Kabir (c.1440-1518)


Paper would turn to flame if I touched it in an ecstatic mood.

And ink dries if it comes a hundred feet within

the radiance of one who will not let God

leave their arms.

Why trouble a pen to labor,

I’ve got naked angels camping on my floors with nothing more to

do than imprint my words upon the sky when I sing them.

Having mentioned the fate of paper when I am in love, and I am

always in love, how could a sun like me ever appear dressed?

Sounds like an interesting mystery that can help the bored

pass some time.



Kabir’s life both exemplifies and parallels all the saints in this book, as well as any living Master. That is, saints will usually create or allow controversy about themselves that then serves as a kind of watchdog to keep the world at an arm’s distance. The people who can get close to such a saint have to go through an ego-dying process. It is a paradoxical spiritual truth: The closer a teacher is to God the harder they are to have faith in and/or live around (…). The problem (is): we begin to want God o our terms not His. And our conditional terms will probably always keep us separate from the One we say we love and the One we need to unite with; what an irony. (…) The glorious role of the mystical poets is to help us accept God more as He Is-and ever less than our prejudices and fears want Him to be. P.210-11. (Editor's Note).


The fish in the water that is thirsty needs

serious professional counseling.



If I told you the truth about God,

you might think I was an


If I lied to you about the Beautiful One

you might parade me through the streets shouting,

“This guy is a genius!”

This world has its pants on backwards.

Most carry their values and knowledge in a jug

that has a big hole in it.

Thus having a clear grasp of the situation

if I am asked anything these days

I just laugh!




And what kind of God would he be

if the vote of millions in this world could sway Him

to change the divine

law of


that speaks so clearly with compassion’s elegant tongue

saying, eternally saying:

all are forgiven-moreover, dears,

no one has ever been guilty.


kind of God would He be

if He did not count the blinks

of your


and is in absolute awe of their movements?

What a God – what a God we




With a begging bowl in hand a man with amnesia knocks

on his own door.

My guru cured me of that profound illness:

God asking God for

forgiveness or





Order is a great benefit to the seeker,

otherwise living in one’ own house can become as

walking through a marketplace

where all the merchants keep shouting,

“You owe me.”

(…) P.218.



I have been so crazy in love with the earth for the last fifty years

that not for one second have I lifted

my head out from beneath

her skirt.


is that

wild looking character then,

who can shop in the market and tend for his family,

that some may call


I don’t have the





If you circumambulated every shrine in the world

ten times,

it would not get you to heaven

as quick

as controlling your




From the Ocean I heard a million fish say,

“Give me a beer-quick.”

I replied, “Dears, how can that be? How can a fish in the water

want a drink?”

Well, that’s how wacky things have gotten. Who else

but Maya could pull a fast one like that

and get away



Seriously speaking though:

The fish in the water that is thirsty needs

serious professional




When God says to God, “Where are you?”

Watch out- duck, for the shit

is going to hit





There is dew

on these poems in the morning,

and at night a cool breeze may rise from them.

In the winter they are blankets, in the summer a place to swim.

I like talking to you like this. have you moved

a step closer?

Soon we may be




I felt in need of a great pilgrimage

so I sat still for three


and God came

to me.



I had to seek the Physician

because of the pain this world



I could not believe what happened when I got there-

I found my


Before I left, he said,

“up for a little homework, yet?”

“Okay,” I replied.

“Well then, try thanking all the people

who have caused

you pain.

They helped you

come to




I was invited

to an important conference

where many learned men from different countries

were all going to address the topic:

Where is God?

I was wearing my best clothes and had even fasted for a week,

hoping to help sharpen my mind. Just before I was to leave though,

I felt powerfully drawn to a little shrine in my bedroom,

and I went there and knelt to pray.

I could not believe what then happened:

Kali threw her arms around me and started tearing at my clothes,

then she started throwing delicious food into my mouth,

purposely missing several times it seemed,

thus soiling my pundit attire;

and then she made me perform many times as if I were her

husband; then she said, “now Kabir, don’t be late for that big talk,

and don’t change your clothes-I like that love-stained look;

maybe it will become chic?”

I arrived just as it was my turn to stand before this august crowd,

and apologized for my appearance.

“So Where is God?” the head of the conference says to me.

“Well, (well, I stammered) if you really want to know the truth-if

you hurry-you might catch her legs still spread

back at my




Zostałem zaproszony

na ważną konferencję

gdzie wielu uczonych ludzi z różnych krajów

miało odpowiedzieć na pytanie:

Gdzie jest Bóg?

Włożyłem swoje najlepsze ubranie i nawet pościłem przez tydzień,

by zaostrzyć swój umysł. Tuż przed wyjściem jednakowóż

coś bardzo mocnego pchnęło mnie w kierunku ołtarzyka w sypialni

przed którym ukląkłem w modlitwie.

Co się wydarzyło, sam nie mogę w to uwierzyć:

Kali objęła mnie swoimi ramionami i zaczęła zdzierać ze mnie ubranie,

potem wrzucała mi do ust najpyszniejsze jedzenie,

celowo nie trafiając parę razy,

i w ten sposób rujnując mój strój uczonego,

potem zaś sprawiła, że wykonałem z nią wiele razy to, co zwykle

robią mężowie. Po czym rzekła: „Piotruś, spóźnisz się na swoje wystąpienie,

idź, ale nie zmieniaj swojego stroju-podoba mi się ten odcisk miłości,

może stanie się to modne?”

Dotarłem, kiedy akurat była moja kolej, by stanąć przed tym wytwornym gronem,

i przeprosiłem za mój wygląd.

„To Gdzie Jest Bóg?” zapytał przewodniczący.

„Hm,” zawahałem się,” hm, jeśli chce pan wiedzieć na prawdę,i

pospieszy się, może pan jeszcze złapać jej nogi ciągle

skrzyżowane na moich




I cover

the divine flame in my heart,

for if I turned God loose from my house

the earth would reveal to your eyes what mine always see-

existence is a lamp and Kabir,

the oil it



I am standing naked in the world forever in homage

to all movement. I cherish every atom

that he moves in this




Why not look at the beauty your

memory holds,

so nourishing that light can be.

The past’s lips are not


Let them comfort you

if they



All the above quotes from:

Ladinsky Daniel (2002). Love Poems from God. Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West. Penguin Group.

Last updated: 2008/10/27