Friday, April 11, 2014



                                            ( Photo source . Wikipedia Veil or Ghoongat  )

(Do away with your veil ( illusion ) and you shall meet your beloved ( Divine Lord ) ”

When Bulo C Rani , Talented Film Music Director and singer of yesteryears ( Died 1993 ) was advised by Kedar Sharma ( Film Director ) to compose Music for the above Bhajan for his movie JOGAN , He brought in Geeta Dutt ( Roy ) to sing it in her Moving voice . The Bhajan turned instant Hit. The Movie was a box office hit of 1950 that earned a hefty net amount of 62 Lakhs for the producer Chandu Lal Shah . Through Geeta Dutt ’s ( Roy ) voice , these immortal words of kabir spread to the entire length and breadth of the country .
Lately , I heard these words once more ; Playback singer Sukhvinder sang this Kabir Bhajan with A R Rehman’s music for “ RANJHANA” ( A 2013 Hindi Movie ). The movie broke many previous records at the Box office .

It is pertinent to clarify that this is not a Meera Bhajan as generally  believed   . The words belong to Kabir .

Adds Well Known German Multi-instrumentalist Prem Joshua

“I fell in love with the words of Meera and Kabir after I got to understand their deeper meaning. I really felt like putting that onto contemporary music. My knowledge of Hindi is limited, but I got some really good English translations of their work which helped me understand their poetry . Kabir is a Great Philosophy . I love the lines “ Ghoongat Ke Pat Khol ”.We brought two great songs to our Album ; one “Aissi laagi Lagan by Meera and the second “ Ghoongat Ke Pat Khol “ by Kabir .


Ghoongat is a veil or a Headscarf worn by ladies to cover their head and face . The practice is still prevalent in rural areas and also in some joint families. Those who wear a sari, make Ghoongat from its one end to cover their face and head . It is a mark of respect for elders ( males ) by the woman who are supposed to follow this practice .
The Veil or Ghoongat that kabir is talking about is a bigger Ghoongat or The veil of ignorance . Unless the covering from the face is removed and eyes are made to see freely , the glimpse of the beloved can never be had. Never by peeping from within the veil. Never by removing the veil partly .

Kabir repeatedly talks about five impediments that put a veil on human beings or create a Maaya Jaal for them. He believes that the five impediments that veil us are Kaam ( Lust ) , Krodh ( Anger ) , Lobh ( Greed ) , Moh ( Attachment ) and Ahankaar ( Ego ). According to him the illusory veil made from these five threads has to be done away with to set the mind free . That alone shall help in seeking our reunion with the beloved . That alone shall clear all impediments  and set the mind free . Kabir believes that those who did it , may be one in a lakh or even lesser , finally realized that the colour of the blood that flows in the veins of human beings on this planet is only Red. Yes just one colour like the supreme master who too is a single entity . Kabir adds that Once the Veil or the Ghoongat is removed , the unstruck music within that keeps chiming day and night can be listened with delight. .

Here goes the original Kabir Bhajan with my simple English rendering

"Ghoonghat ke pat khol re,
Toko peev mileingay.

Ghat ghat mein wah saain ramataa,
katuk vachan mat bol re.
Dhan Joban kaa garva na keejai,
Jhoothaa *Panch Rang Chol re.

Shoonya Mahal mein diyanaa baari le,
Aasaa se mat dol re.
Yog yugati se Rang Mahal mein,
Peev Paayo Anamol re.

Kahai Kabir Aanand Bhayo hai,
Baajat *Anahata Dhol Re.”

(Kabir )

“Do away with your veil ( illusion )
And you shall meet your beloved ( Divine lord )
The lord resides in every living Creature ,
Why speak ill words against any one ?
Flaunt not this wealth and your Youth,
Deceptive is your Drum music that carries five notes.

Shake off not your hope ,
Light a lamp within and illuminate
this Palace like vacant space .
In the Colourful Palace within ,
You can meet your priceless beloved only
By Perfecting the Skill of meditation .

Kabir says by this practice ,
You attain supreme bliss
That keeps the inner music Chiming day and night .

(Autar Mota 09.04.2014 )


• Paanch Rang Chol … Kabir Frequently makes mention of FIVE in his verses . For him this Five is deeply connected with our body and being . Again as per Hindu scriptures , Human body is composed of Panch-Tatva or Five elements . These are: Prithivi ( Earth), Jal ( Water), Agni ( Fire), Vayu (Air) and Aakaash (Space). Again , Human mind is also deeply influenced five senses which are the senses of smell, taste, hearing, touch and sight . Kabir is of the view that these senses need to be put under control else they may drift the mind towards evil . Coming to above verse in specific , Kabir intends to convey that the Veil that we put on our head in this journey of life, has been spun from five type of threads . He believes that these threads blind us and do not allow us to see freely. According to him ,these threads are impediments . He believes that the five impediments that veil us are Kaam ( Lust ) , Krodh ( Anger ) , Lobh ( Greed ) , Moh ( Attachment ) and Ahankaar ( Ego ). According to him the illusory veil made from these five threads has to be done away with to set the mind free . That alone shall help in seeking our reunion with the master .

