Ashram Bhajanavali is a
collection of devotional songs which formed part of the morning and evening
prayers at Gandhiji’s ashrams. They were in various languages and taken from
various sources, some of them obscure, but all fairly popular in Hindu religious
tradition. Gandhiji rendered these into English for Mirabehn’s benefit, in the
first place, during his imprisonment in Yeravda Central Prison. The work of
translation was begun on May 6, 1930 and the last hymn was translated on
In 1934, George Allen &
Unwin Ltd. brought out an adaptation of the work by John S. Hoyland. But in
order to make the poems acceptable to English readers, Hoyland omitted a great
deal, "chiefly Indian names and symbolism" but also much else so that at places
it is difficult to recognize the original in the adaptation. See for instance
Gandhiji’s translation of verse 8 and Hoyland’s adaptation of it.
The version reproduced
here is taken from a photostat of the original work in Gandhiji’s hand (C. W.
Early in the morning I call to mind that Being which is felt in
the heart, which is sat (the eternal), chit (knowledge) and sukham (bliss),
which is the state reached by perfect men and which is the super-state. I am
that immaculate Brahma which ever notes the states of dream, wakefulness and
deep sleep, not this body, the compound made of the elements—earth, water,
space, light and air.
the early morning I worship Him who is beyond the reach of thought and speech
and yet by whose grace all speech is possible. I worship Him whom the Vedas
describe as neti neti (not this, not this).
they, the sages, have called God of gods, the unborn, the unfallen, the source
प्रातर्नमामि तमसः परमर्कवणमि्
the early morning I bow to Him who is beyond darkness, who is like the sun, who
is perfect, ancient, called Purushottama, (the best among men) and in whom
(through the veil of darkness) we fancy the whole universe as appearing even as
(in darkness) we imagine a rope to be a snake.
समुद्रवसने देवि पर्वतस्तनमण्डले
Goddess Earth with the ocean for thy garment, mountains for thy breasts, thou
consort of Vishnu (the Preserver), I bow to thee; forgive the touch of my feet.
Note. Bowing to the earth, we learn to be humble as the earth
which supports the beings that tread upon it. Earth therefore is rightly the
consort of the Preserver.
या कुन्देन्दुतुषारहारधवला या शुभ्रवस्रावृता
the Goddess Saraswati (of learning), the destroyer completely of black
ignorance, protect me. She who is white as the mogra flower or the moon and a
garland of snow, who has worn white robes, whose hands are adorned with the
beautiful bamboo of her veena (a kind of violin), who is seated on a white lotus
and who is always adored by Brahma, Vishnu, Siva and the other gods.
वक्रतुण्ड महाकाय सूर्यकोटिसमप्रभ
God with a curved mouth, big body, refulgent like ten million suns, keep me ever
free from harm whilst doing beneficent acts.
Note. This is addressed to God represented by the mystic letter ‘
ß ’ pronounced ‘Om’. Mark its curved
mouth and big body. Its mystic splendour has been sung by the Upanishads.
गुरुर्बह्या गुरुविष्णुर्गुरुर्देवो महेश्वरः
(teacher) is Brahma, he is Vishnu, he is Mahadev, he is the great Brahman
itself. I bow to that guru.
NOTE. This refers of course to the spiritual teacher. This is not
a mechanical or artificial relationship. The teacher is not all these in reality
but he is all that to the disciple who finds his full satisfaction in him and
imputes perfection to him who gave him a living faith in a living God. Such a
guru is a rarity, at least nowadays. The best thing is to think of God Himself
as one’s Guru or await the Light in faith.
शान्ताकारं भुजगशयनं पद्मनाभं सुरेशम्
bow to Vishnu, who is peace incarnate, who lies on a snaky bed, from whose navel
grows the lotus, who is the supreme lord of the gods, who sustains the universe,
who is like unto the sky, who has the colour of clouds, whose body is blissful,
who is the lord of Lakshmi (goddess of good fortune), who has lotus-like eyes,
who is knowable by the yogis through meditation, who dispels the fear of the
wheel of birth and death and who is the sole Ruler of all the worlds.
करचरणकृतं वाक्कायजं कर्मजं वा
Forgive, O merciful and blessed Mahadev, all those sins of mine,
of commission or omission, mental or actual and whether done through the hands
or the feet, the speech, the ears or the eyes. Let Thy will be done.
नत्वहं कामये राज्यं न स्वर्ग नापुनर्भवम्
desire neither earthly kingdom nor paradise, no, not even release from birth and
death. I desire only the release of afflicted life from misery.
स्वस्ति प्रजाभयः परिपालयन्ताम्
Blessed be the people; may the rulers protect their
kingdoms by just means, may it be always well with the cow1 and the Brahmin2 may all the
peoples be happy.
Note by Gandhiji: "Cow=agriculture"
Note by Gandhiji: "Brahmin=education"
नमस्ते सते ते जगन्कारणाय
bow to Thee the sat (see first verse), the cause of the universe, I bow to Thee
the chit (1st verse), the refuge of the world, I bow to Thee the one without a
second, the giver of salvation, I bow to Thee the Brahman, the all-pervading,
त्वमेकं शरण्यं त्वमेकं वरेण्यम्
art the only refuge, Thou art the only one to be desired, Thou art the sole
protector of the universe, Thou art self-revealed, Thou art the sole creator,
preserver and destroyer of the universe, Thou alone art supreme, immovable,
भयानां भयं भीषणं भीषणानाम्
all the fears, Thou art the chief, of all that is terrible Thou art the most
terrible, Thou art the motion of all life, Thou art the holy of holies, Thou art
the sole regulator of the mightiest places, Thou art the greatest among the
great. Thou art the chief among all protections.
वयं त्वां स्मरामो वयं त्वां भजामो
think of Thee, we worship Thee, we bow to Thee as the witness of this universe,
we seek refuge in Thee the sat, our only support, yet Thyself needing none, the
ruler, the barque in the midst of this ocean of endless birth and death.
विपदो नैव विपदः
संपदो नैव संपदः
That which goes by the name of
adversity is not such; nor is that prosperity which goes by that name. To forget
God is adversity; ever to think of Him is prosperity.
विष्णुर्वा त्रिपुरान्तको भवतु वा ब्रह्या सुरेद्रो़Sथवा
Let him be whosoever he may be
whether Vishnu or Mahadev, Brahma or Indra, Sun or Moon, Lord Buddha or Mahavir,
obeisance be ever only to him who is free from the poisonous effect of desire
and anger, who is filled with compassion for all life and who is purified by a
perfectly virtuous life.
हिरण्मयेन पात्रेण सत्यस्यापिहितं मुखम्
The face of truth
is overlaid with a golden lid, O God, remove it so that I may see the true
नय सुपथा राये अस्मान्
O God, the Knower of all the ways,
lead us along the right path so as to enable us to reach the goal; wrestle with
our dark sins; we make obeisance to Thee again and again.
श्रेयश्च पेयश्च मनुष्यमेतः
Both that which is good and that
which is pleasing face man. A wise man will discriminate and will certainly
prefer the good to the pleasing whereas the foolish one will prefer the pleasing
thinking it to be profitable.
वेदा यत्पदं आमनन्ति
I shall tell thee in one word that
state which all the Vedas establish, to which all the austerities are dedicated
and desiring which devotees observe brahmacharya. It is Om.5
सूर्यो भाति न चद्रतारकम्
The sun does not carry its light
there, nor the moon, nor the stars, not even lightning can penetrate there, how
then can this fire? All of them derive their light from It and all this
(universe) is lighted by Its splendour.1
Note by Gandhiji: "This should have been later. It is the translation of verse
तपःश्रद्घे ये ह्युपवसन्त्यरण्ये
Those knowing ones who with
austerities and faith live the forest life in peace begging for their food
becoming sinless enter through the sunny gate that abode where dwells that
well-known immortal changeless Being.
रथिनं विद्घि शरीरं रथमेव तु
Regard the soul as the warrior,
body as his chariot, reason as the charioteer, mind as the reins; they call
senses horses, sense-objects meadows; wise men have said that the soul acts
through the mind and the senses.
He whose reason is like an
experienced charioteer and whose mind is under control like the reins crosses
over safely and safely comes to the journey’s end, the excellent abode of
उत्तिष्ठत जाग्रत प्राफ्य वरान्निबोधत
Awake, arise, and learn wisdom from
the wise. The sages say to traverse this way (through life) is as difficult as
it is to walk along the edge of a razor.
अग्निर्यथैको भुवनं प्रविष्टो
Even as fire though always the same
assumes different forms as it passes through different media, so does the
indwelling spritt, though essentially always the same, appear different passing
through different media
वायुर्यथैको भुवनं प्रविष्टो
Even as the air though always the
same assumes different forms as it passes through different media so does the
indwelling spirit, though essentially always the same, appear different passing
through different media.
यथा सर्वलोकस्य चक्षुर्
Even as the sun which gives light
to all the eyes remains un-affected by the external defects of these eyes so is
the over soul dwelling in all that lives not affected by the, external woes of
Those wise men alone, not others,
attain eternal happiness who feel dwelling in themselves that one
all-controlling power which pervades all life and though one appears as many.
नित्यो नित्यानां चेतनश्चेतनानाम्
Those wise men alone, not others,
attain eternal peace who feel dwelling in themselves that God who is the
permanent essence among the impermanent, who is the life in all that lives and
who though one fulfils the desires of many.5
परीक्ष्य लोकान् कर्मचितान्
Having realized (the impermanence
of) the status to be obtained by works, a Brahmin should cultivate detachment.
Stability cannot come from activity. To know that he should reverently approach
a teacher who knows the Vedas and is intent on God.
विद्वान् उपसन्नाय सयक्
To him thus come with due
reverence, calm of mind brought under control, the wise teacher imparts divine
knowledge whereby one really knows that permanent Being who is truth incarnate.
धनु शरोह्यात्मा ब्रह्यतल्लक्ष्यमुयते
Pranav (Om) is the bow, the spirit
is the arrow and Brahm[an] is the target; therefore one must shoot unerringly so
that the spirit becomes one with Brahm[an] like the arrow (with the target).
ह्नदयग्रथः छिद्यन्ते सर्वसंशयाः
When one realizes Godhead one’s 4
heart is rid of difficulties, doubts vanish and works do not bind.
ब्रह्मैवेदं अमृतं पुरस्तात्
This eternal Brahm[an] is before
and behind, is in the right and the left, is below and above, pervades
everywhere, is the universe, is above all.
यस्तपसा ह्येष आत्मा
Self-realization comes always
through truth, tapas (austerity), true knowledge and brahmacharya. Seekers who
have become free from sins realize the immaculate refulgent spirit within
Truth alone triumphs, never
untruth. That way which the sages whose purpose is fulfilled traverse, which is
the way of the gods and where is the great abode of truth opens (for us) through
नायत्मान्मा प्रवचनेन लकयो
This spirit is not attainable by
the Vedic study or by feats of intellect or by attending discourses. It is
attainable only by him who woos it. It reveals itself to such a one.
नायमात्मा बलहीनेन लकयो
This realization is not possible
for the weak or the indolent or those who resort to unmeaning austerities. But
the soul of the wise man who remedies these defects enters the abode of
सकप्राफ्यैनं ऋषयो ज्ञानतृफ्ताः
All those who have well understood
the meaning of life through Vedant and science, whose hearts are purified
through sannyasa, being intent on the immortal, on death enter Brahmaloka and
All those who have well understood
the meaning of life through Vedant and science, whose hearts are purified
through sannyasa, being intent on the immortal, on death enter Brahmaloka and
नद्यः स्यन्दमानाः समुद्रे
Just as rivers rushing towards the
sea leave their names and forms and merge in the sea, even so do wise men leave
their names and forms and merge in the paramount divine Being.
स यो ह
वै तत् परमं ब्रह्य वेद,
He who knows that great Brahm[an] I
becomes It. In his family no one ignorant of Brahm[an] is possible. He passes
grief and sin. He becomes free from the bonds of the heart and becomes immortal.
वाचो निवर्तन्ते अप्राफ्य मनसा सह
He who knows that Brahm[an] which
not reaching both speech and mind return, fears nothing. He does not burn
thinking, ‘Why have I not done this good thing? Why have I committed that sin?
स्यात् साधु युवाध्यायकः आशिष्ठो द्रढिष्ठो बलिष्ठः
A young man should have character,
should be studious, full of hope, determination and strength. For him all this
earth should be full of riches.
He may not witness dances, he may
not attend meetings, gatherings and revel, he may not gossip, he should
cultivate a love for solitude, he may not resent incorrect conduct by the
teacher and his family, he may not engage in talks with women except as may be
necessary, he should be gentle, calm, modest and determined, he should shun
idleness, anger, envy; he should fetch a pitcherful of water for the teacher
both morning and evening and fetch wood from the forest.
Soul-force is superior even to
science, for one man having soul-force will shake one hundred learned men. When
one has that force he is ready to go to a teacher, he serves him, then he
becomes fit to sit near him, he ponders over what he has heard; he becomes wise,
he does his duty, he has experience. The earth keeps its place through that
force, the heavens retain their place through it, the mountains, the gods,
mankind, the brute creation, birds, grass, plants, game, insects, moths, ants,
etc., all life are sustained by that force. Therefore cultivate that force.
May the winds, the waters, the
plant life, the evening and the dawn, the dust of the earth, the heavenly vault
which is like father, the trees, the sun and the cows be a blessing to us.
कामात् न भयात् न लोभात्
One may not abandon one’s faith for
the satisfaction of a desire, or from fear or ambition, not even for saving
one’s life. Faith is permanent, happiness and unhappiness are fleeting things.
The spirit is immortal, the result of its actions—the body—is evanescent.
विद्यया करोति श्रद्घयोपनिषदा तदेव वीर्यवत्तरं भवति
Work done with knowledge and faith
and in a prayerful spirit becomes most effective strength.
ब्रह्यवरुणेद्रमरुतः स्तुन्वन्ति दिव्यै स्तवै
I bow to that God whom Brahma,
Varuna, Indra and the Maruts adore with divine hymns, of whom the Vedic singers
sing in the Vedas with the angas, the padas, the kramas and the Upanishads, whom
the yogis see in their meditations with minds fixed on Him and whose end the
devas and the asuras do not see.
| सह नौ भुनक्तु
Om! may God protect us, may He
support us, may we make joint progress, may our studies be fruitful, may we
never harbour ill will against one another. Om shanti, shanti, shanti.
असतो मा सद्गमय
| समसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय|
Om! From untruth lead me unto
truth, from darkness lead me unto light, from death lead me unto life
यो़न्तः प्रविश्य मम वाचमिमां प्रसुफ्ताम्
I bow to thee, O God, who being
almighty and having entered my heart, gives by His power life to the silent
tongue, the hands, feet, ears, skin and other members of the body.
द्वारिकावासिन् . . . कुरुमध्येवसीदतीम्
O Govind, dweller of Dwarika,
Krishna, Thou beloved of the Gopis, O Keshav, dost Thou not know that the
Kauravas have surrounded me?
