राम जपउ जीअ ऐसे ऐसे
ध्रू प्रह्लाद जपिओ हरि जैसे || १
Ram japo ji aise aise
Dhru Prahlad japeo Hari jaise||
Meaning: The way Ram was worshipped by His devotee named Dhruv and His devotee named Prahlad – is the way everyone should worship and meditate upon Him.
दीन दयाल भरोसे तेरे
सभु परवारु चढ़ाया बेड़े || १ (रहाउ )
Deen Dayal bharose tere
Sabh parvar chadaya bede ||
Meaning: O Most Kind Divine, who takes pity on the down-trodden, putting my faith in You, I have directed all my followers and disciples to board the sturdy ship of ‘this endeavour’ (namely – contemplating and meditating on Your Name ie., this is what I have taught my followers.)
जा तिस भावे ता हुकम मनावे
इस बेड़े कउ पार लघावए || २
Ja tis bhave ta hukam manave
Iss bede ko paar laghave ||
Meaning: Only The Divine Will prevails in this universe. And if You so decree, those who have boarded the Ship of Your Name, will cross over.
गुर परसाद ऐसी बुधि समानी
चूकि गई फिरि आवन जानी || ३
Gur parsad aisi budh samani
Chook gayi phir aavan jaani ||
Meaning: Only with the blessings of The Guru, this understanding permeates the mind and wisdom of a person. And thereafter, that person is liberated forever from the cycle of birth and death.
कहु कबीर भजु सारिगपानी
उरवारि पारि सभ एको दानी || ४
Keh Kabir bhaj Sarigpani
Urvaar paar sabh eko daani ||
Meaning: Kabir is telling you – Follow and remember The Divine. In this world as well as in what lies beyond, He is The One and Only Giver.
These are the couplets from Kabir ji, the great saint of India. I feel, the people of India are blessed to belong to a land where such great souls as Kabir ji chose to reincarnate. Always simple in living and selfless in his actions, as long as Kabir ji lived, not only did he make stupendous true spiritual progress himself, but also taught the same to his disciples and followers.
In the writings of Kabir ji, you will find him addressing The Divine with hundreds of names.
Ram, Govind, Saringpani, Gosain, Prabhu, Hari, Sai, Deen Dayal and many more. Interestingly, these are the names of the deities of Hindu pantheon and how they are lovingly addressed in the scriptures. And also by other great saints of India. Does that mean that Kabir ji was advocating a particular religion – namely Hinduism?
Absolutely not. On the contrary, Kabir ji criticised the blind worship of deities in traditional ways like fasting, pilgrimaging, ablutions, climbing mountains, dipping in lakes and rivers to please God or punishing the body with different types of penances – be it any religion.
Being a lover of The Divine which pervades the world everywhere – the seen as well as the unseen – the manifest as well as the unmanifest – with form as well as the formless – this as well as that – I find deep love for The Divine in Kabir ji when I find him addressing Him as Ram, Sai, Govind and various other names.
Kabir ji never professed to belong to any particular religion, albeit, people have categorised him as a proponent of Nirakar Bhakti. To put him in any category is equal to putting a priceless jewel in a box, closing the lid and keeping it away for safekeeping instead of beholding it, admiring it everyday and letting its light bring brightness into our lives.
In the words of Kabir ji, in all his couplets and दोहे, lies the secret to true salvation – ultimate freedom from the painful unending cycle of birth and death.
In the above lines, Kabir ji starts with first addressing the world, then turns back, addressing The Divine and then again turns towards the world and advises them.
Kabir ji says – Remember and worship Ram (The Divine) in exactly how Dhruv and Prahlad – two of His devotees did. Jap (जप ) or Jaap (जाप ) technically means repeatedly uttering a name with devotion.
Now the question arises – How did Dhruv and Prahlad worship The Divine?
And the answer is – With total faith and surrender.
Both Dhruv and Prahlad were born to rich and powerful but utterly cruel, anti-God demons. Both belonged to different eras of time but their lives panned out in quite similar ways. Both got initiated into bhakti and devotion to The Divine in their early lives. Thereafter, both devoted their lives to meditating on The Divine with total faith and surrender. Their fathers, cruel and heartless as they were, subjected their young selves to untold atrocities and physical harm in order to shake their faith in The Divine. But both, steadfastly, stuck to their chosen path with full faith, unmindful of their pain.
Ultimately, seeing their absolute surrender to Him, their resolute trust in Him and the deep love they held in their hearts for Him, The Divine manifested himself into Form and killed the demons. Through Dhruv and Prahlad, humanity too received relief and salvation from the brutal and bloodthirsty clutches of the demons. Thereafter, both were crowned emperors and went on to rule the world for aeons with peace and harmony prevailing everywhere.
We tend to read our scriptural stories and brand them mythical – coming from myth – something that is false and imaginary. And the moment we do that – we stop learning anything from them. Our loss!
The way Dhruv and Prahlad held on to their faith in The Divine – is the way we all should lead our lives. Despite calamities, catastrophes and pain. They could have questioned (like we do) in their trying times – Why me? Why am I being subjected to pain when I am a believer in You? Why aren’t you doing something to rescue me?
Instead, both bore their pain with total faith and deep surrender – their minds fixed only on meditating on The Divine – not bothering about the outcome or shifting their concentration, instead, like ordinary beings, on their own pain and the unfairness of it all.
Kabir ji says – Putting my trust in you, like Dhruv and Prahlad, I have instructed my followers to board the Ship of Your Name (to meditate on it). If You so please, those who have boarded this Ship, will cross over to the other side of the birth-and-death-cycle. Because only The Divine Will prevails in the universe.
This deep understanding comes only with the blessings of one’s Guru. And those who have trust in the words of their Guru, follow his instructions with faith. They, then, are freed from the eternal cycle of birth-death-rebirth.
Kabir ji goes on to say that The Divine is the only one who should be meditated upon (day and night, with unflinching faith). He is the only one who, in this world, can bestow wealth – material and spiritual – on us and beyond this world – can give salvation to us; free us from the never-ending painful cycle of birth-death-rebirth.
This hymn by Kabir ji is replete with the imagery of a large ship, going beyond and crossing over. In the mind, it conjures up an image of crossing a vast ocean, people boarding a sturdy large ship and going to a land which lies beyond the ocean.
Without saying so, Kabir ji, in a way, has also drawn imagery of people getting lost on the seas, not finding their way and drowning – which is the state of humanity today. In an unsaid way, he has also communicated that because of the enormity of the task, only a sturdy ship (बेड़ा ) can take us to our destination. Not a small flimsy boat.
Today, we are lost. Directionless. Clueless. Living an unconscious life. Without faith. Without solid grounding. Without trust in our beliefs. This type of ‘flimsy boat’ just cannot withstand the shitstorms of life. The moment our faith is tested against trying times, it smashes into smithereens and we drown in our pain and misery.
It is only unshakable faith in the loving Divine that can save us; meditating and centering our thoughts on The Divine and letting deep unwavering trust in Him guide us in our lives. With The Guru’s blessings, it can be achieved.
Being the One and Only true Mighty Giver, The Divine holds the power to bless us with material possessions and spiritual progress in this life and Moksha (freedom from the cycle of birth and death) in the afterlife.