Shabd 36

hari thag jagat thagowrī lāī, hari viyog kas jiyahu re bhāī.
ko kāko purush kown kāki nārī, akath kathā yam drishti pasārī.
ko kāko putra kown kāko bāpā, ko re marai ko sahai santāpā.
thagi thagi mūl saban kā līnhā, rām thagowrī kāhu na chīnhā.
kahahin kabīr thag so manmānā, gaī thagowrī jab thag pahichānā.

Meaning

The deluded mind uses the name of God to cheat the world. O brother! How will you live with this separation from God? Who is whose husband, and who is whose wife? The story of Yama (cunning mind) is unexplainable, and it has spread its cruel vision everywhere.Who is whose son, and who is whose father? Who dies and who suffers? By cheating and cheating, the mind has robbed the capital (knowledge of the soul) from everyone. No one could recognize the mind cheating one of the wealth of Ram.  Kabir says, understand that the mind is the cheater. This cheating will disappear when one recognizes the cheater.

Commentary

In this shabda Guru Kabir speaks of the network of delusion created by the mind. We all know that the mind plays tricks with everyone of us. When it comes to religious or spiritual practices, the mind becomes more prone to deception, since it is dealing with subjects it has not experienced. It is a rare spiritually developed person who experiences God, and the nature of the soul. The majority of people practice their religious duties, but they do not fathom the secret of God. They thus use the name of God and, without knowing it, are being deprived of the real treasure that the name of God offers. They often delude other people, thus robbing them of the ultimate spiritual knowledge that they could also obtain.

It is well known that people will argue about God and religion, about karma and its effects, about gods and goddesses, about rites and rituals, and about doctrines and dogmas. These are all machinations of the mind. The common denominator is that there is God called by different names. There is also the soul that is in intimate communion with God, if the veil of ignorance is removed. However, the veil of ignorance exists because of the cunningness, and lack of spiritual enlightenment, of the mind. In other words, people preach their ‘half-baked’ philosophy to others, and no one becomes enlightened to realize the real treasure lying within themselves.

It looks far-fetched when Guru Kabir asks what appears to be absurd questions about who is whose husband, and who is whose wife, and who is whose son and who is whose father, and who dies and who suffers. These are rhetorical questions. They either deserve an answer based on spiritual insight, or they need no answer. From the spiritual angle the answer is quite simple. The soul is the same whether it is in a husband or a wife, a son or a father, or in any person. The relationships are only external, and have to do with the body, the mind, the intellect etc. It has nothing to do with the soul that is always the spirit dwelling in the hearts of all beings. The soul neither dies nor suffers, but when the soul takes on a body and is ‘born’, it is the body and mind that suffer. The soul does not.

Guru Kabir is saying it is necessary to introspect and to understand that the mind is a cheater, unless it is controlled and made to meditate on the nature of the soul and divinity. Without this attainment, the mind cheats one of the capital that is the divine knowledge of the soul and God. If one understands that the mind is the cheater, and he is then able to control it, and direct it inwards to the spirit that is indwelling, then one has the opportunity to remove one’s self from the clutches of the cunning and cheating mind. Metaphysical teaching is concerned with the mind, the intellect, the consciousness, the soul and God. These are realized through the process of introspection, allowing for an inner realization of their nature, the intimate union that exists between the soul and God. Removal of the veil of ignorance perpetrated by the mind is all that is necessary.