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Teachings of Sant Kabir - Sayings from Dohe and Vani of Kabir Das

Teachings of Sant Kabir from various sources including books, Dohe, Vani and other translations of the works of Kabir Das. The Teachings and Sayings were collected over a period of 12 years.

Admire the diamond that can bear the hits of a hammer. Many deceptive preachers, when critically examined, turn out to be false

Between the grinding stones of cravings and aversions the whole world is being crushed. Kabir weeps at the plight of the world as none is able to see the truth.

A diamond was lying in the street covered with dirt. Many fools passed by. Someone who knew diamonds picked it up. (Those who seek true knowledge will acquire it.)

A rosary (japa mala) is rotating in the hand and tongue swings in the mouth. But if the mind is moving in all the four directions then this is not a meditation of God.

Listen, I see the world is mad. If I tell the truth they rush to beat me, if I lie they trust me.

If you want the truth, I will tell you the truth: Listen to the secret sound, the real sound, which is inside you.

I laugh when I hear that the fish in the water is thirsty. You don’t grasp the fact that what is most alive of all is inside your own house; and you walk from one holy city to the next with a confused look! Kabir will tell you the truth: go wherever you like, if you can’t find where your soul is hidden, for you the world will never be real!”

There is none closer that the pure master, no one more generous than a learned person; none more helpful than the Lord, and no caste better than that of the worshippers.

The importance of the pure master is endless, he helped in countless ways; he took off numerous curtains from the eyes, and he showed the infinity.

Use the strength of your own arm,
Stop putting hope in others.
When the river flows through your own yard,
How can you die of thirst?
The Jogi cries:
“Gorakh Gorakh!”
The Hindu utters
The name of Ram,
The Mussalman repeats:
“God is one!”
But the Lord of Kabir
Pervades all.
The best place to look for God is “in the heart of your heart.”

The average man of the world goes about his daily life not knowing that subconsciously he is seeking the Absolute Truth, the Beloved in the jiva. The mind-body equipment of man contains this Beloved, yet he seeks for it everywhere else but within. The musk deer attracted by its own scent searches for it in the woods. Little does it know that in its body is the source of this fragrance.


Devotion must not be like the flood of the rainy season in which all get washed away. Devotion should be like the river that retains water even in the hottest season.

No meditation equals truth,
Equal to falsehood there's no sin;
In whoever's heart lies the truth,
Know it's that heart where God dwells in.
Dying, dying, the world keeps dying,
but none knows how to die.
No one dies in such a way
that he won't die again.
Maya is the Lamp, man is the moth,
circling around the flame, he falls:
thanks to the Guru's wisdom,
a few are saved.
The wretched people slander,
for they have not found wisdom.
But those who are drunk with the Liquor of Ram
have taste of nothing else!

Him whom I went out to seek,
I found just where I was:
He now has become myself
Whom before I called `Another'!

Look at you, you madman!
Screaming you are thirsty
And dying in a desert,
When all around you
There is nothing but water

Man is but a doll made from five elements,
To whom a human's name is given ...
We are but guest of four days,
Yet we take up so much room!

Give up the pride of clan and caste and devote yourself entirely to God. Give up your faults (lust, anger, greed etc.); don’t be an enemy to anyone. This is the basic principle of the saints.

Keep your critic close to you give him shelter in your courtyard; without soap and water he will clean your character.

The whole world is poor; no one is rich; only the one who has the wealth of God’s name is rich.

If you speak with knowledge speech is priceless. Weigh it in the scales of the heart before it comes till your lips.

A verbal abuse is one, but responding to it will cause many more. Do not respond to an abuse and keep it isolated.

What is seen is not the Truth
What is cannot be said
Trust comes not without seeing
Nor understanding without words
The wise comprehends with knowledge
To the ignorant it is but a wonder
Some worship the formless God
Some worship His various forms
In what way He is beyond these attributes
Only the Knower knows
That music cannot be written
How can then be the notes
Says Kabir, awareness alone will overcome illusion

The man of God
Moves about in the world,
Yet stays pure like a swan.
From him flows the nectar
Of the immaculate Name,
And he always sings
The praises of the Lord.
Within he dwells
On the celestial shores
Of the lake Manasarovar;
His heart, detached from all else,
Remains absorbed
In the Lord's lotus feet.
He never opens his beak
For anything but the pearls
Of divine love and grace;
He stays silent, or he speaks
In praise of the Lord.
The crows of depravity
Cannot come near him;
Such a Swan, O friend,
Has realized his true Self.
He alone is dear to Him,
Who separates milk from water.

