Without this, all is worthless || Acharya Prashant, on Guru Kabir (2019)

September 10, 2019 | Acharya Prashant

Jo main piyake man nahin bhaayeTo kaa padosin kaie dulrayeKahaa chudaa paayal jhamkaaye kahaa bhaye bichuaa thankaayeKahaa kaajar sindoor kaie diyyaie solaah singaar kahaa bhaye kiyaieAnjan manjan karaie thagauree ka pachi maraie thagauree baureeJo patibrataa hai naree kaisehi raho so pihayee piyareeTan man jeevan saunpee sareeraa taahi sohaagan kahai kabeera

If you cannot win the love of the Lord,what if you can lord over your neighbour?What is the good of dressing your hair and donning your feet with jingling jewellery?What is the value of all your make up with kaajar to your eyelids and vermilion to your forehead and all the efforts to deck yourself, if you are not loyal in your love?It is all a self-deception and does not touch the Lord at all.Says Kabir: if you can surrender your body, mind and heart to the Lord and remain loyal in love to Him, sans make up and ornamentsyou will win His favour in whatever state you be!

~ Guru Kabir Sahib

Question: Acharya Ji, Pranaam! Please elaborate on these lines of Guru Kabir Sahib.

Acharya Prashant Ji: Why do you want me to speak on this? Just keep on reciting these lines over and over again.


Let’s see what Kabir Sahib is saying. What is he saying? He is saying, “How do you manage to give yourself the right to celebrate?” Kabir Sahib is wondering that how does the ordinary man or woman, when I say, “Man,” I mean person. Have clarified this many a times. It’s just a matter of habit.

How does the ordinary man gather the guts, the dishonest audacity to pretend that as if everything is alright? How do we manage to laugh out so loud? How do we manage to have such ravishing parties? How do we manage to sing and yell? How do we manage to say, “Thumbs up. All is well”?

Wow, that has rhymed!

“How do we manage to sing and yell?How do we manage to say, ‘Thumbs up, all is well’?”

Kabir is astonished at our dishonesty. He is saying, “How do you tolerate yourself smiling?”

You have nothing. The only thing worth having in life is, His companionship, nearness to Him. That you have lost.

You didn’t invest your life in earning His nearness, you lost all which was precious because you were never determined to earn that, and now loveless, sire-less, see how shamelessly you rejoice.

You have vermilion on your forehead, you have kohl on your eyes, so you are wearing all these things as if the season is festive, as if some great achievement has happened, as if you are ‘somebody’.

Instead of mourning, you are celebrating.

What is this absurdity?

That which is the essence of life, you are separated from and still you walk on, carry on, as if nothing has happened.

The sole purpose of life is getting defeated day-by-day.

Every passing day is a new defeat, time lost.

And yet you keep saying, “All is well.”

Not a trace of melancholy.

Not an iota of regret.

And then he says, “Had you not had any of these celebrations and happinesses, and you had Him, then your life could be said to be fulfilled.”

Kabir talks of the ‘I sense’ as the female – the woman searching for her beloved. He too talks of all mankind as female, because the ‘I sense’ is there in both man and woman. So he says that the ‘I sense’ is the woman, and she is looking for her beloved Lord. And she is not finding Him, therefore she is restless.

At one point he says, “Pativrataa mailee bhalee (The faithful one, the loyal one, is better off as shabby).”

If you are aiming for Him, if you are in the process, your looks, your appearances become dusty and unattractive, that is okay. But if you have lost Him, and still look attractive, and young, and market-ready, then you are just a ‘vyabhichaarinee‘ (adulteress).”

Who is a ‘vyabhichaarinee‘ in Kabir’s jargon?

The ‘I sense’ that has not only not attained the Beloved, but is also not eager to attain the beloved. She is lost in the world, in miscellaneous pursuits.

So Kabir says, “Do not bother about counting your worldly achievements. Assess yourself on just one parameter. Do not assess yourself on how much you have progressed in the worldly sense. Ask yourself just one question: ‘Do I have Him?'”

If you have Him, you have everything.

And if you do not have Him, then what is the point in having everything.

So he is taunting mankind, both men and women. He is saying, “You are flaunting your looks, you are brandishing your wares, you are giving yourself the right to hold festivities. But all that is just self-deception.”

You are so dishonest that you want to convince yourself that you are alright, when it is very well-certain that things are not alright.

In fact, the more you display your ornaments and makeup, the more it becomes ascertained that your laughter is all made-up.

If you go to Kabir Sahib, you will ask just one question: “Do you have Him?” There is nothing else to discuss – point-blank, one shot.

What is the question?

Listeners: Do you have Him?

Acharya Prashant Ji:

If ‘Yes’, no more questions.

If ‘No’, no more questions.


Acharya Prashant

One could call him the best contemporary representative of Advait Vedanta. Or one could simply call him a teacher beyond any tradition. Equally, one can see an abundance of compassion, love and reverence in his being. But the most appropriate way to know him would be through his work. Know More