“Hiding in this cage of visible matter
is the invisible life bird.
Pay attention to her,
She is singing your song”
ACHARYA JI: The invisible is difficult to be attended to. How many of you have ever looked at the invisible? How many of you ever touched that which cannot be touched, or heard that which cannot be heard? But if there is something available to be touched and seen and smelled, it is within your province. You would have some experience of it.
We like to live in the dualistic domain, the dualistic domain is a domain of comfort, the dualistic domain says “I can know and experience while remaining myself.”
Here is this tumbler and here is me. Now, to know this I don’t have to change, do I have to? In fact, if I change I cannot know this, that is the dualistic mode of perception. And that is why man prefers this, seeing only that which is visible, touching only that which can be touched. When I perceive this material, this glass I remain what I am and this remains what it is, in fact, this remains what it is because of what I am; it is convenient. Duality says remain what you are and you can still know.
To know you in a dualistic way I don’t have to merge or dissolve, I don’t have to be united with you; I can know you from a distance, can’t I? Because, by knowing, I mean knowing only that, which is visible. Now, eyes can obviously look from a distance.
Duality is a great protector, it helps you, it saves you. We decide we will confine ourselves to the material, to know material there is no requirement to change or dissolve. Material, will remain material. And in fact only as long as you are identified with material, can you identify the material? To identify material you must first identify with material.
The eyes are material, aren’t they?
To identify a material pillar you first need to have materialized. So, safe. You feel very very safe. Now Kabir is saying that it is alright that you have found a cozy way of protecting yourself, but is this really helping you? Is this really giving you the comfort that you long for?
He says, “Song, your song of longing. You have seen this, you have seen that you have been here, you have been there and yet all your songs are only songs of longings.” How long will you keep experimenting with the material? Are you still not satisfied that your path leads to a dead end?
That, which you are longing for, Kabir challenges you, “Show how it can be touched? You can put money in your pocket, show me how you put love in your pocket? You can weigh gold, show me how you weigh freedom? That, which you are understanding right now, tell me the color of it.” If I asked you, “Have you gained in the last one hour?” You would say, “Yes.” And the moment you say, “Yes,” I will say, “Now, show me what have you gained? Either show me or accept that you haven’t gained anything if material is all there is.” Have you gained in the last one hour?
ACHARYA JI: Okay, if you gained something, show me that thing.
Do you value what you have gained? Now, you value something that cannot be touched or described.
That is what Kabir is telling you, “That, which is really invaluable, is not something that you can touch, think of, hear or describe.” But you keep hankering after the material. In relationship, you are so concerned with the gross happenings that you totally forget the subtle foundation of the relationship. You fill your house with furniture, with food, with money, with jewelry, with all things of comfort and with little kids, material bodies. Your house has everything …everything that can be seen, touched, numerated. Does your house have the subtle that which the eyes cannot see yet which is immensely valuable? Is that there?
But the dualistic mode says, “Only that exists which I can pick up.” Now, obviously, you cannot pick up love and faith and there is no price tag upon them, so our houses have neither love nor faith but they have lots of other things. And we feel happy, not only we feel happy others feel envious. It’s ok, we ensure that others must feel envious that helps us to have a little more confidence that we are entitled to be happy.
What are you offering to the others? Your face? It is flesh, and flesh is being sold everywhere in the streets. What are you offering to the others? Some food? That he can have even from a restaurant. Why should he come to you, for flesh and food? The other too is that bird which is singing a melancholy song of separation and longing. It is a wordless song; it must be heard not from the ears but from the heart.
But, to hear a song that the other is singing, you must first hear your own song. When you look at yourself in the mirror what do you look at, your skin? Don’t you look at your thirsty eyes? You are busy polishing your skin. Skin is abundant, anybody can have skin from anywhere, but the one who can listen to that song is rare.
Be a little more sensitive to yourself.
Do not be so cruel upon yourself. You are like a person, who has heart disease but is busy taking care of dresses, and lip gloss, and face gloss. Why are you so cruel towards yourself? Your heart is diseased, forget your lips and your face and your hair and your dresses, take care of your heart. With a diseased heart, how beautiful can your face look? Neither can you hear that song nor can you sing that song even though it is your own. And, because you cannot sing, you compensate for it with a lot of bling, falseness, ostentation, insistence, confidence.
If you find a place in your body, strapped, does it mean that the place is an extra strong place? If you find that you strapped your ankle or your wrist, does that mean that your wrist is very strong? Anything that requires layering that requires covering, it surely a thing that is weak, and you are so layered and covered, look at your mannerism, look at your multiple faces, look at your makeup, look at the clothes, look at the thoughts, ideologies, look at the intentions, you are so layered and covered up.
Material, material, and more material! Like words that have no music, like a lot of bricks and cement and paint that has no central architecture about it. You look at this building, all you can see and touch is material, but can you touch that which led to this particular form? You touch the form but behind the form is a particular inspiration, a particular search in the heart, can you touch that? And if that is not there, what would all this be reduced to? Rubble.
Have you seen buildings before they are constructed? Being to a construction site? What do you find there? Heaps of building material. And have you seen a building that has collapsed? The material is still there, not even one brick is missing, something else is missing. What is missing? Can you touch that? Ever looked at a building that has collapsed, every single brick is still there, not even a grain of sand has gone missing. But something is very much missing, what is that?
ACHARYA JI: How will you buy that? How will you weigh that? How will you serve that? Ever seen a dead man, just died, everything is still there. He is still wearing the clothes that he was wearing a moment back. If he had had just had tea, the tea too, is still there. If there is a particular expression on his face before he died, even the expression is still there. The clothes are there, the body is there, the teeth are there, what is missing? Bring that, bring that, bring that.
“Jis tan preet na sanchare so tan jaan masaan,
jaise khaal lohaar ki saans let binu praan”
And ironsmith’s skin, oh! they no more use it, technology is advanced, they used to have it. It was used to pump air into the furnace. So, air out, it would collapse, air in, it would swell and it was made of animal’s skin. So, air in, and air out is happening even with something as dead as the ironsmith’s equipment.
If you do not know the love song of your heart your body is a graveyard.
Jis tan preet na sanchare so tan jaan masaan…..
Just because you are breathing, just because all the material processes are happening, do not call yourself as alive. Just because all the material processes are still happening with you, do not call yourself alive. You can be put on a ventilator indefinitely, all the material things will keep happening, but are you alive? After a few days doctors advice, “Take him off, he is actually, we are artificially just blowing air into him. He is actually gone.”
What is the point in hanging on to the material? Had it been all about breathing, then why would ever anybody be taken off a ventilator? The heart can be made to pump blood and if the heart does not pump blood there are other means to have blood circulate in your body. You can be kept technically alive but what is the point of such a life. Are we all not just technically alive? Are we really alive? Do these eyes really see? Does this heart really beat?
Check! Check! Check!
Are you able to listen to your own love song?
-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity
Watch the session: Acharya Prashant on Saint Kabir: The song of the Heart
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