Songs of Kabir: Who Speaks of One Sun?

Tagore Fireflies Book Detail Tagore

Almost a century ago, Songs of Kabir, translated by Rabindranath Tagore was published in English. Rarely heard and yet revealing insights into  the vision of poet Kabir, born in 1440, and a “disciple of the celebrated Hindu ascetic Ramananda”.

In the introduction, Eveleyn Underhill, who assisted Tagore in the publication, wrote

“The poetry of mysticism might be defined on the one hand as a temperamental reaction to the vision of Reality : on the other, as a form of prophecy. As it is the special vocation of the mystical consciousness to meditate between two orders, going out in loving adorations towards God and coming home to tell the secrets of Eternity to other men ; so the artistic self-expression of this consciousness has also a double character. It is love-poetry, but love poetry which is often written with a missionary intention.”

III. 60. cal hamsa wa des jahan
O My heart! Let us go to that
country where dwells the Beloved,
the ravisher of my heart!
There Love is filling her pitcher from
the well, yet she has no rope where with
to draw water;
There the clouds do not cover the sky,
yet the rain falls down in gentle
O bodiless one! do not sit on your
doorstep; go forth and bathe
yourself in that rain!
There it is ever moonlight and never
dark; and who speaks of one sun
only? that land is illuminate with
the rays of a million suns.

Songs of Kabir is a favorite within Artim K. and BaiDzar Shalian’s book collection.

By Keri Douglas, writer/photographer, Washington, D.C. Please follow 9 Muses News copyright policy.


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