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The joy of being drenched in love || Acharya Prashant, on Guru Kabir (2018)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
13 min
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Love clouds have gathered, it is raining down on me; my entire soul is soaked in it, all around there is greenery.

~ Kabir

Questioner: Could you please elaborate on the meaning of this poem?

Acharya Prashant: Just sing what Kabir Sahib is saying. Just sing! I may keep trying for two hours; I will just not be able to go beyond Kabir Sahib. What he has said in these two lines, I won’t be able to say in two hours. So, do not try to understand him through me; understand him through him. Just sing. It’s anyway so lucid and self-explanatory, is it not?

Kabir baadal prem ka, hum par barsa aaye; antar bheegi atma, hari bhai ban rai (Love clouds have gathered, it is raining down on me; my entire soul is soaked in it, all around there is greenery).”

Without love there is merely dryness. Without love there is merely logic. Anybody from computer engineering background here? Machines work on logic, especially computing machines. And the thing with man is that at least half part of his brain works on logic—thankfully only half. Without love there is just logic, and it is extremely dry.

The two hemispheres of man’s brain are a good pointer. Of course, nature didn’t deliberately evolve them so that they may suit my example this night, but still they lend themselves very beautifully to point at a great revelation. Man cannot live by logic alone. Man cannot live by arguments alone. In fact, not only are both important; if one of the two has to be chosen, it would be the one that is the more fundamental of the two, and of the two, love is more fundamental.

Why is love more fundamental? Because when you say that there is the yearning of the mind for the Truth called love and then there is the resistance to it, which is just the bodily tendencies called vṛtti and Prakṛti , then you have to remember that not only is the yearning of the mind towards love, love; even the resistance of Prakṛti to love is love. Please get this.

Now, that sounds paradoxical. We are saying that we are usually split in two: one part that unreasonably wants to merge into something greater, wants to relax into sleep, and then there is the other, logical part that wants continuation, that wants security. What I am saying is, the unreasonable part is surely pulsating with love, but even the reasonable part, even the logical part is driven by nothing but love, though indirect.

Even when you resist love, it is because of love; just that the resisting love is misguided. Love is more fundamental.

You rush towards dissolution; there are moments in your life, there are special incidents when you just want to sacrifice everything for something holy, something very lovely, something very precious. And then there is the usual instinct of self-preservation, right? The instinct towards self-preservation says, “Hold on! Don’t die, don’t dissolve, don’t give up, don’t surrender. Just continue!”

You must ask, why does even the instinct for self-preservation exist? Why do you want to continue? You want to continue in time so that at the end of time you might meet your beloved. There is that within you which says, “I want to jump out of the stream of time right now; I want that the inner clock stops right now.” And then there is that in you which is very logical, which says, “Be a little considerate; use the intellect; create a better future. Tomorrow you will get that which you so desperately want.”

So, even the logical part is looking for nothing but the same thing that the so-called illogical part is wanting. Both want the same thing; one wants it right now, the other wants it in the future. So, obviously both are driven by love; one is driven by crazy love, the other is driven by love tempered with, mollified by logic. Our life is nothing but an interplay of these two instincts. These two instincts have sometimes been called as Yin and Yang, sometimes Puruṣha and Prakṛti , sometimes Apollonian and Dionysian. But these two—thesis-antithesis—they keep shaping our life.

Kabir baadal prem ka, hum par barsa aaye; antar bheegi atma, hari bhai ban rai. There was such dryness, and now sap is running through the veins of trees; there is greenery. Something within has just been showered with ambrosia: I see a juicy fruit appearing, I see blood running now through the veins.”

Kabir Sahib is first and foremost a poet of love. But that is such a stupid thing to say, because you cannot be a poet of understanding. All poetry is just love, and therefore all great saints have been poets, irrespective of whether they wrote in prose or verse. You don’t make it happen; it rains upon you. You cannot compel or guide or instruct a cloud to bless you with showers, or can you? All that you can do is not run indoors when it rains.

Kabir badal prem ka, hum par barsa aaye.

Do hear what Kabir Sahib is lovingly silent about. When the cloud comes, he remains available to be drenched in the rain. Otherwise, we all have umbrellas, and as technology evolves, we will have even better means to avoid getting wet. “I didn’t cause the cloud to come; it just happened with me. Who is the one who is doing this to me? What does he want? Or does he even want anything? Maybe he is just responding to my want. It rained upon me, and the entire world appears green now.”

What is going on? Did Kabir Sahib say that the cloud of love rained upon the entire world? Did he say, “ Jag par barsa aaye (rained upon the world)”? Where did it rain? It rained upon him. It’s strange. And what has turned green? The world has turned green. It is raining here, and the greenery is sprouting there. What nonsense! Oh, just love. ‘Nonsense’ is unnecessarily too long a word—eight characters. Cut that by half: instead of saying nonsense, say love. Four units are sufficient. And in Kabir’s language, it is not even four; it is dhai (two and a half). Something has happened to you and the world has changed. Now that you are in love, you cannot look at the world in the same way as you used to look at it.

