The paathi sings the Bani ofSant Kabir Sahib...
Sumiran se sukh hoth hai,
Sumiran se dukh jay.
Kahe kabir sumiran kiya,
Sayi mahi samay.
THIS IS THE BANI of Param Sant Satguru Kabir Sahib. In this Bani, Kabir Sahib has sung the glory of Simran. About six hundred fifty years ago, Kabir Sahib Ji manifested in a human body in India, in Varanasi.
In those days, Varanasi was a center of pilgrimage, religious rites, and rituals and deity worship. People would worship deities, idols, trees, and animals and perform all sorts of outwardly drawn practices. Kabir Sahib Ji initiated SantMat. He initiated the teaching of Naam. He wrote several Banis on the glory of Naam, the glory of Masters, the glory of Satsang, the glory of Simran and other aspects of the Path and explained to people and tried to clear their misconceptions. On Simran, He has said, “In this world, if we want true happiness and peace, then we should do Simran.”
It is only with Simran that the mind becomes pure, and as the mind becomes pure, we start getting internal peace and bliss. Until the mind becomes pure and our karmas are redeemed, the mind will distract us and shall be outwardly drawn. So Simran is one thing where whatever we do Simran of, or do the repetition of, or think continuously on, we attain that form. So that is the greatness of Simran.
So, if we do the Simran or the repetition of this world and all outwardly drawn matters of this world, then we are reborn in this world.
Likewise, when we do the Simran of Naam or the Name of God Almighty, then He manifests within and we go to Him. Therefore, the Saints have sung the glory of Simran. And They say, “If you really want peace and happiness, then you must do Simran.”
Raja rana rav rank badaa,
Jo sumiray naam.
Kah kabir badou badaa,
Jo sumiray neh kaam.
Kabir Sahib Ji says, “Be it a king, or the king's friend, or the ministers, or a wealthy person, or a poor person, the greatest person is the one who does Simran and he does it without desire.”
People do Simran with various wants or various wishes. Some people want their work done. Some people want to have their business working well. Some people want some relationships to be better off. So they do all the Simran with those kinds of desires.
Kabir Sahib says that correct Simran or True Simran is that which is done without expectations of any desires getting fulfilled and done purely for meeting God Almighty.
Nar naari sab narak hai,
Jab lagi deh sakaam.
Kahe kabir soyi peev ko,
Jo sumiray neh kaam.
Kabir Sahib indicates that be it a male or a female, one will not get free from the pangs of hell, unless he or she does the Simran free of desires. Because, if we do the Simran with desires of worldly things, those things are connected to the body and not with the soul. Those desires and those things are only going to last, so long as the body remains. And they will have to be abandoned along with the body. So, at the time of death then, the body has to be left back and all the worship and prayers that one has done with such desires are then futile.
Therefore, when we are attached to the world and we are doing the repetition of worldly matters or doing Simran with the expectation of desires being fulfilled, we will not be free from the pangs of hell. So only those who do the repetition of the Naam for salvation, or to meet the God Almighty, will get the true benefit of the repetition of the Naam.
Dukh main sumiran sab karay,
Sukh main karay na koy.
Jo sukh main sumiran karay,
Toh dukh kahe ka hoy.
Kabir Sahib Ji again points out that when one has grief of any nature, if he is sad, then he is drawn to worship. He is drawn to doing the prayer and repetition of Naam. But when there is a little bit of happiness and he is otherwise okay, then Simran is forgotten.
Therefore, this kind of worship does not bear fruit, because it is done with desire. So only the worship done without desire helps us to meet God Almighty and shall bear fruit.
So, therefore, Kabir Sahib Ji says, “If one truly worships, whether he is in sorrow or whether he is in happiness, then that worship and that prayer is heard.” What happens is that, in happiness, ego steps in and we forget God Almighty. And then, when sorrow comes, the prayers start. So, that kind of prayer is not heard by God Almighty.
Therefore, worship should be constant, irrespective of whether one is happy or in sorrow. And if one does Simran like this, then God Almighty helps the disciple in sorrow and in happiness also.
Sukh main sumiran na kiya,
Dukh main kiya yaad.
Kaha kabir ta das ki,
Kaun suneh fariyaad?
