The paathi sings the Bani of Sant Kabir Sahib Ji...
Kabir yeh ghar prem ka,
Khala ka ghar nahin
Sees utaare bhui dhare,
Tab paithe ghar maanhi.
THIS IS THE BANI of Kabir Sahib Ji. Kabir Sahib Ji was a great Saint Who was born about six hundred fifty years back. He did His practice in Kashi, or Varanasi, which was the epicenter for all kinds of rituals in the name of God. People were engaged in all kinds of rituals, deity worship, worship of trees, fasting, ritualistic bathing, etc.
It was during such a time that Kabir Sahib Ji promulgated the glory of Sant Mat, and He talked about love for the Master and the Path of the Master and the greatness of Surat Shabd. He had to teach all this to all those people who were very deeply rooted in deity worship and other forms of rituals.
In this Bani, Kabir Sahib Ji says that Sant Mat is the Path of love and affection. He says that if we move the focus of our love and affection from this world and focus it within towards the Master and the Naam, then we can become successful in getting salvation in this life itself. Saints always say that to change the focus of our love and attention from external worldly matters towards Naam, one should try and maximize Simran and Dhyan.
Kabir Sahib Ji says that Sant Mat is the path of devotion towards your Guru and a path of love and affection. It is about dropping and shedding your ego, unlike going to your aunt’s house and being given all the affection and being given different kinds of food every day.
We get the Grace of the Masters only when we focus our love and attention within towards the Master and remove it from outwardly attachments and love.
I had said earlier that Jaimal Singh Ji Maharaj spent ten years in the search of his Master and when he met his Master, he was told to do his practice whilst earning his own livelihood. Jaimal Singh Ji Maharaj used to work in the army the whole day. He dug a trench of five feet by five feet with a depth of about five feet. And in the night, he would go and sit down in that trench and do his meditation and contemplate on the Form of the Master and do his Simran. Whenever he got a holiday, he would go to Agra to have the Darshan of his Master and get His Blessings. Then, he would come back and continue with his meditation for two or three days.
So, Swami Ji Maharaj, after a few years, asked Jaimal Singh Ji Maharaj to go to Beas and carry out his practices there and set up his ashram there.
So, Jaimal Singh Ji Maharaj went and set up the ashram in Beas. And, after that, he continued to do his devotion, and he used to do his meditation very regularly.
Swami Ji's wife, Radha Bai, had also asked Bibi Rukko to go and do seva and assist Jaimal Singh Ji Maharaj. But Jaimal Singh Ji Maharaj discouraged her from doing that seva and insisted that she do more meditation.
So, when he went to collect his cheque for pension every month, he would buy five kilograms of wheat and he would grind the wheat flour and have rotis prepared of that entire flour from a shop outside. And then, he would hang them and dry these rotis on a wire. Then, he would tell Bibi Rukko to also sit for meditation. He told her that “Whenever we feel hungry, we should dip two rotis in salt water and eat. And we should focus and do our meditation.”
Another devotee, Saligram Maharaj, who was a disciple of Swami Ji Maharaj, was a very learned person.
In those days, he had done his Master of Arts and he was the postmaster general in those days.
So both, Saligram Maharaj and Jaimal Singh Ji Maharaj, would come on Saturdays when it was a holiday. Saligram Ji had a lot of devotion. He used to do a lot of seva and he was more inclined towards seva. And Jaimal Singh Ji Maharaj used to sit for longer hours in meditation.
So, both would meet on Saturdays and take the blessings of their Master. Saligram Ji used to do this seva. All through Saturday, till dusk and Sunday, he would carry buckets of water from the river to the ashram. The river was almost one and a half kilometers away from the ashram, and both wells at the ashram did not have sweet water there. There was salt in that well water. So, this seva was done by him. He would carry buckets of sweet water from the river, which was one and a half kilometers away, and fill the tanks in the ashram.
Saligram Ji was the postmaster general, which was a very high post in the government office, and it was a very revered position. But, despite that, he would do this seva with humility and affection and go through the lanes to the river and get buckets of water from the river to the ashram.