*Anhata Dhol . Or the Internal uninterrupted Music . This is linked to the Vedic Concept of ANAHATA NAAD or Unstruck internal Music Sounds or sound within the Body . Kashmir’s Shaivism also refers to ANHATA NAAD or Latent force as the state of spiritual growth caused by the awakening of KUNDALINI at the MULADHAARA chakra ( Close to the base of the spinal column ) when the internal music starts to reverberate somewhere near the Anahata chakra ( close to the level of heart ) .
Some Vedic Scholars have commented that hearing such subtle sounds or NAAD is a sign of spiritual growth in the middle of the Journey . It is not the end in itself . ANAHATA NAAD is also referred to as the cosmic sound within that is devoid of any external vibration. This is an ultimate Sound that transcends space and time, a sound that has no beginning or end.

( Autar Mota 10.04.2014 )

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Monday, April 7, 2014




Many people say  many things about Majaz . Let me quote some popular comments about this great Romantic , Revolutionary and Nationalist poet ,..










“ Like an arrow , he shot himself up , burst into luminous lights in the sky above and then suddenly vanished into that eternal darkness . But the sparks remain safely collected in his Books .He may not be physically with us today but the illumination that he threw in the sky above are with us and shall brighten up many dark nights of our life .I should not have said so . If I have said something wrong I seek your pardon. Yes i could not help to remain silent. I can not deal his absence in the usual way of respecting Death with silence alone.

( Firaq Gorakhpuri on Majaz’s Death )

Majaz lived in Mumbai for sometime. I am informed that he also worked with 'Bombay Information Bureau for a very brief period .It is also a fact that once a friend took him to Producer Director P N Arora with an intention to bring him into films. It did not mature somehow and Majaz returned to Lucknow. But Bombay influenced his sensitive mind . Marine Drive ( with its Arc of  lights looking like a  Queen's Necklace ) in particular shall always remain connected with the memory of Majaz.
                                      ( Photo Source :Wikipedia. Marine Drive Mumbai )
It is said that during the days when he had no work in this city of hope and lights, he would stroll down Marine drive or Chowpatti area during night and identify with the hurt and loneliness of the city. An Unfamiliar city , crowds , exploitation , hurt ,
illuminations and idleness created a magical effect on his sensitive mind leading to birth of his poem AWAARA .The POEM projected loneliness of an Individual set against  indifference of the Metropolitan culture . Something close to Albert camus's  "BENIGN INDIFFERENCE OF THE UNIVERSE " It caught fancy of millions who faced similar predicament. I quote ..

“Shahar Ki Raat Aut Mein Nashaad-o-Nakaara Phiroon
Jagmagaati-Jaagati Sadkon Pe Awaara Phiroon
Gair Ki Basti Hai Kab Tak Dar-Ba-Dar Maara Phiroon

“ Aey Ghame Dil Kyaa karoon
Aey vahashate Dil Kyaa karoon ”.

Jhilmilaate KumKumon ki Raah Mein Zanjeer-si

Raat Ke Haatho Mein Din Ki Mohini Tasveer-Si

Mere Seene Par Magar Dehki Huyee Shamsheer-si

Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoon,
Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoon ...?

I have personally experienced how Majaz would have felt when i walked along Marine Drive . For Majaz , A clear sky , the sea breeze , shining stars on the sky , all calm and enticing; Alas ! The helplessness and a turbulence within. And then the Moon suddenly rising above the Arbian Sea. . I quote ..

Ek Mahal Ki Aad Se Nikla Woh Peela Mahtaab

Jaise Mulla Ka Amama, Jaise Baniye Ki Kitaab

Jaise Mufliss Ki Jawaani, Jaise Bewa Ka Shabab

Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoon,
Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoon ...?

Yeh Rupahli Chhaanv, Yeh Aakash Par Taaron ka Jaal

Jaise Sufi Ka Tasavvur, Jaise Aashiq Ka Khayaal

Aah Lekin Kaun Samjhe, Kaun Jaane Jee Ka Haal

Aye Gham-E-Dil Kya Karoon,
Aye Vahshat-E-Dil Kya Karoon ...?