O Lord, Thou Lord of Lakshmi,
protector of Vraja, deliverer from affliction, O Janardana, save me [from] the
ocean of misery in the shape of the Kauravas.
O Krishna, Thou great Yogi, soul
and protector of the universe,
O Govind, deliver me lying hopeless
in the midst of the Kauravas and seeking thy support.
चरत माधर्मम् सत्यं वदत नानृतम्
Act righteously, never
unrighteously; speak truth, never untruth; look far ahead, never shortsightedly;
look above; never below.
Ahimsa, truth, non-stealing, purity
and self-control, these, said Manu, are the common duty of all the four
Ahimsa, truth, non-stealing,
freedom from passion, anger and greed, wishing the well-being and good of all
that lives is the duty common to all the divisions.
विद्वाद्भः सेवितः सद्भि&िनत्यमद्वेषरगिभः
Understand that to be religion
which the wise, the good and those that are free from likes and dislikes follow
and which is I felt in the heart.
श्रूयतां धर्मसर्वस्वं . . .
Listen to the essence of religion
and assimilate it through the heart: one should never do to others which one
would not wish done to oneself.
That which has been said in
countless books I shall say in half a verse: service of others is virtue, injury
to others is sin.
The sun, the moon, the wind, the
fire, the sky, the earth, the waters, the heart, the god of judgment, the day,
the night, the evening, the morning and dharma itself are witnesses to man’s
actions, i.e., he can conceal nothing.
O foolish one, give up the desire
for amassing wealth, make thy mind pure and free from desire, .satisfy thy mind
with what thou may’st obtain through thy own labour.
अर्थमनर्थ भावय नित्यम्
Always believe that wealth is
illth. It is simple truth to say that there is no happiness coming from its
possession. It is known to all that rich people fear even their own children.
क्रोधं लोभं मोहम्
Shun desire, anger, greed,
possession and ask thyself who am I’. Those foolish ones who don’t strive for
self-realization go to perdition.
मयि चान्यत्रैको विष्णु
In thee, me and others there is but
one God who suffers us all; thou art angered for nothing. See thyself in all and
everywhere, give up thy ignorance in the shape of differentiation.
Like the precarious drops on a
lotus leaf this life is fleeting. Know this world to be full of disease, egotism
PANDAV: I think reverently of the
holy ones: Prahlad, Narad, Parashar Pundarika, Vyasa, Ambarisha, Shuka,
Shaunaka, Bhima, Dalbhya, Rukmangada, Arjuna, Vasishtha, Bibhishana and other
स्वकर्मफलनिर्दिष्टां यां यां योनिं व्रजाकयहम्
KUNTI: O Krishna, no matter in what
species I am born due o my actions, may my devotion to you grow in strength.
DRONA: O King, those who were
killed by the Wielder of the Discus, the Lord of the three worlds, Janardana,
have gone to the abode of Vishnu. For even the wrath of God is like his boon.
माता च पिता त्वमेव
GANDHARI: O Thou God of gods, Thou
alone art my all, mother, father, brother, friend, knowledge, wealth.
ब्रह्यण्यदेवाय . . . केशवं प्रतिगच्छति
VIRATA: Ten thousand ten obeisances
to the great God Krishna, Govind the benefactor of the cow, the Brahmin, the
PRAHLAD: O Lord ! O Changeless One
! may my devotion unto Thee remain for ever constant, no matter where among the
thousands of species I may take birth. May my love for Thee be pure and even as
intense as the love of the worldly man for his sensepursuits and may it never
fade from my heart ever intent upon Thee.
BHARADWAJA: Good fortune and
victory, never defeat, attend upon those whose hearts are ruled by lotus-like
MARKANDEYA: That moment or occasion
when one does not think of Vasudeva means as much waste, loss, ignorance, folly,
SHAUNAKA: Devotees of Vishnu
needlessly worry over food and clothing. Surely He who sustains the whole
universe is not going to neglect His devotees.
SANATKUMAR: Even as the waters
dropping from the heavens are received into the ocean, so is the worship of the
different gods received unto Keshav.
शीवल्लभेति वरदेति दयापरेति
O Mukunda, grant that I may always
say: O Vallabh, O Giver of boons, O Fount of Mercy, O Lover of devotees, O
Destroyerof the wheel of birth and death, O Lord, O Thou with a serpentine bed,
O Thou Refuge of the Universe.
मूर्ध्ना . . . मरणेपि चिन्तयामि
O Mukunda! With head bowed down I
ask of Thee only this that by Thy grace I may never from birth to birth lose
sight of Thy lotus feet.
O God! I have no relish for dharma,
nor for wealth nor yet for worldly enjoyments; let whatever is to happen happen
as a result of my past actions; only this prayer I regard as of utmost
importance: may my attachment to Thy lotus feet be unshakable.
O Thou Destroyer of hell! I do not
care where my lot is to be cast, whether in heaven or on earth or in hell; only
grant that I may ever think of Thy feet more beautiful than the lotus during the
Vishnu becomes like a ship
protecting men sailing on the ocean of birth and death, tossed to and fro as by
the wind, by the pairs of opposites such as happiness and misery, borne down by
the weight of guarding sons, daughters, wives and the like and sinking in the
storms of violent passions.
भवजलधिमगाधं . . . कृष्णरसायनं पिब
O, my heart, you need not be afraid
that you cannot cross this unfathomable and difficult ocean of birth and death;
thy single-minded devotion to the lotus-eyed, hell-destroying God will
surely save thee.
O Lotus-eyed One! with hands
folded, head bowed, body moved, throat choked, eyes bathed in hot tears, may our
life close ever drinking in the nectar in the form of the meditation of Thy
O Cupid! Get thee gone from my
heart which is the seat of the lotus-like feet of Mukunda; thou art already
scorched by the fire from Siva’s eyes; why will you not remember the might of
O thou wrong-headed fool ! Why dost
thou afflict with drugs this body which has hundreds of weak joints, which is
liable to certain decay and which is subject to constant change? Drink in the
one life-giving potion—the name of Krishna.
नारायणपादपङ्कजम् . . .
I touch the lotus feet of Narayana,
I worship Narayana always; I take the holy name of Narayana, I remember the
changeless essence called Narayana. O how passion deadens man’s senses; for
though he can take, he never does take any of the many names of God such as
Ananta, Vaikuntha, Mukunda, Krishna, Govind, Damodar, Madhav.
सुमिरत सिधि होइ, गणनायक करिवरवदन
O elephant-mouthed one, the chief
of ganas by thinking on whom one attains salvation and who is a storehouse of
knowledge and virtues, may Thy grace descend upon me; O merciful one by whose
mercy the dumb speak, the lame ascend steep hills and who washes off all the
scorching dirt of Kali—shower thy blessings upon me.
दयालु दानि, दूसरो न कोऊ
For those in want there is no other
than Thou so merciful, so generous! What is the use of my carrying my wants to
others? They appear to me as much in want as myself. Gods, men, sages, demons,
serpents and others exercise sway only during Thy pleasure. The world, eternity,
the four Vedas proclaim that Rama is the beginning, the end and the middle;
Thine is the Kingdom. To ask of Thee is not begging. Thy devotee comes to Thee
for Thy well-known nature; for hast Thou not taken under Thy protection stone,
beast, trees, bird? O Thou, son of Lord Dasharatha, Thou hast turned beggars
into kings, Thou art the refuge of the distressed. I am Thy slave. O merciful
God, say if only once: "Tulsidas is Mine."
दयालु, दीन हौं,
Thou art merciful, I am in
distress; Thou art the giver, I am a beggar; I am a known sinner, Thou art the
forgiver of mountains of sins; Thou art the help of the helpless and who can be
so helpless as I?
There is none so afflicted like me,
there is no deliverer like unto Thee; Thou art the creator, I am a little
creature; Thou art the lord, I am a slave; Thou art father, brother, teacher,
friend, all in all to me; if I have only faith, I know that there is much
between Thee and me; may Tulsi somehow feel the protecting power of Thy holy
When shall I conduct myself thus by
the grace of the merciful Rama that I shall cultivate the nature of good and
true men; that I shall be satisfied with whatever accrues to me in the ordinary
course and shall expect nothing from anybody; that I shall carry out the
resolution to serve others in thought, deed and word; that I shall not burn with
the scorching fire of the unbearably harsh language of others when I chance to
hear it; that I shall be free from pride and have a mind equipoised and not
delight in narrating the defects of others and that I shall give up all anxiety
about the body and will not be elated by happiness and downcast by misery?
Tulsidas declares: being steadfast
along the foregoing path I shall attain the boon of unchangeable devotion.
मूढता या मनकी
O my soul! How foolish art thou,
thou leavest the celestial waters of Ramabhakti and runnest after the mirage
even as the chatak bird being thirsty mistakes a volume of smoke for a cloud but
finds neither coolness nor water and damages its eyes into the bargain; or even
as the hungry hawk seeing its own reflection through a glass floor falls upon it
forgetting the injury done to its own face.
O merciful God, how long need I
relate my misdeeds? Thou knowest the minds of Thy devotees.
Tulsidas says: Lord, think of Thy
promise and deliver Thy servant from the insufferable misery.
विनती रजुवीर गुसाई
O Lord! Hear this my prayer. Remove
my ignorance which makes [me] cherish expectations of and faith in others rather
than Thee. I want neither heaven nor good intellect, nor riches nor possessions
nor greatness. I want an ever-growing devotion to Thee without expectation of
reward. May Thy grace save me even as the tortoise its eggs from succumbing to
the weakness of my irresistible evil nature; Tulsidas prays for deliverance from
all egotism and
attachments of the body.
क्यों टूटै ?
O Madhav, how can this bondage of
infatuation be broken? Not even a million external remedies will remove the
internal malady. No amount of fire underneath a cauldron will destroy the moon
reflected in a cauldron filled with ghee. The bird living in the hollow of a
tree will not be killed by cutting the tree (from above). Even so a mind devoid
of disciplined thinking will never be purified by any external means. When the
heart within is impure and full of evil passions, no amount of external
cleansing of the body will purify it. Can the snake inside its mound be killed
by destroying the mound? Tulsidas says that without the grace of God there is no
clear discrimination and without it no one may hope to cross the deep ocean
named the universe.
केहि कहौं विपति अति भारी
O Raghuvir, help of the distressed,
to whom shall I take the tale of my great misery? My heart, O my God, is Thy
abode, but many thieves have entered therein and although I am beseeching and
imploring them to leave it, they are using unbearable force; ignorance,
delusion, greed, pride, arrogance, anger, passion—all enemies of free knowledge
are causing much trouble, O Lord, and thinking me to be helpless are crushing
me, I am alone, the thievesare many, no one hears my cries; Lord, there is no
escape from this either; O Lord of the Raghus, protect me. Tulsidas says:
Listen, O Rama, thieves are looting Thy house; my great anxiety is lest they
should bring discredit on Thee !
उदार जग माहीं
None is so generous in this world
as Rama who is merciful to the distressed without requiring any service in
return. There is no one like him. That state which even sages fail to attain
after devotion and self-denial he bestowed upon the Vulture and Sabari and then
thought he had not given much. The kingdom that Ravana got from Sivji after
having offered his head Rama gave to Bibhishana as if it was nothing.
Tulsidas says: O my mind, if thou
wouldst have the real good then worship Rama who out of the abundance of his
grace will answer thy prayer.
प्रिय न राम वैदेही
Shun those people as enemies who
are not devoted to Rama and Sita, be they ever so good friends. (For Him),
Prahlad left his father, Bibhishana his brother, Bharata his mother, Bali his
teacher, the women of Vraj their husbands and they all rejoiced (in their
A friend is desirable only so long
as he is attached and devoted to Rama. What more need I say, what is the use of
the eye-powder that destroys the eyes? Tulsi says: In my opinion, he who is
devoted to the feet of Rama is in every respect my friend worthy of love and
dear as life itself.
What should I do to be able to
pray? I am afraid, for looking at my conduct I realize my defeat; I obstinately
refrain from doing the things which make God merciful towards His devotees and I
follow the path that leads me into the trap of misfortune and daily misery. I
know that I should be safe if I gave myself in thought, word and deed to the
service of fellow creatures but on the contrary I am vainly jealous when I see
others happy. The Vedas, the Puranas and other scriptures proclaim the necessity
of cultivating firmly the companionship of the good but my pride, passion and
jealousy turn me away from them. I always delight in that which will lead me
unto misery. Now tell me, O Lord! how may I be delivered from this misery? I can
only be saved if Thou according to Thy nature will have
mercy on me; Tulsidas has no other
hope; how long shall he remain in this mire?
Raghunath knows what love is. He
sets aside all other bonds and accepts only real love. Dasharatha expressed
paternal affection by giving up life and made his fame immortal. But look at the
greatness of Rama—he held the Vulture as superior to such a father. He even
forgot his beloved Sita when he saw his friend Sugriva grief-stricken over the
separation of his wife. Here was his brother lying senseless in the battle-field
but he was thinking, at the time, of Bibhishana. Whether at home, or the
teacher’s house, or the home of friends or the father-in-law’s, wherever he was
treated, he never experienced the richness of those feasts as that of the wild
berries provided by Sabari. When the sages begin to narrate His original nature
they humbly acknowledge their inability to do justice to the theme and are happy
to call themselves friends of the Bhil or take pride in calling themselves
companions of monkeys. Tulsidas says: If thou, having known this nature and this
love of Rama, hast not devotion in thine heart, then, O fool, thy mother in
giving thee birth uselessly threw away her youth.
तुमको मेरी लाज
O Raghuvir, my shame is Thy shame.
I am ever seeking Thy protection and Thou art noted as protector of the weak. I
have heard it said of Thee that it is Thy promise that Thou wouldst save
sinners. And I am an old sinner; take my ship ashore. To destroy the sin of Thy
devotees and to remove their distress is Thy only task. Be merciful, O Lord, to
Tulsidas, and give him the boon of Thy worship.
O Prince of the Raghus, wake up;
the birds are singing in the grove. The moon will disappear presently, the
chakravaka bird is off to meet her lord. The threefold breeze is gently blowing,
the leaves are rustling. The morning sun is on the horizon, darkness of the
night is gone. The bees are humming, the lotus has opened its leaf. Brahma and
others are in meditation; the gods, common people and sages are singing hymns of
praise. Thus when it was rising time Rama opened his eyes. Tulsidas is overjoyed
to see the lotus face of Rama who gives valuables as gifts to the poor.
हरिजू हठ न तजै
O Lord, my mind will not give up
its waywardness. I try every day to control it but it will not change its
nature. As a woman, although she recognizes the pains of labour, foolishly
forgets them and goes to her foolish husband or as a greedy dog, even though it
gets knocks on the head, meanly continues to visit the same haunts and is not
ashamed, even so is this mind of mine willful and unconquerable, I own defeat in
spite of various efforts. Tulsidas says: It will come under subjection only when
God the inspirer of all takes it up in hand.
