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kabir 2

Kabir in this poem mocks those desperately seeking the divine far and wide when all they need to do is look within in self realization:

DEEP IN THE WATER A THIRSTY FISH

( PANI BEECH MEEN PYASI)

thirsty fish

It makes me laugh to think
That a fish in the water
Thirsts for a drink.

From forest to forest he sadly roams
In search of a jewel
Lying at home.

It makes me laugh to think
A musk-deer is seeking
The very fragrance
Which emanates from him.

Without knowledge of the Self
What use O pilgrim,
At Mathura or Kasi
To go looking for him?

It makes me laugh to think
That a fish in the water
Can thirst for a drink.

The perfect pilgrimCredit: The Met. New York

The perfect pilgrim
Credit: The Met. New York

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English: Kabir with a disciple Italiano: Kabir...

English: Kabir with a disciple Italiano: Kabir con un discepolo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Kabir was one of India’s most renowned mystic-poets who lived in the 16th century and was a humble weaver by profession. He imbibed the great Hindu and Muslim Sufi mystical traditions to create soul stirring verse and song which are to this day popular across the land. In the following song he speaks of the divinity of the soul. In translation from the original it looses much of its magic and authenticity, yet conveys the force of the message.

WHERE O WHERE ARE YOU LOOKING FOR ME MY FRIEND?

O seeker,

Where are you vainly looking for me,

For I am neither in your pilgrimage nor in your idols,

Not in your temples, not in your mosques,

Not on the holy river banks at Kasi,

Nor in silent lonely spots in the Himalayas,

Not in penances nor the routine of prayers,

I am not in fasts, nor in rituals,

Nor in renunciation even can I be found.

Do you not see my friend,

Who seeks me so earnestly, far and wide,

That I am here, beside you,

Where are you vainly looking for me

Who am here, close at hand,

Right within you,

To be found in no more than a moment,

If you ever care to believe,

Ever care to look.                                                                          

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