These are three poems from The Kabir Book, versions by Robert Bly. Kabir lived in the 1400s in Northern India. His poems
are from the Bhakti tradition -- the pathway of love and not being so important.
Book by Robert Bly
Copyright (c) 1971, 1977 by Robert Bly
(c) 1977 by Seventies Press
Reprinted by permission of Beacon Press, Boston
I don't know what sort of a God we have been talking about.
The caller calls in a loud voice to the Holy One at dusk.
Why? Surely the Holy One is not deaf.
He hears the delicate anklets that ring on the feet of an insect as it walks.
Go over and over your beads, paint weird designs on your forehead,
wear your hair matted, long, and ostentatious,
but when deep inside you there is a loaded gun, how can you have God?
Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you are alive!
Think ... and think ... while you are alive.
What you call "salvation" belongs to the time before death.
If you don't break your ropes while you're alive,
do you think
ghosts will do it after?
The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic
just because the body is rotten --
that is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
you will simply end up with an apartment in the City of Death.
If you make love with the divine now, in the next life you will have the
face of satisfied desire..
So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is,
Believe in the Great Sound!
Kabir says this: When the Guest is being searched for,
it is the intensity of the longing for the Guest that does all the work.
Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.
nothing but water in the holy pools.
I know, I have been swimming in them.
gods sculpted of wood or ivory can't say a word.
I know, I have been crying out to them.
Books of the East are nothing but words.
I looked through their covers one day sideways.
talks about is only what he has lived.
If you have not lived something, it is not true.