The paathi sings the Bani of Sant Kabir Sahib Ji...
Karam gati tare naahi tari.
Karam gati tare naahi tari.
THIS IS THE BANI of Param Sant Satguru Kabir Sahib.In this Bani Kabir Sahib Ji has explained about the karmas, how a person is in the clutches or control of karmas.
Karma means the action or reaction of a deed, i.e., if we do a good act or deed, then it’s a good karma; and vice versa, if we do a bad deed, then it is bad karma.
Somanath, Baba Ji, used to say there are four types of karmas or deeds. There is Kriyaman karma. There is Sanchit karma. Then there is Pralabdh karma. And there is also Agamya karma.
Kriyaman karmas, or Kriyaman deeds, are the karmas that we incur during our lifetime. Whatever deed we perform during our lifetime, whether good deeds or bad deeds are called Kriyaman karmas.
Sanchit karmas are stockpiled karmas of the soul in the Brahm. These are the Kriyaman karmas of hundreds or thousands of previous lifetimes of the soul that have been stored in the Brahm and have not yet been redeemed. So, these Sanchit karmas are the balance of karmas, or like our deposits of karmas.
Maya never leaves or forgives the soul, so Maya continuously gives the soul a portion of the soul’s own stockpiled karmas to suffer or enjoy. Wherever the soul has got lesser deeds to suffer or enjoy, she pulls the deeds from the Sanchit karmas, good and bad, and then gives birth according to those karmas.
So, when the soul adorns the body and is incarnated, there are a set of karmas that are given to it by Maya. These are the Pralabdh karmas. So, the entire give-and-take, or our fate that we have during the lifetime, is according to the Pralabdh karmas. A lot of these Sanchit karmas are included. And one set of good and bad karmas are given to the jiva or given to the atma and mind. The body is cast on the basis of these Pralabdh karmas and given to the soul and mind.
So, all our joys and sorrows, gains and losses, honor and insults that we enjoy or suffer during our lifetime, are as a result of the Pralabdh karmas.
So, sometimes a person does a lot of work. He is continuously doing a lot of good things, but somehow he is not getting the benefit of that. So, he doesn't get enough reward for the kind of work that he does. This is what the Pralabdh determines. So, the rewards are determined by the Pralabdh karmas. Thus, the body and life, or fate, is formed on the basis of the Pralabdh karmas.
Agamya karmas are the plans we make for the future in our mind, the visualizations that we have, the desires that we have. So, they are our wish list. These are thoughts and desires that we have not put into action. So, if we want to purchase land somewhere, or construct a house, or get our daughter married, these are thoughts and wishes for the future. So, these Agamya karmas are simply our thoughts. It is not something that we are actually doing. It is just the thoughts. But those thoughts leave an impression on the mind, and these translate to karmas also.
So, on the day of reckoning, after death, when the soul has to give an account of all the good and bad deeds it has done, all the deeds that it has incurred with the body, that is what it has to pay for, or get rewarded for. What it thinks that it will do, either good or bad, is redeemed at that time of reckoning.
So, therefore, not so much importance is given to the karmas that we incur in our thoughts. But a lot of importance is given to the Sanchit, Kriyaman and Pralabdh karmas that we incur or redeem with our body.
So, Kabir Sahib says that karmas influence everybody, whether it is a king or emperor, whether it is an avatar of a god who has taken birth as a human being or any other human being. So, without any exception, karmas shall influence all beings, and all are in the clutch of karma. That is what is explained in this Bani.
Muni vashisht se pandit gyani,
Sodh ke lagan dhari,
Seeta haran maran dashrath ko,
Ban mein bipati pari.
Raja Dasharath was a great king. Rama was his eldest son and he was very dear to Raja Dasharath. Dasharath wanted to give his kingdom to his heir, Lord Rama. So, he summoned the great sage Brahmarshi Vashisht, who had the knowledge of all the three worlds. Vashisht was summoned to suggest an appropriate time for the handover of the throne from Dasharath to Rama. So, Vashisht suggested an auspicious time for Lord Rama to ascend the throne, and enjoy the throne thereafter.
But, as fate would have it, as karmas would have it, this completely turned the other way around. So, it was at that time, that Dasharath had to die, and Rama had to go on a fourteen-year exile. Dasharath died because he could not bear the burden of seeing Lord Rama go on a fourteen-year exile with his wife Sita and brother Lakshman.