When I was, Hari (God) was not, now Hari is and I am no more: All darkness vanished, when I saw the Lamp within my heart. The effulgence of the Supreme Being is beyond the imagination: Ineffable is His beauty, to see it is the only ‘proof.’ Him whom I went out to seek, I found just where I was: He now has become myself whom before I called ‘Another.’

When love renounces all limits, it reaches truth.

With the load of desires which you hold on your head, how can you be light?
Wherever you are is the entry point.

Just throw away all thoughts of imaginary things, and stand firm in that which you are.

One who cares not for praise or blame, honor or dishonor one who treats gold and iron alike, such a one only sees Rama.

When you are in the company of good, listen
When you are in the company of Evil ones, speak not
Discourse with the good and learned brings prosperity
Speech with ignorant is futile

A half filled jar makes a lot of noise,
A full jar makes no noise.

Do not waste your time in mere book reading of the fifty two letters in the language – two letters, RA MA are enough to lead you to Moksha.

No meditation equals truth,
Equal to falsehood there is no sin;
In whoever’s heart lies the truth,
Know it is that heart where God dwells in.

The sweeter a man speaks, the more
You should be careful of him
Since he first shows shallow waters
But later leads to sink in deep water

You are the cage
I, a little parrot of yours
How can that cat Yama
Harm me.

On the moonless day, give up longing.
Remember Ram who knows our innermost thoughts.
While living, find salvation’s door:
Perceive the real Word and Source of all things.
When you love Gobind’s lotus feet,
Your heart becomes pure, by the grace of saints.
Stay awake day and night
And sing Hari’s praise.
The same soul dwells in beings everywhere,
How can it ever be affected by caste
Or by the accursed body formed of water and air?
For the soul is immortal and body does not last.

I laugh when I hear the fish in the water is thirsty: You do not see that the real is in your home, and you wander from forest to forest listlessly!

Realize the truth, both bondage and bliss is at home. Stay where you are attain the real.

It is all one skin and bone, … one blood, one meat. From one drop, a universe. Who is Brahmin? Who is Shudra?

The Vedas show many ways to cross the sea.

If a man can’t hold his tongue his heart is not true.

Saints, I see the world is mad.
If I tell the truth they rush to beat me,
If I lie they trust me.

Inexpressible is the story of love, it cannot be revealed by mere words. Like the dumb who on eating sweetmeats can only smile but not speak of its sweetness.

Listen, my friend! There is no other satisfaction, except in the encounter with the beloved.

People are divided into various groups (religions) and that’s how the whole world is misguided. One who performs devotion to the Almighty God, being impartial to worldly religions, is the true saint.

Whoever has good character is the greatest of all. He is the mine of all jewels; the wealth of the three worlds is merged in good character.

Use your own strength, stop placing hope in others. When the river flows through your own backyard, how can you die of thirst?

Simply discard all thoughts of imaginary things and stand firm in that which you are.

You will know who is a saint or thief as soon as he talks. The character within comes out by the road of the mouth.

Like the tree remaining in the seed
So unseen remains the Lord,
In every being on earth.
Shed your arrogance and look inside
You will find Him there for certain.

Clay says to the potter, listen
Why do you dig and smother me?
Beware one day you shall lie
In my bowels where I shall smother thee.

I cannot resist laughter hearing
Fish lives in thirst in water!
That is same as seeking all over
For a thing plentiful indoor

All are born as human beings and everybody knows this fact. The deceivers have divided humanity into high and low.

Human birth is difficult to obtain. Just as a ripened fallen fruit does not re-attach to the branch, you will not get it again and again.

You were born in this world with everyone laughing while you cried. Don’t conduct yourself in manner that they laugh when you are gone.

