Monday, April 21, 2014



  (Photographs  Autar Mota  April 2014)


When I heard this Kabir Bhajan in its soulful rendering by Pandit Kumar Gandharva , I was convinced that it was not merely a Farmer’s song as generally believed . Apparently a song that advises a farmer to get up and look after his farm , save rain water as dark clouds were moving fast from west and rain was expected anytime. As I read the lyrics repeatedly , deeper and deeper turned up interpretation of the lines .

Kabir’s “GAGAN GHATA GEHRAANI ” or “ The sky is Getting overcast with black clouds ” is a powerful combination of words , symbols and the Philosophy of “Naam Japa ” ( Meditating with Recitation of Name ).
And in my quest for knowledge, , I found that the practice of "" NAAM JAPA ""existed in all cultures and across all religions of the world. Quit often I would come across many Elderly Muslims with a Rosary in hand reciting “ ALLAH ALLAH ” or at times reciting silently other 99 beautiful names of the almighty Allah .
The rosary beads keep physical count of the number of times the name has been recited . I found Bhudhist , Sikhs , Christians reciting name of the almighty in similar manner . In fact one of the three pillars of Sikhism is the “Naam Japo” ( Contemplate Creator’s name ) apart from Kirat karo ( work diligently ) and Vand Chakho ( share with others ).
With Rosary beads in their hands ,the devout Bhudhist keeps reciting “ Om Mani Padme Hum .“  And many Devout christian keep reciting "haleluya/halaluya" ( Praise the Lord )..

And  then kabir lays Great emphasis on keeping mind totally focused during NAAM JAPA meditation.
He adds :

Kabira Maala Kaath Ki, Kahi Samjhave Tohee

Mun Na Phiravey Aapna, Kaha Phiravey Mohee

( kabir )
The rosary made of wooden beads openly tries to teach you

“In case you do not move your mind in focused attention ,

Why keep moving me unnecessarily .”
Moond Munddavat Din Gaye, Ajhun Na Miliya Raam

Raam Naam Kahu Kya Karey, Je Man Ke Aurey Kaam

( Kabir )
Years have passed after shaving the head

But still Ram is nowhere to be seen .

What shall the recitation of “ Ram Rama ” do
When the mind is focused elsewhere ?

Mala to kar Mein Phiray Jeeb Phiray Mukh Maahi

Manuvaa to Dahu Dish Phiray Yeh to sumiran Naahi

( Kabir )
The Rosary beads move in the hand

While the tongue keeps moving in the mouth .

The mind is busy moving in ten directions around ,
This is not the way to meditate upon God’s Name ( Naam Japa ) ?

To me , My mother would often say :

“ What has happened to you ? You do not go to the Temple nor you join the religious rituals seriously . Growing up does not mean forgetting Almighty . Okay let it be your way . But what harm is in reciting the name of the Creator ? Be thankful to your real father or creator. Can’t you meditate simply by reciting ..”Hare Ram Hare Ram Ram Ram Hare Hare, Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare” ..You can even simply sit down , keep your legs crossed , close your eyes and say “ Ram ,Ram ” at least 108 times a day in one go .That much is enough . Do you know that Dacoit Ratnakara became Valmiki Rishi by reciting “RAMA RAMA ” only. Ratnakara began reciting “ MARA MARA ” which gradually changed to “RAMA RAMA ” . Just recitation of words “ RAMA RAMA ” transformed a Hardcore dacoit to Mahirishi Valmiki who later wrote Ramayana . ”

This is how my mother introduced the concept of “NAAM JAPA “ to me during my school days.
Coming to The Poem under discussion , The above lines of Kabir convey the swiftness with which Life keeps moving . And then the spin of the Kaal Chakra ( Wheel of the Time ) throwing up a lot of uncertainty .Anything expected anytime . Shall time wait for us to get up and act ? May be our inaction allows many things to slip away and go waste . So why not get up and take care of our field or farm. There is an imperative need to Fence it . Allow protective creepers to grow around it so that no Deer or Tempting animal slips in . Four guards too need to be kept properly at four corners of the field to ward off unwanted intruders . Frequent removal of weeds and wild growth shall keep us focused on the crop alone .And then the sowing , harvesting and carrying the grains back home is bound to finally complete our farming assignment. Isn’t kabir’s farming field comparable to our existence ?

