Acharya Prashant on Saint Kabir: Forget God. Who are you?

SR Generic_ Englishपानी बीच बतासा संतों,

तन का यही तमासा है।।

क्या ले आया, क्या ले जाएगा,

क्या बैठा पछताता है।।

मूठी बाँधे आये जगत में,

हाथ पसारे जाता है।।

किसकी नारी, कौन पुरुष है,

कहाँ से लगता नाता है।।

बड़े निहाल, खबर ना तन की,

बिरही लहर बुझाता है।।

इक दिन जीना, दो दिन जीना,

जीना बरस पचासा है।।

अंतकाल बीसा सौ जीना,

फिर मारने की आसा है।।

ज्यों-ज्यों पाँव धरो धरनी में,

त्यों-त्यों यम नियराता है।।

कहै कबीर, सुनो भाई साधो,

ग़ाफ़िल गोता खाता है।।

Seen a bubble in the Sea, that is our story

You came with the hands empty, empty.

And nothing will you carry.

So why caught in misery

Make merry, make merry.

Who is your family?

Who is a lover really?

You are deep in illusion, happily, happily.

Fooling yourself with books, sex, and brandy.

Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty.

The clock is ticking and you are tipsy.

You breathe so you think that you are alive.

But dead are your face and dead is your eye.

Your mind is dreamy,

The world is the sea. Wake up or you sink,

That is Kabir’s prophecy.

~Guru Kabir

Acharya Prashant: Especially those who are serious about their spiritual pursuit, must look very carefully. There is a very important lesson to be had here. See, and tell me, what is it that you do not find here? The art of seeing is not merely about seeing, it’s also about seeing what is not to be seen. What is it that is missing here? This is supposed to be Kabir’s composition, right? Kabir the king of spiritual compositions. Much more voluminous, spiritual, devotional literature than any other author, poet, composer, in the world. Still the most widely quoted spiritual author across the world. Even more quoted than Rumi.

What is it that he is not saying here? And, mind you, this is supposed to be spiritual, godly; look at it carefully. What is he not saying here? What is it that he is not touching? What is it that he is not even referring to?

There is supposed to be a godly composition, and that is a hint. That’s the big elephant that’s not there in it. Kabir is talking and he is not talking of the beyond?

Kabir is talking and he is not talking of the beyond! Nothing transcendental here. Nothing metaphysical, only the physical. Nothing metaphysical. Swarg hai ismein kahin pe (Is there heaven in it anywhere?) ?Moksh hai (Is there renunciation in it?)? Parmatma hai (Is there God in it?)? Kuch hai, dekha hai aisa(Is there anything, seen like this?)? Bhool gaye, dhyan hi nahi diya, gaane mein magn the (Forgot, didn’t pay attention, were indulged in singing!)! Ye to gazab ho gaya! It’s a wonder and a disgrace. A Saint poet is not talking of THAT. So bad! And he is talking of the…?

Listener: Body!

AP: Chhi Chhi Chhi !

Now what do you say? It is very very important, you must take this very seriously. He is not talking of God. God is talking through him, but he is not talking of God. God is in the background, we don’t want to look at God.

Anybody who is looking at the air here? Anybody who is looking at the air here? Anybody who is surviving without air here? The dead ones please raise your hands. Anybody who is looking at air here. Anybody who is surviving without air here? Forget about air. So, God is present, it is present and the proof is that you are surviving, alive.

Your existence proves God’s existence. Har saans ye kehti hai, hum hain to khuda bhi hai. Now you don’t need to talk about God. Har saans ye kehti hai, hum hain to khuda bhi hai. So, if you don’t need to talk about God, what is it that you need to talk about?

Yes Anoushka, what is it that you need to talk about? God must be forgotten. Kabir has so easily forgotten God. Spirituality is not at all about God!

What is spirituality about? What is spirituality about?

L: God.

AP: Ho! Bad. But that’s what we don’t want to look at.

And what is Kabir talking of? The body, “Ah! Can you see the urges of the body, mind. Can you see that the mind is dreaming? The books, can you see that the books are just intoxication for you? Can you see how the body is craving to protect itself in all ways?” You don’t need to talk of God that is not spirituality.