Jump into experience while you are alive! Think and think while you are alive. What you call salvation happens in the time before death.

A hero does not show his back on the battlefield; He who does so  is no hero.
It takes a fierce, gruelling battle to fight out the defilements like lust, anger, pride, greed etc.
When these enemies are vanquished, truthfulness, virtuosity, contentment etc begin to reign supreme.
Only a valiant warrior can sustain this battle, says Kabir Sahab, the cowards run away.

Wherever I go I circumambulate Him, all I do or achieve is His service.
When I lie down or sleep I lie prostrate at His feet, I worship no other god.
All that I utter is His name and hear is His praise or chanting, all that I partake of is His worship.
I treat home and desert alike, I have done away with all the notions of duality.
I shut not my eyes, plug not my ears, do not mortify myself a bit.
I behold Him with my eyes open and smile, and see His beauty all around.
As I got hooked to the quintessential word, all the vile desires have fled me.
Whether I rise or sit down, every moment am I connected to Him, so intense has become my intoxication.
This is all about, says Kabir Saheb, the detached way of living that I have sung (in above lines).
I have merged myself into that highest state which lies beyond all sorts of sufferings and pleasures.

Leaves on the tree that are born together, after falling down drift off in different directions. 

This wealth, youth, children and spouse which the Lord has given you - this is all just a passing show.

Age is the fire, and the body is the house of straw; on all four sides, this play is being played out.

To cross over the terrifying world-ocean, I have taken to the Shelter of the True Guru.

If I close my eyes I see you inside me and if I open my eyes I see you everywhere outside.

Go deeper Past thoughts into silence...silence into stillness...stillness into the heart. Let love consume all that is left of you.

When the wise man points to the moon, the fool looks at the finger.

I have touched neither ink nor paper and have not handled a pen. The importance of things and their qualities have come to my mind through oral tradition.

Trees can’t eat their fruits, nor rivers their water; Saints are born to take away pain and give pleasure.

Noble man is like the shield comes forward in distress remains quite far behind in peace and happiness.

You forget the Lord in happiness, in sorrow you remember says Kabir, who will listen to the inconsistent man’s prayer.

The master and the god are one, the difference lies in the shapes; if one worships Hari after become egoless, he then, is able to get him.

When both the master and the God are standing together, side by side, to who should I salute and welcome first? Definitely to the guru for he introduced god to me.

A devotee is worried only about remembering and repeating the name of Hari. He seldom thinks about other social and religious activities. He who indulges into other works without Rama, is caught in Time’s net.

When I started repeating the Name, there were both you and I. The I lost my I. In repletion I was sacrificed. Now only you are everywhere.

His birth and whole life is waste who has no devotion for God and no Rama on the tips of the tongue.

From words of mouth know the man noble or ignoble. Deeds form the words of mouth either fair or foul.

If he tries to find himself he finds God and if he tries to find God he finds himself.

I have made Him My companion Who is beyond pleasure and pain; I will revel with Him, I will merge with Him and never be parted again.

There is none closer than the pure master, no one more generous than a learned person; none more helpful than the Lord, and no caste better than that of the worshippers.

The importance of the pure master is endless, he helped in countless ways; he took off numerous curtains from the eyes, And he showed the infinity.

A devotee is worried only about remembering and repeating the name of Hari, the God. He seldom thinks about other social and religious activities. He, who indulges into other works without Rama, is caught in Time’s net.

He who has not tasted the love of the Lord, is a guest to an uninhabited house. There is none to welcome him or look after him. He will have to return back as he has come.

The name of Rama is free for all. Anyone can steal and store as much as he can. If not, then will regret and repent at the end when the death will overpower.

As one worships the lord, he gets the return in proportion. The thirst can’t be satiated by licking dew drops, for it one will have to enter water. God is like deep and unfathomable water body. One can get the bliss only by diving deep into Him.

For penance and meditation, I will change this body into an earthen lamp and the self into wick; and pour oil in the form of blood. Only then I will be able to see the face.

None can guess the depth, width and brightness of the illumination of the Absolute Brahman. It can only be felt, it can’t be described.
Sant Kabir Das



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