Celebrating life with Kabir, here are a few couplets that help us live a better life

7th Apr 2016
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The recent suicides of Pratyusha Banerjee and Delta Meghwal have left all of us shocked. Suicide is a growing problem in India. At least 15 suicides took place every hour in the country during last year, which saw over 1.31 lakh people ending their lives.

Image : (L) - Wikimedia Commons ; (R) - Human Rights News
Image : (L) – Wikimedia Commons; (R) – Human Rights News

Be it a celebrity, farmer, or student – each suicide is a life lost. Each one of us deciding to quit is our collective failure. There is nothing worse than living in a society where the fear of losing our loved ones constantly grips our minds.

Life is too precious to waste it over giving back to the world. Sometimes we do feel that people have wronged us and that they must regret for their mistakes. But then if they are such bad people who have driven us to suicide, maybe they just lack the empathy it takes to feel one’s sorrow. Why waste your possession over a world that doesn’t care? And if hurting someone back is the goal, let’s remember that there are better ways of doing it.

The couplets by Kabir are probably one of the earliest documents in the world that discourage us from committing suicide. They ask us to shed our desires, introspect, and live in peace and harmony. Not just through content, but also through their form, Kabir’s couplets have a way of seeding our minds and slowly blooming into a flower. Below we present six lessons from Kabir’s couplets that help heal our minds, fight alienation, and inspire us to live.

We must not hurt our loved ones

पोथी पढ़ि पढ़ि जग मुआ, पंडित भया न कोय,
ढाई आखर प्रेम का, पढ़े सो पंडित होय।
(One doesn’t become a scholar by reading books,
Wisdom comes from learning the meaning of just one word – love.)

No matter how much we think we know, the ones who love us are wiser. Those you love us might not understand us in the ways we expect, but they love us against all odds. It is wrong to assert out right to hurt them due to our own lack of capabilities to fit in. We need to find solutions, instead of hurting our loved ones.

The best is yet to come

धीरे-धीरे रे मना, धीरे सब कुछ होय,
माली सींचे सौ घड़ा, ॠतु आए फल होय।
(O heart, everything happens gradually,
The gardener may pour hundred pots of water, but fruit only comes in its season.)

How much of our lives have we spent? 40 percent? 60 percent? 20 percent? Maybe the best is yet to come. Always remember to wait a little longer. No matter how much water you pour, the fruit ripens when the season comes.


माला फेरत जुग भया, फिरा न मन का फेर
कर का मनका डार दें, मन का मनका फेर।
(Many years have passed turning the beads of the sacred thread, but the mind is still the same,
Let go of the thread in your hand and start turning the beads of your mind.)

Happiness lies within. Scientifically speaking, happiness is reality divided by expectation. We cannot control our reality, but expectations and desires can be controlled. Let’s become more content as a society. No matter how much with churn the world outside us, the path to a better life is to churn the world within. Always remember – we think, therefore we are. Let’s contemplate, think, and therefore – be.

Life is precious

दुर्लभ मानुष जन्म है, देह न बारम्बार,
तरुवर ज्यों पत्ता झड़े, बहुरि न लागे डार।
(Life is too precious; the human body we reside is unique,
Once the leaves of a tree wither away, they do not come back in a long time.)

We may find the supermodel on the TV, or the cricketer’s bike more attractive that what we have. We may never be able to possess what we want, but what we have is the most precious possession of all – life. Our lives. Our experiences. Our desires and sorrows. Let’s not let go of something so precious, and so unique.

Criticism is good

निंदक नियरे राखिए, आँगन कुटी छवाय,
बिन पानी, साबुन बिना, निर्मल करे सुभाय।
(Keep your critic close, if possible build a shelter for him near your house,
Because he helps you cleanse yourself without soap and water.)

Let’s not let negativity stick on us. Every criticism or harsh comment is a way we can improve. There are always second chances, except when we end our lives. Is this how we want to be remembered?

Suicide makes the world an uglier place

माया मरी न मन मरा, मर-मर गए शरीर,
आशा तृष्णा न मरी, कह गए दास कबीर।
(Neither the illusion nor the mind, only bodies attain death,
Hopes and desires do not die, said Kabir Das.)

We are all going to die anyway. Why go in a way that hurts people and leave our loved ones shocked for the rest of their lives? If we are suffering to the point that we want to kill ourselves, the right thing to do is to speak about it to someone who loves us.

We are reading more suicide notes these days than we should. Suicides tend to have a Butterfly Effect on the society. Under such circumstances, it’s important that we seek joy from within and choose to live happily.

According to the famous French philosopher and Nobel laureate Albert Camus, “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.” In his magnum opus, ‘The Myth of Sisyphus’, he asked us to stay happy despite life being repetitive, boring, and absurd. The struggle life poses itself is enough to fill our hearts and make us happy. Life is too precious, and the alternative is inexistence, nothing. Let’s choose life above everything else.

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