तजि शरण राम! तेरी आयो
O Rama, he (Bibhishana) left
family, fort Lanka, palaces and temples and hearing Thy name rushed to Thee for
protection. Seated in his full court Ravana kicked him and the foolish one would
not listen though he was warned again and again. Thou embracedst this Bibhishana
as soon as he came to Thee and crowned him King of Lanka. As soon as he met Thee
the insults of ages were wiped out. O Raghunath, friend of the friendless, Thou
owned him knowing him to be helpless. Tulsidas says: He received the boon of the
protection from and devotion to the Lord of the Raghus.
O my mind, worship the beneficent
feet of Rama. From these feet issued forth the Ganga and was caught by Siva in
his ample lock of hair. It was therefore named Jatashankari; it came for the
good of the three worlds. Bharata treasured as a token of love the sandals
bearing the imprints of these feet. The Bhil chief would not steer Rama’s boat
without being allowed to wash those feet. Saintly persons always worship these
beneficent feet. The wife of the sage Gautama obtained salvation by the touch of
those feet. Rama hallowed (with his feet) the Dandak forest and removed the
distress of the rishis. (Yet strange to relate) this very Rama the lord of the
three worlds ran after the golden deer. He gave the palm of victory to the
monkey Sugriva, who was afflicted by the fear of his brother. Bibhishana, the
brother of the enemy (Ravana), got the crown of Lanka through the touch of those
feet. Siva, Sanak, Brahma, etc., also the thousand-mouthed serpent sing his
praises but, says Tulsidas, his lips utter the praise of Hanuman the monkey.
नसानी अब न नसैहौं
I have spoiled everything hitherto
but will do so no longer. By the grace of God the night is past, I am awake and
shall no more go to sleep. I have the talisman in the shape of God’s name; it
shall not vanish from my heart. The beautiful and holy face of God is the
testing stone. The gold of my heart shall be tested on it. My sense organs
finding me without control have mocked me. I have now acquired self-control,
they shall no more deride me. Tulsi says: My mind like the bee on the lotus
shall lean on the lotus feet of Rama.
पछितै है अवसर बीते
O my mind, what is the use of
repentance after the occasion is gone? Having attained the difficult human
status, devote thyself body, speech and heart to the feet of Hari. Sahasrarjuna,
Ravana and others could not save themselves from the claws of all-powerful
death. Thou triest to protect wealth and possessions saying this is mine, this
is mine, but at last thou hast to go empty-handed. Know that wife, children,
etc., constitute bonds of the flesh; do not be entrapped by them. O miser, they
will all leave thee when thou diest, why not then be detached now? Be devoted to
the Lord, O foolish one, and give up all false hope with all thy heart. Tulsi
says: The fire of passion will never be quenched by the oil of indulgence.
मो समान जग माही
O Madhav! there is none on this
earth in every way so low, corrupt, beggarly and steeped in vice like me and I
am in distress having left Thee, God, so merciful without cause, so friendly to
the afflicted; why dost Thou not show mercy to me? It is not Thy fault, I know
it is all of my doing. O Lord, thou gavest me a body through which I could know
Thee but notwithstanding that I did not know Thee, The bamboo and the karil
vainly blame the sandal and the spring (the one for want of scent and the other
for want of leaves), being unworthy and unfortunate how could the one have scent
and the other leaves? I am convinced that I am hard of heart in every way and
Thou, O Lord, art tender. Tulsidas says: God! my bondage can be broken only by
कामतरु राम को
In the Kaliyuga Ramanama is the
all-yielding tree. It is the destroyer of scorching miseries caused by bad
times, pauperism, etc. Repeating the name purifies the mind and banishes
misfortune. Valmiki and Shanker sing the virtues of taking the name whether
correctly or with the letters transposed. It is well here and hereafter with
those who are armed with the beautiful power (of the name). Tulsi says: I am
able to live in the world peacefully by the power of the name, I have no anxiety
whether I live or die.
Hail to Thee, O Rama, the Lord of
Sita and deliverer from the feverish wheel of birth and death, protect Thy
servant who is strickenwith fear. O Ruler of Avadh, God of gods, Lord of Sita, O
God, Thy ward seeks Thy protection; Thou destroyer of Ravana with his ten heads
and twenty arms, hast ridden this big earth of its great maladies. The crowd of
devils who stalk abroad during the night are like so many fire-flies. The
scorching splendour of the fire of Thy arrows has burnt them to ashes. Thou art
the excellent ornament of this earthly system. Thou art the shining sun to
dispel the deep darkness of the night of arrogance, infatuation and immense
egotism. Cupid is hunting down the helpless people who will not give up greed
and lust and who have lost the true path in the midst of self-gratification. O
Lord, save them. People are afflicted with diseases and bereavement. This is the
result of want of devotion to Thy blessed feet. Those who are not attached to
Thy lotus feet have to go through the eternal wheel of life and death. Those who
are not so devoted are ever helpless, sorrowful and miserable. Those who delight
in Thy praise and who always like the company of wise and holy men have neither
passion nor greed nor pride nor arrogance; prosperity or adversity are the same
to them. It is for this reason that sages leaving aside dependence on yoga
rejoice in becoming Thy servants. The holy people take vows, offer eternal
devotion to Thee, with true hearts serve Thy lotus feet, regard alike insults or
honours and thus contented roam about the earth. Thou art like the bee to the
lotus hearts of the sages. O Thou steadfast and unconquerable warrior, I take
Thy name, I bow to Thee Lord. Thou art the enemy of the misery of death and life
cycle, infatuation and arrogance. Thou art the treasure house of virtues, Thou
art the great seat of mercy; I always bow to Thee O Lord of Sita. O Son of Raghu
remove this darkness of the pairs of opposites. O Lord of the earth, look at Thy
helpless servants. O Lord of Lakshmi, I repeatedly ask of thee this boon: grant
me everlasting devotion to Thy lotus feet and the company of holy men always.
There is no religion like the
service of others, and O brother, there is no sin like doing evil to others.
Since the Puranas and the Vedas proclaim that good and evil are to be found in
our hearts, there is happiness where there is good and misery for certain where
there is evil. Blessed is the king who walks along the right path, blessed is
the Brahmin who will not swerve from the faith, blessed is the moment when one
is in the company of the holy ones, blessed is the life that is devoted to the
unbroken worship of God.
Lives of holy men are beautiful
like cotton; though tasteless the fruit is white and durable. Those who bear the
hardships of others and relieve them attain fame on this earth and are adorable.
There is no doubt that one gets what one’s heart is truly set upon. Nothing on
this earth is difficult for him whose mind is saturated with the thought of
serving others. It is the tradition of the Raghu clan handed down from time
immemorial that they would stake their life rather than break the plighted word.
Sins mountain-high cannot be heavier than untruth,can crores of
1 outweigh a mountain?
The sages proclaim and the Vedas
and the Puranas witness that all good deeds depend for their merit on truth.
There is no one so helpless as I
and there is none so merciful to them as Thou; therefore Thou jewel of the Raghu
race, deliver me from this intolerable cycle of birth and death.
बन्दौ हरि राई
I bow to the lotus feet of the
great Hari. Surdas says: I bow again and again to the feet of that merciful God
whose mercy enables the lame to ascend mountains, the blind to see everything,
the deaf to hear, the dumb to speak and the pauper to have people holding
umbrella over him.
राखहु वैसे हि रहौं
O Lord, keep me as Thou wilt. Thou
knowest the happiness and the sorrows of the people; what need can there be for
me to relate them. O God of mercy, sometimes I get enough to eat, other times I
have to suffer pangs of hunger; sometimes I ride horses or stately elephants,
other times I myself carry loads; Surdas says: O Lotus-eyed one, Ghanashyam,
lovable God, may I be ever Thy servant, devoted to Thy feet.
देव संतन हितकारी|
O God, Thou removest the woes of
the afflicted and comforteth the holy ones. Take Ajamil, the Vulture, the
Hunter, which of them was a sadhu? Simply because the Prostitute taught a parrot
Thy name Thou savedst her. Thou gavest a kingdom to Dhruva, Thou savedst
Prahlad, for the sake of Thy devotees Thou built a bridge and reduced Lanka to
ashes. A handful of raw rice pleased Thee, Thou wast satisfied with mere
vegetable leaves. Thou thoughtst nothing of berries if they were half bitten or
unripe or sour. When the alligator seized the elephant and Dushasana began to
strip Draupadi naked and [she] called out Krishna, Krishna, Thou respondedst and
(savedst the elephant) and multiplied Draupadi’s clothing. Surdas the blind
beggar knocks at the door, O Lord.
मैंने निर्बल के बल राम|
I have heard that Rama is the help
of the helpless. I can produce the evidence of those saintly people who were
helped by him in their adversity. So long as the elephant relied upon his own
strength, his case was hopeless, but when in his helplessness he invoked the
assistance of Rama, he responded when hardly his name was half pronounced. When
Draupadi felt helpless, He felt the call in his seat and God having multiplied
her clothing Dushasana grew tired of hopelessly trying to strip her naked. Man
relies on his own strength or his austerities or the strength of his arms or
fourthly his wealth. Surdas says that when a man has exhausted all his resources
and invokes the name of God, His grace descends upon him.
भक्तन के भक्त हमारे
I belong to my devotees—and they to
me. O Arjuna, hear my promise, it can never be recalled; taking heed of my
devotees’ necessities, I rush to their assistance barefoot. I deliver my
devotees whenever they are in difficulty. He who is against my devotees is
against me. Having well considered your welfare, I am driving your chariot. My
devotees’ victory is my victory, their defeat is my defeat. Surdas says: God
destroys with his Sudarshana those who come in the way of devotees.
टेक हमारी| लाज राखे गिरिधारी
Now it is my fixed resolve; keep
Thou my honour, O Lord! Even as during the Bharat war Thou keptst Arjuna’s
honour by wearing Thy Sudarshana Chakra and driving Arjuna’s chariot, Thou didst
not let Thy devotee’s honour be sullied or even as Thou keptst Draupadi’s honour
and didst not let her be stripped naked though Dushasana made repeated attempts
till he was tired out, Thou didst multiply her saris; keep Thou Surdas’s honour,
he has no other protector; O Thou Lord of Lakshmi and Radha the daughter [of]
Brikhbhan, he seeks Thy protection.
कौन कुठिल खल कामी
Who can be so crooked, bad or
dissolute as I? I am so faithless that I have forgotten the very God who gave me
this body. Even like the village dog I have been fattening myself and running
after pleasures. I have given up the company of God’s people and day and night
slave for those who revile Him. Who can be a greater sinner than I, I am the
chief among them. Surdas says: O God, listen, where is the resting place for a
sinner like me?
मोरे अवगुन चित न धरो
O God, do not lay to heart my
faults. Thou art called equiminded towards all. Thou canst save me if Thou wilt.
One volume of water is called a river, another which contains dirt is called a
drain but when they meet and become one they are called the Ganga. One piece of
iron is used for worship, another in the hands of a thief for stealing, the
paras makes no distinction and turns by its touch either to gold. Surdas says:
this is all called the maya of Brahm[an].
Now, O Lord, save me and let not
Thy promise go in vain.
I am pining to see God as the
divine child (Krishna). I would love to see the lotus-eyed One and not being
able to do so I feel miserable day and night. O Uddhav ! This child of Brindaban
with the Philosopher’s stone saffron mark on his forehead and a pearl necklace
round his neck—he conquered our love and then forsook us. What do the people
understand of the pangs of the forsaken ones, they will only laugh. Surdas says:
O God, without seeing Thy face there is nothing left for me but to go to Kashi
and seek deliverance by death.
The best tie is the tie of love.
God partook of Vidura’s leaves and left Duryodhana’s dainties. He ate with
relish the berries tasted by Sabari. His love prompted [Him] to serve the king
for when Yudhishthira performed the royal sacrifice He served as a menial. Not
minding His high status, He drove Arjuna’s chariot. His love was so great for
Brindaban that He danced with the Gopis. Surdas says: I am a wretch unworthy of
such love; how much shall I praise Thee, O Lord?
नाच्यो बहुत गोपाल
O Gopal, I have danced away my life
in self-indulgence. Desire and anger were my garment, passions were my garland,
infatuation was my ankle-bells, backbiting was the sweet sounding tune, poisoned
mind was the tabor, evil company was the step, insatiableness was1 the
accompanying measure of various kind, maya was the waist-band, ambition was the
mark on my forehead and I showed much cunning. So much so that I forgot all
about time or place. Surdas says: O Nandalal, remove all this ignorance of mine.
प्रगट भई जग जानी
Now is the thing known all over.
Eternal devotion to God cannot be kept secret from anyone. That beautiful face
is ever before my eyes. Try what I will that face is unforgettable. I am filled
with that love. It is inseparable even as milk and water are. Surdas says: God
who knows the hearts of us all knew those of the gopis.
मोरी राखो श्याम हरी
O God, guard me against insult.
Dushasana has held me by my hair and is molesting me and in the presence of the
assembly wicked Duryodhana is intent upon stripping me naked. The five Pandavas
are powerless to help me. Bhishma, Drona and Vidura are dumbfounded and silent.
Now I have neither mother nor father nor son nor brother, Thou art my all.
Merciful God then made her sari endless and the whole host of Duryodhana was
defeated. Surdas says: When God appears as protector what need for his lambs to
पूतना विष रे अम्त पायो
Although Putna administered poison
(to Krishna) she attained salvation; the Vedas have sung in vain that man reaps
as he sows. King Bali performed a hundred sacrifices and yet was tied up and
sent to the nether world. King Nriga donated one lac cows and yet he was turned
into a serpent. Friend Sudama was born a pauper and suddenly found himself in a
golden palace. Surdas says: O God, strange are Thy ways, well have the Vedas
said, ‘not this, not this’.
नाथ मोहि उधारि
O Lord, save me now. O Fount of
mercy, there is no pathway in this ocean of the universe. Maya is its deep
waters, ambition are the waves. Passion like the alligator is dragging me in
deeper waters. The senses bite like fishes and there is a load of sin on the
head. In my infatuation the feet are unsteady and get entangled in the seaweed.
Animal passion, anger, desire like the winds toss me to and fro. Wife and
children do not let me think of Thy name as my sheet-anchor. O Thou seat of
Mercy, I am fatigued, powerless and distressed in this mid-ocean. O Lord, take
me by the arm and pull me up to the shore.
! मूरख जनम गॅंवायो
O my foolish soul, thy life has
been wasted; in thy pride thou hast dissipated thy life and forgotten the Giver
of life. Having thought this earthly life beautiful like the semar flower thou
hast forgotten thy true self. But as thou wast about to taste it, it was not,
thou foundest nothing. What is the use now of thinking of the lost past? Thou
didst not do thy duty whilst there was time. Surdas says: Thou didst not serve
God and hadst to repent.
