Mystic Songs

Jag jeevan aaisaa, supane jaisaa

Jag jeevan aaisaa, supane jaisaa, jeevan supan samaanan.
Saach kar hum gaath dheenee, chhodd param nidhaanan. 1.
Baabaa maiaa moh hit keen(h).
Jin giaan ratan hir leen(h). 1. Rahaau.
Nain dhekh patang urajhai, pas na dhekhai aag.
Kaal faas na mugadh chetai, kanik kaamin laag. 2.
Kar bichaar bikaar parahar, taran taaran soi.
Kahae kabir jagjeevan aaisaa, dhuteea naahee koi. 3.5.27.

– (SGGS, Pg. No. 482)


The life in this world is only a dream;
    (really) life is just a dream.
Believing it to be true, I grasped at it,
    and abandoned (Lord,) the supreme treasure. ||1||
O Father, I have enshrined love and affection for Maya
    (worldly riches and power),
which has taken the jewel of spiritual wisdom away from me. ||1||Pause||
The moth sees with its eyes, but it still becomes entangled;
    the (foolish) animal does not see the fire.
Attached to gold (meaning wealth) and woman (meaning pleasures),
    the fool does not think of the noose of Death. ||2||
Reflect upon this, and abandon sin (of evil pursuits);
    the Lord is the boat to carry you across.
Says Kabir, such is the Lord, the Life of the World;
    there is no one equal to Him. ||3||5||27||


Here Kabir Ji has shared the reality of transient nature of life. As at any moment this life that we know, cherish and experience can end, so he calls it a dream. He says just a dream is over, when we wake up from sleep, same way the life is like a short-lived dream, ends in death and is not everlasting. Yet most of us talk about our dream life, when in reality the life is dream. He repeats the words about dream nature for emphasis. However, we believe it to be true and we cling to it, by tying a tight knot with it, as if it is never permanent. In the process of grasping to transient we have abandoned the Supreme Treasure of Naam – the Divine Virtues.

Kabir says that we are in love and attached with Maya (worldly falsehood), as a result the jewel like spiritual wisdom has been taken away from us.

He compares our life to that of a moth, who is enticed and drawn in by the light of the lamp. Yet the fool (moth) so enticed by pleasures, does not see the fire which can burn it. Same way we are enticed by gold (Maya) and woman (pleasures) and don’t reflect on the impending death. In conclusion, Kabir Ji advises us to abandon the sins of attachment (to worldly falsehood of wealth and pleasures) and reflect about Lord, who can ferry you across (the worldly ocean of attachments). Lord alone can give the soul a permanent abode, free from birth and deaths. He concludes by saying that there is nothing else worth considering in this world, except the Lord.

Kabir’s message is to realize the transient nature of life, and not get infatuated with worldly wealth, power, or pleasures. As attachment to those can to become the reason for life of sins, which could put us in cycles of birth and deaths along with the associated sufferings. So enticing is the allure of these, that like moth we fail to realize that it can consume us. Instead, he reminds us to remember God, who can remove all our sufferings, grant us immortality, with perpetual peace and happiness.

Two interesting words:

In the beginning - Jag Jeevan –  - Life in this world (Meaning the transient nature of life)

In the end - Jagjeevan –  - Life of the world (Meaning God, who is forever)

Note – The spelling difference, two separate words in the beginning and the other is a compound word in the end. The vernacular changes the meaning while the pronunciation is unchanged.

July 2, 2022

Image (c)
Illustration by the author. 

Bhupinder Singh
Illustration by Bhupinder Singh
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