So, therefore, Kabir Sahib Ji says, “In happiness, you have not remembered God, but in sorrow, you are making a request and you are praying. Then how could God Almighty listen?” Because God Almighty knows that it is not for Him that we are doing this. It is only because we want to get rid of our sorrow that we are doing this.
Therefore, if we remember Him when we are happy and also, otherwise, when we are in sorrow, then the God Almighty always listens. In the mother’s womb, it is only God Almighty who takes care of the soul.
In the womb, the soul can see the Holy Light and can listen to the Holy Naam. And therefore, he has the protection in the womb. God Almighty considers all the needs of the soul, and then provides for the soul’s livelihood and then sends him. Therefore, if the soul remembers God Almighty after coming out of the womb and prays to God Almighty, then He will take care of the soul, even outside, as He has done when the soul was in the womb. But when the soul comes out of the womb, it gets attached to this world. It gets attached to family and ego steps in and God Almighty is forgotten, and then He who has been looking after your every need also gets disappointed and distrait.
Sumiran ki sudhi yon karo,
Jaise kaami kaam.
Ak palak bisare nahi nisoo din aatho jaam.
We generally have a question when we are either an agriculturist, or a businessman, or we are salaried. Considering that we are preoccupied with all of these things and we have a family to run, how do we do Simran?
Kabir Sahib Ji explains how we should have love and affection for repetition of the Name. Kabir Sahib gives the example of a person in love and who has lust for his lover. Even if the woman is far away, the man remembers her at all times, every second. Even if he is surrounded in a crowd, he still has the woman in his mind.
Exactly the same way, a devotee should have constant love and affection at the Feet of the Master at all times.
Sumiran ki sudhi yon karo,
Jyon gaagar panihaar.
Haalay dolay surati main,
Kahai kabir vichaar.
Kabir Sahib Ji again is explaining, “For the worldly people who are occupied in their day-to-day work and family matters, how they should do Simran.” He explains this by giving an example.
People usually do not get to see this now, but in earlier days, what used to happen was, there were houses on the hilltops. And water was not available there. Water would be available in the wells at the bottom of the hill. And the ladies would go down to fetch water. They would have these steel or earthen pots in which they would fill water. In groups of four or five, these girls or ladies would go down the hill to fetch water. They would carry a number of utensils with them, which would contain water because carrying a very big utensil or a pot would be very difficult to take up. So what they would do is carry perhaps four to five vessels and fill them with water. And then they would have one in each arm and they would keep about two to three pots on the head. Then they would go back to their houses. They would carry this uphill through difficult terrain. They would go up and down various paths. While they were doing this, they would also be talking to each other and exchanging stories with each other. And they were also managing the difficult terrain. But, despite doing all of this, their attention at all times was on the pots that they would be carrying on their head to make sure that those don't drop and the water doesn't spill.
Kabir Sahib Ji explains that in a similar way, as we go about our worldly ways, we should be mindful and keep our attention on Simran at all times. Simran has a lot of power. Only when we do Simran, we realize the true strength of Simran. We realize the transformation it brings within us and much of our misfortune gets corrected.
Sant Ji used to relate a story. Once upon a time, King Akbar had gone for hunting in a jungle. About ten kilometers inside, he started feeling hungry. If a person is poor, he gets used to hunger. But for kings and other royals who are used to very timely food being offered to them, they cannot bear such pangs of hunger. Akbar chanced to see a shepherd and he thought perhaps the shepherd would have some food or water. So he went to that shepherd and asked him if he had something to eat or drink. Usually, shepherds carry some food or lunch.
So, when asked, he said, “Yes, I have food.” So, Akbar requested him to share that with him. Both sat below a big tree and the shepherd took out a big leaf, cleaned the leaf, and then placed whatever he had on it. He had some rice and some chutney with it, so he placed it on that big leaf and offered Akbar that food. There was a well nearby. He fetched some water also from there.
Akbar was quite content with the food and water and was pleased with the shepherd who had shared his food with him. Akbar inquired where he was staying. The shepherd mentioned that he was staying in a nearby village. And Akbar then told him that, “Look, you have given me food. I am a king. I am King Akbar and have a palace in Delhi. So, if you need something, you can come to me.”
