Speaker: Every single line here makes use of characters, objects, metaphors, images, that is the only way language can proceed. That is the tool of language as well as the limitation of language. It will have to talk about something. Whenever you will use words, whenever you will use language, obviously, you would be talking about something or somebody.
When a saint, when a Kabir, wishes to communicate something to mortal ears, he will have to use the language of the mortals, the language that we have built up, the language that is coming from the human mind. So, there are a lot of symbols, objects, motives, lot of wordplay, conjuring of fascinating images.
Let us see…
(Reads a verse of Kabir) “Amarpuri le chalo ho sajna”
(Translation: O Beloved! Take me to the land of immortality)
So, the words open, and the opening line suggests, probably, a young woman beseeching, requesting, asking, a lover, to take her to Amarpuri (the land of immortality).
A few simple words:
“Amarpuri le chalo ho sajna”
Beloved, take me to the land of immortality.
Beloved, take me to the land where death does not reach.
The field of deathlessness.
And that is the almost deceptive magic of Kabir.
In these simple and sparse words, he has brought together everything that has to do with Love.
- What is this thing called Love?
- Why is Love such a great force in our life?
- Why does the mind experience that attraction?
- What is the ultimate purpose and end of Love?
Five simple words: “Amarpuri le chalo ho sajna” – Beloved, take me to the deathless land.
Love, our earthly love, would always be with a mortal being, right, – a man, a woman, a child – you could even say you love a thing, a house, a car, a mountain, a river or an idea, liberty, egalitarianism, freedom. But, whatever you would claim to love would always belong to the land of death, the land of mortals. Kabir is saying that even though we appear to be loving a mortal, yet it is through the mortal that we want to reach immortality and that is why we are attracted to the mortal. The mortal is not the end. The man or the woman is not the end that we seek. The man or woman is the bridge. The bridge that would enable you to crossover to the land of immortality.
In this, Kabir is teaching us everything about Love.
Who deserves to be your lover?
Only the one who can take you to Amarpuri, because that is your one only and continuous demand from your lover.
It may appear that you want the lover’s affection, care or the lover’s body, but the fact is that from your lover, from your mortal worldly lover, you want not trust or care or proximity or sexual pleasures. You want the ultimate spiritual goal, which is immortality, which is the freedom from the fear of death, which is freedom from the clutches of time. So, only if there is somebody, only if there is a human being, a mortal or any object, a book, a place which satisfies this condition then it deserves to be your lover.
What is the condition?
That it should act as a bridge between you and That, between you and the Heavens.
You see, if a person attracts you to himself then that person cannot be called a lover because that person is saying come to me. That person is claiming ‘I am big enough to be your purpose’. That person is saying ‘make me your goal, your end’.
Kabir is saying, a person deserves to be your lover only if the person is saying I am not going to become your goal. I am not going to become your objective. I will only become a fellow traveller, a means, a bridge. If you come to me then I will take you beyond me. I will not make you stay with me. I will not possess you. I will not make you stop at me. Instead, I will guide you beyond me. That is how the wise man decides on his lover, if it all it can be called a decision. Because in such matters, what happens is so spontaneous that it cannot really be called a decision. But what Kabir is enunciating to us is the basis of spontaneity. That basis is ‘The Beyond’.
Please understand this carefully once again. If you come across something or somebody that attracts you to itself, then that thing is in fact dangerous for you, because it will completely envelope you, encircle you, and in that way enslave you. It will say you can move no further , your journey ends here, there at me. You are my husband now and go no further. You are my son, look no further. The real lover will say: because I love you, I’ll help you go Beyond. Maybe we will travel together to the Beyond.
“Amarpuri le chalo ho sajna”
(O Beloved! Take me to the land of immortality)
That is what you always want from your lover. Love is essentially a spiritual relationship. Even if you are attracted to somebody’s intellect, or body, yet if you go deep enough into your mind, you will realize that it is not words or riches or looks that you ultimately want. You want that which is always the foremost, the ultimate and the final goal of human life – Liberation. Man searches for liberation in many ways . What you call as your earthly love is just one of those ways; however, that way goes corrupt when you do not realize that the goal is not a form, not a body, not a person. Then instead of the other person becoming a bridge to the beyond, the other person becomes a hindrance. Unfortunately, that is the case with most people. The one whom they choose as their lover, instead of facilitating their journey, the lover becomes an active impediment – a road block.