So, instead of ascending the throne at that auspicious time, in fact, Rama had to go into exile for fourteen years, along with his wife and brother. And in the depression of his leaving, Lord Dasharath died. Instead of enjoying as a king, Lord Rama had to suffer a lot of difficulty during this period of exile. There is a long story behind this.
Lord Dasharath was a great archer and he could shoot an arrow in darkness just guided by sound. So, as was customary, Dasharath used to hunt at night, when most animals would be coming out. And he would use his art of shooting the arrow by the sound in the night.
So, one such night when he had gone out for hunting, in the same jungle man was passing through and was carrying his blind parents on a pilgrimage. Shrawan had stopped to rest. Both his parents were attained souls and were rishis, but they were blind, and he was taking them on this pilgrimage.
So, it was nighttime around 11:00 PM when he was near this forest, and they were thirsty. That was the time when he heard a river flowing. This was the Sarayu River, which was flowing nearby. Shrawan felt that he should stop there and get some water for his parents.
So, he took a utensil. It was a narrow earthen pot, which was unique for filling water. It's called a suraahi, which is basically an earthen pot with a very narrow opening. So, when he dipped this suraahi in the water, it made a sound where bubbles come out and water enters inside. This sounded like a deer drinking water.
And, around the same time, Dasharath was hunting in this area. So, hearing the sound, he shot his arrow in that direction. Unfortunately, the arrow pierced Shrawan who was bent down and was collecting this water. It pierced him from the back and went through his chest and he fell down writhing in pain.
So, when Dasharath reached the spot to collect his deer, he was aghast at what he saw. He saw Shrawan there, suffering and in great pain. So, when he saw this, he felt very sad. And he asked this boy who was suffering as to why, so late in the night, he was here near this river.
That's when Shrawan explained to him, “Look, I have come here to get water for my parents and I have left them. They are blind, and I have left them about a furlong from here. So, you please give them the water because they are extremely thirsty."
Lord Dasharath felt very sad and he tried to save Shrawan but, unfortunately, he passed away.
So, Dasharath then took the water in the pot, to where the parents were kept, and he went there and he was quiet. And he quietly offered the water to drink to the parents.
Now, the parents asked him, "Son, why are you so late? What took you so long to come? And why are you so quiet? You're not talking and, unless you talk, I am not going to drink this water."
Lord Dasharath felt that they would not drink water unless he talked, so he then admitted the story. And he asked them, “Please forgive me. It is by my mistake that I accidentally shot Shrawan. I am not Shrawan. I am Lord Dasharath and this has happened by mistake. So please, I beg your forgiveness for this act. Please drink the water."
Now, they were extremely saddened by this news. And they started crying and they said, “You have completely snatched our entire life because Shrawan was our eyes and ears to life, and we entirely depended on him. Now, you have taken him away from us." So, they were deeply saddened and they cursed Dasharath, despite his pleas. They cursed Lord Dasharath that “We will not be able to live without Shrawan, our son and our eyes, and just like we will die in the sorrow of his absence, we curse you that even you will die in this same sorrow."
So, on that day when Dasharath was going to hand over the throne to Lord Rama, and Lord Rama had to go into exile for fourteen years, he remembered this curse of the parents of Shrawan. And, as soon as he remembered that curse, he passed away.
Kahan wah fand kahan wah paridhi
Kahan wah mirag charee
Seeta ko har le gaya ravan,
Sone ki lanka jari,
Koti gay nit punya karat nrug
Girgit jon padi
Kahe kabir suno bhai honi hoke rahi.
When Lord Rama had to wage a war against Ravana, he had to cross the sea to reach Lanka, which is now Sri Lanka. And, at that point, Nala and Nila, these were two brothers, and they were like monkeys in his army. They had been cursed by a sage that whatever they throw in water would never go down. It will always keep floating.
So, for creating a way to bridge Sri Lanka and India, the entire army of Rama used to bring big boulders and mountains and rocks and hand it over to Nila and Nala. And they would touch it and leave it in the water and it would float. That is how this whole pul, or this whole bridge, was created between India and Sri Lanka.
So, while they were building this bridge, halfway, as they were building, Nal and Nila became egoistic and they felt, “Had we not been here this bridge would never have been created for Lord Rama." The moment they felt this, every stone that they touched would sink in the water. So, nothing would float thereafter and the army people got worried.
Hanuman, who was one of the key lieutenants, got very worried. And he went to Lord Rama and related this, “Now, we are unable to continue building because whatever we are putting in the water is going down.”
