The Simple State: Kabir Das

The Simple State

you saints–
I see that the world
is crazy.

When I tell the truth,
people run
to beat me up–
when I tell lies,
they believe me.

I’ve seen
the pious ones,
the ritual-mongers–
they bathe at dawn.

They kill the true Self
and worship rocks–
they know nothing.

I’ve seen
many masters and teachers–
they read their Book,
their Qur’an.

They teach many students
their business tricks–
that’s all they know.

They sit at home
in pretentious poses–
their minds are full
of vanity.

They begin to worship
brass and stone–
they’re so proud
of their pilgrimages,
they forget the real thing.

They wear caps and beads,
they paint their brows
with the cosmetics
of holiness.

They forget the true words
and the songs of witness
the moment they’ve sung them–
they haven’t heard
the news of the Self.

The Hindu says
Rama’s dear to him,
the Muslim says it’s Rahim.

They go to war
and kill each other–
no one knows
the secret of things.

They do their rounds
from door to door,
selling their magical formulas–
they’re vain
about their reputations.

All the students
will drown with their teachers–
at the last moment
they’ll repent.

Kabir says,
you saintly men,
forget all this vanity.

I’ve said it so many times
but nobody listens–
you must merge into
the simple state

— Kabir Das
tr. Vinay Dharwadker

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