This, again, contains a lot of revelations in its own simple, understated way. Usually our love is about one special thing or person. So, even if you say that you see greenery somewhere, that greenery is commonly just a man or woman in green. So, you are in love and she is your hariyali (greenery); that’s how you colloquially put it in Hindi, don’t you? But Kabir Sahib is saying, “ Hari bhai ban rai —the entire jungle has turned green. I see greenery not merely in one tree, but in the entire jungle.” That’s the difference between common love and Kabir’s love. In your love, there is just one green tree; in Kabir’s love, the entire world has turned green: there is nothing dry anywhere anymore. What does that mean? Listen to this carefully.

Love is a great, great pain. It is not without reason that Kabir Sahib is saying that “Kabir badal prem ka, hum par barsa aaye” . You know why he is using the trope of cloud and water and rain? Because love burns, love hurts; love is nothing but the realization of separation. In Kabir’s love, because you become very, very sensitive to your own yearning for the Truth, you also start seeing how everything in the universe is desperately wanting just that same Beloved as you are; you hardly see a difference between yourself and others.

What is the difference between you and you? What is the difference between you and you and you (pointing at different listeners in the audience) ? How do you say we are different? If the two of you have exactly the same, identical desires, would you still say, "We two are different?" Difference implies difference in desires, and the difference in desires is so easily visible; it is right there to see, undeniable. You want something that he does not want, and he wants something that only he wants. He wants to go back to a particular house that is only his; you will get up and look for a pair of slippers that belong only to you. When you want to drink water, you want to drink it for yourself, don’t you? You are thirsty; water is your particular personal desire. Love is when you start seeing the deep desire beneath all your superficial desires; love is when you start seeing what you are really, really thirsty for. Superficially, the desires of different people are different; deeply, we all share one desire.

So, what is it that happens in love? In love two things are happening simultaneously: one, you have come in contact with your deep self that wants union with the Beloved; secondly, you have seen that this is what all want: “There is nobody who does not deeply want the same thing as I do. Superficially, he wants black and he wants white; deeply, both of them want only satisfaction.” Now the world is not full of strangers. When there are just strangers, there is dryness, or is there not? If you are with a group of strangers, is it a very juicy situation? But when you are with people you call as your own, then juice flows freely, or does it not? A college reunion and beer flows freely, “I am with people who are my own.”

The true lover starts seeing that everybody is exactly like himself. “So, not only are all these people my own—they are me. Not only are they not strangers, they are not even my own—they are identical with me. And if they are identical with me, how can there be any dryness? You are not only my brother—you are me. Forget about being a stranger; you are not even my brother, you are not even my mirror image—you are me . Those eyes are searching for just the same thing as these eyes. There is nothing else that anybody’s eyes are looking for. It doesn’t matter what the object of our perception is—we are searching for the same thing.” Now, are you with aliens? Now, are you with foreigners? You are not even with family; you are with yourself. That’s love.

So, I said love means two things: love, firstly, means total dedication towards the Beloved, and secondly, total identification with the world. But first of all you need total disidentification with the world, because unless you are totally disidentified with the world, how will you identify with Him? And that is why saints have so much compassion for the world. Now, can you relate these two things? Saints have great love for Him, and saints’ principal concern is with the Truth. What is a saint principally concerned with, the world or the Truth? Truth. But, at the same time, we have seen saints lay down their lives for the sake of the world.

We are into Christmas now. If Jesus is the son of God and loves God much more than anything or anybody else, what is Jesus doing among men and women of this world? What is the primary concern of Jesus? The love of God; that’s what he principally wants, right? Does Jesus say, "I am the son of this world?" He says, “No, even my mortal mother is a virgin; how can I be a son of this world? I belong to my Father.” And if Jesus belongs to his Father, why is he so laboriously, so painstakingly working for the people of this world?

That’s the thing about love. These are the twin features of love. Because you love Him so much, therefore you also see that all love Him equally; it’s just that they are a bit deluded. In spite of loving Him so much, they do not know how deeply they love Him, so their love becomes misdirected. It’s a stream that should be flowing towards the ocean, and instead it starts getting lost in sands and quagmires and various places. And therefore, the saint works tirelessly for the world—because he knows that “You are me. Therefore, by working for you, I am actually working for myself.”

Antar bheegi atma, hari bhai ban rai.

“Me, me everywhere. I am with my own people; it feels great. And therefore it also implies that I cannot go to Him alone. Because if you are me, how can I go there alone? I will have to take you along.” And now, that explains why a saint keeps singing for the world all his life: because he knows fully well that he cannot go there alone. “He is me, and he is me, and he is me; how will I take the flight alone?”

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