Shabd 30

bhai re dui jagadish kahan te aya, kahu kown bowraya;
allaha ram karima keshav, hari-hazrat nam dharaya;
gahana ek kanak te gahana, yamen bhav na duja;
kahan sunan ko dui kar thapai, ek nimaz ek puja;
wahi mahadev wahi mahammad, brahma adam kahiye;
ko hindu ko turuk kahawai, ek jimi par rahiye;
ved-kiteb padhe wai kutba, wai molna wai pande;
begar begar nam dharaye, ek matiya ke bhande;
kahahin kabir wai dunon bhule, ramahi kinahu na paya;
ye khasi wai gai katawai, badahin janm gamaya.

Meaning

O my dear brother! Where did the two gods come from; tell me who has caused this confusion? Allah, Ram, Karim, Keshav, Hari, and Hazrat are the names given to Him. Gold is the same in all the jewelry; there can be no other element; For the sake of speaking and hearing, they have established two methods, one is the namaz and the other is puja: The same one is called Mahadev and Mohammed or Brahma and Adam; Who can be said to be a Hindu and who a Turk (Muslim); they both live on the same earth;These read the book of the Vedas and those read the Koran; these are called pandes and those are called mullahs ; They got different different names, but they are all pots of the same clay; Kabir says that both of them are mistaken, for neither have found God; These cut the goat and those cut the cow, and in vain they are wasting their lives.

Commentary

Historically, it is known that there was much dissension, intolerance, and misunderstanding in India between the Hindus and the invading Muslims. These had gone on for centuries by the time Guru Kabir came on the scene. Each religion held to its own practices and beliefs, and excluded the others. Guru Kabir was instructing them that God is only one, so who caused this confusion that one calls God by the name of Ram and the other by the name of Allah? Other names are given to God such as Krishna, Mahadev, Vishnu by the Hindus, and Karim and Hazrat by the muslims. These names are given to the same Supreme Being, for God is without any religion, or, shall we say, beyond religion.

Guru Kabir uses the analogy of various forms of jewelry made from the same gold. They do not have different elements in them. Just so, no matter what names we give to the Supreme Being, He remains the same everywhere, and for all people. He further goes on to say that Mahadev and Mohammed, Brahma and Adam etc. really refer to the same being for the names are different but the spirit dwelling in them all is the same. Therefore, why fight over the differences in names when in essence they are all the same, just as the gold is the same in every form of jewelry.

Guru Kabir observes what is the use of saying one is a Hindu and the other is a Muslim, when they are both living on, and are nurtured by, the same earth. Their needs are all the same, as they are all human beings, and should not create artificial differences, and then create confusion. He observes that the Hindus read the Vedas and the Muslims read the Koran. The former have become the pandes (pandits) and the latter are the mullahs.

Another analogy Guru Kabir uses is that though the names are different, they are all pots of the same clay. No matter how many pots of different types are made, the clay in all of them remains the same. He thus points out that in spite of their artificially created differences, there is only one God for all humanity. Guru Kabir says that both of them are mistaken and are upholding the wrong principles, and that neither of them have obtained God. At the end he adds another practice that keeps them away from God i.e. one cuts the throat of the goat and the other of the cow. He observes that both of them are wasting their lives by committing violent deeds.

On the subject of wasting their lives, we need to bring in the Law of Karma. If people sacrifice the lives of innocent animals, they have to pay for it. They can thus not obtain liberation. Similarly, if they keep on fighting between each other in the name of religion, scripture, doctrine, etc., then of course they are also wasting their lives, and cannot find liberation or God realization.