The poem was sung by Talat Mehmood in his melodious voice for a Hindi Movie Thokar released in 1953.Play the song any time and Majaz comes to life .

Progressive and liberal in outlook , Majaz was certainly much ahead of his time . Some are tempted to call him an atheist merely relying on his poem “Shauq e Gurezaan ” written in a different context. For sure he had an abiding faith in the presence of almighty God . I quote some lines from the poem ….

Mujh Mein tu Rooh e Sarmadi mat Phoonk
Raunaq e Bazm e Arifaan na Bana
Iss Zameen Ko Zameen rehnay de
Iss zameeen ko tu aasmaan na Bana
Raaz tera chhupa Nahin Sakta
Mujh ko tu apnaa Razdaan na Bana ..

Majaz was witty and had a sharp sense of humour. Many incidents about his sharp wit and humour have been written by various authors . I add one more narrated by my friend Adarsh Azadarora ( son of veteran Urdu poet Jagan Nath Azad ) . I quote

“An anecdote of Majaaz narrated by my father. On a visit to Pakistan, Majaaz, Sagar Nizami and Jagannath Azad were invited for a recording by Radio Pakistan. After the programme, the three needed to sign the contracts for the honorarium. Sagar Nizami worked in All India Radio and was familiar with the modest fees of All India Radio. Obviously Radio Pakistan was similarly placed. Nonetheless, on seeing the amount Sagar sahib straightened up in a huff and said "Mein is par dastkhat kar hi nahin sakta". He bent down again, read the figure again, straightened up again and repeated "mein is par dastkhat kar hi nahin sakta". When this exercise was conducted for the third time by Sagar Nizami, Majaaz said "Arre bhai, phir Angutha hi laga do!"

Punch lines From his poem “Unka Jashan e Saal-Girah ” were plagiarized for a Bollywood movie song . I quote specific lines from his poem ..

Chhalke Teri aankhon se sharaab Aur Ziyaada
Mehkein Teray Aariz ke Gulaab aur Ziyaada
Allah karey Zaur e Shabaab aur Ziyaada

Late Nargis was also a Fan of Majaz and his poetry . During a visit to Lucknow, she went to meet Majaz to get his autograph . Majaz returned disillusioned from Bombay and moved to Lucknow.The Ganga Jamuna culture of Lucknow attracted Majaz .
Majaz had very strong views on educating woman . He wanted them to be powerful and free from ignorance .The woman in Majaz's poetry was more than an entity of loveliness .He wished to see them as crusaders of uprising against exploitation and injustice.

" Terey Maathe pe ye aanchal bahut hi khoob hai lekin
Tu is aanchal se ik parcham bana leti to achha thaa
Teri neechi nazar khud teri ismat ki muhafiz hai
Tu is nashtar ki tezi aazma leti to achha thaa
( Majaz )

(The cloth covering your head is certainly a good thing,
How better it would be if you make a flag out of it....
Your lowered gaze is itself a shield of your purity,
Better it would be If you now raise your eyes and test the sharpness held within ).

Whenever  the students and alumni of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU ) sing the university song composed by the poet ,  Majaz comes to life................

“Ye meraa chaman hai meraa chaman, mein apne chaman kaa bulbul huun
Sarshaar-e-nigaah-e-nargis huun, paa-bastaa-e-gesuu-sumbul huun”
( Majaz )

Ali Sardar Jafri used this couplet as the title song of his famous television series, Kahkashan, broadcasted on Doordarshan during the early 90s.

Majaz had bouts of nervous breakdowns for which he was admitted to Raanchi’s Mental Hospital . In this hospital , he is reported to have met doyen of Bengal’s  revolutionary  poet ( Bidrohi Kobi ) Kazi Nazrul Islam . Majaz died in Balrampur Hospital in 1955 due to Liver Cirrhosis caused by his excessive liquor addiction.

Chhup gaye woh saaz e Hast chheid kar
Ab to Buss awaaz hi awwaz hai

He lies buried Inside Lucknow’s Nishat Ganj Graveyard .The Epitaph written on his grave reads ..

"Ab isskay baad subah hai aur subah-e-nau Majaz,
Hum Per hai khatam Sham-e-Garibaan-e-Lucknow.....".


In 2008 , Government Of India released a Postal stamp of Rs5/= to Honour Majaz . The function was attended by majaz 's sister Hameeda and Nephew (Poet and Film Lyricist )Javed Akhtar .In this stamp , you can see Lucknow’s Tile Wali Masjid , Part of the Imambara and the skyline of the city .  A   famous couplet of Majaz  that goes as under

 “ Bakshi hain hum ko ishq ne woh Jurratein Majaz ,
 dartey Nahin siyasat e ahle Jahaan se hum ”

is also written in urdu on this stamp.