Oftentimes, his relatives would be there in those lanes, and they would taunt him. He was a brahmin, and Swami Ji Maharaj was a kshatriya by caste. So, Saligram Ji was of a higher caste. His relatives would taunt him, saying, “You have gone mad. You have lost your senses because you have eaten from the plate of a kshatriya (Swami Ji Maharaj)”.
But, despite these taunts, Saligram Ji continued doing his seva.
Later, his relatives started ignoring him and used to close their doors when he would pass. So, Saligram Ji, on top of this, tied bells to his ankles so that his relatives would hear him passing every time. Thus, he carried on relentlessly in pursuit of his seva for his Master.
And, likewise, Jaimal Singh Ji did a lot of Dhyan and Bhajan. And both of them had a lot of love and affection for their Master.
Both Jaimal Singh Ji Maharaj and Saligram Ji Maharaj, eventually, became Masters. Jaimal Singh Ji Maharaj was asked to go to Beas and practice. And Saligram Ji preached at Pipal Mandi.
Shees utaare bhui dhare
Ta par rakhe paav.
Das kabir youn kahe aisa rahe to aaho.
Kabir Sahib Ji says, “If you have love for the Master, or if you feel that you have love for the Master, then you should cut off your head and step on it. Only then you can say you have love for your Master.”
When Masters talk of cutting the head, They do not mean the physical head, They mean cutting off the ego, which is the biggest illness besieging us and pulling us back repeatedly into the cycle of 84 lakhs births and deaths.
So, if one looks at Saligram Ji, he had humility and lowliness and he had surrendered his ego completely for the love of His Master. He had obtained the Grace of his Master through his seva, which was done sacrificing his ego with humility and lowliness.
Likewise, Arjan Das Ji says that “If Love were to be purchased, then King Ravana of Lanka, would have purchased it first because Lanka was made of gold.”
So, Kabir Sahib Ji says ‘prem na badi upje, prem na haat bikai raja prja jis ruche, sis dey le jai’. He says that Love is not grown in the farms and Love is not sold in the market. If one has to get True Love, then he has to sacrifice his ego to the Master and follow the Path of the Master. Only then, he can say he has got True Love for his Master.
Ravana was a very earnest follower and devotee of Lord Shiva. He had a very large ego. So, despite being an ardent devotee, he was unable to get the Grace of Lord Shiva. In order to please Lord Shiva, he had to sacrifice and offer his head ten times to Lord Shiva, after which, Lord Shiva manifested and showered His Grace.
Raja prja jis ruche, sees diye le jai,
Raja prja jis ruche, sees diye le jai,
Prem piyala jo piya sheesh dakshina de.
Lobhi sheesh na de sake naam prem ka le.
So, the glass of Love can only be drunk by the person who cuts his ego and sacrifices it at the feet of the Master; who adopts humility and lowliness in all his worldly dealings, and who loves one and all. He drops his ego and lives in the most humble of manners.
Kabir Sahib says, “Love cannot be attained by the greedy people because they have greed for money.” And they may just outwardly take the name of being in love or having love, but it is really their greed for money, which is there within.
Sant Ajaib Singh Ji used to tell this story of Guru Gobind Singh.
There was a farmer who came to Him and the farmer wanted to do seva. He wanted to do volunteering work for Guru Gobind Singh. So, he humbly begged at the feet of Guru Gobind Singh, and said, “Look, I don't have wealth. I'm not a very intelligent person. I only know agricultural work. But I would like to do volunteering work for You. I would like to do Your seva. So, considering these aspects, please give me an appropriate seva, which I could perform for You.”
So, Guru Gobind Singh gave him work in His stable to look after His horse. He would get fresh green grass for the horse, and he would bathe it regularly, brush it regularly, and take good care of it. And the horse, as a result, grew quite strong and quite healthy. Happy with his seva, Guru Gobind once asked him, “Are you literate?”
"Oh no, I am not literate."