The lover does not say: “You are travelling at a particular speed, I’ll enable you to move faster”. The lover says: “No more movement. I blocked the road now. Go no beyond.” And if you go beyond me then I will call it immoral. I will say that you have breached the code of loyalty. For that is what my definition of Love is, the Lover would say. The deluded lover would say that my definition of love is that you have to be devoted, dedicated and loyal to ‘me’.
The Real lover would say: “Forget me! Do not remember me. Because if you remember me, then you are not remembering the Truth. Forget me so that you may remember the Truth. It is not me who matters, something else matters.”
Kabir is opening up a secret for us. He is saying if you must live with men then you must know who is the right man, the right human being for you to choose.
Do not choose somebody who is asking you to come to himself.
That’s a thumb rule.
Choose somebody who does not want to make himself important for you. Choose somebody who does not want to dominate your mind. Choose somebody who rather clears the way for you. If your love is of a nature that your lover, the lover in name or form, is always upon your mind. You are thinking of him or her, missing him, then it is certain that the relationship won’t do either of you, both of you, any good. This relationship is not at all a healthy relationship. Let alone a divine one.
Please remember this. This is your only demand from whatever you have loved. Be it a tree, a cat, a building, an idea, money, a work of art.
Whenever you have been attracted to something, you have been attracted to the Ultimate.
That something is auspicious for you only if that something takes you to the Ultimate.
The request proceeds:
“Amarpuri ki sakri galiyan,
adhbad hoya chadhna,
thokar laagi gurgyaan sabad ki,
udhar gaye jhapna.”
Kabir, in the opening line, opened up Love for us and then he proceeds us to tell us of something equally significant. He now tells us of the Guru and so beautifully, so simply, so lucidly, he reveals the whole matter to us. He says that place has been eluding me. Surely, it is difficult to reach. That destination has somehow been very unavailable to mankind. Men after men, women after women, centuries after centuries have been trying for that commited place. But so few, if any at all, seem to reach there.
“Amarpuri ki sakri galiyan, adbad hoya chadhna”
Definitely, it is a very convoluted, a very warped route, full of obstacles probably. Not easy to reach. And how does one reach there? He says the impetus of the world of the Guru, and what appeared so difficult, suddenly becomes so easy. What seems so distinct shows up as extremely proximate. What looked infinitely difficult to reach, reveals itself as the very ground you are standing on. And if we are careful, we would not fail to establish an obvious relationship between the opening line and the following lines. The opening line gave us the definition of the lover. The lover was the one whom you expected to take you to Amarpuri (the land of immortality), right!
“Amarpuri le chalo ho sajna”
(O Beloved! Take me to the land of immortality)
The lover was the one you thought, you expected, would take you to the land of ultimate desire. And ultimately you did reach that place. Ultimately you did land there. How? How? “Thokar laagi…” (got hurt) Where you wanted to reach you indeed did reach. So what you wanted through your lover came to you through the? What you wanted , what did you want through the lover?
Speaker: Immortality. THAT, That which cannot be named. That which cannot be described. That ineffable relief. That’s what you wanted. You wanted it via the lover, and you get it through the…
Speaker: So the lover has to be the…?
Speaker: And the Guru has to be the…?
Speaker: Ahh! Yes! We never look at our lovers that way; infact, it would be so unromantic, right? If the lover looks like a Guru, acts like a Guru, even remotely resembles a Guru, that would be disqualification enough for you to reject him or her.
‘You should look hot and sensual baby! What is all this Guru business? Not in front of me, maybe in front of your audiences. Don’t try this act in our intimacy, it is just suppose to be a public show. All that preaching and Satsang. What is that? That is just a performance, right! A public performance, for consumption of gullible fools who are prepared to be taken in. But here, our relationship, this is real, this is intimate, this is personal between you and me and here we have to talk of the sweet and nice things of life. Not other worldly and boring stuff like Truth and Freedom. Let’s talk of perfumes, let’s talk of fairies, let’s talk of various pleasures that our bodies can give us. What is this nonsense about divinity and immortality! What is this thing called the ultimate? Let me show you the ultimate! And I promise you that all your desires will be extinguished.’