After his death , Two Gazals written by the poet were found with some papers kept in a
Box . Here are possibly the Last two Gazals written by Majaz Lucknawi ..


Dil e Khoon Gashtaa e Jafa Pe Kahin
Ab Karam Bhi Giraan na Ho Jaaye
Tere Beemaar Ka Khudaa Hafiz
Nazre Charagaraan Na Ho Jaaye
Ishq Kya Kya na Aafatein Daaye
Husn Gar Meharbaan Na Ho Jaaye
Mai Ke Aage Gamon ke Kohe Giraan
Eik Pal Mein Dhuvaan Na Ho jaaye
Phir Majaz Inn Dinon Yeh Khatraa Hai
Dil Halaaqe Butaan na Ho Jaaye

Dard Ki Daulat e Bedaar Ataa Ho Saaqi
Hum Bahi Khwaah Sabhi Ke hain Bhalaa Ho Saaqi
Seena e Shauq Mein Woh Zakhm Ki Lau De Uthay
Aur Bhi Teiz Zamaane Ki Hawaa Ho Saaqi
Sakht-Jaan Hi Nahin Hum Khudsar o Khudaar Bhi Hain
Naavak e Naaz Khataa Hai To Khataa Ho Saaqi

( Autar Mota 07.04.2014 )


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Friday, April 4, 2014


( Photo Autar Mota )

Can there be a rainbow also in the desert ? Why Not ?Even deserts give bright hope. Not hope alone but dreams and colours . Emptiness too provokes an intense yearning to seek the Purpose of occupancy . You may see nothing , you may hear nothing ; But this shut up makes something within to pulsate and sparkle. The endless perpetuity of the desert drives an anxious push within to meet someone on the way. It could also be deceptive and dodgy at times . The deceptive and risky feature may incite the mind for exploration... .

Why not look for the rainbow of hope even in the desert ? The pleasure lies only in looking at it. Never touch it . He who tries to dig it from the ends where it meets the earth may regret later.

I add  Agha shahid Ali’s poem "NO "to this thought …

“ Not in the clear stream ,
I went fishing in the desert sky .
With rain hooks at the sun’s end,
I caught a Rainbow ,
Its colours slippery in my hands.
I gently separated ,
Like the bones of the TROUT ,
The blue from the red ,
The green from the yellow ,
My knife sharp ,
Silver exact ,
Each colour lean ,
Impeccably carved .
But the rainbow’s ends ,
Though I cleaned and washed
the earth from it ,
TASTED BITTER , Like Gold ..”
( Agha Shahid Ali )


 A desert in Moonlight could be what this   poem stationery by  Agha Shahid Ali tells us ..

 (Stationery )
The Moon did not become the sun.
It just fell on the desert
In great sheets , reams of silver handmade for you.
The night is your cottage Industry now ,
The day your Brisk emporium.
The world is full of paper .
Write to me.

( Agha Shahid Ali )

( Autar Mota 04.04.2014 )

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   (PHOTOGRAPHS   BY Autar Mota )


Kajri is a semi classical form of folk singing  associated with People living in Bihar , Up and some arrears of MP. Kajri is a song of MONSOON  or RAINS . It is sung in rainy season only . It is Generally associated with Young girls and young  married women . A song of longing. A song with intense desire and feeling seeking return of beloved . When the black clouds hover and   the rains arrive , the heart longs for  the loved one .   No more separation. When Kajri is sung , mothers also  send  fresh home made mango  pickle  to their pregnant Daughters . Sweets are also sent to Daughters .In some areas of UP. And Bihar , Daughters are given Bangles and Bindis .

  Kajri singing period also coincides with another rain or Monsoon festival of Rajasthan , Up and Bihar, Haryana  known as TEEJ..

There are different schools of Kajri singing popularly known as Banaras Kajri or Mirzapur Kajri or  Bhojpur Kajri . Siddeshwari Devi , Shoba Gurtu and  and Girja Devi are  great masters  of Kajri songs  and so is Pandit  Chhannu Lal Misra. My faouurite Kajri singer is Pandit  Chhannu Lal Misra of Banaras  Gharana who  sang the famous  kajri  “Barasan Laagi Badariya Rum Jhum Ke ” . Raas Leela of lord Krisha is also conveyed through kajri songs  .

