Shabd 5

anto acharaj ek bhow bhari, kahown to ko patiyai;
ekai purush ek hai nari, takar karahu vichara;
ekai and sakal chowrasi, bharam bhula sansara;
ekai nari jal pasara, jag me bhaya andesha;
khojat-khojat ant na paya, bramha vishnu mahesa;
nag phans liye ghat bhitar, museni sab jag jhari;
gyan khadag binu sab jag jujhe, pakri kahu nahi pai;
apuhi mul phul phulwari, apuhi chuni-chuni khai;
kahahi kabir tei jan ubare, jehi guru liyo jagai.

Meaning

O saints! A very surprising thing has happened. If I tell the truth who will believe it? There is only one sentient Purush (God) and one woman (maya, prakriti). You should think about them. All the 8.4 million species came from the one universal “egg”; all the worldly people are lost in doubts. This one woman has spread her trap everywhere, and the world has become afraid of her. People have searched and searched but could not fathom her secrets; even Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh could not fathom her secrets. With the noose of the three qualities, she has entered the heart, and she is plundering the whole world completely. The people fight with her without the sword of knowledge, and they are not able to subdue her. She is verily the root, the flower and the garden, and she is the one who selects and eats up all. Kabir says only those who have obtained enlightenment from the guru will obtain liberation from the illusion (maya).

Commentary

In this shabd, Guru Kabir is talking about the power of maya, figuratively, represented as a woman. He also speaks of God as the one sentient Male or Purush. The female is maya or prakriti, which means the creative energy of God, or the undifferentiated matter, which existed in the beginning. It is because of maya that all things came into existence, and are pursuing their respective ways of life. This maya is also spoken of as the deceiver or the delusive power. This concept is somewhat difficult for the average person to understand, because it is a mystical concept. It must be understood in the following way: If God alone existed in the beginning and everything came from the being of God, then even maya and all matter came from God. If we confine our knowledge to the manifested material things in the universe, and do not perceive God, then we are deluded or fooled. The reason that we are deluded, is that all the manifested forms are really the various aspects of God, since they all arose from God. God is thus not different from all manifested things in the universe. We can say that the sum total of all things in the universe is God. Everything which occurs in the world, therefore, is because of maya which is the energy that God projected from His own being, in order to make all the various “things” in the universe manifest in their myriad forms.

Since maya has all of this power, and since there are so many types of suffering in the world, people do develop fear and doubts in their own heart, about themselves, and their relationship to God. People of all types, and even god’s and demi-gods, have tried to understand the power of maya, but they fail to fathom her secret. This secret is hidden in the mind of God. But this maya, figuratively, spreads her net everywhere in the world, creating various types of races and religions, cultures, ignorance, and all manner of evil. But people do not see themselves rising above all of maya’s entanglements, because they have not obtained the proper spiritual instruction from a qualified guru.

We cannot fight with maya, except if we use the sword of knowledge. This knowledge is that God, or Purush (Satpurush), is the only existence. Maya is a projection from God resulting in the myriad manifestations in this world, and in the universe. That which is within us as the soul, is the only Reality, as it is eternal. Unless we can grasp the knowledge of the soul’s unity with God, we will continue to be living in doubt, fear and spiritual darkness, without obtaining liberation.