Kabir on Transience


Had-had tape so auliya

Behad tape so peer

Had-anhad dono tape

Wako naam Fakir.


One who transcends limits is protector

One who transcends limitless is spiritual guide

One who transcends both limits and limitless

Is called Fakir.


Kabir, the ultimate Fakir and a renowned mystic poet from 15th century India, saw clearly how temporary everything is.  As children growing up in India, we had Kabir’s Dohe (couplets) in our textbooks. Here is translation of one of his poems Mat Kar Maya ko Ahankaar, Mat kar Kaya ko Abhimaan. Liberty is taken not to translate verbatim but to capture the meaning. It was fascinating to read 500 year old Hindi.

Kabir first tells about a powerful king in past and how small is human life span in backdrop of flow of time.

There was a strong emperor

All powerful and ruler of lands

Elephants in his majestic court

All in the end

As ephemeral as dew drops

Then Kabir reminds us that we all face grief over losses due to impermanence of things.

Parents and family

And all attachments

Why feel grief over loss?

Everyone eventually passes away

As ephemeral as dew drops

Finally, Kabir tells us that message of humility is what one should learn.

Don’t be so arrogant of wealth

Don’t be so proud of looks

This body is more frail than clay

Just a gust of wind, even a small one,

Can turn you into dust

Falling Autumn Leaves Cad Frunze Toamna Ruginie Pictures


3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jaspal Singh
    Jan 10, 2019 @ 20:00:46

    Nice translation! Could you please refer to the original in Hindi also? Thanks


  2. Jaspal Singh
    Jan 10, 2019 @ 20:02:15

    My apology. I just noticed that you already mentioned…
    Mat Kar Maya ko Ahankaar, Mat kar Kaya ko Abhimaan


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