusion Guru Kabir states the master (God) is really the ocean of bliss and only those who are absorbed in Him will obtain that bliss.

God is said to be “Existence, Consciousness and Bliss Absolute”. The soul is of the essence of God and therefore partakes of the same attributes. These attributes, however, are hidden from human consciousness because of ego, passions and ignorance. Maya deludes them. A few people, through intense devotion and longing for God realization, will taste the bliss of that realization.