So that's when Lord Rama smiled and told him,“Okay, you write the name 'Rama' on every stone that you are putting up." And, as soon as they started doing this, once again, the stone started floating and the bridge continued to be built. That’s how Rama and his army crossed from India to Lanka.
So, Kabir Sahib says, “Where is that bridge now?” The war was being waged against Ravana, the king of Lanka, who had kidnapped Sita, the wife of Rama. Ravana had done this with the help of his uncle, Marich.
Marich had this power of converting himself into any being or animal. Ravana wanted to kidnap Rama’s wife Sita and make her his wife when they were in the jungle. Ravana told Marich, "You get converted into a very nice-looking deer, like a golden deer, which is so attractive that Sita will want you. And she will instruct Rama to get this deer for her, get this skin for her. And that's when you run away and Lord Rama will follow you. Probably, he will shoot his arrow and he’ll probably kill you also. But, if he does that, then you will only attain Nirvana at that time, or salvation. So, you do it for me, and I will then be able to kidnap Sita.”
Marich was not very impressed with this plan of Ravana! But Ravana then threatened to kill him. So, Marich felt that “Okay, if I have to die, either way, then it is better that I die at the hands of Lord Rama than at the hands of Ravana." So, that is how he chose to become the deer.
And when he went near the hut, Sita saw this beautiful golden deer and she told Rama, "I want to have this deer. I want the skin of this deer because, when I go back home, I’ll be able to show it to my family and my mother-in-law and they will believe that there are such beautiful deer in the forests." And she compelled Lord Rama to go and hunt the deer.
Lord Rama, at that point, advised her, “Look, in the forest, there are a lot of these rakshasas, or demons who have illusory powers, and so it is not a very good idea to do this." But she was extremely convinced that she wanted that skin of the deer, and she compelled Lord Rama to go and hunt that deer.
So, as soon as Lord Rama went out, Marich started running. And he led Rama deep into the forest. When Rama shot the deer, or Marich, that is when Marich shouted loudly, "O Lakshman.”
Lakshman was the brother of Lord Rama. So, he shouted and called Lakshman for help. So, when Sita heard these cries for Lakshman, she felt that it was Rama who was in some sort of problem. And she instructed Lakshman, who had been left behind to protect her, to go and help Rama. So, Lakshman, on the instructions of Sita, went to search for Lord Rama.
And that was the time when the Ravana came in the form of a sage and he asked Sita for alms. He asked for some helpings to be given to him.
Now, he had hidden his pushpaka nearby. And so when Sita went out to give him these alms, he quickly grabbed her and took her to his pushpaka plane and flew back to Lanka.
This was all as a result of karmas. This was to happen, and it actually happened, the way it was fated. So, though Lord Rama was an avatar of Lord Vishnu, when he took the form of a human being, he had to undergo his Pralabdh karmas.
Nich haath harichanda bikaan,
Bali pataal dhari.
Koti guy nith punya karatha nrug,
Girgit joni pari.
Kabir Sahib gives another example of Harishchandra who was and shall be regarded as one of the greatest and righteous kings of India. Now, Harishchandra had never, by his deed, by his action, or even by his thought, hurt anybody. And such a great ruler and such a great king also had to go through a very difficult end. To honor his word to Sage Vishvamitra, he had to hand over his kingdom. And, despite that, when Vishvamitra felt that his dues remained unsettled, Harishchandra had to sell his wife, son and himself in Varanasi and settle his promise to Sage Vishvamitra. And thereafter he, his wife and son had to undergo a lot of difficulty till their end.
Why did all this happen? It was because of his Pralabdh karmas. So, despite being such a great and righteous king, and despite being such a wealthy king, he had to, unfortunately, go through all of this suffering.
Kabir Sahib gives another example of monarch king Bali. Bali was one of the most powerful monarchs and he was very generous. And though he was born in the clan of Asuras, he was very benevolent and was a great devotee of Lord Narayana, or Lord Vishnu. But despite his devotion to Vishnu, he was sent by Vishnu to Patala (a nether realm below the earth). When Bali wanted to spread his empire and rule the heavens and take the throne of Indra, the king of gods, he was advised to perform one hundred Aswamedh Yadnyas.
These are difficult and costly rituals, but he, however, performed all but one. The gods were very worried that if he completed his hundred offerings then, actually, he would ascend the throne of the heaven. So, the gods were worried and they approached Lord Vishnu for help.
