Kabir Dohas

Discarding Materialism is Insignificant,
but Discarding Pride is Significant


Kabir Maya Taji Ta Kia bhaya Jau Maan Tajia Nahee Jai.
Maan Muni Munivar Gale Maan Sabhai Kau Khai
. 156.”
—  (SGGS, Pg. No. 1372)

Kabir, what good is giving up Maya (illusionary material wealth), if the mortal does not give up his ego? Even the silent sages and seers are destroyed by ego; ego eats up everything. ||156||

The literal translation of ‘maan’ should have been pride but looking at the usage of the word in the sentence the more appropriate translation is ego.

Explanation: Kabir is trying to tell us that giving up attachment to the Maya (illusionary material wealth, mammon) is the easy part, but the real challenge is in giving one’s ego. The pull of Maya is so strong, that it has been called a universal seductress, whose allure traps everyone. It is being chased by everyone in the world, and whatever one acquires, unwilling to part from it at any cost. The chase after material possessions is not just for rainy day alone, but to declare that I am more successful than you. This desire to be at the top on the totem pole is fueled by ego, the main ingredient of our identity.

In those days some people used to renounce the world of Maya becoming ascetics and head to forests in hopes of salvation. Here, Kabir is talking about those who have adopted this recourse and pointing out that even success there is not of any great significance. In his eyes the real thing of significance is to lose one’s ego. From his perspective the Maya is like a tree very visible, whose branches, limbs, and truck can be cut and trimmed, but as long as the root is alive this trimmed outgrowth will return. So, he is advocating renunciation of ego.

As ego ruins it all, even the sages who claim to have renounced Maya, have been robbed and ruined by it. Why it is difficult to get rid of ego? Because nobody desires to see his/her identity stripped in front of their eyes and mind. Afterall when ego is gone, what is left of the self – nothing. But when we let go of our own little ego, it is making room for the one higher energy that permeates in everyone to come in. When none other is left besides One than there is nobody to judge, or any need of self-judgement.

So, how do we start the journey? Start by recognizing that I have ego, and pride. But then everyone else is also afflicted by it in this world, everyone carrying the same virus. If one makes a conscious decision to part with it, then the first baby step will be becoming thankful in life. Becoming thankful or living a life of gratitude is like shifting the spotlight from ‘me’ to ‘You’. ‘Y’ in You is capital as it is the one running this world game, where Maya and pride are occupying central stage and You is hidden.

Another area to explore will be to become humbler in life and be willing to be little. The pride expects to be served, while servanthood feels honored to be of service. Serving others shifts the focus from own needs to needs of others, thereby making us realize something bigger than ourselves. So, let us all embark on this journey of discarding pride.

January 14, 2023

Image (c) istock.com
Illustration (c) Bhupinder Singh

Bhupinder Singh
Visual Art by Bhupinder Singh

Views: 978      Comments: 3

Comments on this Doha

Comment Post Script:
I was looking for a statement from Kabir Ji wherein he shares what happens when MAYA is forsaken, which I would like to share as under:
ਮਿਥਿਆ ਕਰਿ ਮਾਇਆ ਤਜੀ ਸੁਖ ਸਹਜ ਬੀਚਾਰਿ ॥
मिथिआ करि माइआ तजी सुख सहज बीचारि ॥
"Mithiya kar maya taji sukẖ sahaj bichaar." (SGGS, Pg. No. 857)
Translation: When I thought about the blissful state of poise and peace that can be achieved I have shed off Maya by realizing it as a false illusion.

Bhupinder Singh

17-Jan-2023 13:10 PM

Comment Another great article by Bhupinder Singh jee. Kabir Dhowa made simple to understand the true meaning of Maan (EGO) . What I love is the Bhupinder's perspective of how to kill ego. Two simple steps. Gratitude andhumility. Simple but hard to do. Just like walking daily. Simple but hard to maintain routine daily.

Harpal Soni

16-Jan-2023 00:06 AM

Comment I like the explanation as it guides how to get rid of ego which is very difficult.

Gajindar Singh

15-Jan-2023 20:02 PM

Name *
Email ID
Comment *
Verification Code*

Can't read? Reload

Please fill the above code for verification.