Kabir Dohas

Mangan Maran Saman Hai, Mat Koi Mange Beekh
Mangan Se Marna Bhala, Yeh Satguru Ki Seekh


Begging is like perishing, none should go imploring
It is better to die than beg, this is pure Guru's teaching

My Understanding

It is unfortunate but true that a vast number of people all over the world survive through begging.  In non-affluent countries the scenario is worst.  In affluent societies, this phenomenon can be seen in the guise of welfare plans.

The compassionate Guru knows that a person who sets out to beg (at least for the first time), literally kills his inner self and undergoes tremendous shame and humiliation. In this simple verse, Kabir boldly attempts to shake up the conscience of the people. Without using the words, he appeals the masses to work honestly and earn their livelihood.   

Rajender Krishan
Visual Art by Simi Nallaseth

Views: 44359      Comments: 13

Comments on this Doha

Comment I believe you have misinterpreted the real meaning of this doha.

Kabir is referring to our constant act of begging not in its literal sense, but the fact that every human is a beggar, with unceasing wants and demands, fuelled by perpetual greed.

This doha cautions us against the evil of greed, by suggesting it is better to die than to live this cycle of ever increasing wants - itself a manifestation of the ego.


26-Apr-2019 21:34 PM

Comment for quite sometime I was just wondering, why kabir said so, where as some bikshus in old days use to beg, that must be a sort of penance to understand and be wise.
It can also be that one who has really understood the creator, is doing his work by taking some alms, this way he maintains himself and also spreads the wealth he has gained by going door to door.

Pradeep Janakraj Berry

05-May-2016 21:48 PM

Comment As mentioned by several fellow readers the begging St. Kabir refers to is not the literal meaning of begging

Sai itna dijiya, jisme kutumbh samaye
Main bhi bhukha na rahoon, sadhu bhi bhukha na jaaye


29-Jun-2015 10:43 AM

Comment In this doha,Begging is not only a simple word with his single meaning. Kabir says,don't go here and there for fulfill your desire.In this world each and every person wandering here and there for completion of his desire. This type of activity comes under "Begging".Kabir says,stop either stop this begging kill your desires or better to die.So this type of absolutely different from Buddha's. Bhikshus activity not comes under the activity of begging.

Dr. Prakash kachhwal

01-May-2013 21:50 PM

Comment Moorkh, The begging of Buddhism is different from imploring in many points:

1. There is no pleading involved as the buddhist holds his bowl
2. The buddhist is doing it as a duty towards maintenance of his body and never out of sensual desires
3. The buddhist does it only minimally when there is an absolute need, definitely not as a profession
4. Unlike the beggar, the buddhist is unconcerned with the success of his begging and is prepared to let his body fall off out of hunger. The beggar would plan of other fallback schemes (that might be worse than even begging)


19-Apr-2013 03:14 AM

Comment Just curious to understand how does the "My Understanding" section go with Buddhism in which begging is the first step towards enlightenment?

Any feedback would be helpful.

Moorkh Adhikaari

11-Feb-2013 06:40 AM

Comment I knew in my kabir reading that there was somewhere mentioned about begging,all this fantastic kabir writings are as always full of double meaning and ambiguity according to the situation of the moment
so begging forgivance from youir guru is not bad
while begging for funds for some desirable thing is not so good
while strecthing your hand for alms can be seen as gesture of humility which our pride is in dear need of
now beging some divnity for some siddhis to increase your spiritual ego is for sure not that good
begging sirjanhar for ameliorating our rajasic nature cannot do any harm
so basically to discriminate in this matter as on many other
can bring the simple ( sahej) answer to apparently confusing issues I got a bit of a clear light this morning thanks to kabir


02-Jul-2012 00:57 AM

Comment The doha has spiritual, not physical meaning.The 'my understanding' section has to be revised.


04-Jun-2012 07:07 AM

Comment This Doha is not about asking for physical alms. He is pointing that spiritual awakening can not be obtained by begging from door to door, as it will make you out of true path and waste your time, which is equivalent to deathlike. So, instead of asking spirituality in begging, better you go and die for it.

Arunesh Dixit

15-Nov-2011 01:28 AM

Comment If tomorrow I lost my job, I lost my family and I had nowhere to sleep, would it be wrong of me to ask for help? What if I asked a stranger? What if I asked my government? What if I asked a foreign government? Was it wrong for the Japanese to ask other countries for help when they were struck by the tsunami? They had to hold their hand out and implore others for help.

When Kabir talks about begging, it is my feeling that he is talking about all the inner begging that we do. Kabir says "None should go begging." Yet we beg each other for love, for acceptance, for approval. Husbands beg their wives for love. Wives beg their husbands for love. Men beg their friends for love. Women beg theirs. Not with their lips. But inside we are busy begging the world for love in all sorts of ways. Kabir, the Great Guru is simply saying, "Why O human do you hold your hand out? Hold your hand in! You are rich beyond belief! Why do you live like a beggar when within you is a boundless treasure with no end?" "None should go begging." Why do you feel lack when so much fullness is waiting to be discovered inside your own being? Why do you live empty when you can live full?
You have it! Nothing is lost. Your riches are intact. Why do you beg? Awaken from this false dream, this deep sleep. (visit wopg.org and listen to some of the webcasts. I find them to be filled with clarity and understanding)

Mike Donahoe

24-Sep-2011 08:49 AM

Comment There is nohing like Indian ness. What kabir says is THE UNIVRSAL TRUTH. True at any time any where.


16-May-2011 03:03 AM

Comment good one............


23-Feb-2011 12:12 PM

Comment Its nice to read these Dohas which hold in them the meaning of true Indianness

Gagan Saini

16-Oct-2010 05:07 AM

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