Shabd 22

avadhu chhadahu man vistara,
so pad gaho jahi te sadgati, parbrahm so nyara;
nahi mahadev nahin mahammad, hari hazrat kachhu nahi;
adam brahma nahin tab hote, nahi dhup nahi chhahin;
asi sahas paigambar nahi, sahas athasi muni;
chandra surya taragan nahi, machh kachh nahin duni;
ved kiteb sumriti nahin sanjam, nahin javan parsai;
banga nimaz kalma nahin hote, ramahu nahin khudai;
adi ant man madhya na hote, atash pavan na pani;
lakh chowrasi jiv jantu nahin, sakhi shabda na bani;
kahahi kabir suno ho avadhu, age karahu bichara;
puran brahm kahan te pragate, kritrim kinha upraja.

Meaning

O ascetic, give up the imaginations in your mind; attain that state of perfect self-realization (liberation), that Parabrahm realization is different from other states. In that state when the Atma alone existed, there was no Mahadev and Mohammad, nor was there Hari or Hazrat; Then there was no Adam and Brahma, then there was neither sunlight nor shade; Moreover, eighty thousand prophets and eighty eight thousand sages did not exist then. There was no existence of the moon, the sun or the stars, nor the two manifestations of the fish and the turtle; There were no Vedas and Koran, no books of social laws, nor the principles of control; there was no emperorship of the Muslims. Then did not exist the Muslim prayers and the turrets, the Namaz, and the Kalma; There was no incarnation of Ram nor did Khuda live in the seventh heaven; There was no concept of beginning, end, or middle, and there was no fire, air, or water; There was no existence of the 8.4 million forms of life, nor was there poetry, words, nor speech; Kabir says, listen to me, O ascetics! Try to think about that state of existence before what is now called Creation; From where did the Supreme Bhrahm appear, and who created this artificial world?

Commentary

In this very mystical shabda (poem) Guru Kabir is talking about that original state before any manifestation of creation existed. This is the state in which the Soul or God existed in the very ‘beginning’, but we must understand there was no beginning as we ordinarily think of it. It was a state of consciousness. He is exhorting the ascetics to attain that state of consciousness which gives liberation, and which is different from all the other states of consciousness we see in the manifested world.

He further instructs the ascetics that prior to all that has come about in the world, there was no Mohammed or Mahadeva nor the Muslim Prophet nor the Hindu Deity (son of Shiva). There was no God of the Hindu or of the Muslim as ordinarily understood. There was no Adam, the first man created by God in Christianity, nor of Brahma the Hindu God of creation. There was also no existence of sunshine nor shade. Guru Kabir also states that there was no existence of the countless messengers and prophets, nor of the sages. There was no sun, moon, stars, nor the incarnations as the fish and the tortoise of Hindu mythology. In that original state,here were no scriptures such as the Vedas, Koran, and the Srutis of social law. There was no emperorship of the Muslims. There was also no existence of the prayers shouted by the Muslims from the turrets, nor the five daily prayers towards Mecca, nor the assertion of the Kalma that “there is no God but Allah, and Mohammed was his prophet”. Similarly, on the Hindu side, there was no manifestation of Ram as an incarnation of God, and on the Muslim side no Khuda who is supposed to live in the ‘seventh heaven’. In that state also there was no beginning, end, or middle, nor fire, air, and water. There were no manifestations of the various forms of living things, neither were there words, speech nor poetry.

What Guru Kabir is saying to the ascetics is that they must try to realize that original unmanifested state (avyakta) of the Soul which was one with Parabrahm, the Eternal Self-existent Lord of the Universe. In that state there was no maya -the power of projection into various forms. It was because of maya that God has ‘projected’ Himself into the various manifestations Guru Kabir has just described. He is asking from where that original Supreme Power called Brahm appear, and how did this created world by the power of maya come into existence?

Guru Kabir was ever a mystic attuned to God in a state of supreme consciousness. In that state of consciousness which was the consciousness of God, there was no concept of place, time, or space. There was no duality, but only unity in the Divine Being. He is teaching that only realization of this original state of consciousness can free us from the illusions of maya and material bondage. It is that state of attainment that will give us perfect bliss.