In this poem of paradox, kabir points out that the path of the saints is unusual. It avoids external observances and formal practices that people generally adopt for finding the Divine Spirit. Metaphorically speaking, Kabir says that those who take refuge in a ship, follow a smooth
highway or seek the shelter of large mansions fail to achieve their destination. Those who remain in the world and follow the practice of pilgrimage, alms giving, worship in temples and holyplaces, and those who renounce the world, retreat to forests, become recluses and take to penance’s
The devotee whose inner being is pierced by the arrow of Shabd attains true happiness. Those who have eyes for the world and its lures remain blind to the inner realms of spiritual bliss; those who have turned theirattention inward and have opened their inner eye see the Lord in the entire creation.
Such is true knowledge, O friend-
Those who take refuge in a boat sink midstream;
The shelterless and forlorn, reach the opposite shore.
Those who take the arduous thorny path reach the town;
Who take the easy highway are robbed midway.
In one string all are entangled, be they worldly, be they recluse.
Those who take shelter under the edifice of forms and rituals,
Are rocked and drenched by the storm;
Who remain in the open, Are left dry and safe.
Those wounded by the arrow, Attain everlasting bliss;
They suffer pain and misery who remain unhurt.
Those without eyes see the entire creation;
Who possess eyes remain blind. Says kabir;
When I realized the truth, I saw the world’s strange character.
I’ve Been Thinking
I have been thinking of the difference between water
and the waves on it. Rising,
water’s still water, falling back,
it is water, will you give me a hint
how to tell them apart?
Because someone has made up the word
“wave,” do I have to distinguish it from water?
There is a Secret One inside us;
the planets in all the galaxies
pass through his hands like beads.
That is a string of beads one should look at with luminous eyes.