मोहिं अबकी बेर उबारो
O Lord, save me this once; Thou art
Lord of lords, Thou art named the Giver, and I am without luck, blind from
birth, who can be more unworthy than I? Thou art the protector of the three
worlds, I am Thy slave; Thou hast saved people both worthy and unworthy; be Thou
gracious unto me. I am the chief among the fallen, sardar among the sinners,
thousands of sinners put together hardly equal me, Ajamil is nothing compared to
me. God Yama, having heard of me had the gates of hell even locked. There is now
no room for me anywhere; remember Thou Thy promise (to such like me). O Lord of
Lakshmi, Thou hast saved many a sinner, do not withhold Thy grace. Surdas will
count Thee true when Thou hast saved him.
घूंघटका पट खोल
रे तोको पीव मिलेंगे
Open thy face, thou wilt see thy
beloved. He is in everyone; therefore say nothing bitter of anyone. Do not brag
about thy riches or youth; this case made of five elements will play false to
thee (one day). Light up thy dark heart and do not move from thy purpose. Wake
up in this temple for thou hast got the priceless treasure thy Lord. Kabir says:
Let there be rejoicing for the Lord’s voice is heard within.
सादो सजह समाधि भली |
O good man, natural meditation
(lekf/k) is best. Ever since its hanifestation by the grace of God, it has
waxed. Wherever I rander, it is a circuit (round a temple), whatever I do is for
service, whenever I lie down, it is my prostration (before God). I worship to
other god but God. Whatever I utter, it is God’s name, whatever I hear is a
remembrance of God. My eating and drinking re puja (worship), whether a home is
established or it is destroyed is the same thing to me; I do not allow any other
feeling to possess me. I do not shut my eyes nor stuff my ears, I do not porture
the body. I open my eyes and delight to see God and contemplate His beauty. My
mind is ever intent on Him; all corupt thought has left me. I am so much
engrossed in the thought of Him that I think of Him whatever I am doing.
Kabir says: This is the excellent life and I have sung of it; there is a state
beyond misery and happiness, my mind is fixed on it.
हुआ तब क्यों बोले|
When the soul is saturated with the
Holy Spirit there is no need for speech. When a man finds a diamond he puts it
in a safe and does not open it now and again to look at it. When here is doubt
about the weight of a thing it is weighed but how should a thing in itself
weighty need weighing? One who is intoxicated with love drinks it not in drops
weighed in scales. When the swan reaches the divine lake, he does not wander
about in search of lakelets. Thy Lord is within thee, why strain thy eyes to see
Him outside? Kabir says: Hear O good people, I have found the Lord for the
are not to stay here long, it is a foreign land (for us). The world is like a
paper parcel which is reduced to pulp on a little water being poured on it or it
is like a hedge of thorns in which we get entangled and die or it is like a
meadow full of shrubs and grass which a fire destroys (in no time). Kabir says:
Listen all ye good people, the only safety lies in seeking the protection of
friend, my mind is fixed on a fakir’s life. The happiness which one derives from
meditation on God is not to be found in indulgence. Bear whatever befalls
thee—good and evil; live in poverty. Let us live a life of loving service. It
will be well to cultivate patience. When one goes about with a mere begging bowl
and a staff, one has the whole world as one’s kingdom. What is the use of pride
when one realizes that the body is soon to be reduced to ashes? Kabir says:
Listen O ye all good men, contentment is the pathway to self-realization.
soul, my dear friend, knowest thou not that one who is in love has no sleep;
when thy bread of sorrow is butterless and dry, what need to judge whether it is
tasty or tasteless? If thou hast tasted love, give it, O friend, having received
thou canst not lose it. He for whom sleep has become irresistible does not think
of a pillow or a mattress. Kabir says: Listen O good men, there is no wailing
after complete self-surrender.
thou absorbed in God, let the world go its way. There is paper and there is
black ink, let those who wish write or read. The elephant does not abandon its
gait despite the barkings of dogs. Kabir says: Listen O ye good men, those who
are intent upon evil will go their way.
not give way to self-deception but sing the praises of God; for eyes are given
to see God, ears to hear words of wisdom, the mouth to sing His praises, hands
to give in His name. Kabir says: Hear O ye good one, gold is (also) produced in
mines (not merely dust and pebble)
Without the master, who can show the path? The way is terribly
difficult. Doubt crosses the path like rivers gliding through mountainous
regions and there is egotism like big boulders in the rivers. There are too
passion and anger like two huge mountains on either side; ambition dogs the
footsteps like a thief. And pride and vanity descend like rain from overhanging
clouds; self-deception violently tosses one like the winds. Kabir says: Listen O
ye good men, how can one traverse the path (without a master as guide)?
Father, I will not give up Ramanama. I have nothing to do with the other
lessons. The King sent Prahlad to school and he had many companions. He said:
"Why do you teach me nonsense? Write on my slate Shri Gopal." This Shandamara
duly reported and the King immediately sent for Prahlad to whom he said, "Leave
thou the name of Rama. If thou wilt do what I tell thee I will set thee free."
Prahlad replied, "Why vex me again and again. God made the ocean, the earth, the
sky and the mountain. I swear by my guru that I will not give up Ramanama, you
may burn me, you may bury me alive, you may kill me anyway you choose." On this
the King was enraged, drew his sword and challenged Prahlad to show his
deliverer. God in His might rose from the pillar of fire and with His paws
killed the King. O Great One, God of gods, Thou becamest Narasinha for the sake
of Thy devotee. Kabir says: I can fill pages with the stories of how He
delivered Prahlad from many a danger.
sheet (called body) is finely woven. What is its warp and woof? Of what is the
thread made? Ida and Pingala (nerves invisible recognized by Hinduism) are
respectively warp and woof. The sheet is woven with the Sushumna thread (one of
the invisible nerves)—The eight-petaled lotus (at the navel) is the wheel. The
sheet contains the five elements (earth, etc.,) and the three qualities (sattva,
rajas, tamas). The Maker takes ten months to weave this sheet and the thread is
well packed. Gods, men, even sages have to wear this sheet and it becomes dirty
as soon as it is worn. The servant Kabir says: Although we wear this sheet with
ever so much care, it has to be given up even as it is.1
1Note by Gandhiji: Kaka says the
only possible meaning is: "Kabir says that he on the other hand wore it with
such care that he was able to discard it without defiling it."
What is the use of taking pride
either in this body or wealth? They vanish in the twinkling of an eye. A man
builds a palace for himself and is often obliged to take refuge in the woods. On
death, the bones will burn like faggots and hair like grass. Kabir says: O
virtuous people, listen, when man dies, all his airy castles crumble to pieces.
O Brother, sing the praises of
Rama, Govind, Hari. The effort requires no jap, tap or the like, nor does it
involve any expense. Children, wealth, etc., promoting as they do a feeling of
satiety, often lead one astray. Kabir says: He on whose lips is not the name of
God has lived in vain.
soul, how shall I reason with thee? If thou wert gold I would melt thee to a
liquid. If thou wert a horse I would bridle thee, put a saddle on thy back, ride
thee and whip thee to action. If thou wert an elephant I would chain thy feet,
ride thee and goad thee with the hook. If thou wert iron, I should secure an
anvil and hammer thee and turn thee into wire. Kabir says: If thou wert wise I
should give thee wisdom and lead thee onto the straight path and send thee to
the abode of the immortals.
have obtained the name of God as garland for my neck. My abode is in a little
cot and there are five weak cot-bearers. The guru has given me the lock and key
so as to enable me to open the door when I choose. Love is the garment which I
wear and dance when I like in the city Kabir says: Listen O good men, there will
be no return to this city again.
fight in front a brave person will never flee and he will not be considered
brave who flees in the face of danger. In the field of battle the fight has
begun in right earnest and passion, anger, pride and ambition are the foes to be
fought. Restraint, piety and contentment are one’s companions and the sword in
the shape of Ramanama is flourishing freely. Kabir says: True warriors will
fight bravely, cowards will be conspicuous by their absence.
God, I seek refuge in Thee. On seeing Thee, all my doubts have disappeared.
Without my mentioning it Thou hast known my trouble. Thou hast made me remember
Thee. My misery is gone and I am all happiness. Joyfully do I sing Thy praise.
Thou hast taken me by the arm and pulled me safe out of the dark well of maya.
Nanak says: The Lord has removed my bondage and brought me back though I had
good man, give up thy pride. Flee away from passion, anger, evil company. He to
whom happiness and unhappiness, praise and blame are the same thing, who is
neither elated nor depressed, knows the secret of life. Nanak says: O man, it is
a difficult thing to be unaffected by praise or blame and to be intent only upon
the true path; a few only know this through a true teacher.
God, ever since I have had the companionship of the good, the distinction
between mine and thine has disappeared. I deem no one as enemy or stranger. I am
on friendly terms with everyone. From the good I have learnt to consider as good
whatever comes from God. Nanak takes delight in finding that one God resides in
soul, dedicate thyself to God. Listen to His praises and sing them. Cultivate
the company of the good and ever think of God; thus wilt thou be purified of
sin. Remember, O friend, that time is biding its opportunity like a serpent with
its mouth wide open to swallow thee. Nanak says: Time is fleeting, remember
therefore thy God.
dost thou search for Him in the jungle? He is in thee always though unaffected
by thee. Even as the fragrance abides in the flower or the likeness in the
mirror so is God everywhere, always. O brother, look for Him within thyself. The
guru teaches us that He is both within and without. Nanak says: O man, without
knowing thyself the darkness of illusion cannot be dispelled.
soul, remember thy God, thy years are rolling by without His sacred name—man
without Harinama is even like a well without water or a cow without milk or a
temple without light or a fruit tree without fruit or body without eyes or night
without the moon, or the earth without rain or a pundit without a knowledge of
the Vedas. O good man watch thy desire, anger, pride and ambition and give them
up. Nanakshah says: O God there is no one to befriend save Thee.
hast thou given up Ramanama? Thou hast not given up anger nor falsehood, why
hast thou given up truthful speech? Being immersed in this false show why hast
thou abandoned the original home? Thou hast treasured a cowrie, why hast thou
neglected the ruby? Why hast thou given up remembering that which is the source
of all happiness? Khalus says: Why wilt thou not trust God and leave body, mind
intentions came to naught. Neither was God worshipped nor more holy places
visited. Time has thee in his grip. Wife, friends, children, chariot, wealth,
kingdom of earth filled with riches and ryots and the like are useless; the one
thing needful is the worship of God. Thou wanderedst much and wast defeated
although thou reachedst man’s estate. Nanak says: Why wilt thou not remember thy
Maker even though it is time to appear in His presence?
have obtained a jewel in the shape of Ramanama. The true guru gave me this
priceless jewel and showed his great favour to me. I have obtained wealth for
eternity, what though I have lost everything of this earth? This jewel cannot be
used up by use nor can it be stolen by thieves. It increases greatly from day to
day. In the vessel called truth with the true guru as the captain I have been
able to cross the ocean of birth and death. Mira says: I have sung the praise of
the Lord in great glee.
a birth does not come often. What do I know of the merit that has given me the
human state ! This body appears to be growing moment by moment but it is also at
the same time waning, and it takes no time to perish altogether even as the
leaves of a tree do which once they are torn from their branch cannot be
reattached. This ocean of birth and death is mighty and has strong terrible
currents. But if a man would take meditation on God for a raft he can cross the
ocean. The sages and great men have loudly proclaimed as they have gone, says
Mira the servant of God, that man has but a few days on earth.
soul, touch the feet of Hari; they bring fortune, they are cool to the touch,
soft as lotus and the touch removes the threefold affliction. The touch of these
feet enabled Prahlad to attain Indra’s status, gave Dhruva permanent stability,
enabled Vishnu to rule the whole universe, gave the wife of Gautama her
salvation, enabled Krishna to show his powers among the shepherd lads and to
capture the Kali snake and to lift the mount Govardhana and thus humble the
pride of Indra. The servant Mira says that the touch of those feet enables a man
to cross the great ocean.
me there is none else but Giridhar Gopal, let the whole world be witness. I have
given up brothers, friends, and other relatives. In disregard of popular talk I
sit in the midst of sadhus. I rejoice to see God’s devotees and weep to see
worldly people. I have reared the creeper of love with my tears. I have churned
the curds, extracted from them the butter and thrown away the rest. The King
sent me a poison cup which I drank with pleasure. Now does everybody know the
story about me. Mira says: Come what may, I am intent upon God and God alone.
mother, I have bought Govind. Some say He is cheap, some say He is dear. I have
weighed Him. Some say He is to be found in the house, some say in the jungle,
and some others say He is sporting with Radha. Mira’s Lord is to be found in the
cradle of love.
Ranaji, I must sing the praises of Govind. If the King is angry he is welcome to
his capital but if God is angry where is one to flee? Rana sent a poison cup, I
drank it as if it was nectar ; he sent a black snake in a box, I took it for God
Saligram. Mirabai the love-stricken says: I want Krishna as my Lord and Master.
mind is fixed on the guru’s feet. I am ill at ease without those feet.
Everything else is like a mirage, a dream. The ocean of birth and death has
dried down and I have no anxiety about crossing it. Mira says: O my God, now is
my inner sight opened.
God, Thou deliverest. Thay servants from difficulties. Thou savedst. Draupadi’s
honour by extending her garment infinitely For They devotee Thou becamest man.
Thou destroyedst Hiranyakashipu; didst not tolerate him. Thou savedst the
sinking elephant and pulled him out of the water. Says Mira the servant and
beloved of Giridhar:
Where there is grief there is the cry of distress (sent to
God, make me Thy slave. I shall be Thy gardener and every day feast my eyes with
the sight of Thee, I shall sing about the deeds of Govind in the groves and
lanes of Brindaban. For service I shall have daily darshan and shall have as
pocket money the memory of Thee; I shall get as estate intense devotion to Thee;
thus will I have the three excellent things. My Lord has worn a peacock feather
crown and a yellow dhoti; He has worn a garland of vaijanti flowers. He grazes
cows in Brindaban and plays upon his pipe. I shall build me a lofty palace and
have windows in it; through them I shall look at my Lord with my kusumbi (red)
sari on. Among the inhabitants of Brindaban are to be found yogis doing yoga,
sannyasis doing tapas, sadhus singing bhajans. Mira’s Lord is deep and
mysterious; keep thou thy patience—He appears to His devotees even at midnight
on the banks of the Jamuna.
who speaks ill of me is a hero for me. He works without pay. He is instrumental
in enabling me to wash off my old sins. He renders me service without reward. He
sinks and saves others. He is such a beloved fellow. O Rama, I pray for his long
life. Dadu says: The vilifier is a benefactor in disguise.
Still does cruel life cling obstinately to the body. O my beloved
God, I have been long separated from Thee. Four periods are like four cycles,
the night is gone, the day has broken. O Thou Thief of my heart, where art Thou,
though the promised time is past? O Thief I am looking out for Thee on the way
but do not see Thee. Dadu says: Pangs of separation from one’s beloved are like
the pangs of the fabled chakor bird separated from the moon.