The shepherd was a humble person. And he humbly mentioned, “Look, I manage with what I have. I also pay your taxes. And I don't require anything from you, but if you need something from me, you can tell me.”
So, hearing this, Akbar was delighted. He wrote down the address of the palace and said, “If you show this to the guards, if ever you need to come to me, the guards will not stop you. And you will be able to directly access my palace.”
When the shepherd went home, he related the whole story to his wife and the fact that he had met with Akbar the king and he had offered him food. And, in return, Akbar had given him the address, etc. So, he related and told and explained everything to his wife.
She was a wise lady, a smart lady. So, she was delighted to know that he had, in fact, met Akbar. And she told him that, “If he has asked you to meet him and request him for anything, then I think you should go and meet him and request for something where our poverty gets alleviated and we are much better off.”
But he was a humble shepherd and a simple man. So, he told her that, “How do you say this? He didn't have food and he didn't have water. He took my food and water.”
But his wife still told him, “No, you go. He's a king.” So, this argument went on for a few days. The wife used to keep telling him and ordering him to go and meet the king. And he would keep telling her that, with whatever they have, it is fine.
One fine day, he finally agreed, had his bath in the morning, and left to meet Akbar. And he carried with him a stick and a cloth, like a shawl, to cover himself. And he started on the path. And, while he was going, he felt that maybe in the rain Akbar must have been getting wet or something, so maybe he should take something for him. So, on his way then, he stopped by and bought a stack of hay. He carried this big stack of hay in the hope of making a shelter for Akbar. And he went to the address that Akbar had given.
So, he carried his stick and shawl and this big stack of hay on his head. And he made his way to the palace door. And then he told the sentry that, “I am a friend of Akbar and I've come to meet him.”
The sentries looked up and down at this person, “How could this person be a friend of Akbar?”
So, while they were wondering, he then took out that address, which was handed to him by Akbar, and he showed them. And he said, “Look, this is given by Akbar.” Seeing that, the sentry went to check with Akbar. Seeing the address, Akbar remembered that this is the same person who had given him food and water the other day in the forest. So, he instructed his sentry to escort the man in.
The shepherd was escorted into the court of King Akbar. And, as he went in, he saw these big mansions and the palace and he was still carrying that stack of hay and the stick and the cloth on him. And he went inside the courtyard of King Akbar. And all of the ministers and everyone were there around him.
Akbar was sitting on his throne, which was on an elevated platform. And when he came, he saw such beautiful buildings around him and such a palatial ambiance there and golden thrones and golden seats for everyone. He looked at Akbar and said, “O Akbar, I thought you would be sitting below some tree or something and I carried this bundle of hay for making some shelter for you. But you stay here in the palace!”
So, seeing this, Akbar was very pleased. He got down from his throne, came down and embraced the shepherd. He felt grateful that this person had given him food, and today he had come to build a shelter for him. Akbar then ushered him up on the throne and shared the throne with him. And after the court session was over, he took him to his residence and gave him food. And after food, it was time for prayer, for namaaz.
The shepherd accompanied King Akbar for the namaaz and there he observed that everyone was bending down, then sitting up, and again bending down. The shepherd had never offered such prayers before. So, he stood in a far corner and he was observing what was happening.
After the prayer, everyone lifted their hands in prayer to God and then they asked for His Grace. So, Akbar also prayed that the kingdom of his remains in good bliss, and his people remain happy, crops grow in his field and in their fields, and taxes are collected, etc. After the prayers, they returned home. And then Akbar asked him, “Okay, you have come here to meet me. Do tell me what brings you here? Did you have any need?”
When he asked this to the shepherd, the shepherd asked Akbar, “O Akbar, when we went for that prayer meeting, you lifted both your hands and you were praying. So, what were you doing?”
He said, “I lifted my hands to God Almighty and I was praying that my kingdom remains in good condition, that there are good rains and there is good agriculture produce and people become more prosperous. So, I was basically praying for my kingdom and for happiness all around.”
The shepherd then said, “Look, you are asking me what I need. But then you are also praying and you are also asking God Almighty and expressing your need. So, why don't you just tell me how to pray and I will pray to God Almighty myself for my need. Please tell me exactly how you speak and how you pray to Him and I will also start asking in the same manner.”