So, He said, “Okay, then you come every day to me and I will give you a few words. And you memorize those words, and once those are memorized, you come back to me and I will give you a few more words to memorize. So, that way, you will gain literacy.”
So, he kept learning that way.
One day, it so happened that Guru Gobind Singh was leaving outside for about fifteen days. This person remembered, “Oh I have to take words for memorizing from the Master before He goes.” So, he ran to Guru Gobind Singh Sahib and asked Him for a few words for memorizing.
Guru Gobind Singh Ji had already mounted His horse and was about to leave when He heard this request.
“Please give me words to memorize,” he asked.
Guru Gobind Singh Ji thought, “This person is such a simpleton that he is unmindful of the occasion and he is asking me to give him words at this time when I am about to leave.” He laughed and said, “wah bhai bela, na vichari wakt na vichari vela.” Bela was his name and vela means ‘time’.
So, Guru Gobind Singh was trying to tell him, "You are ‘great,’ Bela. You are not even seeing the time and asking me such things.”
Now, on the other hand, Bela took these words said by Guru Gobind Singh Ji very seriously, and he started memorizing those words. Everyday, after he finished his work, he would sit and keep repeating the words said by Guru Gobind Singh Ji. So, he would keep chanting and memorizing ‘wah bhai bela, na vichari wakt na vichari vela’. He did this with love and devotion. He would sit quietly and keep repeating this, day and night.
As a result, his attention of the soul got focused behind the Third Eye and he could see the Radiant Form of the Master within and hear the Sound Current inside. Then, whatever he said started happening.
There were other devotees in the ashram. And some were there for twenty years and some were there for thirty years. Some were devotees of the earlier Master, and they had been staying in the ashram for long periods. When they saw how Bela had progressed, they felt jealous. They called for a meeting to discuss this. They felt that there is no justice in the ashram. People who have stayed for such long periods have not received the Grace of Master, and persons, who have just recently come, have got such Grace of Master.
So, when Guru Gobind Singh returned after fifteen days, they all met up with Guru Gobind Singh and related their concern. And they said, “There is no justice in Your ashram. We have been Your followers for so many years, but this person has just come for less than six months and he is illiterate and ignorant and he has progressed so much. And we have no progress.”
Guru Gobind Singh heard them patiently and felt that, if He were to explain to them, they would not understand, just as they had not assimilated the Satsangs, which He had been doing for so many years. Instead, He chose to set an example.
So, the next day He called everyone for the preparation of bhaang. Bhaang is a drink, which is intoxicating. It is not addictive, but people drink it during the Holi festival. So, He called for almonds and He called for bhaang leaves. The more you grind it, the more an intoxicant it becomes. So, He called for this the next day, and then He asked them to start preparing the bhaang. He had the bhaang prepared, and everyone ground the almonds and the bhaang with water and milk and jaggery. It's a sweet drink. He made a large quantity of that bhaang, and then He gave everyone a pot of bhaang. And He told everyone there, “Okay, now all of you start drinking this bhaang. But just remember that it should not go below your throat. So, you are to drink and finish this bhaang, but you should not swallow it.”
So, everyone started gargling the bhaang and spitting it out. That way, they all finished the pots of bhaang. After they were done with this, He questioned them, “Now that all of you have had bhaang, are you intoxicated with it?”
They immediately replied, “No, we are not. Because we did not swallow it.”
Then, He said, “Now, you have understood that the initiation, which you have got some twenty, thirty years back, it is still not gone inside your throat. You have not swallowed it. You have simply been gargling it. You have not assimilated the initiation. You have not followed what I've asked you to do. You have simply kept it up there somewhere. And that's why you have not got the intoxication of the Naam.
So, unlike all of you, Bela has just repeated the words I had told him while I was leaving. Those words were ordinary words and not any words given during initiation, but he had done the Simran of those words with faith and devotion. Because of this faith and devotion, Bela got his fruit.”
Prem pyala bhari piya
Raj raha guru gyan.