If the lover has nothing to do with the Truth, Kabir is promising us, your lover can have nothing to do with you either. If your lover could not be devoted to the One, to the Father, are you a fool to think that he or she can be devoted to you? Who are you? What is your worth? The one who has supreme worth, your so called lover, could not be loyal even to Him. How is this fellow going to be loyal to you? Kabir is warning us!
The word Guru in its etonology itself is so instructive. Guru means the one who takes you from darkness to realization, darkness to light and that exactly is also the definition of the lover. The lover is the one who takes you from darkness to light and if your lover has an interest in keeping you in dark then run away, run away for your life, escape!
The Guru is the lover, the lover is the Guru, and there can be no distinction between the two.
This challenges our images.
The lover is imagined to be active, attractive.
A Guru is imagined to be staid, passive, wise, but hardly attractive in the worldly sense, that is.
No, these two definitions must converge, and they can converge only if both of them dissolve.
“Waahire amarpur laagi bajaria, sauda hai karna”
It is only in the land of Truth that truthful deals are cut. Sauda denotes a deal – a transaction, a business transaction. Because we live in the land of falseness, so all our deals are false. All the trading that we do is just loss making. Have you seen how we make our trades, on the basis of counting, you count what you get, right! And you count what you give, and then you apply your mathematics because mathematics and only mathematics can be applied to numbers. You apply your mathematics and then if you get a positive number, you say, well, profitable deal, let’s close it. Unfortunately, the good news is that whatever makes life beautiful is beyond counting, cannot be enumerated. But because you believe only in numbers and you think that only numbers exist, so that which cannot be counted, for you, that does not exist at all. You say if it cannot be counted, it does not exist. And if it does not exist then I can trade it away very easily. So for money you will be prepared to trade away love! And do you not see people trading away their freedom for the sake of a few more dollars? Oh! Euros for that matter. (Adressing audience that uses Euros as currency)
Listener 1: Or, Rupees.
Speaker: Oh! Rupees. Sure. Thanks for pointing inwards.
So easy to count what I am getting and so difficult to see what I am sacrificing. Another matter that what you are trying to sacrifice is so strong that it cannot be sacrificed. But it is not about that which you are trying to sacrifice, it is more about your own intention. You wanted to give it away. You say alright, I mean freedom, how does it matter ? For a little bit of comfort and luxury which can be quantified. If I am required to trade away my freedom, let me do that, why not? These are the deals that we make in this world.
Kabir is saying that a mark of that world is that you make fair deals.
What is a fair deal?
A fair deal is one where you give away that which is anyway of no value and get that which is invaluable. In that land, Kabir tells us, you give up all your rubbish and gain the immense and that is beautiful. You are giving that away which is so trivial, filth and regaining that which is so large that numbers cannot capture it. You can look it even in an another way. You are giving that away which you anyway never had and you are gaining that which is fundamentally yours. A beautiful deal. Kabir is saying that is the mark of truth. Wherever you see such a deal happening, only that is the place you should be found at. Wherever you are gaining something which cannot be expressed in words, in numbers, in the dimension of mind, kindly be found at that place more and more. That is
In that land, Kabir, tells us, you give up all your rubbish and gain the immense, and that is beautiful. You are giving that away which is so trivial, filth, and regaining that which is so large that numbers cannot capture it. You can look at it even in an another way.
You are giving that away which you anyway never had and you are gaining that which is fundamentally yours.
A beautiful deal.
Kabir is saying, that is the mark of Truth. Wherever you see such a deal happening, only that is the place you should be found at. Wherever you are gaining something, which cannot be expressed in words, in numbers, in the dimension of mind, kindly be found at that place more and more. That is Amarpuri (the land of immortality). And wherever you have been given a lot, which you can think of, which you can express as a concept, which you can put in a balance sheet, kindly be cautious of that kind of a place.
“Wahere amarpur sant basat hai, darsan hai lehna,
Sant samaaj sabha jahan bethi, wahi purush apna.”