O God, Thou art sandal, I am as water, Thy sweet
scent pervades everything; Thou art the cloud, I am the peacock of the forest
looking for rain like the chakor bird for the moon; Thou art the lamp burning
day and night, I am the wick; Thou art the pearl, I am the string, and we unite
as does gold with mçájçíjJççj
1. Raidas the
devotee says: Thou art the Lord, I am the slave.
1The original Hindi bhajan has "suhaga" meaning ‘borax’, a
substance used to purify gold. Gandhiji has used the Gujarati word ‘surokhar’.
God, my mind is distracted, how shall I worship Thee? Thou seest me, I should
see Thee, that were a sign of mutual love. Thou seest me but I do not see Thee,
this is a state of a lost mind. Though Thou art in all always, yet have I not
learnt to know Thee ! Thou art full of virtue, I am full of vice, I have not
even acknowledged the debt owing to Thee. I am floundering between I and Thou,
Thine and mine, how can I be saved? Raidas says: O God of mercy, hail to Thee,
the only stay of the universe.
dullard, why dost thou carelessly sleep away thy time, awake O man, awake. The
yogis or voluptuaries or thieves keep vigil; likewise do beloved saints who are
intent upon God. O brother, keep vigil like Prahlad and Dhruva and Dhruva got a
permanent seat of honour, Prahlad got a kingdom. The soul is the traveller, the
body is the hotel. How long shalt thou be attached to it? Thou hast but a
night’s stay in the hotel, on the day breaking thou hast to go, seek the company
of the good, serve thy Master and thou shall be happy. Nitanand says: O proud
man, worship Rama; only those who are fortunate know how to keep vigil.
knowing man uses his knowledge at will. Just as a vessel moving in all
directions is always guided by the polar star, even so does the knowing one
although moving about on earth has his gaze fixed on the heavens; and just as
the ice melts in water so does he attain his independence by merging himself in
the divine. The condition is indescribable of him whose abode is where the
beginning is unknown and the end never is and where neither the mind nor the
speech can reach. This divine play is wonderful and incomparable. He who has
known it from ancient times speaks as it were from the heavens. Akha says: Only
a rare knowing one recognizes it.
brother, the morning has broken. Wake up and remember thy Maker. What the true
guru says comes after full deliberation; therefore beware, O brother. There is
no one to befriend thee. There is no sister, no brother; for who will deliver
thee when the god of death pronounces thy doom? Father, mother and others are
relatives only for self. Apart from the remembrance of God there will be no
company, thou wilt be alone. I seek refuge in the feet of Murari the cleanser
from sin and deliverer from bondage. Sahajram says: Worship Rama, he will remove
evil and grant happiness.
ornament of Nanda’s home, Yashoda’s darling, Haladhar’s brother, Radha’s beloved
is the giver of supreme happiness. He is all in all to the good people, He is
the wealth of Siva and the Vedas and Puranas have sung of His greatness, He is
greater than Indra, He is God of gods, He is Brahm[an] to Brahma, greaterthan
the greatest. He is death to death, Lord among lords. He is beyond measure.
Giridhari is the life of Nandadas and the darling prince to the villagers of
whom shall I bear ill will? God himself proclaims: "I am in everything and
everyone and regard all equally, only I fear most my devotees". Shri Haridas
says: By the grace of God I wander about daily fearlessly.
those who will, praise and those who will, blame, let them say what they
like; I love Rama, come what may.
..........1had a bundle and the water was
deep. But Ramachandra became a tortoise and carried her on his shell. Even as He
endows the sun and the moon with light, sustains the sky without pillars, makes
stones to float on the sea, why will He not save His servants? Siva, Sanak,
sages like Narad and others worship Him. Jasvant is the servant of Rama—his Lord
from birth to birth.
1 Gandhiji has left the words "
untranslated. Vide also "Letter to Premabehn Kantak", 28-9-1930.
the world the saints do the greatest good. They lead us manifestly towards God
and dispel our ignorance. They are kind to all and like God Himself assist us in
our troubles. They are above the three moods and have no thought of physical
comforts. They are different from the worldly men. Brahmanand says: The company
of saintly people enables us to know God.
man, fear God, how canst thou be indifferent? Do not be careless, be on thy
guard whilst there is yet time and have the fear of God in thee—Do thy allotted
task quickly, know that death is hovering about thee, do not pride thyself on
thy beauty, for thy body will be reduced to ashes. Messengers of Yama will catch
thee by the throat and make thee smart there. O man, worship thy Maker. Braj
Kishore says: Cling to the feet of Hari and save thyself.
Thou Protector of the universe, Ruler of its destiny, Abode of happiness and
peace, Ocean of mercy, Friend of the poor, Destroyer of the pangs of pauperism,
Everlasting, Whole, Unending, Beginningless, Perfect Brahma, Ancient of days,
Refuge of the people, their Lord, Adored of then, Matchless, Indescribable,
Beloved of the heart, Guardian of the three worlds, Mainstay of life.
Among fishes the Fish incarnation is the best; among
self-restrained persons Ramachandra is the best; among lovers Krishna is the
best; among the powerful Narahari; in hardness the Tortoise incarnation; in
strength Varaha, the Boar; in elusiveness Vamana who put on a big body; among
mountains the Golden Mount (Meru); among waters the Ocean; among lakes the
Mansarovar; among rivers the Ganges; among birds the Garuda; among trees the
Tree of fulfilment of desires; among monkeys Hanuman; among cities Ayodhya;
among warriors Parashurama; among instruments the discus Sudarshana; among
feminine strength Parvati the beloved of Shankara; among devotees prahlad; in
love Radhika is the best. Thus has Kanhar made a garland of jewels for his neck.
God, my friend, I ask of Thee this boon: do not forget me. I am dull-witted,
know nothing, nor do I show any love for Thee. Thou never forsakest those whom
Thou hast taken under Thy shelter; Thou wilt give me victory over Thee. I know
that I have no merit to commend itself to Thee, on the contrary, I have
terrifying shortcomings and O my Life, if Thou, knowing my shortcomings, wouldst
give me up, I shall be undone. But I have a certain faith in me
Thou wouldst not forsake me. It is Thy habit of old that Thou ignorest Thy
devotee’s blemishes. Thou art the friend of the poor, Thou art gentle of nature.
I adore Thee. Premsakhi says: I do not know Thy mysteries, only I believe in
Beloved, I seek refuge in Thee. I have neither means nor strength, nor wisdom.
My sole faith is in the touch of Thy feet, O Lord. I am like the bitter fruit of
low-lying ground, but Thou, Ocean of mercy, hast raised me high. I am but a poor
child seeking Thy protection. O Lord do not forget me who am so helpless. O
Beloved, keep Thou me believing me to be Thy slave. Premsakhi says: I ever stake
my all on Thee.
Star of my eyes, darling of Nanda, show Thy dear self to me. O Thou Friend of
the distressed, Fount of mercy, Representative of all virtue, full of youth and
of handsome appearance, I can no longer restrain myself. I am intent on seeing
Thee face to face. Rasik says: In the hope of that happy meeting day and night I
meditate on Thee alone.
Divine Spirit, let me have a sight of Thee. By it I shall attain supreme bliss;
by it shall the endless chain of birth and death be broken. For Thee I
have resorted to austerities, penance and many ceremonies; how long am I to
continue? Without Thee all these are useless, for the heart does not melt; some
foolish ones hug action, others knowledge. The joy and the value of union with
Thee neither of them knows. Thou art above them. Thou art and art not in all. In
Thy perfection Thou art unique. Thy action is a mystery; Thou art both master
and disciple. Though formless and indescribable, yet Thou art all forms. Thou
alone knowest Thyself. The Vedas declare Thee to be unknowable. Thy servants
sing Thy praises.
have now become immortal, I shall not die. Why should I have to put on a new
body when I have given up self-deception which is its cause. Desire and anger
bind one in the world. These I shall destroy. From time immemorial, man has
died, now I shall destroy time itself. Body is mortal; soul is immortal, it
would revert to its original state. I shall do away with the mortal and become
an inmate of the abode of the immortal. I shall cleanse myself and be pure. I
have died many times because of my ignorance; now I shall be [free] from the
pair of happiness and unhappiness. Anandghan says: Those who will not take
shelter under the two-lettered name that is so near everyone will surely die.
is Brahm[an]. Call it Rama or Rahman, Kanha or Mahadev, Parasnath or Brahma;
pots are different but as earth they are one.
so do we make imaginary differentiations; in essence Truth is one and
indivisible. He who is restraint incarnate is Rama, he who is mercy incarnate is
Rahim, he who puts an end to all work (by renouncing fruits) is Kanha, he who
attains Nirvana is Mahadev, he who touches reality is Parasnath, he who knows
himself is Brahm[an]. Thus, says Anandghan, I am spirit (not body) and am still.
God, break my bondage. The alligator and the elephant fought in the lake, the
latter was dragged deep down and when the elephant’s cry of distress reached
Thee, Thou left Thy pleasures to help him. For the sake of Draupadi Thou madest
haste to reach her Thy help when the tyrant was pulling her garment in the midst
of the assembly. The wife of Gautama Rishi attained salvation by the touch of
Thy feet. The prostitute and Sabari too reached the same state (by the same
devotion to Thee). O people, listen to the acts of the saints and praise God.
Vidhuband who is pining for the sight of Thee says: O God accept me.
reliance is on the celebrated promise of God. O God, my Master, I know nothing
of service or Ramanama. Thou hast saved the elephant, the [vulture], the
prostitute and the sinner Ajamil. I have sought Thy protection on the strength
of this evidence of Thy mercy. Premanand says: O all-powerful and all-knowing
Lord, save me or kill me.
Thou wouldst see Him with each breath think of Him. Burn thy pride and smear thy
body with its ashes; take up the broom of love and with it wipe out the
distinctions of me and thee; reduce the notion of duality to dust and sprinkle
it on thy prayer carpet; leave the carpet, break up the rosary, throw the sacred
books in the river, seek the help of angels and be their servant; do not fast
nor keep ramzan, do not go to the mosque nor make obeisances; break to pieces
the water jar for prayer cleansing and drink the wine of the joy of union; eat
and drink but never be off thy guard; enjoy thy intoxication1 The source here is
indistinct. continuously; burn thy egotism. Be neither Mulla nor Brahmin; leave
duality and worship Him alone. Shah Kalandar has proclaimed: say, ‘I am He’. Mad
Mansur says: My heart has known truth, that is the wine shop of the intoxicated,
make that the object of thy visit.
in this world called beautiful garden is only for a short while; you will enjoy
the spectacle for a few days only. O traveller, prepare for the march; residence
on earth is short. When the great hakim Lukman was asked, "How long will you
live?"—rubbing his hands in despair he replied: "Only a few days.,’ After burial
the angel of death said in the grave: you will sleep here only for a few days. O
friends, you and I will have to separate in a few days. O tyrants, why do you
oppress innocent people, your days are numbered. Nazir says: Remember the day of
death; you cannot rely upon life but for a short while.
now Thou art the only King of my heart, Thou art my only Beloved. O Creator, now
my meditation is solely upon Thy sacred feet day and night. My heart receives
consolation only from Thee, Thy love possesses me. People generally consider me
to be mad; everywhere Thy name is on my tongue. I have nothing to do with the
pleasures of the world, Thy love is the only thing to please me, my heart’s case
I shall paint with Thy love; knowledge has united me to Thee; the prayer of Thy
servant is that I may have nothing to do with Satan.
God, Thy law is mysterious. Wherever the heart is set, there Thou art to be
seen; with Thee there is neither temple nor mosque. Thou lookest only for a true
heart in Thy seeker. Thou exhibitest the splendour of Thy love to him who has
surrendered himself heart and soul to Thee. He who becomes enamoured of Thy
divine qualities, takes all his colouring from Thee. He in whom there is still
egotism left is like one who has lost his way and he is united to Thee who has
lost his egotism. He who believes in Thee sees Thee face to face. It is like a
beggar finiding a priceless pearl.
boat is tiny and is laden with stones; eddies are tossing it from all sides and
the helmsman is drunk and the boat is in midstream; there is whirlwind and on
the top of it all rain is pouring in torrents. Giridhar poet says: O Lord be
Thou the helmsman; let Thy mercy be the oar and let the boat reach the shore
good woman, put on thy best garments. Thou art to go to thy Lord. There the
shroud will be of earth, the bed will be of earth and thou wilt be united to
earth. . . . Wash, bathe, dress thy hair; there is no returning from there.
is a Vaishnava who identifies himself with others’ sorrows and in so doing has
no pride about him. Such a one respects every one and speaks ill of none. He
controls his speech, his passions and his thoughts. May his mother be blessed.
He is equidisposed towards all, has no desires, regards another’s wife as his
mother, always speaks the truth and does not touch other people’s property. He
labours neither under infatuation nor delusion and withdraws his mind from
worldly things; he is intent on Ramanama; his body is his sacred shrine for
pilgrimage; he is no miser and is free from cunning and he has conquered
passions and anger. Narasaiyo says: His presence purifies his surroundings.
him to be a true man who takes to his bosom those who are in distress. Know that
God resides in the heart of such a one. His heart is saturated with gentleness
through and through. He receives as his only those who are forsaken. He bestows
on his man servants and maid servants the same affection he shows to his
children. Tukaram says: What need is there to describe him further? He is the
very incarnation of divinity.
is near indeed. He is within us. Yet we did not see Him in our lifetime. He
pervades the three worlds, yet the world knew Him not. Fortunately saintly men
appeared and we saw God. Ramdas says: Through that happy event we began to see
God within ourselves.
God, Thou Who art known to be an ocean of mercy, why hast Thou hardened Thy
heart? For on the elephant’s scream of prayer Thou ranst to his assistance; for
the devotion of Prahlad Thou roaredst in the fiery pillar; for the piteous
appeal of Draupadi Thy heart melted. Eknath says: By the grace of guru Janardana
my mind is intent upon the feet of God.
God, let me not be witness to desire for sin, better make me blind; let me not
hear ill of anyone, better make me deaf; let not a sinful word escape my lips,
better make me dumb; let me not lust after another’s wife, better that I
disappear from this earth. Tuka says: I am tired of everything worldly, Thee
alone I like, O Gopal.
can maya do to one who always remembers God? By listening to God’s word, by
laying it to heart and by meditating on
man’s oneness with God, death ceases to frighten one. The great
God Who is a fount of mercy and giver of boons blesses such a one. Amrit says: I
therefore drink in nectar by always contemplating Oddhav’s1 feet.
Gandhiji:" Oddhav was Amrit’s teacher"
God, grant me love of companionship of the good. It brings forth lovely sprouts
of internal bliss. O God by fully granting man’s
lawful desires Thou satisfiest his heart’s craving. Amrit says: O
God, Thou sweetenst the end of Thy devotees.
thyself to devotion and merge thyself in God. Let people say what they like for
this, thou shouldst store up overwhelming love. Be indifferent to praise or
blame, leave off ‘me and thee’ give up all desire and devote thyself to
desireless worship, abandon all vain imaginings and doubts; old age has crept
over thee. Man’s estate is difficult to reach, it will not come again for ages.