 Now that kajri background is over . I need to present a kajri song that  has been written by me. The  Kajri song begins with the words “ Balam Ghar Aao Na   “……

 (Balam Ghar Aao Na  )

Kaari  Badri Hai Maare Hulaar
Chhaayi  Ganga Ji Ke aar Paar
Tum to jaano Tabiyat Hamaar
Balam Ghar Aao Na ……

Boondi Ka Laddoo Thhaa Naihar se aayaa
Guddoo Ne Munni ne Chhup Chhup Ke khaaya
Hum Ne Na Dekhaa Na Munh Se Lagaaya
Bindi na choorri se  Tan  ko sajaaya

Bin Tumhaare Kya Teej Tyohaar
Tum To Jaano Tabiyat Hamaar
Balam Ghar Aao Na ……

Chhat Pe Padosan hai kapdaa Sukhaave
Hum Bhi Yuun Hi Uss se Batiyaan Banaavein
Poochein hain Behna Ka sabzi Pakaavein
Kitanaa Ye Loki Toraaiyaa Ko Khaavein

Hum Ka La do Khataai achaar
Tum To Jaano Tabiyat Hamaar
Balam Ghar Aao Na

Ab Na Woh Baba Na Amma ka Naihar
Bhaiyaa To Jheilein Hain  Bhabi Ke Taiwar
Lote Sabhi Tum Bhi  Loto  na  Ab Ghar
Tum Se Na Bolein To Bolein Kahaan par

Tumse Jhagda Bhi hai tumse  Pyar
Tum To Jaano Tabiyat Hamaar
Balam Ghar Aao Na

( Autar Mota 03.04.2014 )

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Thursday, April 3, 2014


( Verinaag Spring also known as Neeel Naag . Source of River Vitasta or Jhelum in kashmir )
Photo Autar Mota 

BOLNAA KAA  KAHIYE   RE BHAI ( Brother !   Spoken words are Great )

 We were there at 5AM. The Eerie  silence inside the Golden Temple  was soothing . A time for contemplation. Yesterdays thoughts washed off. The mind  wakes up   afresh for the day. The world within is calm and   Noiseless and so is the outside   . The Sikh scriptures hail it as Amrit Vela or the Divine Time . A time  for  Naam Japa  or reciting the name of that lone  Akaal Purukh ( Deathless Entity )  . When we went inside the  Sanctum Sanctorum , The Raagi was singing  Kabir’s Nirguna Bhajan .
Bolnaa Kaa kahiye Re Bhai ( Brother !   Spoken words are Great )

I had heard this Bhajan many times ; Once live from   Raagi Harjinder Singh (  Srinagar Wale..  Baba !  Bolnaa Kyaa kahiye  ). The words of kabir are  soul stirring .This Kabir Bhajan has been  incorporated in the Holy Guru Granth sahib by Guru Arjun Dev ji .

Kabir has always laid stress on the discipline of the  spoken  word. He believes that  Man gets  trapped by his own   thought , word and deeds.  A thought created in the mind gives rise to words and finally the action or deeds . Good thoughts create good words and good deeds  so do bad thoughts foul our mouth and drive us towards misdeeds . The skill lies in  handling thoughts . Those who give words to every thought  get trapped  or enmesh themselves in the  Maaya Jaal.  Kabir believes that The Tongue is our  Access Pass to the world. Used properly , every door opens itself  for us  but if abused or misused , every door locks itself  .

 (Shabd Baraabar Dhan Nahin  Jo Koyee jaane Bol
Heera To Daamon Mile Shabd Ke Mol Na Tol  )
 ( Kabir )

 (No wealth equals the spoken word
 Should a person know the skill of the speech .
For diamond can also be bought for a price
but Spoken word remains priceless and no Balance can weigh it  .)

Aisee Vaani Boliye, Mun Ka Aapa Khoye
Apna Tan Sheetal Kare, Auran Ko Sukh Hoye
( Kabir )
  (Speak such words, as are free from the Trap of the Ego,
 Then alone this  Body be  calm and the listener shall turn Joyful)

Mukh Aave soyee kahe Bole Nahin Vichaar
Hatey Paraayi Aatmaa Jeeb Bandhi Talwaar
( Kabir )

Some people say whatever comes up to their mouth  ,
Never do they  ponder  before their speech
Such words that disturb the  soul of the listener
Alas ! They carry a sword upon their tongue  .

And then the silence . For Kabir it remains the universal speech.   For kabir , Silence is the final language of spirituality .