The four guards that kabir repeatedly mentions in his various verses are the four stages of life explained in Hindu philosophy . These are called "varna-Ashramas" and every man is ideally expected to go through each of these stages .  Hindus believe  that Every man is ideally expected to go through  these four stages in his life . These are "Brahmacharya" or the Student Stage , "Grihastha" or the Householder Stage, "Vanaprastha" or the intermediary stage of withdrawing  by transferring duties and responsibilities to Children   and  finally "Sanyaasa" or  renunciation and Total devotion to creator by moving away from the family  .

Hindus  consider life as fulfillment and harmonizing of four main motives which are Kaama ( Pleasure and desire ), Artha ( Material well being ), Dharma ( Righteousness, duty and order) and Moksha ( spiritual Liberation and For them , these four basic aims of life are “Purusharthas”.

Paanch sakhi or Five friends are always tempting us in every path . Five senses and five enemies create Maaya Jaal ( Cobweb of Illusions ) or put veil over our vision . Five enemies or thieves listed by kabir repeatedly are kaam ( Lust ) , krodh ( anger ), lobh ( Greed ) , moh ( Attachmnt ) or Ahankaar ( ego ). He also favours exercise of strict control over five senses . These senses relate to sight , hearing, smell, taste and touch . Kabir believes that these five come to us disguised as friends . According to him Great sages and learned men too could not keep them away. Kabir also uses Deer symbolically in his verses . A deer is a demon like Ravana of Sri lanka who appeared in disguise to lure Sita .

Kabir has also used the word “ AVADHOOT ” repeatedly in his verses . He has again used this word in the poem under discussion. And Avadhoot is not to be confused with word SAINT.

As I understand it , An Avadhoot is a totally unattached person who is free from narrow sectarian needs and vision . He has risen much higher in thought and deeds and in a way he looks like a child to people around him. He has also crossed the time barrier and as such appears to be not conscious of the present world around him. He roams free from any bondage . His acts are pure and innocent . He is free from Ego , free from desires and is always focused on supreme reality .

Avadhoot is surely a realized human and his actions on this earth do not bind him to the karma principle of cause and effect.

I add the Poem or the Nirgun Bhajan and its simple english rendering done by me …


"Avadhoota Gagan Ghata Geharani Re .
Pachm Disa Se Ulti Badali,
Rum Jhum Barse Meha
Utho Gyaani Khet Sambharo
Behe Nisrega Pani
Nirat Surat Ke Bel Banaawo,
Beeja Bovo Nij Dhani
Dubadhya Doob Jaman Nahi Pawe,
Bovo Naam Ki Dhaani
Charon Kone Chaar Rakhwale,
Chug Na Jaawe Mrig Dhani
Katya Khet Meenda Ghar Laawe,
Jaaki Puran Kisani
Paanch Sakhi Mil Kare Rasoi
Jeehme Muni Aur Gyani
Kahe Kabir Suno Bhai Sadho
Bovo Naam Ki Dhani
Avadhoota Gagan Ghata Geharani Re"

( kabir )

This is how I understand this Nirguna Bhajan....

(O unattached being,
the sky is getting overcast with dark clouds ,
returning from west,
these rain laden clouds have started pouring droplets.
O learned man !
Time is moving fast,
get up and look after your field
else the water shall soon drain itself out .
Grow protective creepers using your sight and sound faculties ,
pay attention to the voice within ,
scatter the seeds of the self-grain ,
allow no wild plant of misgiving to set In.

Sow the grain of Naam (Naam Japa ),
the Artha,
the kaama,
the Dharma
and the Moksha
place them as  four guards around the four corners of the field .
Drive away the deer of Maya from eating away the grain crop , 
and carry back the harvested crop to the master’s house to complete your farming .

Look ! how five friends( kaam ,Krodh ,Lobh Moh and Ahankara ) are cooking ,
the sages and the learned men are also busy in eating .
Says Kabir, listen you seeker ,
"Hurry up to sow the grain of Naam ( Naam Japa )

( Avtar Mota)

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