Having understood this, seek out a teacher. Shivdini has no other determination;
he has given himself body and soul to his teacher Kesarinath; for him the world
has ceased to exist. Worship now God the friend of his devotees.
will lay by stores that are bound to perish? Why should one build houses,
verandahs and storeys? The humble cottage is good enough; covering made of
tattered rags is also good enough. I should eat with relish whatever it pleases
God to give me from day to day. Amrit says: What is filled in the beggar’s bowl
gives all the relish one wants; it is such a joy.
not let thy time pass without the praise of God. Thou fearest the wheel of life
as one fears a rope for a snake and thus preventest union between soul and the
Maker. Do not put out the lamp of knowledge within. Weigh thy word so that it
will be evidence of steady balanced judgment. Do not plough the sand and waste
time by parading thy opinion. Having informed thy mind properly know the reality
through the companionship of the good. Never commit thyself to anything till
thou hast had experience. Sohira says: There is no alternation of night and day
where there is the lamp of knowledge; without it thou maystn’t even move the
Blessed is that family and that country where servants of God take
birth. God becomes their work and their religion. The three worlds become holy
through them. Tell me who have become purified through pride of birth? The
Puranas have testified like bards
without reserve that those called untouchables have attained
salvation through devotion to God. Tuladhar, the Vaishya, Gora, the potter,
Rohidas, a tanner, Kabir, a Momin, Latif, a Muslim, Sena, a barber, and
Vishnudas, Kanhopatra, Dadu, a carder, all become one at the feet of God in the
company of hymn singers. Chokhamela and Banka, both Mahars by birth, became one
with God. Oh, how great was the devotion of Jani the servant girl of Namdev!
Pandharinath (God) dined with her. Meral Janak’s family no one knows, yet who
can do justice to his greatness? For the servant of God there is no caste, no
varna, so say the Vedic sages. Tuka says: I cannot count the degraded and the
forsaken saved through God’s grace. You may consult the sacred books if you
would know them all.
thou wouldst be a yogi, thou must attend to the necessary observances. Know that
he who is slave to his tongue and sold himself to the goddess of sleep will
never practise yoga. The candidate for yoga should be moderate in sleep and food
and must not indulge in vain disputations. Make up thy mind thus to regulate thy
food and all thy movements; practise internal concentration and then thou
wouldst have internal peace. When thy mind is taken off external objects it will
easily turn inward and be fixed even as a light protected from winds becomes
steady and fixed.
जेथें जातो तेंथें तूं माझा सांगाती
Wherever I go, Thou art my companion. Having taken me by the hand
Thou movest me. I go alone depending solely on Thee. Thou bearest too my
burdens. If I am likely to say anything foolish, Thou makest it right. Thou hast
removed my bashfulness and madest me self-confident, O Lord. All the people have
become my guards, relatives and bosom friends. Tuka says: I now conduct myself
without any care. I have attained divine peace within and without.
न कळतां काय करावा उपाय
one does not know, what is one to do so as to have devotion to Thy sacred feet?
When will it so happen that Thou wilt come and settle in my heart? O God, when
wilt Thou so ordain that I may meditate on Thee with a true heart? Remove Thou
my untruth and, O Truth, come and dwell Thou in my heart. Tuka says: O
Panduranga, do Thou protect by Thy power sinners like me.
मुक्ति-पांग नाहीं विष्णूचिया दासां
the servants of Vishnu there is no yearning even for salvation; they do not want
to know what the wheel of birth and death is like.; Govind sits steadily settled
in their hearts; for them the beginning and the end are the same. They make over
happiness and misery to God and themselves remain untouched by them, the
auspicious songs sing of them; their strength and their intellect are dedicated
to benevolent uses; their hearts contain gentleness; they are full of mercy even
like God; they know no distinction between theirs and others’. Tuka says: They
are even like unto God and Vaikuntha is where they live.
काय वाणूं आतां न पुरे हे वाणी
now shall I describe (the praises of the good); my speech is not enough (for the
purpose). I therefore put my head at their feet. The magnet leaves its greatness
and does not know that it may not touch iron. Even so good men’s powers are for
the benefit of the world. They afflict the body for the service of others. Mercy
towards all is the stock-in-trade of the good. They have no attachment for their
own bodies. Tuka says: Others’ happiness is their happiness; nectar drops from
नाहीं संतपण मिळत तें हाटीं
Saintliness is not to be purchased in shops nor is it to be had
for wandering nor in cupboards nor in deserts nor in forests. It is not
obtainable for a heap of riches. It is not in the heavens above nor in the
entrails of the earth below. Tuka says: It is a life’s bargain and if you will
not give your life to possess it better be silent.
भक्त ऐसे जाण जे देहीं उदास
is a devotee who is indifferent about body, who has killed all desire, whose one
object in life is (to find) Narayana, whom wealth or company or even parents
will not distract, for whom whether in front or behind there is only God in
difficulty, who will not allow any difficulty to cross his purpose. Tuka says:
Truth guides such men in all their doings.
वेद अनंत बोलिला
essence of the endless Vedas is this: Seek the shelter of God and repeat His
name with all thy heart. The result of the cogitations of all the Shastras is
also the same; Tuka says: The burden of the eighteen Puranas is also identical.
आणीक दुसरें मज नाहीं आतां
heart of mine is determined that for me now there is nothing else; I meditate on
Panduranga, I think of Panduranga, I see Panduranga whether awake or dreaming.
All the organs are so attuned that I have no other desire left. Tuka says: My
eyes have recognized that image standing on that brick transfixed in meditation
unmoved by anything.
न मिळो खावया, न वाढो संतान
though I get nothing to eat and have no progeny? It is enough for me that
Narayana’s grace descends upon me. My speech gives me that advice and says
likewise to the other people —Let the body suffer, let adversity befall one,
enough that Narayana is enthroned in my heart. Tuka says: All the above things
are fleeting; my welfare consists in always remembering Gopal.
महारासी शिवे, कोपे ब्राह्मण तो नव्हे |
who becomes enraged at the touch of a Mahar is no Brahmin. There is no penance
for him even by giving his life. There is the taint of untouchability in him who
will not touch a Chandal. Tuka says: A man becomes what he is continually
देह जावो अथवा राहो
the body persist or perish, my heart must be fixed on Panduranga. I swear by
Thee O Pandharinath that I shall never let go
hold of Thy feet. On my lips must be Thy name, in my heart everlasting devotion
to Thee. Namdev says: O Keshav such is my vow but it is for Thee to make it
पुण्य पर-उपकार पाप ते परपीडा
Merit consists in doing good to others, sin in doing harm to
others. There is no other pair comparable to this. Truth is the only religion
(or freedom); untruth is bondage, there is no secret like this. God’s name on
one’s lips is itself salvation, disregard (of the name) know to be perdition.
Companionship of the good is the only heaven, studious indifference is hell.
Tuka says: It is thus clear what is good and what is injurious, let people
choose what they will.
is my last prayer, O saintly people listen to it: O God, do not forget me; now
what more need I say, Your holy feet know everything. Tuka says: I prostrate
myself before Your feet, let the shadow of Your grace descend upon me.
हेंचि दान दे गा देवा
God, grant only this boon. I may never forget Thee; and I shall prize it dearly.
I desire neither salvation nor riches nor prosperity; give me always company of
the good. Tuka says: On that condition Thou mayest send me to the earth again
अंतर मम विकसित करो अन्तरतर हे !
Thou Dweller in my heart, open it out, purify it, make it bright and beautiful,
awaken it, prepare it, make it fearless, make it a blessing to others, rid it of
laziness, free it from doubt, unite it with all, destroy its bondage, let Thy
peaceful music pervade all its works; make my heart fixed on Thy holy lotus feet
and make it full of joy, full of joy, full of joy.
वहे निरन्तर अनन्त आनन्दधारा |
Endless stream of joy flows eternally, ancient music sounds in the
boundless sky, innumerable suns, moons and stars rise. That matchless King of
kings shines in all his glory in the whole universe. A crore hearts of devotees
astonished, motionless, speechless bow their heads before the feet of the
तुमि बंधु, तुमि नाथ
art Brother, Thou art Lord, day and night Thou art mine, Thou art my happiness,
Thou my peace, Thou the way immortal, Thou art the Abode of joy, unite me to
Thee, remove sorrow, the touch of Thy feet quenches all agony, O Thou boundless
shelter of the distressed!
एकटि नमस्कारे प्रचु एकटि नमस्कारे
one prostration O Lord, Thou givest rest to all Thy creatures in Thy world.1
Note by Gandhiji: "These
Bengali verses of the Poet have been authoritatively translated and so the
renderings so far made here should be corrected and replaced by the
भूतळ भक्ति पदारथ मोटुं, ब्रह्यलोकमां नाहि रे
this globe worship of God is the greatest thing, there is nothing like it even
in the heavenly world. By acquiring merit one reaches only paradise from there
to come again to earth in the end. But men of God ask not for salvation; they
desire to be born again for everlasting service, praise and singing and to meet
God face to face. Blessed are the parents of him who being born on India’s earth
has praised God for he has fulfilled the purpose of his birth. Blessed be
Brindaban and the deeds performed therein, blessed be the inhabitants of Vraj
for all the eight great siddhis are at their disposal and they can have
salvation for the asking. The relish of that joy is known to Shankar or to the
Yogi Shukadevji as also somewhat to the maids of Vraj, says Narsaiyo, who enjoys
himself in the sunshine of His presence.
नारायणनुं नाम ज लेतां, वारे तेने तजीए रे
should forsake him who dissuades us from taking God’s name; we should worship
God with all our mind, speech and deed. For doing this we should (if necessary)
leave caste, family, mother, father, sister, son, wife, even as the snake
discards his skin. Prahlad left his father but would not give up God’s name,
Bharata and Shatrughna gave up their mother but never Rama. Rishis’ wives gave
up their husbands for the sake of God. Thereby they not only lost nothing but
gained all the four ends. Narsaiyo says: The women of Vraj gave up their all for
the sake of Vitthal and sported with the Lord.
समरने श्रीहरि, मेल ममता परी
Good man, remember God and give up thy egotism, think of the source from which
thou hast come. What art thou and what dost thou cling to? Without understanding
(the root of things) thou sayst ‘this is mine, that is mine’ but if thou wilt
use thy judgment thou wilt observe that the body is not thine for try what thou
wilt, thou canst not keep it (for ever), it is bound to perish. When this body
perishes there will be many more new ones and thy wife, children and others will
deceive thee. Thou thinkest always of wealth and that is the greatest stumbling
block in thy way. Thy lord is near thee and thou dost not know Him, thou hast
lost thy chance and wasted thy time. Thou art in deep sleep and suffocated; why
wilt thou not listen to the words of the sages and wake up? Narsaiyo says: It is
a matter of shame thou wilt not wake up, if thou only wilt, thy age-long desires
अखिल ब्रह्मांडमां एक तुं श्रीहरि
Throughout the whole universe Thou alone art; Thou appearest as
many, taking diverse forms. Thou art the informing Being in the material body.
Thou art the essence of light, Thou art the word of the Vedas in the void, Thou
art the air, water, earth. O Lord, Thou spreadest out high up in the trees,
similarly having created a multitude of forms and a variety of tastes from One
Being Thou hast become many. The Vedas declare and the other Shastras bear
witness that there is no distinction between a nugget of gold and a gold
earring; when it undergoes shapes, it wears different appearances and different
names but in reality it is all gold. Thou art the seed in the tree and Thou art
the tree from the seed and from this phenomenon one sees change in form.
Narsaiyo says: This is all a matter of the mind but if I worship Thee in true
faith Thou wilt appear as Thou art.
कयां लगी आतमा-तत्त्व चीन्यो नहि
long as the secret of the soul is not known, all practices are useless; thy life
as a human being has passed away uselessly like the rains out of season. What
though thou bathest daily and performest worship and dost service in the
temples, what though thou givest alms staying in thy own house, what though thou
adoptest long hair, smearest thy body with the sacred ashes. What though thou
hast removed thy hair, performest austerities and visitest holy places, what
though thou takest the rosary and takest His name; what though thou markest the
sacred mark on the forehead and keepest the tulsi1 leaf,
what though thou drinkest the Ganges water; what though thou canst recite the
Vedas and knowest the grammar and pronouncest correctly; what though thou
knowest the tunes and their effect; what though thou knowest the six systems and
the permutations and combinations of letters. All these are devices for finding
the wherewithal for one’s support if thou hast not known the soul of souls.
Narsaiyo says: Thou hast wasted the priceless human heritage if thou hast not
known the secret of the universe.
जे गमे जगतगुरु देव जगदीशने
is useless to sorrow over what God ordains. Without His will we cannot move a
blade of grass. If we do fuss about things, what is left over is a legacy of
sorrows. It is ignorance that prompts one to say ‘I have done this’, even as a
dog under a cart fancies himself shouldering the weight of the cart. A few yogis
only know that the whole universe depends upon Him. If a man could dispose
things, he would root out all enemies and have only friends, he would have no
kings and no beggars, he would plant on every house flags betokening (limitless
possession of wealth). Even as a creeper gives in its season leaves, fruit and
flowers so does man receive what is his due in due time; a foolish man only will
therefore resort to vain cogitations. Often does man write much and fails to say
the right thing. People worship what they like and they seem to believe
whole-heartedly that theirs is the only true belief. But Narsaiyo says with
folded hands: Consider wordly happiness to be vain; everything is nothing
without Krishna; I want my God from birth to birth.
जागीने जोऊं तो जगत दीसे नहि
awake I see no world, the world was a conglomeration of enjoyments perceived in
the dream-land. The joys are all transformations of mind and its sports are
identical. Life is but the sport of Brahm[an]. The five elements spring from
Parabrahm[an] and they cohere (through His will). The flowers and the fruit are
of and from the tree, the branch is not separate from the stem. The Vedas
declare and the other Shastras bear witness that1 . . . Life springs from Siva’s
will. He has devised the fourteen worlds. Narsaiyo says: Many a saint has found
salvation through realizing ‘Thou art That’.
Note by Gandhiji: "For this verse see 107 of
which this is an exact repetition."
ध्यान धर हरि तणुं अल्पमति आळसु
lazy man of poor wit, contemplate God so that the miseries of life may be
alleviated. By engaging in any other pursuit, thou wilt gain nothing. God of
Death will fool thee by leading thee into snares. All the good flows from
dedication to the feet of Shrikrishna; there is immeasurable bliss in seeking
that shelter. Regard all other things as useless and treasure Krishna’s name in
thy heart. Put away infatuation at a safe distance and rest before the feet of
Hari. Do not turn away when the real thing is brought to thy notice. O fool,
thou hast built castles in the air; know that they are without any foundation.
The world praises those who weave into their acts the qualities of the Deity.
Poor Narsaiyo dedicated himself to God; he considers nothing comparable to the
praise of God.