Here goes the  Nirguna Bhajan  of Kabir “Bolnaa kaa Kahiye Re Bhai  ” with my simple English rendering …

Bolnaa Ka Kahiye Re Bhai

Bolat Bolat Tät Namayee
Bolat Bolat Badhe Bikara
Bin Bolyan Kyon Hoyee Bichara
Sant Mile Katchu Kahiye Kahiye
Mile Asant Mushti Kari Rahiye
Gyani Suun Bolyan Hitkari
Moorakh Suun Bolyan Jhakh Mari
Kahe Kabir Aadha Ghat Dole
Bharya Hoyee Tau Mushan Na Bole
( Kabir )

 Brother !   Spoken words are Great
 But Spoken words  veil  the truth also .
Spoken words also lead to confusion .
But then without speaking how can one converse,
Should you meet a  saint then talk you should  ,
Keep silent should you come across an imp ,
What a blessing is it to talk to the wise ?
What a waste of time talking to the Fool ?
And then Kabir says
 The half filled always makes noise
While fulfilled keeps quiet ..
 ( Autar  Mota 03.04.2014 )

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Wednesday, April 2, 2014



                                                            ( Sant Kabir A Painting )


“LAAGA CHUNRI MEIN DAAG ..” is a philosophical concept of KABIR .

“Prakash Yaar , I had told Roshan ji ( Roshan lal Nagrath the music composer ) that my Song shall be based on kabir’s “Chunri Mein Parrigayo Daag Piyaa ” that shall appear in tune with the story of the movie but for a solemn listener , it shall be another way of presenting kabir’s thought ”
This is what Sahir Ludhianavi told his friend Prakash Pandit about the song “Laaga chunri Mein Daag or My veil got stained ”
When Sahir Ludhianavi was asked to write a classical song for “Dil Hi to Hai ”, he decided to take help from the Kabir’s Nirguna Song “Meri Chunri Mein Parigayo Daag Piya ” . For Sahir the Babul ( parental world ) and Sasural ( world of Inlaws ) meant the lord’s world and this world wherein we live . Isn’t this world of ours full of Maaya jaal or TRAPS ?
Sahir wrote ..
Laaga, chunari mein daag,
chhupaaun kaise,
laaga, chunari mein daag
Ghar jaaun kaise

Ho gayi maili mori chunariya,
Kore badan si kori chunariya
jaake baabul se, Nazarein milaaun kaise,
Laaga, chunari mein daag...

Bhool gayi sab vachan bida ke
kho gayi main sasuraal mein aake
jaake baabul se, Nazarein milaaun kaise,
Laaga, chunari mein daag...

Kori chunariya aatma mori mail hai maaya jaal .
Woh duniya more baabul ka ghar, Ye duniya sasuraal .
jaake baabul se, Nazrein milaaun kaise.
Laaga, chunari mein daag...

In Agha Shahid Ali’s poem “*I Dream I am the Only Passenger on Flight 423 to Srinagar ( From the Book A country Without a Post office ) the immortal lines of Kabir “ LAAGA CHUNRI MEIN DAAG ” surface but are linked to the legendry Gazal, Thumri singer Begum Akhtar . I quote specific lines ..

I dream
I am the only
on flight 423
to Srinagar,
and when we—as if from ashes—ascend
into the cold where the heart must defend
its wings of terror and even pity
and below us the haze of New Delhi
grays, In your eyes I look for my wounds’ deep sea.
But five hundred years waved with history?

It is to song that one must turn for flight.
But with what measure will I shed sunlight
on pain? In your eyes—Was her sari turquoise?—
I look for the deep sea . . . That is her voice—
Begum Akhtar’s. "You were the last, we know,
to see her in Delhi, Desperado
in search of catastrophe." Heartbreak of perfume
is mine again. The pilot turns up the volume:
Attar—of jasmine?

What was it she wore
that late morning in October ’74
when we were driven (it was the sunniest
day) from Connaught Place to Palam Airport?
She pressed
a note—Rs. 100—into my palm:
“Take it or, on my life, I will perish.”

They announced DEPARTURE.
I touched her arm.
Her sari was turquoise! She turned to vanish,
but then turned to wave. (My silk is stained,
How will I face my Lord?
she’d set in Pain—
her chosen raga that July in Srinagar.)
IS DEAD. She had claimed her right-to-die:
She had sung “Everyone Will Be Here But I”
( Agha Shahid Ali )

And Kabir’s verse with my simple  English rendering  goes as under …

Meri Chunri Mein Parrigayo Daag Piyaa
*Paanch Tat Ki Bani Chunariya
*Sorah So Baid Laag Kiya
Yeh Chunri Mere Maike Te Aayee
Sasure Mein Manva Khoye Diya
Mal Mal Dhoye Daag Na Chhute
Gyaan Ka Sabun Laaye Piya
Kahat Kabir Daag Tab Chhuti Hai
Jab Saahib Apnaaye Liyaa
( Kabir )

My Love, Stained lies my Veil ,
Made from *Five elements , this veil was
wrapped up in *sixteen hundred knots
The veil had come from my parental home
And in my In laws House , it lost its shine .
Now I keep washing it again and again ,
yet the blemish does not go away .
Love ! Bring the soap of knowledge now .
Kabir says ,
These blemishes shall disappear
Should the supreme master own me.

