Written by: Sweety Vyas
Kabir was a famous15th century Indian poet, saint and reformer. He was born in Varanasi in a poor weaver’s house. He was gifted with writing poetry from an early age. It is believed that he received spiritual training from Ramananda, who was his guru. His songs and poetry are called ‘Dohas’. The verses used simple words and were written in a relatable way that could be understood easily. He wrote his poems in vernacular Hindi mixing the Awadhi, Braj and Bhojpuri dialects. His poems explained right conduct, devotion and self-realization. He was influenced by the Bhakti movement and with Sufi teachings. His writings went beyond caste and creed and emphasized oneness and harmony. His poems are also found in the ‘Guru Granth Sahib’ which is the holy book of the Sikhs. Kabir was a highly acclaimed poet with great influence during his time. Even today his verses are read by people with admiration. Mentioned below are five of his popular ‘dohas.’
Bada Hua To Kya Hua, Jaise Ped Khajoor
Panthi Ko Chhaya Nahin, Phal Laage Atidoor
Meaning – Being rich or famous is of no use if you do not help others. For example, a date tree grows very tall. However, it is not useful to weary travelers as it provides no shade. Its fruit is also hard to reach as it is on the top.
Our value lies in our generosity and sharing with others, not in how great or big we are. Therefore, we should give up selfishness, greed and insecurity and help others. This simple understanding should guide our lives.
Rumi also says – “In generosity and helping others be like the river” which forever flows. Giving opens our hearts and helps us grow.
Man Ke Haare Haar Hai Man Ke Jeete Jeet
Kahe Kabeer Hari Paie Man Hee Kee Parateet
Meaning – If a man loses his mind, he is defeated and if he wins over his mind, he achieves success. Always be strong and let your mind not be morose. With confidence in the mind, you will find God. Therefore, always aim to be victorious.
When we face tough times, it is easy to give up. However, Kabir says that by the strength of our mind, we can determine our path and make the impossible possible.
William Shakespeare has said,” Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” If we are fearful, we block many wonderful opportunities that come our way. One should conquer the mind and proceed with conviction.
Bura Jo Dekhan Main Chala, Bura Naa Milya Koye
Jo Munn Khoja Apnaa, To Mujhse Bura Naa Koye
Meaning – I went searching for someone who was bad. But I could not find anyone with faults. When I searched within myself, I realized that there was no one as bad as me.
This doha explains our tendencies and behavior. Our ego makes us think that we are the best and causes us to blame others for the circumstances and situations we find ourselves in. Kabir explains that through deep introspection, we will often find that the fault lies in us, in our own attitudes. Rather than looking for deficiencies in others, we should correct our perceptions and opt for a compassionate attitude. Then all will be good again.
Ajahn Brahm remarks – “Instead of having a fault-finding mind, develop the beautiful attitude of gratitude.” You become what you think and concentrate on. So instead of blaming others, be appreciative. That will raise your consciousness and make you happy.
Aisee Vani Boliye, Mun Ka Aapa Khoye
Apna Tan Sheetal Kare, Auran Ko Sukh Hoye
Meaning – Speak words that are wise, kind, selfless and without egoistic tendencies. Your own body remains composed and gives others joy.
There are vibrations caused by sound that affect both the speaker and the listener. Speak compassionate words that benefit both. You cannot take back the words once spoken. Human beings are blessed with the power of speech. Speak words that create harmony and togetherness and dispel hatred. The spoken word is very powerful. Use it well.
“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.” This quote has been attributed to Buddha. One word is truly important. Love. Better than talking uselessly, one should speak words that promote peace.
Dukh me Simran sab kare, Sukh me kare na koye
Jo sukh me simiran kare, Dukh kahe ko hoye
Meaning – Everyone prays to God during bad times but forgets to remember him during good times. However, if one prays to him in happy times also one does not suffer.
When we are anguished, it is easy for us to approach God. We forget Him when things are going well for us. One should be fixed in devotion to God, during all times, good and bad. Then misery cannot touch us. Kabir remarks that when we are in proximity with God in all circumstances, we become steadfast. Then sorrow cannot come close to us.
Mother Teresa has said – “Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God.” Then His guidance and strength will remain with us.