जूनुं तो थयुं रे देवळ जूनुं तो थयुं
temple is worn out and the dweller is yet young. This body, O dweller, is
tottering, the teeth are gone, only the gums are left. Thou art attached to the
body but thou hast flown and the body remains. Mira says: O God (this being the
condition), may I love Thee and drink in Thy love.
नहीं रे विसारुं हरि अंतरमांथी नहीं रे
will not forget Hari who is in my heart. I had gone to the Jamuna to fetch water
and on the way I found that priceless Lord. In passing through Brindaban I fell
at Thy feet. Thou hadst worn saffron-colour dhoti and embroidered frock, Thou
hadst saffron mark
painted on the forehead; Thou hadst a peacock-feathered crown and
rings in Thy ears; Thou wast playing on the flute. Mira says: What need is there
to describe Him further? I have surrendered my all to Him who is my Lord and
बोल मा बोल मा बोल मा रे राधाकृष्ण बिना बीजुं
बोल मा |
not utter anything else than Radhakrishna. Do not take the bitter leaf when thou
hast sugar-cane in front of thee; do not take
shelter under the light of the firefly when thou hast the sun and
the moon before thee; do not take lead in the place of jewels like
diamonds and rubies. Mira says: I have given my all against
मुखडानी माया लागी रे |
dear Lord, I love Thy face; as soon as I saw Thy face, the world became useless
to me and my mind became detached from it. The happiness that the world gives is
like a mirage, one should move about deeming it of no account. Mirabai says:
Blessed Lord, my only hope is in Thee and I consider myself fortunate (in that I
have seen thee face to face).
वैष्णव नथी थये तुं रे, शीद गुमानमां जूमे
hast not yet become a devotee of God; what is thy pride based on? Thy heart does
not swell with joy to see men of God, it does not melt to sing God’s praises.
Thy desires have not abated, thy eyes are red with anger, thou wilt be a true
Vaishnava if thou canst draw another towards thee, thou art nothing so long as
thy contact does not influence one for the better, thou art not pained to see
others in pain, thou dost not hesitate to speak ill of others, thou hast no true
love for Vitthal (God) , thou art not ashamed of repeating ‘I, I’. Thou hast no
liking for serving others, thou canst not give up selfishness, thy acts don’t
accord with thy speech, when challenged thou deniest thy speech(?); thou hast no
relish for prayer, thou hast no faith in Hari (God), so long as thou hankerest
after the world, the world is thy master and thou its slave; if thou wilt master
thyself thou wilt find, the true thing Daya says: Whether thou likest it or not,
I must say what is true.
हरि, जेवो तेवो हुं दास तमारो
God, such as I am, I am Thy servant. O Ocean of Mercy, take me by the hand, Thou
art companion in distress, Thou art protector of the fallen, Thou dost not
dismiss from thy presence the wretch who seeks Thy protection no matter how much
sunk he may be in sin. O Thou deliverer, Thou shieldest Thy devotees who may be
tempted to do wrong, Thou givest fortune to the unfortunate and O Giver of
boons, Thou givest capacity and satisfaction, O good Lord, Thou makest crooked
straight even when human endeavour has failed. O God who deliverest from misery,
Thou washest the sins of the undeserving sinner, Thou protectest Thy devotees
without their asking, Thou reckonest their faults as merit, Thou removest the
difficulties of those who invoke Thy aid, Thou dost not distinguish between the
great and the small, Thou art the help of the helpless, Thou knowest the aches
of men’s hearts, Thou art the friend of the afflicted, Thou sufferest, Thou
takest away fear from men and Thou overlookest blemishes, Thou art the Lord of
all, the Soul of souls, Thou alone art independent, Thou art the beloved of
Pritam, Thou art the guardian of Thy servants, Thou art my Rock.
महाकष्ट पाम्या विना कृष्ण कोने मळय़ा
may call to mind the sages of all the four yugas and you will find that no one
saw God without much pain and tribulation. Brave men have great regard therefore
for the devotees of Vishnu, only the cruel-hearted are against devotion. Dhruva,
Prahlad, Bhishma, Bali, Bibhishana, Vidura, Kunti’s sons, Vasudeva, Devaki,
Nand, Siva, the devotees of Vraj, all these pillars of devotion had to suffer
tribulation. Again Nala, Damayanti, Harishchandra, Taramati, Rukmangada,
Ambarish, Narasinha Mehta, Jayadeva, Mira, all these seekers had to go through
purgatory before they tasted real happiness, Vyasa had his troubles both mental
and physical, so had Tulsi and Madhav. The world carps at the asceticism of
Siva; Sita, who was like mother of the universe had to undergo the fiery ordeal.
The world bows to her for she suffered though sinless. Even those saints who
have burnt all the past, present and future acts have the fear of suffering. It
is God’s mystery inexplicable. One can only say such is His will. After all
virtue and vice are products of man’s imagination; the world dances to the tune
of Krishna. Dayaram says: Without the will of the Beloved not a blade moves but
the weak mind is under hallucination of ‘I did it’.
भटकतां भवमां रे गया काळ कोटी वही
Returning again and again to the world, aeons have passed away. O
God, now the limit is reached, take Thou me by the hand, scorched by the three
agonies I have flown to Thee for protection, cool down the fevers. I entreat
Thee, O Thou Fount of Mercy, let Thy blessed feet be my abode of refuge, let Thy
merciful glance burn up my sins. If Thou wilt look at my sins, Thou wilt cease
to be paramount Lord. How [can] a ruby be compared to ®çSççíìçÇ , I am a slave, Thou art Master,
Thou wilt therefore be generousto me Thy slave? Full of hope I have come before
Thee, eternal God, knowing Thee to be all-powerful. O Thou upholder of dharma
how can I leave Thy door in disappointment? Make me Thine own, don’t say nay to
me. O Thou Deliverer, listen the prayer of one so helpless as I am. Look at me
but once and fulfill my yearning, speak to me with Thy divine smile and say
‘Daya, thou art mine’.
हरिनो मारग छे शूरानो, नहि कायरनुं काम जोने
Godward way is for the brave not for the cowardly. Before one can
treasure the sacred name in the heart, it is necessary to be ready to lay down
one’s life. He only gets that divine joy who surrenders children, wife, wealth
and his own head. Those who would find pearls risk their lives in going in deep
waters. Such people face death bravely and have no doubts lurking in their
minds. But those who watch these brave deeds from a safe distance shiver even to
think of the risks. The way of love is a fiery ordeal, cowards flee before it.
Those who are in it enjoy rare happiness, the spectators are scorched. Love is a
bargain of life not to be easily had. Those who have attained the heights have
passed through the fire of self-purification. Those who have drunk deep of the
nectar of Ramanama are an object of envy. But those only who know what divine
love is recognize them when they see them. They witness the divine sport of
जननी जीवो रे गोपीचन्दनी
Blessed be Gopichand’s mother who planted in her own son the seed
of vairag1. Her preaching resulted in the world appearing like a furnace to
Gopichand. Blessed be Dhruva’s mother who said bitter things to her son Dhruva
so that he left a kingdom to seek the shelter of the forest. Sage Bajand when he
saw his camel in a prostrate condition was shocked and learnt from the event the
lesson that the world was a fleeting show and left it. Great was the self-denial
of Bhartrihari who left 1,600 queens, left his palaces and went into the
wilderness. I dote on all these who forsook this vain show. There have been
others, worldly men good and bad too numerous to count. Where is Ravana with his
brood? Where are the eight thousand children of Sagar king? Where is the fortune
of Nand? All has passed away like a dream. Dwellers in palaces have gone and so
have kings from their kingdoms. The Gods, the demons, the munis and ordinary
folk all have vanished like dreams. O men, it were good then if you would
deliberately leave this empty show; for the God of Death will surely compel you
to do so one day. Nishkulanand says: I take my oath upon it that that fate
awaits every one of us.
1 Note by Gandhiji: " ‘Asceticism’ is an approach to the meaning."
त्याग न टके रे वैराग विना
matter what one does, self-denial will not last unless it is based on dislike
for the thing given up. If there is deep down the desire for it, it will not be
relinquished. A man may wear the garb of a sannyasi but that will bring him no
nearer the goal if the garb only hides the desire that has its full possession
of the wearer. So long as desire, anger, greed and passion are not rooted out,
the thing will come to the surface the moment there is an opportunity; the very
sannyasa may become an additional source of self-indulgence. Just as the seed
does not sprout during the dry hot season but does so as soon as the rains come,
so is it with man’s desires; they await the due season. Just as iron moves in
front of a magnet so do the senses move when they are face to face with their
objects. They are still for want of opportunity but they run riot as soon as the
opportunity comes. Therefore mere external renunciation will not answer if there
is no corresponding response within. Such external renunciation will mean
licence even from the restraints of Varnashrama (the four divisions) and is
likely to result in harm. Such a man becomes useless like milk gone bad. It
won’t yield ghee or butter and is unfit to drink. Nishkulanand says: A man’s
renunciation is wrong when he hovers between self-denial and self-indulgence,
household affairs and their relinquishment.
जंगल वसाव्युं रे जोगीए
yogi has migrated to the forest. He has given up all love of the body. He cares
not to talk about the world, he has become indifferent about its comforts. He
who had richly upholstered cots and lived in palaces has not even straw to lie
on, lives in the shade of trees. He who had rich shawls and embroidered robes
now sports a ragged blanket and bears heat and cold. He who had a variety of
tasty foods now lives upon pieces of chapati thrown in the begging bowl. He at
whose call thousands answered and who was followed by large armies is now
wandering alone and unshod. O king, if you would stop I would prepare food for
you; I would prepare rice puddings in no time and it will be put in your begging
bowl. (The king answers:) He who waits for food, expects to have a dish, is no
yogi, he is a householder desirous of enjoyment. He is doomed. He who gives up
his kingdom and adopts sannyasa may not fix his mind on wealth and family, he
considers all indulgence as a malady. Nishkulanand says: Blessed be he who gives
up all desire for physical comforts and adopts sannyasa, he has left his family,
it is true, but he has gained an imperishable family.
जडभरतनी जातना जोगी
Those yogis who are like Jada Bharata have full control like a
powerful foe over the senses including the mind. They remain immovable like a
rock in the face of temptations. They will perish rather than be weak in faith
or patience. During the whole day they never allow themselves with the body. He
is the true man who will not indulge the body. They move about in obedience to
God’s will and serve mankind. He who comes across such yogis is on the way to
obtaining salvation. Such a man when he comes in contact with such yogis whether
by design or accident is, Nishkulanand says, surely purified.
धीर धुंधरा शूर साचा खरा
are patient and brave and true warriors who have shed all fear of death. Even if
there are crores against one they will regard
as straw. They have to face the determined enemy called temptation, but they
will not flinch even though they should die. Poets, noted pundits, are very
intellectual but they would not [sic] such an enemy—for in that army desire,
anger, vanity, ambition are chief warriors, for them (the learned) there is no
standing against this army. Wandering yogis, ascetics and the like fight under
the shelter of God. Against such an army true warriors alone fight. Yogis know
through the mouths of their teachers the art of fighting. Muktanand says: After
having defeated this army of temptations they enjoy immortal bliss.
टेक न मेले रे ते मरद खरा जगमांही
Those [who] will not break their plighted word are real heroes.
They will not be moved from their purpose by any of the three fevers. They will
act with decision and patience. They would never harbour doubt about their
action or its timeliness. We have to die some day without fail, some sooner,
some later, let us not flinch for the sake of worldly enjoyment. He who
understands things clearly through the heart and then acts in the teeth of all
danger is a hero. He will not entertain suspicions about others. He will never
forget Brahmanand’s God.
रे शिर साटे नटवरने वरीए
must risk life itself but realize God, we may never recede from the attempt. I
looked within, did not chip [sic] wisdom and placed my head at the feet of Hari.
One may not move without knowing the wisdom of the step but having moved forward
there should be no looking back; in the field of strife we must fight unto
death. With what face can one return who bravely goes forward and then at the
critical moment beats a hasty retreat? It is wise to make calculations
beforehand; it is no use going out to battle in bravado. But having once gone,
there should be no retiral even though one may be cut to pieces. We must sing of
Hari with zest and may not step back when the call comes. Brahmanand says: We
should rather die than accept defeat.
सद्गुरु शरण विना अज्ञानतिमिर टळशे नहि रे
Without the help of a true guru this dark ignorance cannot be
dispelled nor can the seed that generates life and death be burnt. Not without
listening to the nectar-like speech of a loving teacher, nor without acquiring
the capacity for distinguishing between truth and untruth, nor without knowledge
based on experience will the knots of the heart be undone. Even though one may
read the Shastras daily and keep the mind and the ears under control, true
happiness will be unattainable without true thought. There is no gain in harping
on ‘mine and thine’. A wise man distinguishes between right and wrong. Nothing
is to be gained from concentration on wife, children and domestics. Keshav says:
We will never meet good men who can show us the way to perfect bliss without
serving God and without diligent search.
मारी नाड तमारे हाथ हरि संभाळजो रे
pulse is in Thy hands, O God. Take care of me, regarding me as Thine keep Thy
prestige. I do not know what is good for me and what is not, misery always
stares me in the face. O God, look at me, what is happening to me? Thou art the
true physician from time immemorial; Thou knowest all the remedies, my time is
near, do Thou be punctual. O God, why art Thou waiting? Why dost Thou give me up
whilst there is yet hope? O God, do Thou remove my great misery. Keshav says:
What will happen to me? I am undone if the whole battle is lost, be Thou warned.
O my Protector, Thy prestige will be lost (if anything happens to Thy servant).
दयाळ नटवर, हाथ मारो मूकशो मा
Lord of the afflicted, do not desert me. In this great ocean of birth and death
I am tossed about, do not let the occasion of saving me slip by. Thou art my
only refuge, I do not know the means, O Keeper of my life, do not give me up
because I am so worthless. Thou art Mother, Father, Family, all in all. O Ocean
of Mercy, do not dry up for Thy slave’s sake. Keshavlal has Thy protection, O
Lord of the Universe, desert me not on any account.
comes to us through devotion. If He did not come, we should not be free from the
bondage of birth and death. Devotion is a means of attaining true bliss and
makes birth on this earth worthwhile. Even the Vedas testify that God comes to
His devotees. He who is prowess personified allows Himself to be tied up as if
He was helpless. He appears wherever His servants are in distress. He, the Lord
of the Universe, Fountain of Mercy is unattainable without devotion.
Meditations, austerities, vows and the like are useless without devotion.
Without it, wealth, youth, strength, intellect, cunning all these put together
are useless (if there is no devotion). Colour, beauty, family, caste cannot help
(where devotion is absent). Ajamil, Narad, Sabari, the prostitute, the
elephant—these declare the virtue of devotion. Keshav says: No one person is
able to recite all the power of devotion.
कोई सहाय नथी, बिना हरि सहाय नथी
There is no help for thee but God. Thou art the least in strength
and yet in thy egotism owing to possession of house, land and riches thou
sleepest in peace; instead thou shouldst worship God with devotion and with due
observance of self-restraint. Why wilt thou needlessly slave for others? Think
deeply and realize that terrible time is fleeting. Keshav says: Thou canst do
what thou wishest with this priceless body.