I have always felt that most of the verses of Kabir are organically connected owing to basic NIRGUNA BHAKTI ( FORMLESS DEVOTION ) thought . He also stresses the meditation by recitation of the name of the lone supreme master or what is known as Naam Japa .His love for the supreme master is intense and somewhat romantic . And then Kabir lays stress on following a spiritual guide whom he calls as GURU. In the above composition titled “ Meri Chunri Mein Parrigayo Daag Piyaa “ Love ! My veil got stained ” kabir again comes close to or gives another expression to his thought of “Jheeni Jheeni Bheeni Chaader (SUBTLE AND FINE WAS THE CLOTH THAT THE MASTER PUT OVER ME ) ” . Here Chunri ( veil ) is the Chadder ( Blanket or shawl ). Chunri again is the BODY or the BEING or this EXISTENCE . This veil of existence that is made of five elements comes under the spell of three boons of THOUGHT , WORD AND DEED granted to us . Any misuse of these boons is bound to ensure slippage of this chunri to Maaya Jaal where it shall get eventually spoiled . This Chunri is a transparent object finely woven that has no dualism. No superficial covering that hides from the sight the true nature of the object. So beautiful and so pure handed over to us by the lord himself .
The Chunri ( veil ) is to be returned to the master . It has to be protected from getting soiled from the Maaya Jaal of the world . Where shall we carry it should it get spoiled ? Who shall own it ?What shall we return to the master at the end ?!
Kabir has a timeless appeal that is direct and far above any caste or creed . Some call him a Universal Guru . And While compiling The Holy Guru Granth Sahib , Guru Arjun Dev ji incorporated about 500 verses of kabir .

( Autar 02.04.2014 )

*As per Hindu scriptures , Human body is composed of Panch-Tatva or Five elements . These are: Prithivi ( Earth), Jal ( Water), Agni ( Fire), Vayu (Air) and Aakaash (Space). These five elements are linked to our five senses which are the senses of smell, taste, hearing, touch and sight.
* There are sixteen sanskaras referred to in various Hindu scriptures that Every person must under take to purify the body and the being . These sanskaras also include Namakarana (naming the new born baby), Annaprashana (when the child is given solid food ) .Chudakarana ( Mundan or Zurr kaasai in kashmiri ),Vivaah (Marriage) , Sanyas ( shedding all sense of responsibility & relationships to prepare for the Journey towards the timeless truth)and Antyeshti (Last or funeral rites).

I find no reason to agree with some persons who interpret “ Sorah So “as sixteen hundred. In Kabir’s verse referred to above I believe that the hindi word “ so” is not " Hundred "  .Here  "so " means “like ” and sorah so means “like  the sixteen ”

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014



(photo Autar Mota )



“As each grain of Time is destroyed,
The next comes along and brings with it either Creation or Destruction.
This is the Dance of Shiva “.

The eternal cycle of Life and Death; Birth and Re-birth; Formation and Dissolution is known as the Kaal-chakra or the 'Wheel of Time'.

In this Bhajan kabir touches the subject of “KAAL CHAKRA ” or the “WHEEL OF THE TIME ” . Yes the time wheel that keeps moving . But then who notices its spin and wrath . It does not spare the saints or God’s own messengers. Not the king or his subjects . The healer and the sick also come under its spell. The moon and Sun too lose power and move away from the sky by the spin of this “Kaal Chakra ” . The sky too loses its glare and turns dark . The caretakers of the fourteen worlds too come under its spell. What can one expect from those who are in line to depart ? The Nine , the ten and the simple eighty eight too die. So do the Enlightened Beings depart. How powerful is the punch of this Kaal Chakra which or the reason for Death ? Who survives in this game of KAAL CHAKRA ? Kabir feels that this Kaal Chakra is like the CHAKKI OR THE GRINDING STONE .