It was then that Vishnu came in the form of an avatar. He came in the avatar of a small dwarf called Vamana. And, during these offerings, it is customary to donate riches to attending brahmins, visitors, priests etc. So, when Vishnu came in the form of this dwarf, he asked Bali to donate to him land, which he could cover in his three steps.
So, Bali saw such a small dwarf and felt that won’t be much land. In fact, he told Vamana, "Ask something bigger because three steps will not really be much." But the dwarf insisted, "No, just give me three steps. Whatever I cover in the three steps you should be able to give me."
So, he gracefully granted the wish and said, "Okay I will give you everything that you cover in the three steps that you take."
Once this was said, Vishnu started growing so huge that with the first step itself, he covered the Earth and with the second step he covered the heavens, then there was nowhere to put the third step.
So Bali, at that time, said, "See, for a person making such a spiritual offering, his head is the most spiritual and most pious place to keep a foot on. So, you keep your third foot on my head."
And that is when Vishnu said, "Okay." And he took his third step and put his foot on the head of Bali and pushed him below in the netherworld, or Patala. And then he gave him the entire kingdom of Patala.
So, Kabir Sahib Ji says, "See, despite all his good deeds and everything that he did, he had to, actually, go to Patala."
This is another story of Raja Nrug. Raja Nrug was told that if he donates one thousand cows every day then, after his death, this would help him cross the great Vaitarani River. This is a river, which the soul has to cross, and which is full of pus, blood, and filth and is very difficult to cross. He was told that with these donations of one thousand cows every day, he will be able to hold the tail of the cow and cross the Vaitarani River.
So this king, every day, would donate a thousand cows. And he would donate the cows and then, during the day, he would arrange for collecting a thousand cows for being donated the next day. So, every day, this would continue.
Now, it so happened that he had donated these thousand cows to one brahmin, and a few of those cows came back. So, when he collected cows for donation the next day, one cow from that previously donated herd of cows got included.
Now, on the second day, he donated these cows to another brahmin. And, that brahmin, to whom he had donated the day earlier, came searching back for his cows. He said, "My cow is missing." He came back searching and he found that his cow, in fact, was in this herd of cows that was given to the other brahmin. And both then started arguing for that cow. So, both went to the king.
Now, the king was a very pious king and a very righteous king. When both the brahmins went and told the king of this problem, the first brahmin said, “This cow has been donated twice. You have donated this cow to me and then, again, you have donated that cow to the other brahmin. You have to solve this problem for us."
So, the king requested the first Brahmin, “Okay, your cow I have donated to him. I will give you a hundred cows in lieu of this one cow. Let that cow go. I will give you a hundred other cows."
He said, "No, once you have donated this cow to me, you cannot take it back. So, I want that cow only."
So, the king then requested the other brahmin, "Please, let go that one cow that has, by mistake, come to you. I will give you another hundred cows in lieu of that cow.”
The other brahmin said, "Why should I take an inferior position? I don't want to be inferior to that first brahmin." So, both kept arguing and both kept telling the king that “No, this cow has to be mine."
Now, the king was frustrated with this argument and he kept nodding his head to both of them because he really didn't have a solution. That's when both the brahmins cursed the king, “You are nodding your head like a chameleon. You'll die and get birth like a chameleon."
So, such a great king, when he died, actually, had to go through this curse, and he was born a chameleon in a well.
This is also Pralabdh karma. This is exactly how the karmas work. So, despite doing so many good deeds, he had to, unfortunately, take the birth of a chameleon.
Pandav jinke aap saarathi,
Tin par vipatti padi.
Duryodhan ko garv ghataayo,
Jadukul naash kari.
Kabir Sahib relates another instance. Lord Krishna, an avatar of Vishnu, was a friend of the Pandavas. But, despite being a close friend and associate of the Pandavas, they too had to suffer a lot of hardship. They suffered a lot of hardship and had to go into exile for thirteen years. There was a condition that, during the last year of the exile, they should live incognito, or in disguise. So, during the thirteenth year, the Pandavas spent time living incognito in the servitude of King Virata.
He gives another example of Duryodhana. Duryodhana had a very big ego. So, when he invited Lord Krishna, an incarnation of Vishnu, for lunch or dinner at his place, Krishna, instead, went to the son of his maid, Vidur, whose house was next door. And he preferred to eat very simple food in Vidur’s home and abstained from the food that was being offered, the very lavish food that was being offered, by Duryodhana.