रामबाण वाण्यां होय ते जाणे
only knows what it is who is smitten by love of Rama. Dhruva had that experience
and so had Prahlad and they found their goal. The Shastras say that Shukadevji
was smitten even while he was in the embryo. God came to King Mordhwaj and
dominated his mind. He went to Kashi and submitted to being sawn by his wife and
son. Rana came upon Mirabai in anger with a drawn sword in his hand and
presented her with a poison cup. God turned it to nectar. He accepted Narasinha
Mehta’s draft and helped him in the nick of time. Devotee Dhano says: He has
thus saved thousands of His servants.
जेने राम राखे रे, तेने कुण मारी
can destroy him whom God would keep? I see no one else besides God. At His
pleasure he makes a rich man poor and a poor man king; He makes a lake of a
desert and a desert of a lake. He reduces a mountain to a straw and a straw He
converts into a mountain. He saved manjari’s1 young ones from a furnace. He saved the eggs of a
lizard2. Such is His power. O God, Thou helpest Thy servants in the nick
of time. The hunter has his bow strung, [a falcon]3 is about to dart but a snake
bites the hunter and [the falcon] has a wound in his head. The eagle has fallen
and the happy birds have flown. He the mighty Tailor sits with his yardstick and
scissors, adjusts everything and takes care of all. The Lord of Dhiro is the
sole personification of Truth.
Gujarati text of the bhajan has " ìçíìçí[çÇ ",which means a
3 The source has " €®$çÝs*M**ù
ù".Gandhiji has left the word
4 Note by Gandhiji: "This
is marked as on 30-11-1930 but done in the early morning of 1st December,".
तरणा ओथे डुंगर रे डुंगर कोई
mountain is in the straw but no one sees it in it even as none would notice a
lion hidden among a flock of sheep. But he can discover himself by his roar, as
the musk deer among the ordinary flock. The Absolute is hidden in the phenomenal
as oil in the seed, fire in the wood, ghee in milk. Who will listen and to whom
shall I talk of the Illimitable and the Unknowable? Speech does not reach it.
There is an abode which is beyond the intellect. Though the mind is swift like
the wind it cannot overtake it. This Immortal, Indivisible essence pervades
everything movable and immovable. It has made this universe, there is not an
atom where It is not. But by the grace of a true guru It is attainable. Why go
in search of It here and there when It is in you? Servant Dhiro says: Thou art
wherever I look.
खबरदार मन सुबाती
Beware O my mind, you have to walk on the edge of a sword; with
courage you have to fight for truth; time is the enemy, the year is the lord,
the twelve months are the generals, each month has thirty days which are the
under-officers and then there is the day and the night and so in the year seven
hundred and twenty. The hundred years of a lifetime are the besiegers of the
body fort; these have to be defeated. There are five senses after you and then
there are anger, desire, greed, infatuation, illusion, egotism—these are all
first-class warriors tyrannical. You have to fight a very powerful foe. You have
love, knowledge, true teacher, purity, contentment, forgiveness, hymns, faith.
With these on your side you have to give battle. Meditation and yoga practices
and the like will, Dhiro says, enable you to stand the heat of the battle.
दुनिया तो दीवानी रे ब्रह्मांड
world is mad, it respects humbug. The fool does not know the Maker though He is
nearest him. He worships lifeless stocks and stones as Siva. How dark are people
who ignore life? Under the sun’s blaze one does not see the philosophers’ stone.
Put a stone vessel in the sea and try ever so hard, it is bound to sink. How can
you press oil from sand or milk a metal cow? What avails a daily clean bath to a
man who is unclean within? What is the use of destroying the snake-hole after
the snake has bitten you? Knowers alone know how love is wounded. God is not
far, He is near; only look within, clean thy heart and see the Lord within—the
powerful Lord of Dhiro is everywhere in the world.
निश्चे करो रामनुं नाम नथी जोगी
Resolve upon enthroning Ramanama in thy heart. Yoga is no use, nor
is the saffron-coloured robe nor mixing up all thy food. Whether thou wearest
bhagava or white garments is of little consequence, the thing to do is not to
hurt any creature and to wish it well. Put the worldly men on one side, the
yogis on the other and then show me the yogi who has seen God face to face.
Because they served God, Narasinha Mehta, Mira, Prahlad, Sena barber, Dhano,
Peepo, Rohidas, Koobo, Potter Goro, Rajput Bodano, Gangabai sawGod face to face.
Poor good people, good-hearted butchers, worshipped God and found peace; show me
the yogi who did likewise. Rama is not to be attained by smearing oneself with
ashes or by hanging head downward nor by leaving wife and retiring to the
forest. God can be attained only by diligent search. Rama is for him who can be
happy in the jungle and who regards palaces as jungle, who regards bitter as
sweet and sweet like bitter. Even as oil is hid in the seed, ghee in milk, so is
God hid everywhere, says Narbho.
हरिजन होय तेणे हेत घणुं राखवुं |
of God should have abundant love for all; they should shed all egotism. Through
God’s name they should banish the threefold afflictions, leave off sinning and
take Ramanama. They should consider all to be good and themselves to be
unworthy. They should in perfect humility distribute alms. They should devote
themselves to their faith body, mind and speech and regard God as the giver and
the enjoyer. They should not weaken in their decisions; they should speak
sparingly. They should entrust secrets only to the trustworthy and their speech
should be humble and [they should] be serious in giving opinions; they must not
talk big before those who know how to discriminate, they should take the name of
the limitless God and attain salvation and help others to do likewise, their
devotion should be as of poor people. Bhojo a humble servant says: By the grace
of God the three afflictions do not go near such people.
भक्ति शूरवीरनी साची रे
Devotion is for the brave, they do not turn back after having once
begun. Having made up their minds, they go forward in full faith. They have
killed desire, anger, arrogance and greed. When the temptations swelled and when
the heat commenced, the cowards trembled and fled. The true men stood their
ground and fought with God as their Help and Guide. They outdistanced many and
then began to have a glimpse of Brahm[an]. They destroyed the effect of past
action and met God face to face. They would not wish for the various gifts. To
such salvation is easy. Bhojo Bhakta says: Those who have given up themselves
body and mind and all and are ever equiminded are the true devotees and they
have heaven as their abode.
गुरु जी तमे कहो छो रे ब्रह्य तारी पासे वस्यो
teacher, you say Brahm[an] is in me but I see Him not; tell me what
distinguishes Him. Is the head He or is the head in Him, is He in the eyes or
are the eyes themselves Brahm[an] ? Is He in the nose or in the mouth ? I am
puzzled. Pray help me out of my doubt and delusion. Is He in the feet or in the
hands, in the heart or the chest? If He is in the feet—where is He? O teacher,
teach me. When the pupil was rested, the teacher spoke: O pupil, listen, today
the ignorance must be dispelled. He the loved one is not in any particular limb,
let me warn you betimes; He eludes one unless one enquires within. He is as near
as you are intent upon Him. Therefore when one is absorbed in Him, one sees Him
though He has neither form nor colour. Bapu says: Yet you will see Him in many
जीभलडी रे तने हरिगुण गातां आवडुं आळस क्यांथी रे
tongue, why dost thou tire of singing God’s praises? Thou hast not enough time
for gossip which is ever on thy lips. Thou art expert in talking ill of others.
Thou art ever ready for tasty things; thou art ready also for quarrelling but
when it comes to the matter of praising the Lord, thou art too busy. At the time
of death no one is of any use, the dear ones are like so many foes. You
will then rub your eyes. When the time approaches sesame is sent for and so is
tulsi leaf, Ramanama is also taken but when you were young you carried yourself
with a high head. What is the use of Ramanama on death-bed? Is it any use
digging a well after a house has caught fire? Of what use is a light brought
after the thieves have stolen things? You are intoxicated with your own
infatuation; wake up and look around. What is the use of weeping when time
knocks at the door? It costs nothing to sing Hari’s praises, not a hair is
touched. The weary way will not be passed without effort but the whole can be
easily covered by reliance upon God.
भगवत भजजो रामनाम रणुंकार
Worship God, take Ramanama which is the talisman. This body is a
vessel, have true faith in thy heart; the world ocean contains unfathomable
waters in the shape of endless desires. The earthly body chains thee; thou art
filled with egotism. By the aid of a true guru thou canst cross the ocean. This
human body is unattainable even by the gods. Being in it cultivate the
companionship of the good and gain the inestimable end. If thou wilt not, thou
wouldst repent. Time is fleeting. From the little insect to Brahma all embodied
ones have the fear of death hovering over their heads. This body is a momentary
thing, a mere morsel for the God of Death. Why all this arrogance about so
momentary a thing? Thou hast been born again and again and carried the load of
egotism, delusion and infatuation, thou hast not known God and hast therefore
suffered. Gavaribai says: Have faith in the true guru, sing the Lord’s praise
and attain bliss; accept this advice of mine; if thou wilt not thou art doomed.
संतकृपाथी छूटे माया काया निर्मळ थाय जोने
the grace of the good, delusion disappears and the body becomes pure. By
thinking of God at every breath the five sins are washed away. Even as a herd of
elephants flees on hearing the roar of a lion even so does a man attain freedom
if he has the courage (of a lion) ; white ants do not affect fire, the fabled
gem is not affected by dirt; so does a knowing man remain unaffected in the
midst of this limitless ocean of turmoil. The son of a magician knows all his
tricks; even so do men of God know the tricks of God and remain untouched
thereby; one acquires merit by cultivating the companionship of the good and he
reaches his goal. Pritam says by worshipping the Lord the worshipper attains the
हरिने भजतां हजी कोईनी लाज जती
नथी जाणी रे
Those who trust in God have never yet been known to have suffered
discredit. The Vedas testify that it is ever well with those who are intent upon
God. He saved (His devotee) Prahlad and destroyed Hiranyaksha. He gave the
kingdom to Bibhishana and destroyed Ravana. He gave a necklace to Narasinha
Mehta. He gave an eternal kingdom toDhruva and made him His own. He turned in to
nectar the poison given to Mirabai. He clothed Draupadi and stood by the side of
the Pandavas. Premaldas says: God will remove the misery of those devotees who
would thus worship Him.
अनुभव एवो रे अंतर जेने उदे थये
works of him who has an inner experience do not bind him for he has known God.
He is the knowing one who has broken all ties. He is beyond everything and is a
mere witness of everything; he is independent of all the six worlds. Being above
these he stands alone. Of millions the fewest only realize this. One who has the
inner experience knows the Nameless One. He has attained salvation for he is
past the dual state, without striving for the One indivisible, he perceives It
as if naturally. The truth is that all created things have to perish and so this
endless ocean of life and death continues to roll on. The last stage is beyond
the waking, dreaming, sleeping and the state beyond these three. It is beyond
the physical and ethereal. That which is above even the first cause is described
by the Vedas as ‘not this, not this’. I dote on the mother of him who has
dedicated himself to common good, who is goodness personified and who is like
the true guru. Nirant says: He who is eternal though nameless has many names.
दिलमां दीवो करो रे दीवो करो
Light thy heart and sweep out from there evil thoughts and anger.
Let mercy be oil and love the oil tray, let meditation on God be the wick and
let knowledge of Brahm[an] be the light. When the heart is thus truly lighted
all darkness will vanish and then thou shall recognize Brahmaloka (God’s abode).
O men, recognize this light that dispels darkness. Ranchhod says: I have entered
the home, have found the key and opened the lock and there is light on earth.
अवसर एवो क्यारे आवशे
will the matchless time come so that I would be rid of all knots external and
internal? When will I give up all the subtlest ties and go the way the great
sages have gone? Would that I was indifferent to all the moods and that the body
was used merely for self-restraint, that there was nothing to bind me for any
cause imaginable and that I had no illusions about the body. Would that I should
gain knowledge that comes from removal of obstruction in the path of perception,
that I regarded body as separate from the soul and that I had recognition only
of the soul. Would that obstruction to right conduct too was removed and there
was concentration on pure self. Would that there was steadfastness of the three
yugas (?) running practically to the time of death and that steadfastness was
incapable of being shaken by sufferings however great. Would that even the yoga
was only for attaining greater restraint over self and that there was implicit
obedience to the precepts of the Jina for the sake of the soul. Would that even
that activity also perceptibly decreased and I was absorbed in self-realization.
Would that there were neither likes nor dislikes in matters received through the
senses and that I was unaffected by their play. Would that I engaged in
activities that came to me in due course and was not enslaved by time, place or
circumstance. Would that I was angered against anger and that against respect
paid to me I had humility enough not to be affected by it. Would that in respect
of maya I was but a witness to its blandishments and against ambition I had
ambition to thwart it, I had no anger against even the extreme wrongdoer and had
no pride if an emperor paid respects to me, that I was unmoved even if the body
perished and had no desire even for the greatest gifts. That I was the same to
friend and foe alike as towards praise or insult, that there was [in-]difference
in me whether I lived or died, that even regarding the cycles of birth and death
or salvation I had only the simple natural state that I had crossed the alluring
ocean of different temptations and was intent upon the state where all the
quenched, that at the time [of] death I would shed
all desire and had perfect knowledge, that all the four kinds of activities were
to me like a burnt hope— mere ashes, that I was living out only this life and
that after that there was no more birth. That I had no desire for even an atom,
that I was sinless, immovable and intent upon self-realization, that I was
absorbed in the spotless, eternal ever loving, neither small nor big, formless
self-acting Being, that owing to past actions I was fit for the abode of the
released—where [there is] eternal bliss, perfect perception and perfect
experience. This is the state which the all-knowing Jina realized but could not
describe. How can any other person describe it? It is capable only of being
experienced. I have set my heart upon that state though it may be at present
beyond my capacity. Nevertheless Rajchand is determined that God willing he will
attain that state.
मारां नयणांनी आळस रे न नीरकया हरिने जरी
neglect[ful] must my eyes be that they never saw Hari. They never set their gaze
upon Him, they would not be calm enough even to have a glimpse of Him. They have
been immersed in sorrows or enjoyments, have burnt themselves with their heat.
They have not devoted themselves to having God’s darshan (sight) and yet God is
everywhere, He fills His creation. Among the movable and the immovable objects
there is not an atom but has His presence in it. He is like the heavens
pervading all. He is like the air inhabiting my heart. If I would but look at
Him, He is there staring me in the face. Brahma and His
creation cannot be separated even for a moment. But we of the earth earthy have
no inkling of that vital principle. An owl may live for a hundred years and
still will not know what the day is like. The Lord is like the ocean—too big for
the eyes to scan. The tongue gets fatigued to tell of Him and so simply says He
is vast. O God, when will the spiritual sight be opened? When will this deep
darkness be dispelled? O God, listen to my petition and lift this dead curtain.
O my eyes, look deep and there is Hari. O eyes, get rid of the laziness and
calmly see Him. Just set the gaze upon Him and look at Him to heart’s content.
photostat: C. W. 4903. Courtesy: Mirabehn