No difference between river & its waves

Sant Kabir

Sant Kabir

The river and its waves are one surf: where is the difference between the river and its waves? When the wave rises, it is the water; and when it falls, it is the same water again. Tell me, Sir, where is the distinction? Because it has been named as wave, shall it no longer be considered as water? Within the Supreme Brahma, the worlds are being told like beads: Look upon that rosary with the eyes of wisdom.

mo ko kahân dhûnro bande

O servant, where dost thou seek Me? Lo! I am beside thee. I am neither in temple nor in mosque: I am neither in Kaaba nor in Kailash: Neither am I in rites and ceremonies, nor in Yoga and renunciation. If thou art a true seeker, thou shalt at once see Me: thou shalt meet Me in a moment of time. Kabîr says, “O Sadhu! God is the breath of all breath.”

Santan jât na pûcho nirguniyân

It is needless to ask of a saint the caste to which he belongs; For the priest, the warrior. the tradesman, and all the thirty-six castes, alike are seeking for God. It is but folly to ask what the caste of a saint may be; The barber has sought God, the washerwoman, and the carpenter. Even Raidas was a seeker after God. The Rishi Swapacha was a tanner by caste. Hindus and Moslems alike have achieved that End, where remains no mark of distinction.   

sâdho bhâî, jîval hî karo âs’â

O friend! hope for Him whilst you live, know whilst you live, understand whilst you live: for in life deliverance abides. If your bonds be not broken whilst living, what hope of deliverance in death? It is but an empty dream, that the soul shall have union with Him because it has passed from the body: If He is found now, He is found then, If not, we do but go to dwell in the City of Death. If you have union now, you shall have it hereafter. Bathe in the truth, know the true Guru, have faith in the true Name! Kabîr says: “It is the Spirit of the quest which helps; I am the slave of this Spirit of the quest.”

avadhû, mâyâ tajî na jây

Tell me, Brother, how can I renounce Maya? When I gave up the tying of ribbons, still I tied my garment about me: When I gave up tying my garment, still I covered my body in its folds. So, when I give up passion, I see that anger remains; And when I renounce anger, greed is with me still; And when greed is vanquished, pride and vainglory remain; When the mind is detached and casts Maya away, still it clings to the letter. Kabîr says, “Listen to me, dear Sadhu! the true path is rarely found.”

hamsâ, kaho purâtan vât

Tell me, O Swan, your ancient tale. From what land do you come, O Swan? to what shore will you fly? Where would you take your rest, O Swan, and what do you seek? Even this morning, O Swan, awake, arise, follow me! There is a land where no doubt nor sorrow have rule: where the terror of Death is no more. There the woods of spring are a-bloom, and the fragrant scent “He is I” is borne on the wind: There the bee of the heart is deeply immersed, and desires no other joy.

Excerpted from ‘The Songs of Kabir’ translated by Ravindranath Tagore. The 580th birth anniversary of Sant Kabir was observed on June 5

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