So, Amarpur, Amarpur, Amarpur, one feels like asking, how do I locate Amarpur? How do I locate Amarpur? Kabir comes to your help again. Yes. That seems to be his only job to come to your help again and again. Many forms, many words, many places, many times. It is not in Amarpur that saints are found.
It is not in Amarpur that saints are found.
Wherever saints are found, that is Amarpur.
And what are saints? Are saints persons? Are you saying that, that fellow ‘X’ is a saint? And I’ll locate his permanent residence and that place will be called Amarpur. No, not that way. People like Kabir whenever they use these symbols, you remember how we opened this talk? We said a saint has to use your language, but you must understand that he is not talking about this world. It is his compassion and a limitation of language that he is talking in your words. But he is not giving something to you which is within the circle of your language. He is giving you something a little different. When Kabir says “Saint”, He means not a person but that within you which is saintly. Please understand this. When Kabir says Saint, he means not a person, not a name, but that within you which is saintly and that is the location of Amarpur. Kabir is saying wherever Saints are found that is Amarpur, and I am saying Sainthood, Saintliness is found in your Heart. So where is Amarpur? Where is Amarpur?
Listeners: In the Heart.
Speaker: Ah! So will you say to your lover, I love you with all my heart? No, if you have any wisdom, you will say, kindly take me to my Heart. For that is the reason I am attracted to you. But, we say, you know, ‘I am giving my heart to you’. That is quite a miracle! Your heart is a place that you could never reach and you are saying that you are giving it away! But that is the nature of deals that we make, right? You are giving away something that you do not even have and which essentially cannot be given away.
“Sant samaaj sabha jahan baithi, waahi purush apna”
And wherever, the inner saint, that expresses itself in many forms, wherever people sit together, sant samaaj sabha jahan baithi, wherever people sit together and the subject is Truth, that place is Amarpur (the deathless land).
(Repeats) “Sant samaaj sabha jahan baithi”
The saint is the one who is living by the heart, is he not? And wherever two people will sit and rejoice in their mutual company and in the company of Truth. Wherever people will sit together and sing of the Truth, that place is Amarpur (the deathless land).
I thought a principle cannon of spirituality was always that, that That which you are seeking is always beneath your feet. That’s a hint. That’s a hint. That which each one of us is seeking is beneath our feet. Kabir is saying, wherever people will talk and sing of the Truth, that place is Amarpur.
Where are you right now?
Where are we? Where are we? Where are we?
(Referring to one of the listeners) Your friend mislead you. He told you it was Shivpuri. It is Amarpuri (the deathless land).
“Sant samaaj sabha jahan baithi”
Wherever people would rejoice in the word of Truth, that place is Amarpuri. And, as soon as those same people forget the Truth and occupy themselves with miscellaneous distractions, Amarpuri is gone. Always there, yet gone, for the one who does not remember.
“Kahat Kabir suno bhai sadho, bhavsagar hai tarna”
Kabir says, that in case you are confused what all this singing and rejoicing and advising is about, let me just say one thing, you and I, are nothing but desires. The desire to crossover this ocean of suffering and desiring – Bhavsagar. It is the call to crossover that makes Kabir sing all this. Listen sadho (sage), you and I are one, and both are driven by the same impulse. Both are called by the same Source. Our pains are one and our goal is one. We have to crossover. We have to?
Speaker: Anything on this? (Asks the audience for any queries regarding the discussion done so far)
Listener 2: Sir, being with Truth is when I am with Truth, the things that get me indulged, even when the body is there but it doesn’t bother me. So, you are not the body at that particular moment?
Speaker: Even if it does bother you, the botheration does not bother you. The botheration remains till a point, but you have something which is beyond botheration. Kindly do not hold the desire to not to be bothered. As far as the body goes, it operates with the need for security, care, preservation and all of these are just botherations, so botherations will be there. But, you will not be bothered. Botherations will arise. If needed, you will take care of the botherations, but when you are taking care of those botherations, still, there is something, that is gently humming a song that is nothing to do with botheration. It’s like you are busy sweeping the floor and there is only dirt and muck all around you but you are singing a song that has nothing to do with dirt or muck. It even does not have anything to do with your desire for freedom. It is a very distant song. You might be doing anything here – wiping floors, climbing hills or flying planes – the song remains the same. The words may change, but the song fundamentally remains the same. Bothered – I sing; not bothered – I sing; happy – I sing; sad – I still sing. That does not mean that you would never be sad. You would still be sad. You will be melodiously sad. You would be songfully sad. The food has been ruined, but it is such a delicious ruined. The whole thing is screwed up, and it is so much fun.
