says Kabir

Excerpt from Songs of Kabir by Kabir

This is an excerpt from the book Songs of Kabir by Kabir, translated from the Hindi by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra.

Were the Creator
Concerned about caste,
We’d arrive in the world
With a caste mark on the forehead.

If you say you’re a Brahmin
Born of a mother who’s a Brahmin,
Was there a special canal
Through which you were born?

And if you say you’re a Turk
And your mother’s a Turk,
Why weren’t you circumcised
Before birth?

Nobody’s lower-caste;
The lower castes are everywhere
They’re the ones
Who don’t have Rama on their lips.

Kabir says.

I’m waiting for the ferry,
But where are we going,
And is there a paradise anyway?

What will I,
Who see you everywhere,

Do there?
I’m okay where I am, says Kabir.
Spare me the trip.

Are you familiar with Kabir’s poetry?
How do you feel about this translation?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in a comment below!

Songs of Kabir – Summary

Here is the book summary:

Transcending divisions of creed, challenging social distinctions of all sorts, and celebrating individual unity with the divine, the poetry of Kabir is one of passion and paradox, of mind-bending riddles and exultant riffs. These new translations by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, one of India’s finest contemporary poets, bring out the richness, wit, and power of a literary and spiritual master.

Copyright © 1500-1599 by Kabir.

Translated by: Arvind Krishna Mehrotra

You can find more details here on Goodreads and on StoryGraph.

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