Ravidas : Upon seeing poverty

The 15th c. CE mystic and poet Ravidas was a younger contemporary of Kabir, and lived in Varanasi. For more about him, see this earlier post. The word ‘Prabhu’ means master or prince, and can also mean ‘omnipresent.’

Upon seeing poverty
people laugh and jeer,
and such was my plight.
But now I hold the powers
of creation
in the palm of my hand —
all because of Your mercy.

You know I am nothing,
O Ram, Destroyer of fear.
All creatures seek Your refuge,
O Prabhu, Fulfiller of desires.

Those who find Your refuge
suffer no more afflictions.
Because of You,
the high and the low —
all have gone across,
escaping from the prison
of this world.

Ravi Dass says,
The tale cannot be told,
so why speak further?
You are what You are.
What metaphor
can I possibly use
to describe You?

Translation Nirmal Dass

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