Piya nagada shabad ka
Lal khade maidan.
So, those who have drunk the glass of Love, they are those who have transformed the love of the world and its affections into the love for the Master and Naam. And those who have been intoxicated day and night in this love, their souls have risen and they have manifested the Master within.
Chin hi chade chin utare
So tho prem na hove
Chin hi chade chin hi utare
So tho prem na hove.
Agat prem pinjar base prem
Kabir Sahib Ji says that we are overwhelmed with love for a moment, and then lose that love the next second. This is not Love. Love is what is imbibed in the bones. It is something that is at the very core of us. And then, for that Love, even if someone asks for the life to be sacrificed, a person will be willing to sacrifice for that Love. That is Love.
We get in touch with the Masters. We attend programs and we fall in love at that time. And our practice improves for some time because of being in touch and being under the influence of the Master at that time. Once we go back home, then it is the influence of the world that takes over, and we forget that love of the Master. We should be consistently intoxicated in the love 24/7. That is Love.
Sakku Bai was a devotee in Maharashtra. Though she had a Master and she had True Love for the Master, from her childhood she was a devotee of Vishnu, a deity. Regularly, there is a gathering in a place called Pandharpur, in Maharashtra in India, where worshipers of Vishnu congregate.
Sakku Bai also attended these congregations. After Sakku Bai got married, her mother-in-law did not appreciate her going outside of the house. So, she insisted that whatever worship, etcetera, she was doing, she should do it only at home and not go outside and not go to Pandharpur.
So, her Master came to her doorstep and He talked to her about the next congregation of Pandharpur. He asked her whether she would be coming for the next congregation. And she said, “Yes, I will come.”
Now, this was heard by her mother-in-law. So, after listening to this, her mother-in-law felt that, now, about one week is left for this congregation. It should not happen that Sakku Bai leaves and runs away for that. So, she tied Sakku Bai by a rope to a pillar inside the house.
When she was tied up, Sakku Bai felt very badly and she kept weeping and praying to Panduranga. Panduranga is the name of the deity of Vishnu. So, she kept saying, “Panduranga, Panduranga.” And she kept weeping.
Feeling for the sorrow of his devotee, Panduranga manifested himself and he told Sakku Bai to attend the congregation. He untied her, and then he said, “You go and attend that congregation. I will step into your shoes and I will become Sakku Bai and stay here till you attend that congregation and return. But, when you go, don’t touch anybody. Just go and come back.”
And so, Vishnu transformed himself into the form of Sakku Bai and tied himself to the pillar while Sakku Bai left. Sakku Bai reached Pandharpur in two days, in good time for the congregation, and she participated in the processes there. And she did her devotion there.
So, this went on for eight days. And, at the end of eight days, when the congregation was over, they had to leave the temple. And Sakku Bai then wept at the idol of Panduranga and said, “I cannot bear the separation now. I don't feel like going back to the place where they don't allow me to be devoted to you.” And, Saint-like, she sacrificed her body there and died.
Now, there was nobody else with her, so the other followers saw that this lady is dead. And they, accordingly, offered the last rites and they burned the body in the crematorium, as is the tradition there.
After a week, Panduranga in the form of Sakku Bai, was released from the pillar and she did a lot of good work for her mother-in-law and Sakku Bai’s husband, and they were very pleased with Sakku Bai. Earlier, Sakku Bai had not been taking so much care, as she was mostly intoxicated in the love and devotion of Panduranga. Both mother-in-law and husband of Sakku Bai developed a yearning inside them to start praying to Panduranga also, and both became devoted to Panduranga.
After nearly twenty days, Sakku Bai had not returned and the Panduranga idol had gone missing from the temple, as he was in service at Sakku Bai’s house.
Goddess Lakshmi, who is the wife of Vishnu, came searching for Panduranga. Devotees thronging the temple were noticing that the idol of Panduranga was missing, and they were only seeing the idol of Lakshmi and they were returning in disappointment. So, the worried Goddess Lakshmi came to search for Panduranga.