We are very uncomfortable with both pain and pleasure. Kindly observe. Spirituality is not about the elimination of pain and pleasure. It is about being comfortable with both of them. Not only are we uncomfortable with pain, if you will notice, you will find that you are highly uncomfortable with pleasure also. Have you seen how in the moments of pleasure, you almost get a heart attack? Hundreds, if not thousands of people die during sexual intercourse. Too much pleasure. Yes. The heart cannot take it, gone ! Yes. In fact, in certain diseases it is advisable, it is advised to you not to be excited. Not even to watch exciting movies, not to watch thrilling matches. World cups – Do you know how many people die? We are not comfortable even with pleasure. Have you seen how pitiable you look in your moments of pleasure? Almost like a beggar – Darling, once more, please.
Mankind has been chasing the elimination of suffering without realizing that it is not alright even with what it considers good and pleasurable. Spirituality is learning to be ‘ok’ with both pain and pleasure, with all sets of dualities. Day or night, I am alright; pain or pleasure, I am alright. And pain and pleasure will inevitably be there. Kindly do not have this pipe dream. As long as the body is there, the mind is there, pain will be there and pleasure will be there. The sun is setting, one end of duality is about to make way for the other. You see, how the temperature is dipping now.
‘I was comfortable with the broad daylight and I am comfortable with the chill now that runs down my back.’ – That is to be spiritual.
That is what it means to be spiritual. As alright in a party as when in solitude. As much at home while speaking to hundreds, as while playing with a puppy. Always at home. It does not mean that you will not interact with the hundreds, you will, but you will go out into the world while being at home. Ah! that’s beautiful. Always at home, I roam hither and tither, that is spirituality. Do not ask for the ending for all botheration. You are here to be bothered. We all are here to be bothered. The botheration will continue. Be comfortable with them, that’s all.
Listener 3: Sir, when in pleasure, there is a fear that it will go away.
Speaker: That it will go away, so you want to consume it like a mad and a greedy man. That is our approach to pleasure. We are never comfortable with it. Like a hungry, greedy and insecure man has been served food and he wants to gobble the whole thing down, up! He does not know when it might be snatched away. He does not know when he would get the next meal. So he wants to make the most of this opportunity. That is our attitude to pleasure. Now that I have it, let me consume as much of it as possible. And that is what the whole thing of consumerism is. Let me have as much as possible. Life is short. Tomorrow I’ll be no more. So let me burn the whole thing up.
Listener 3: And in suffering there is a hope that it will go away.
Speaker: Yes, in suffering there is hope, so in suffering, while suffering, you are not comfortable because you want the suffering to go away. So obviously you are not comfortable. When in pleasure you are afraid that the pleasure might go away. With pleasure you are afraid that the pleasure might?
Listeners: (In unison) Go away..
Speaker: Go away. With suffering, you are afraid that the suffering might?
Listeners: (In unison) Stay.
Speaker: Not go away. And hoping that the suffering may please go away. Either way we are never comfortable. Spirituality is about having that Home, that center of comfort.
Listener 3: How does it happen ?
Speaker: Just be comfortable. You may have Apaar (one of the listeners) sitting next to you, still you ought to be comfortable. That’s what being spiritual is all about. Exactly, that is the nature of spirituality. When you are not being perturbed by who’s sitting next to you because your eyes are set somewhere else, then even if pain and pleasure are in your vicinity, right next to you, they don’t bother you. Then you are looking somewhere else.
~ Excerpts from a ‘Shabd Yog’ session held in one of the Advait Learning camps, Shivpuri.
Edited for clarity.
Read more articles on this topic:
Article 2: Do you know the Heart’s deepest desire?
Article 3: The Language of the Heart