the poetry of kabirAnyone looking back over the books I’ve reviewed will notice a bias towards the technical and practical aspects of Yoga.

However the spiritual aspect of Yoga doesn’t pass me by; far, far from it.  Indeed it was the spiritual re-awakening and re-connection that Yoga stimulated that led me to fall in love with Yoga. 

But its a personal thing; we all interpret God, the divine, in a different way – maybe as a deity, maybe in nature around us, maybe in our ancestors, maybe in our hearts, maybe all of those or none. 

Kabir was a mystic and poet, born around 1440 whose influences were Islam, Hinduism, Sufism and Sikhism, with followers and influence in all those traditions.  As a modern day liberal Christian and yogi, his words resonate with me as well.

So I enjoyed this little – 35 pages – book compiling some of his work.  For anyone with a curious mind, I’d recommend the book for inspiration, musing and rumination.

I share below some particular highlights for me:

Lift the veil

Lift the veil that obscures the heart

and there you will find what you are looking for

Are you looking for me?

Are you looking for me? I am in the next seat.My shoulder is against yours.
you will not find me in the stupas, not in Indian shrine rooms, nor in synagogues, nor in cathedrals:
not in masses, nor kirtans, not in legs winding around your own neck, nor in eating nothing but
vegetables. When you really look for me, you will see me instantly —
you will find me in the tiniest house of time.

Kabir says: Student, tell me, what is God?
He is the breath inside the breath.

The river and its waves are one

The river and its waves are one surf: where is the difference between the river and its waves?

When the wave rises,
it is the water;
and when it falls,
it is the same water again.

Tell me, Sir, where is the distinction?
Because it has been named as wave,
shall it no longer be considered as water?

Within the Supreme Brahma,
the worlds are being told like beads:
Look upon that rosary with the eyes of wisdom.

To be a Slave of Intensity

To be a Slave of Intensity
Friend, hope for the guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you are alive!
Think…and think…while you are alive.
What you call ‘salvation’ belongs to the time before death.

If you don’t break your ropes while you’re alive,
do you think
ghosts will do it after?

The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic
Just because the body is rotten –
that is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
you will simply end up with an apartment in the City of Death.
If you make love with the divine now, in the next life you will have the face of satisfied desire.

So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is,
Believe in the Great Sound!

Kabir says this: When the guest is being searched for, it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that does all the work.
Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.

To what shore would you cross

To what shore would you cross,
O my heart?
there is no traveller before you,
there is no road:
Where is the movement,
where is the rest,
on that shore?

There is no water; no boat, no boatman, is there;

There is not so much as a rope to tow the boat, nor a man to draw it.
No earth, no sky, no time, no thing, is there: no shore, no ford!

There, there is neither body nor mind:
and where is the place that shall still the thirst of the soul?
You shall find naught in that emptiness.
Be strong, and enter into your own body:
for there your foothold is firm.
Consider it well,
O my heart!
go not elsewhere,
Kabîr says: ‘Put all imaginations away,
and stand fast in that which you are.