santo achraj ek bhow bhari, putra dhail mahatari;
pita ke sange bhai bawari, kanya rahal kuwari;
khasamhi chhadi sasur sang gowni, so kin lehu vichari;
bhai ke sang sasur gowni, sasuhi sawat dinha;
nanad bhowji parpanch racho hai, mor nam kahi linha;
samdhi ke sang nahin ai, sahaj bhai gharbari;
kahahin kabir suno ho santo, purush janm bhow nari.
O saints! A great surprise has happened – a son took his mother as wife; The daughter became deluded by her father but remained a virgin; Giving up her own husband, she went to the father-in-law. Who can understand this? With her brother she went to the home of her husband’s parents and became a step wife beside her mother-in-law; Her sister-in-law and her brother’s wife create a conspiracy in the world, and they blame me for it; She did not come to her parents-in-law, but easily she became the housewife; Kabir says listen O saints! The male has given birth to the females.
This shabda appears to contain various contradictory and silly statements. But it is an allegorical statement, using the family, as a means of explaining spiritual truths. In this family things are not normal as we would understand a family. In order to understand the meaning of this shabda, it is important to keep the following relationships in mind: The son is the mind; the mother is maya. The father is ego; the daughter is intellect; the husband is the male or the soul. The father-in-law is ignorance. The brother is knowledge; the husband’s parents is the world; the mother-in-law is attachment; sister-in-law is evil thinking. The parents-in-law are saints, the male is the soul and the females are desires.
All of the relationships mentioned in this shabda really deal with aspects within the person. Maya is the creative principle or energy of God and is the source of all creation. Thus, maya is the mother of the man. The mind is the son. Maya is also the illusory power of the world. The mind thus enjoys the worldly things and so it is said to take the mother as wife. The daughter is intellect and her father is the ego. The ego causes the differentiation from which the intellect arises. But the intellect, because of ego, cannot function wisely as it should. It is thus said to be deluded or confounded by the father. The intellect, being the daughter, gives up her own husband, which is the soul, and partakes in ignorance. Instead of pursuing knowledge of itself and reality, and its connection with the soul and God, she becomes attracted to all the material things of the world and so she remains ignorant. There is hardly any person who pays attention to this sort of relationship which exists within him.
Intellect has a brother we call knowledge, with whom she went into the world. In the world she becomes preoccupied with attachment, which is her mother-in-law. At the home of her in-laws there is a sister-in-law which is evil thinking, with which the intellect often associates. Her brother’s wife is illusion, or wrong perceptions and thinking. Together they cause a great deal of confusion and conspiracy and blame each other.
The intellect did not go to the saints, in order to obtain pure knowledge, but instead, remained in the world as a co-wife to attachments.
Kabir said to all seekers who wish to obtain true knowledge that they need to pay attention to the inner turmoil that is raging between all these family members that are within. He states that the male has given birth to the females. In this the Purush is a male which is the same as the soul which gave birth to desires, which are the females.
The lesson taught in this shabda is that we do not properly use our intellect which becomes entangled with passions and create a host of problems. This results in the soul losing its way to its Divine home.