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Kabir Dohas

Kabir ek mara(n)te dui mooe doee mara(n)teh chaar.
Chaar mara(n)teh chheh mooe chaar purakh dui naar.

– (SGGS, Pg. No. 1369)

Translation

Kabir, when one died, two were dead.
When two died, four were dead.
When four died, six were dead,
four males and two females.

When we put the numbers mathematically they become:

1 = 1 + 1         = 2

2 = 2 + 2         = 4

Total=2+4       = 6

Amazing! So, 1 has transformed into 6.

The math of Kabir Ji is quite perplexing, for it defies the rational logic, the very basis of Mathematics. Kabir’s words are pithy, yet they are full of wisdom. In spite of them defying logic, there is a cumulative cascading effect from one to six. Let us try to decipher what Kabir Ji is trying to convey. First historical context - It is believed that this couplet is allegorical, and was written by Kabir Ji after witnessing a hunting scene on the banks of Ganga River.

A hunter went to a forest for deer hunting. He saw a deer and took aim with arrow. The hunter aimed the arrow releasing it and it pierced the deer. The doe (female deer) died of the wounds. The arrow had pierced the womb of doe, and the baby came out of the womb and died. In the meantime the buck (male deer) came there and hunter took the aim again and killed the buck. The hunter went closer to the dead deer to pick his hunt. There the hunter accidently stepped on the snake and it bit the hunter. He fell down becoming unconscious and died of snake bite. When his wife found out about the demise of her hunter husband, she rushed to the spot, upon seeing the hunter husband she passed away in shock and grief. Without the parents the child of the hunter too passed away. Thus four males – deer, baby deer, hunter, hunter’s child and two females – doe and hunter’s wife passed away.

Now, let us explore the allegorical aspect of what Kabir Ji is trying to convey. Let us start with the first dead – mind. When one (mind) died two were dead. When the mind is dead and all the desires along with the lust also died with it. So, he became free of all lust, desires and doubts. As a consequence even the ego vanished. With that the stigma of being low caste also died. The second dead Kabir Ji is referring to is his concern for his low caste i.e. status in the society. The consequence of these two deaths was that two more died. The next two deaths were love of material world, and desires. Thus so far the total count of dead was four. When these four died, two more died – bad company (evil association) and slander. When four died there were total six deaths – 4 male and 2 female. Let us look at these in the Table as under:

 Serial No. Death of/(Gender) Hints and Clues in Guru Granth Sahib Translation of Hints and Clues(with Page No. from Guru Granth Sahib) Consequences 1 Mind/ (M) Durmat baadhaa sarapan khaadhaa. Man is bound by the evil-mindedness, and consumed by Maya, the serpent. (SGGS, Pg. No. 939) Death of desires, which translates to death of ego. 2 Status in the society/ (M) Kabir jaat julaahaa kiaa karai hiradhai basae gopal. Kabir, what can my lowly status as a weaver do to me? The Lord dwells in my heart. (SGGS, Pg. No. 1368) Discrimination based on birth, status, class ceased. 3 Material world attachment/ (M) Kabir aaisaa ko nahee ma(n)dhar dhei jarai. Kabir, will anyone set fire to his home (of attachments). (SGGS, Pg. No. 1368) Became detached with the realization that the possessions have to be left behind upon departure from this world. 4 Desires/ (F) Kabir man pa(n)khee bhio udd udd dheh dhis jai. Kabir, the mind has become a bird; it soars and flies in the ten directions (driven by desires). (SGGS, Pg. No. 1369) Desire less, as the flutter of desires has ebbed and now mind has become free of desires. 5 Bad Company/ (M) Kabir maaree marau kusa(n)g kee kele nikaT ju ber. Kabir, I have been ruined and destroyed by bad company, like the banana plant near the thorny bush of jujube. (SGGS, Pg. No. 1369) Bad company will bring trouble, so shun it. 6 Slander/ (F) Kabir bhaar paraiee sir charai chalio chaahai baaT. Kabir, the mortal wants to walk on the path, carrying the load of others' sins on his head. (SGGS, Pg. No. 1369) Slandering is putting others filth in your mouth.

So, Kabir Ji is saying one death culminated into total of six deaths.

The annihilation of mind culminates in ending mind’s wonderings, attachment to status, position, power etc., desires, and ego. When these are eliminated then desire to associate with bad company or slandering will also disappear.

Kabir Ji shares with us where the mind rested on when evil-mindedness departed. He says:

Unman manooaa sunn samaanaa dhubidhaa durmut bhaagee.”
– (SGGS, Pg. No. 339)

The disturbed mind has been absorbed in the Lord;
duality and evil-mindedness have run away.

References

1. 1. www.Srigranth.org
2. 2. www.Sikhitothemax.com
3. 3. Singh, Prof. Sahib. Darpan Sri Guru Granth Sahib. Volume 10
4. 4. Singh, Bhai Vir. Teeka Anek Banian. Part 2
5. 5. Das, Nirmal Das. Songs of Kabir From the Adi Granth

June 18, 2020

Bhupinder Singh
Visual Art by Bhupinder Singh

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