When she came to Panduranga at Sakku Bai’s house, Lakshmi told Panduranga that he should return. She reminded him that he had told her that he will be gone only for a week, but now so many days had passed. Lakshmi also told Panduranga that, noticing the idol of Panduranga missing, the devotees were returning disheartened.
Panduranga told her that he was waiting for Sakku Bai to return and that he could not leave Sakku Bai’s house until she returned.
Lakshmi told Panduranga that Sakku Bai had died and had been duly cremated.
Vishnu advised Lakshmi to go to the crematorium where Sakku Bai’s final rites were done and to fetch her bones.
Lakshmi told him, “Now, in that crematorium, there may be hundreds and thousands of bodies, which would have been cremated, and so many bones would be lying around. So, how will I know which bone belongs to Sakku Bai?”
Vishnu told her to put each bone to her ear and listen to the sound. He told her that the bones of Sakku Bai would sing ‘Ranga, Ranga, Ranga’.
So, following that, Lakshmi went to the crematorium and started picking up the bones and putting them to her ears and listening to them. She indeed managed to get a few bones, which sang ‘Ranga, Ranga, Ranga’. Vishnu then used his divine powers and brought back Sakku Bai to life.
So, like this, the True Love is in the bones. It is each and every bone that resonates with Love.
Aaya prem kanha gaya
Dekha dasab koye.
Aaya prem kanha gaya
Dekha dasab koye.
Chin roye chin me hase
So toh prem na hoye.
Kabir Sahib says that, quite often, what happens is; suddenly we feel a strong longing for the Master and we suddenly feel great love for Him and we seek austere measures.
Many people go into the forest in pursuit of this love and start staying in the hills, mountains, and forests. But this color of love doesn't stay because it is not True Love that has emanated as a result of doing Simran and Bhajan and seeing within. So, after some time, these people forget their yearning for solitude and come back into mundane life.
So, likewise, many times we feel a swell of love and we cry in love. Sometimes, people also like to show others this swell of love and cry more. So, this color of love doesn't stay. It comes and it goes. So, Love is something that remains all the time, all twenty-four hours, and is uniform.
Prem prem sab koi kahe
Prem na jeene koi.
Aath pahar bhi na rahe
Prem kahave soaye.
Kabir Sahib says, “A lot of people talk about love and they feel they are in love. But True Love for God is the love you have in a very consistent manner for all twenty-four hours.”
Once, we had left the Bangalore ashram and were staying with Mr. R.R. Singh. Mr. R.R. Singh is an initiate of Babaji and stays in Bombay. He is a very good satsangi. I was staying at his place along with Bhuvaneshwar for about four months.
During this period, the longing for the Master increased there and we both packed our clothes one night and decided to leave. So, in pursuit of that yearning, we left Bombay and went to Nashik.
There is a place called Panchavati in Nashik, which is a place of pilgrimage and center for a lot of rituals, etc. And we felt that we can go to Panchavati and, perhaps, we would be able to do our devotion in a better manner at Panchavati. Panchavati is not a quiet place. It is not a jungle, but a pilgrimage. And there is lots of noise.
In all that noise, we lost our yearning and all the swell of love diminished. We had planned to go onwards to the Himalayas and practice and had decided to stop at Nasik, Panchavati, during the first leg. But Panchavati did not have the calm and quiet and, being a very big center, there was a lot of noise and a lot of people, a lot of devotees doing a lot of noise around.
So, all that color of the yearning, which was there for going into the Himalayas and, then, doing a lot of devotion, all of that disappeared and we came back to Bombay. And when we came back, we decided that we would no more be wandering for the sudden bouts of yearning that come up because when we go away like this, then the yearning cools off. We have to come back and repent for having left.
Saints explain that we should do Simran, Dhyan, and Bhajan, and They show the Path. When the Sound Current manifests as a result of Simran and Dhyan, then our mind transforms.
Prem prem sab koi kahe
Prem na jeene koi.
Aath pahar bhi na rahe
Prem kahave soaye.