Kabir, who was a poet and played main part in India’s Bhakti Movement, was not a believer of either Hinduism or Islam and questioned the existence of both.
Kabir believed that true God is with the person who is on the path of righteousness, considered all creatures on earth as his own self and who is passively detached from the affairs of the world.
Although his life revolved around this, his poetry is what we are here for.
He has written some remarkable poetry which is widely loved by everyone today. This article shares ten of the most popular Kabir dohe.
1. गुरु गोविंद दोनों खड़े, काके लागूं पाँय ।
बलिहारी गुरु आपनो, गोविंद दियो मिलाय ॥
This is one of the most famous Kabir dohe and has been adopted by school textbooks too.
It has been heard by almost everyone through one way or the other.
It means teacher and lord both are standing, of whom should I touch the feet first? But my teacher/guru you are the one who told me God is greater.”
2. बुरा जो देखन मैं चला, बुरा न मिलिया कोय ।
जो दिल खोजा आपना, मुझसे बुरा न कोय।।
“When I started to look for evil, I couldn’t find any. When I started to look inside my heart, I found out that I am the evilest.”
This doha tells the reality that whenever we find something wrong being done, we start to point out fingers and blame people for that.
If you really start to find someone who is bad, you will not find any but start to look inside yourself. Your inner self is bad and no other one.
If you feel inspired and would like to keep this couplet as a gentle reminder, you can put it up as a poster on in your bedroom or desk.
3. चिंता ऐसी डाकिनी, काट कलेजा खाए |
वैद बेचारा क्या करे, कहा तक दवा लगाए ||
This couplet of Kabir states the condition of every human being. It means, “Worry is such a thief that it eats one’s heart. What can a doctor do? How far will his medicine reach??
4. दुख: में सुमिरन सब करे, सुख में करे न कोई ।
जो सुख में सुमिरन करे, तो दुःख काहे को होय ॥
This Kabir doha tells us the common behaviour of the people who believe in God. It says “everyone remembers God, prays to him and chants hymns to him in bad times but no one remembers him in good times. But, if you will remember him and pray to him in good times as well, you will never ever face bad times in your life.”
5. कबीर गर्व न कीजिय, ऊंचा देखि आवास
काल परों भूईं लेटना, ऊपर जमसी घास ||
This Kabir doha is for those people who start to become proud of their achievements and fame and success in life and soon their pride turns into vain.
It means that “don’t be so proud and be in vain of your achievements and fame. Don’t look at the heights that you have achieved and be arrogant.
Ultimately tomorrow everyone has to die and you will be lyingunder the ground where grass will grow on top.”
6. ज्यों नैनों में पुतली, त्यों मालिक घट माहिं |
मूरख लोग न जानहिं, बाहिर ढूढ़न जाहिं ||
This couplet portrays the true reality of people nowadays.
Everyone is showing off that they are great admirers of God and are building temples and mosques everywhere.
This Kabir couplet says that “God lies within you just as the pupil lies within your eyes.
But, these ignorant people don’t know this and keep on searching for God everywhere outside.”
7. जब तू आया जगत में, लोग हँसे तू रोय |
ऐसी करनी ना करी, पाछे हँसे सब कोय ||
This couplet motivates the people to do good deeds in their life. The meaning of this Kabir doha is that “when we are born, everyone laughs but we cry. Do good deeds in your lifetime, don’t do such work that they laugh behind you when you are gone.”
8. चलती चक्की देख कर, दिया कबीरा रोये |
दो पाटन के बीच में, साबुत बचा ना कोए ||
This couplet has a very deep meaning and it illustrates the reality of today’s society in a very beautiful way.
Firstly, I will tell you the translation and then the meaning behind it. It says, Kabir cried watching the two grinding stones crushing the material inside.
He says everything is ground and nothing remains complete in its original form.
The real meaning of it is that Kabir cries while watching the duality in this world i.e. good and bad, male and female, atheist and believer.
He says everyone is crushed from its original form. No one is spared.
9.ऐसी वाणी बोलिए, मन का आपा खोय |
औरन को शीतल करे, आपहु शीतल होय ||
There is no harsher and sharper weapon than words.Words are the most devastating weapons that are used today.
This is what Kabir says in his this doha.
He says speak such words that you lose your mind, you just show peace and no other thing.
Don’t show your ego, don’t brag, don’t gloat, and don’t attach anything with it to harm anyone.
Saying such words purifies our soul and body as we lose the ego, anger and other bad things. Not only this, it also given peace to the person listening.
10. काल करे सो आज कर, आज करै सो अब |
पल में परलय होयगी, बहुरी करेगा कब ||
This couplet does not need any translation. This is the most famous doha of Kabir and everyone has listened to this in their life through songs, books, movies and many more. This couplet has been used everywhere, from comics to speeches to movies. This doha means “whatever you need to do tomorrow, do it now. The time is lost in moments and you will not recognise it. If the moment is gone, the work will remain undone forever.”
Explore our Kabir Das Collection.