He relates another story of Krishna. Krishna was born in a Yadav clan. Lord Indra, the king of gods and the god of thunder, once wanted to get rid of the Yadavas, and he poured very heavy rain on the Yadavs so that they would perish in the rain. It was at that time that Krishna held up a huge mountain called the Govardhan Mountain. And he held it up on his finger and allowed all the other Yadavas to stand below it and stay protected from the rain. So, it was these same Yadavas who were protected from Indra by Lord Krishna himself who had to die due to a curse by Sage Durvaasa.
Sage Durvaasa was a very powerful sage but was very short-tempered. And once, he was passing the village of the Yadavas where some children wanted to play a prank on him. And they went, and what they did was, they tied a log on the stomach of one of the boys and they covered it with a lot of cloth. So, it looked like he was pregnant. And they took this boy in front of Durvaasa Muni when he was walking past the village and asked him, "Can you, as a great sage, tell us whether there is a boy in it or girl in it?"
So, Durvaasa was, anyways, a very hotheaded sage, and when he realized that these people are unnecessarily making fun of him, he cursed them, “Whatever is in that stomach is going to be the reason of the death of your kul."
So, those children then went to Lord Krishna and related the incident. And Lord Krishna said nothing could be done about the curse. He suggested that they take that wood to the riverside and keep rubbing it till it becomes a fine powder, so that will minimize the possibility of damage. And so, they started rubbing this piece of wood on the rock near the river, and it was finally ground into thin powder.
Now, it was this powder that went into the water and grew as sharp grass. And later, it was this sharp grass that the Yadavas actually used against each other because of the curse, and whoever was cut by the grass died.
So, as a result, the entire Yadava kul, the entire family perished, despite Lord Krishna being a Yadav and an avatar of Vishnu.
Therefore, what is destined, happens. So, what Kabir Sahib is saying is that these are karmas, and one cannot escape karmas.
Rahu ketu aru bhanu chandrama,
Vidhi sanjog pari.
Kahat kabir suno bhai saadhu,
Honi naahi tari.
This is another instance, of Rahu and Ketu. Rahu and Ketu were demons. And in the great divide between the gods and demons, once, all the seas were churned — like we make buttermilk and take our butter from buttermilk. The seas were churned. And it was decided that whatever comes out of that churning would be shared between the gods and the demons. And fourteen things came out of this churning. And those were amicably divided between the gods and the demons. Only two things were in question. One was nectar and the other was poison.
So, there was a great competition for who would get the nectar and who would get the poison. That is when Vishnu took the avatar form of Mohini, who was a very beautiful looking maid. And she came with a utensil. And that utensil had a divide inside which, on one side could contain the nectar, and the other side could contain the poison. And they made the gods sit on the right side and the demons sit on the left side. The vessel was handed in a way that the nectar was on the right side, and the poison was on the left side.
So, they said, "Okay, we will equally divide. We will give everybody equally, as you said." So, she went on one side, poured the nectar to the god, then went to the other side, poured the poison to the demon. Then, again, went to the right side, gave nectar, so that way she was dividing.
Now, these two, that is Rahu and Ketu, were sitting at the end of the line, and they felt suspicious about the way this whole thing was going on. So, they felt, “OK, let's do one thing. Let's just switch sides. Let's not sit on the demons’ side. Let’s go and sit in the gods’ line." So, both of them went on the other side.
Now, the gods had instructed the moon and the sun to alert them if there were any demon going from the side of the demons to the gods’ side.
So, what happened was, Rahu and Ketu changed sides, and when Mohini came and gave them the nectar as planned for a god, both of them took the nectar. And it was then that the sun and the moon alerted the gods, "Oh, these people are demons and they are sitting on the wrong side."
And then Vishnu, with his weapon, sudarshan chakra, beheaded both of them. But, by then, they had taken the nectar in their mouth. So, when they were beheaded, the head became perennial and the body died. So, the heads got eternal life.
And it is even today that Rahu and Ketu, who are planets, they eclipse the sun and the moon. Because, today also, they keep complaining that “It is because of you people that we lost our lives."
Therefore, Kabir Sahib says that there is no escape from our karmas, our fate, or our destiny.
Rahu ketu aru bhanu chandrama,
Vidhi sanjog pari.
Kahat kabir suno bhai saadhu,
Honi naahi tari.