Today, I received a comment on YouTube. I forwarded it to everybody. Maybe you can ask someone to show it to you. And it’s talking only about? How the Atman meets Parmatma and how the small Brahm becomes bigger. Is that spirituality? Is that spirituality?

I don’t want to know whom you worship, I want to know who is it that worships? What is the quality of the worshipper? What is your quality? Who are you? Forget God! Who are you?

Dirty hands remain dirty even if they are folded in front of a deity. Dirty hands. There is no need to fold them in front of a deity. Go to a washbasin. Use a physical soap. Metaphysical prostration will not help you cleanse your hands. Use a physical soap.

That’s what spirituality is all about and that’s why Kabir is so unique and so loveable. He doesn’t take you to a fictitious world. In the name of spirituality he doesn’t give you more dreams and more desires. He talks of your…? What is he talking of? Daily life. Everyday life: 

How are you living?

What are you doing?

What are you saying?

What’s the stuff of your day to day conversations?

What’s contained in your gossip?

To whom are you relating?

What are you attached to?

What are your real intentions?

What are you after?

Tell me, what are you really chasing?

Getting it? That’s spirituality. That’s Kabir. And that’s why your Acharya, keeps on saluting Kabir. I keep on quoting from various sources. But I have quoted Kabir 5 times more than all other sources combined. I can’t help it. I am in love with him.

And that’s why this is Studio?

L: Kabir.

AP: There were many other illuminaries, many other deserving names. But what to do of the heart? The heart belongs to Kabir. The others are great no doubt. But one is entitled to be a little biased. Isn’t it? One is entitled to have a bit of a personal deity.

The ruthless, the absolutely ruthless, core splitting honesty, that’s what you need. No mumbo jumbo. Core splitting honesty. Don’t talk nonsense, don’t lie to yourself. Don’t deceive yourself. And, only you can have that. To me spirituality is another name for honesty. Can that be taught?

I hate to see, so called spiritual people leading mediocre lives.

If you are indeed spiritual, your face will have the glow of a Krishna. It’s not possible that you are spiritual and yet a tame and tepid loser. It’s an insult to the verses of the Upanishads, if those verses emanate from the mouth of a liar and a deceiver and a drunk.

If you are taking even baby steps into spirituality, your life, your eyes, your face, will change. The way you talk, your very walk would? Change. You gain a certain aloofness, a certain purity and that is so visible. You are now not easily hurt, you do not allow your hurt to turn you into somebody else. You do not allow your pleasures to turn you into somebody else.

Have you noticed, how hurt gives you a rebirth? Hurt makes you become another man or a woman, you are no more the same, that’s reincarnation! Same with pleasure. Have you seen, how in the rage of your pleasure you become somebody else? Your hurt and your happiness, both dominate you. And that does not happen with a spiritual person.

He does not allow himself to become somebody else. He abides as himself. Just as you would usually not allow your clothes to make you become somebody else. Do you allow that? Similarly, the spiritual man wears his moods, but never becomes his moods! He wears everything. You too keep on changing your clothes, don’t you? So, there is sometimes a solemn mood, a grave mood, a jovial mood, inquisitive mood, happiness, sadness, suspicion, anger, hope, despair. These are clothes that you wear. You don’t become your clothes.

That’s a mark of the spiritual man. He wears everything without fear, but he never becomes what he wears. Getting it?

Your life must be a proof of your spirituality.

Kabir fought against hypocrisy. A great crusader against the double speak of the priests, Hindu and Muslim alike. And we are champions of double speak.

Earn the right to say God and then you don’t need to say God. Most of us keep on talking of God without having any rights. We don’t earn the rights to say G O D. And those who have the rights, they generally lose the inclination to say? G O D. They abide in God. They don’t talk too much of God, like Kabir. It’s not as if he avoids the word God, but he is not besotted with it. He sometimes would talk of Ram, but many more times he would talk of the world, the body, the mind, matters mundane, things of this world. Life, Life, Life. Not ideals, not worlds, not verses, Life.



-Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity

Watch the session:  Acharya Prashant on Saint Kabir: Forget God. Who are you?


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