The Mystical Rhymes of Kabir, translated by Amit Majmudar

“Where Were You Searching For Me, Friend?”

Where were you searching for me, friend? I’m right here next to you!

Not in the Shrine
Nor Figured Stone
Nor anywhere
You live alone

Not in the Temple
Nor the Madrasa
Not at the Kaaba
Nor Kailasa

Not in the Chant
Nor yogic Heat
Not in restricting
What you eat

I do not live
In karmic deeds
Nor in the giving
Up of these

Not in the Spirit
Not in the Flesh
Not even outer
Space’s depth

Not in the Cave
Where Nature breeds
Not in the breath
Of those who breathe

A single instant
Giving chase
The seeker finds me
Right away

Sadhus, hear
What Kabir says:
I’ve always been
Right here—in Faith


Moko kahan dhundhere bande
Mein to tere paas mein
Na teerath mein, na moorat mein
Na ekant niwas mein

Na mandir mein, na masjid mein
Na kabe Kailas mein
Mein to tere paas mein bande
Mein to tere paas mein

Na mein jap mein, na mein tap mein
Na mein barat upaas mein
Na mein kiriya karm mein rehta
Nahin jog sanyas mein

Nahin pran mein nahin pind mein
Na Brahmand akas mein
Na mein prakuti prawar gufa mein
Nahin swasan ki swans mein

Khoji hoye turat mil jaoon
Ik pal ki talas mein
Kahet Kabir suno bhai sadho
Mein to hun viswas mein

[The Quatrains]

I never handled ink or paper
nor took a pen in hand.
Kabir with just his mouth conveys
four yugas in their grandeur.

Masi kaagaz chuo nahin
kalam gaho nahin haath
chaaro yug ke mahatam
Kabir mukho janai baat

This dying world, it reads and reads
no one got wise that way
four letters: l, o, v, e—read them
and you’ll become a sage

Pothi padh padh kar jag mua
pandit bhayo na koye
dhai aakhar prem ke
jo padhe so pandit hoye


Neither mind nor maya died.
It’s just a body dying here.
Hope and thirst still haven’t died.
So said the slave Kabir.

Maya maree na man mara
mar mar gaya shareer
aasha trishna na maree
kahe gaye das Kabir

“Punch-drunk Kabir”

Me, I’m drunk on love!
Why should I connive?
I stay free of the world.
What friend of it am I?

If you leave the one you love,
You wander door to door.
My friend’s inside of me.
Who am I waiting for?

My lover never left me,
Nor have I left my love.
That’s where my eyes are set—
So what am I bereft of?

Kabir, get love-drunk! Part
Division from your heart!
I’m walking a shaky road—
Why burden my head with a load?


Haman hain ishq mastaana
Haman ko hoshiyaari kya?
Rahein aazaad ya jag se
Haman duniya se yaari kya?

Jo bichhude hain piyaare se
Bhatakte dar badar phirte
Hamaara yaar hai ham mein
Haman ko intezaari kya?

Na pal bichhude piya ham se
Na ham bichhude piyaare se
Unhi se neh laagi hai
Haman ko bekaraari kya?

Kabira ishq ka maata
Dui ko door kar dil se
Jo chalna raah naazuk hai
Haman sir bojh bhaari kya?



Kabir (15th century AD) was an Indian poet who hailed from a caste of weavers. Very few details are known for certain about his life. Even his religious background is a matter of debate; his poems contain wry, often scathing comments about doctrinaire and orthodox members of both of the major faith traditions, Hinduism and Islam, in his milieu; his poems went on to be woven into the most sacred book of Sikhism, the Adi Granth. Kabir’s poems, all in rhyme, were originally song lyrics, and to this day, they continue to be enjoyed primarily as songs.