“Chalti Chakki Dekh ke diya Kabira roye,
Do Paatan ke beech mein saboot bacha na koye ”

(Looking at the grinding stones, Kabir laments
In the duel of wheels, nothing stays intact. )

The KAAL CHAKRA has made this world appear like a Transit camp. Crowds moving in and out in this camp . Some say the world is a sheer highway in Life’s journey. Urdu Poet Sahir Ludhianavi also comes very close to Kaal Chakra in his lines

Waqt ki gardish se hai
Chaand taaron ka nizaam,
Waqt ki thokar mein. Hai
Kyaa huqumat kyaa samaaj

(With the revolution of the time ,
Lies the Administration of the extraterrestrial Bodies .
And time has all at its feet ,
Whether a kingdom or a society )

. The golden rule is to Keep moving but remember and be prepared to leave the highway for another group of Travelers that follows you .The journey has to go on with old travelers leaving and the newer stepping in . Leaving the highway to create space for newer groups is the end of one’s journey . And moving in by newer groups is the beginning of the journey for another group . This Birth and death is thus a drama on this HIGHWAY OF EXISTENCE . None has come to stay permanently on this Path. “Don’t get misled and die by losing sight of this great reality . ” advises Kabir . Does that mean to move away from goals that are time driven?.Does that mean to look for something that is timeless.? Kabir suggests to find a way to move out of the vicious circle kaal Chakra that he callas as “Township of Death.” He feels that the entity without any name alone survives . None else and No other truth remains .

Here is the Bhajan "Sadho Re ….. Yeh Murdon Ka Gaanv " and its simple English rendering by me .

Sadho Re ….. Yeh Murdon Ka Gaanv
Peer Marey, Paigambar mari hain
Mar gaye zinda jogi.
Raja mari hain, praja ,mari hain
Mari hain vaid aur rogi.
Chanda mari hain, suraj mari hain
Mari hain dharti aakasa.
Chaudah bhuvan ke chaudhri mari hain
In huun ki ka aasa.

Nau huun mari hain, Dus huun mari hain,
Hari hain sahaj athaasi.
Tetis koti devata mari hain
Badi kaal ki baazi

Naam anam anant rehat hai
Duja tatva na hoyee
Kahe kabir suno bhai sadho
Bhatak Maro mat koyee
( Kabir )

O Sadhu ! This world is like a township of the Dead

The Saints Have Died, The God-Messengers have Died
Yogis full of life too died ,
Death visited the king and his subjects as well,
It also did not spare the healer and the ailing.

The Moon , The Sun, The Earth and Sky too came under its spell.
It visited the Wardens of the *Fourteen Worlds ,
No hope for any of them to remain untouched by the Death.

The *Nine Died, So did the The *Ten ,
The *Eighty Eight Died effortlessly .
The *Thirty Three Crore Enlightened Beings Died
How Great is ploy of this Death ?

Yes that NAMELESS ENTITY alone lives endless .
None other truth does exit .
Listen O Sadhu !
Don't get lost and Die unaware of this reality …………..
( Autar Mota 01.04.2014 )


* According to Hindu scriptures , seven higher worlds and seven Lower worlds exist in this universe .. Higher worlds are heavens while the Lower worlds are the underworlds or Pataalas . Our earth falls in the last category of Higher worlds like Satya ,Tapas, Janas , Mahas , Svar , Bhuvas , and Bhu . The seven lower worlds are Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Rasaataala, Talatala, Mahaatala, and Pataala .

*By Nine kabir referes to Nine exit or gates of the Human Body .like eyes , ears , Nostrils , excretory openings etc. etc. . We also have Nine Planets .

*By Ten Kabir refers to ten headed Ravana or Dashanan killed by Lord Rama . Ten is also the first double digit number formed by zero and one wherein zero stands for Nirguna Brahman and one for saguna Brahaman . A willful combination of the transcendent and the Immanent. A deep symbolic significance . Again the incarnations of Vishnu are also ten.

*Reference to 88 is from the story of Ajamila Brahmin (Skanda Purana ) .AJAMILA led righteous life and learned the Vedas and other scriptures but suddenly fell in love with a prostitute and without any real way to support her and the ten sons they eventually had, he took to gambling, highway robbery, stealing and corruption. So he spent the remainder of his years until he was eighty-eight years old, when attendants of Yama (the Lord of Death) appeared before him. I have personally Heard some songs relating to Ajamila in Rajasthan like ..

“Ajamil ke Ghar Bhagwan Aaiyo
Misri Thhi par Namak Bataayo
Turant Ho Gayee Khaar
Bhaj lo Ram ji..”

*33 CRORE GODS? A popular but unfounded belief has been created possibly by misinterpretation of Hindi word KOTI . It is a misunderstanding of the Vedic concept of the State, and hence a misinterpretation of the word koti. The word koti in 'trayastrimsati koti' does not mean the number '33 crore' or '330 million'. Here koti means 'supreme', pre-eminent, excellent, that is, the 33 'supreme' divinities. The word koti has the same meaning as uchha koti.
33 divinities have been mentioned in VEDAS and other related Texts ..The number thirty-three occurs with reference to divinities in the Parsi scriptures of Avesta as well.

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