Shabd 29

bhai re nayan rasik jo jage,
parbrahm avigati avinashi, kaisahu kai man lage;
amali log khumari trishna, katahun santosh na pawai;
kam krodh donon matwale, maya bhari bhari awai;
brahm kalal chadhain bhathi, lai indri ras chahai;
sangahi powch hai gyan pukare, chatura hoi so pawai;
sankat soch poch yaha kalima, bahutak vyadhi sharira;
jahan dhir gambhir ati nischal, tahan uthi milahu kabira.

Meaning

Oh brother! If the lover truly awakens and opens his eyes, Then his mind will become attached to Parbrahm – the unfathomable and eternal being; The craving people, intoxicated with thirst for the world, how can they find contentment? They are intoxicated with lust and anger, and maya supplies the drink of passions;

Brahma himself is the wine maker who prepared the wine of all the desires of the senses; They keep the company of the evil but speak of knowledge; only the shrewd one will find God; In this Kaliyug there are plenty of miseries and anxieties, and many diseases afflict the body; Where a man has patience, depth and steadfastness, Kabir says go there and meet him.

Commentary

People in this world appear to be afflicted with ‘tons’ of cravings and desires for worldly things. They appear to be intoxicated with a type of unquenchable thirst which keeps them pursuing one thing or another, in an attempt to fulfill their desires and cravings. Once they are caught up in this type of activity, can they find contentment in their lives? Guru Kabir is using the comparison of a person intoxicated with wine. He craves more wine until he becomes addicted, or he loses consciousness through intoxication. He is not in control of his senses. Similarly, the person who is intoxicated with lust, anger and cravings for worldly things, do not have control over his mind. He states that if the lover of God awakens to his spiritual potential, then his mind will be absorbed in Parbrahm, the Supreme Being, who is Omnipresent, Unfathomable and Eternal. That Eternal Being dwells within one’s own heart where He must be realized through loving devotion, and development of spiritual wisdom.

In this shabd Brahma represents rajogun or the principle of passion and activity which are part of our being, and which need to be controlled. Without control it seeks gratification of all the senses. This makes life restless, and keeps one from realizing the divinity that resides within.

What people do, instead, is that they keep evil and lowly company, and indulge in undesirable activities, but they speak of divine knowledge. They are mere words without any realization of divinity. But the person who is shrewd in spiritual matters, is the one who will realize the indwelling divinity. Guru Kabir observes that in this Kaliyug (iron age), people are afflicted with various types of mental and physical sufferings. They are not able to escape, because they do not have the self control and proper spiritual direction in their lives. He advises the people that wherever there is a person who has patience, spiritual depth and steadfastness, then one should go and meet such a person in order to emulate these qualities within one’s self.

From this shabd we need to understand that all worldly pleasures are transitory and, at best, give us only momentary happiness and, at worst, keep us trapped in a merry-go-round of sense gratifications, frustrations and anxieties. It is only when one is awakened to spiritual life that one attains ever lasting contentment and happiness.