Muslims have a long prayer, which they recite, ‘La Illah Allah Hu’. So, Akbar explained how that is recited. The shepherd didn't remember all of it. He just remembered the first two words, ‘La Illah’.
So, he then said, “Okay, that is enough. I've got what I needed.” And then he picked up his rug and left from Akbar’s place.
While he was returning to his place from the palace, he was repeating this ‘La Illah.’
When he reached home, his wife started to look behind him. She felt that perhaps the treasures are following him and they were to come now. So, she asked him, “What happened, you met the king?”
He told her that, “Look I had told you this earlier. The king is a poor man. He had only come to me for eating and drinking. And when I went to his palace, I saw him praying and asking for more things from the Almighty. So, I told you, he's not going to give anything to us. We need to do it ourselves.”
His wife was very frustrated with his foolish behavior. This continued, and in the mornings, the shepherd would say his prayers, ‘La Illah,’ and then go for his work.
So, this way, he kept repeating those two words of prayer with full faith in God and, every day and night, he would keep repeating it. And, that way, about four months elapsed and the monsoon came. There was a river near his house. Usually, in the villages, they don't have toilets. So, one evening at around four o'clock, he went by the riverside for cleansing. And, because of the rains, the bank had been washed away by the rainwater. And there were three big pots, which would have probably been buried there for long, earlier by some rich person.
Nearby on a tree, there were three thieves who were sitting waiting for nightfall to take those pots.
So, this shepherd was passing his stools near those pots. And while he was doing that, he could hear a voice from the pot, which said, “I have to come with you, you take me to your home.”
So, he said, “If you can talk to me like this, you might as well walk to my house. And you can come yourself.”
Those three thieves were observing all of this. And then they wondered, “This person sat next to the pots and still didn't take the pots with him. There must be something wrong.” One of them opened one of the pots and saw a lot of scorpions crawling inside that pot. When they opened the second pot, they saw a snake inside. And then they thought amongst themselves that, “This must be done by that person so that, when we open it, we will be bitten by these scorpions and snakes and die. So, let's do this. Let's take it and throw it from the roof of his house into his house.”
So, in the night, they went, they climbed his roof, they removed the tiles of the roof and then, at the same time, they unloaded the contents of all the three pots, which they thought were scorpions and snakes, etc. So, they completely emptied those pots and allowed everything to fall inside.
When the contents started dropping, actually, they were all gems, jewelry, coins and other precious items. And then, with the noise, this shepherd woke up and saw that it was raining diamonds and rubies and all sorts of jewels. He woke his wife and said, “See, I told you that Allah will shower His Grace, take whatever you want now.” So, with this, he became a wealthy man. The moral is, “If one prays to God with love, affection, and faith, God listens to him and graces him.”
Sumiran ki sudh yohn karo
Jyo surabhi suth maahi.
Kaheh kabir chaara charat,
Bisarat kabahoo naahi.
Once again, Kabir Sahib Ji indicates how Simran should be done. He gives the example of a newly born calf and how the cow remembers the calf. When a calf is born, usually the farmer ties the calf at home and allows the cow to go out grazing. But the cow at all times has its attention on the calf. She fears that some crow will come and peck the calf, or some dog will bite the calf, or some other thing will happen, so her attention is always on the calf. And at the slightest doubt, she leaves her grazing and comes quickly to see the calf.
Likewise, Kabir Sahib Ji says, “We may be with our families, our children, we may be occupied with whatever occupation we have, or we may be tilling our farmlands, but at all times, our attention should be with God Almighty, and we should be repeating the Naam.”
Sumiran ki soodh yoh karo
Jaise daam kangaal.
Kahe kabir bisaray nahi
Pal pal lehi sambhaal.
Kabir Sahib Ji gives another example, how we should do our Simran. He says, “Like a greedy person who is forever in his thoughts about his wealth and about money, for a greedy person, money is God.” At any given point he is always thinking of how that money will increase. He is always thinking about money. While working during the day and until he goes to sleep, he thinks about money all the time. And he is always worried about his money. In a similar way, a disciple should be worried about his Simran.
Sumiran ki soodh yohn karo
Jaise daam kangaal.
Kahe kabir bisaray nahi
Pal pal lehi sambhaal.