Shabd 39

aiso hari so jagat laratu hai, pandur katahūn garud dharatu hai.
mūs-bilāī kaisan hetū, jambuk karai kehari so khetū.
achraj ek dekho sansārā, swahanhā khedai kunjar aswārā.
kahahin kabīr suno santo bhāī, ihai sandhi kāhu birlai pāī.


The world fights furiously with God. How can the water snake catch hold of the eagle?  What friendship can there be between the mouse and cat? How can the jackal defeat the lion?  I see a great marvel in the world where the dog is chasing the elephant rider.  Kabir says, “Listen, O brother saints! Rarely does anyone realize this state of union with God.”


In this shabda Guru Kabir is speaking of the spiritually ignorant people as opposed to the devotees of God or the saints. The meaning of the people fighting furiously with God is that they are deluded by the power of Maya. They are deluded by false doctrines, and fall under the sway of hypocritical teachers. When a true saint imparts divine teachings, they are not willing to accept them. On the contrary, they set up obstacles for the saint and will even endeavour to destroy him. Guru Kabir stated in one of his shabdas that when he spoke the truth, the people rushed to beat him, but they believed the lies.

Guru Kabir uses a few examples of incompatible life forms just as the spiritually ignorant people (manmukh) are incompatible with the devotees (gurmukh) of God. He says how can the water snake catch hold of the garuda bird (eagle). The garuda is known to kill snakes. Similarly, there can be no friendship between a mouse and a cat, because the mouse represents the foolish people, and the cat the spiritually wise. They have no warm working relationships. Again, he talks about the jackal defeating the lion. The lion, representing the saintly person, can physically be destroyed, but his saintliness goes with him. Again, he speaks of the dog barking and chasing the elephant with its rider. What can the dog do to the elephant rider who is so high up? It is indeed a marvel to see how the foolish people, like the dog barking, try to destroy the saintly people.

Guru Kabir explains to his brother seekers that there is hardly anyone who is able to realize unity with God.

Guru Kabir is giving us a clear instruction that we must not behave like foolish people putting a blindfold over our eyes, and failing to see the truth revealed to us. We must use our intelligence and have an open mind to recognize the truth that is taught to us by the great spiritual teachers. In this lies our salvation from the mundane bondage that is, figuratively, like a noose tightening around our necks.