Abode of the Beloved
Oh Companion That Abode Is Unmatched,
Where My Complete Beloved Is.
In that Place There Is No Happiness
No Truth or Untruth
Neither Sin Nor Virtue.
There Is No Day or Night, No Moon or Sun,
There Is Radiance Without Light.
There Is No Knowledge or Meditation
No Repetition of Mantra or Austerities,
Neither Speech Coming From Vedas or Books.
Doing, Not-Doing, Holding, Leaving
All These Are All Lost Too In This Place.
No Home, No Homeless, Neither Outside or Inside,
Micro and Macrocosm Are Non-Existent.
Five Elemental Constituents and the Trinity Are Both Not There Witnessing Un-struck Shabad Sound is Also Not There.
No Root or Flower, Neither Branch or Seed,
Without a Tree Fruits are Adorning,
Primordial Om Sound, Breath-Synchronized Soham,
This and That – All Are Absent, The Breath Too Unknown
Where the Beloved Is There is Utterly Nothing
Says Kabir I Have Come To Realize.
Whoever Sees My Indicative Sign
Will Accomplish the Goal of Liberation. ~Kabir
My favorite line in the poem is ” There Is No Day or Night, No Moon or Sun, There Is Radiance Without Light.” The radiance Kabir is talking about is the light that comes from our own being. We radiat light with or without the sun or the moon.
Kabir was influenced by the prevailing religious mood of his times, such as old Brahmanic Hinduism, Tantrism, the teachings of Nath yogis and the personal devotionalism of South India mixed with the imageless God of Islam. Most interesting about Abode of the Beloved it sounds very much like The Heart Sutra. The Heart Sūtra, it is generally thought, is likely to have been composed in the 1st century CE in Kushan Empire territory, by a Sarvastivadin monk. It is the chanted by Zen practioners all over the world. Here is a segment:
“Therefore, O Sariputra, in emptiness there is no form nor feeling, nor perception, nor impulse, nor consciousness ; No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind ; No forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touchables or objects of mind ; No sight-organ element, and so forth, until we come to : No mind-consciousness element ; There is no ignorance, no extinction of ignorance, and so forth, until we come to : There is no decay and death, no extinction of decay and death. There is no suffering, no origination, no stopping, no path. There is no cognition, no attainment and no non-attainment.”
Our mental processes are just as empty as the piece of paper. Thoughts, feelings, likes, dislikes and all other mental phenomena are likewise the result of many external conditions which are quite beyond our control or even our knowledge. The knowledge of emptiness liberates us from guilt and sorrow. We must understand , however, that emptiness does not absolve us from responsibility for our actions.
The knowledge of emptiness allows us to practice mindfulness and see how mental phenomena arise and pass away. When we see this process we become free and we see how others are overwhelmed by life because of ignorance. Our responsibility is to practice loving kindness and help others see the path to liberation.
In short both Kabir and The Heart Sutra are saying that life can be an illusion. That what really counts is that we use our mindfullness, our power to observe to see how cause and effect from our actions either creates beauty or suffering. From that standpoint, the most important thing that we can do is to cultivate loving kindness for ourselves and others. Doing that is the key to our happiness and the happiness of others.
About Kabir and Kabir and Banaras in India:
Kabir was born in Banaras in India. It is not known in detail what sort of spiritual training Kabir may have received. He did not become a sadhu, nor did he ever abandon worldly life. Kabir chose instead to live the balanced life of a householder and mystic, a tradesman and contemplative.
Indians date their history from the Vedic Period which scholars place in the second and first millennia BC continuing up to the 6th century BC, based on literary evidence. This is the period when the Vedas, the oldest and holiest books of Hinduism, were compiled.
Mountains, jungles, deserts and beaches, India has it all. It is bounded to the north and northeast by the snow-capped Himalayas, the tallest mountain range in the world. In addition to protecting the country from invaders, they also feed the perennial rivers Ganga, Yamuna (Jamuna) and Sindhu (Indus) on whose plains India’s civilization flourished. Though most of the Sindhu is in Pakistan now, three of its tributaries flow through Punjab. The other Himalayan river, the Brahmaputra flows through the northeast, mostly through Assam.
India’s rich and multi-layered cultures are dominated by religious and spiritual themes. While it is a mistake to assume that there is a single unified Indian culture, there certainly are unifying themes that link the various cultures. India’s cultural heritage is expressed through its myriad of languages in which much great literature and poetry has been written. It can be seen in its music – both in its classical (Carnatic and Hindustani) forms and in modern Bollywood music.
I really love Bollywood movies and songs. Here is one of my favorites from the movie Taal.
About the Movie Taal:
On a sight-seeing road trip of India, U.K. based Manav Mehta meets Mansi, the daughter of a singer, Tarababu. He is attracted to her, and makes his attraction known. She also is attracted to him eventually. Her dad approves of Manav, and both go to Bombay to meet his family. On their arrival itself, they are shunned and treated as second class citizens, and this lasts throughout the day, with the treatment getting worst at every point. Both decide to leave. Mansi decides to improve her career, leaving the past behind, and meets with Vikrant Kapoor, who helps her get started. Both see each other regularly, and soon decide to get married. In the meantime, Manav has not given up hope to marry Mansi, despite opposition from his and her families. Manav relentlessly purses his dream of marrying Mansi, even on the day of her marriage to Vikrant.