Tagore, Songs of Kabir
O friend! hope for Him whilst you live,
know whilst you live,
understand whilst you live: for in life deliverance abides.
If your bonds be not broken whilst living,
what hope of deliverance in death?
It is but an empty dream,
that the soul shall have union with Him because it has passed from the body:
If He is found now, He is found then,
If not, we do but go to dwell in the City of Death.
If you have union now, you shall have it hereafter.
Bathe in the truth, know the true Guru, have faith in the true Name!
Kabîr says: "It is the Spirit of the quest which helps; I am the slave of this Spirit of the quest."
Trans. Rabindranath Tagore. Available on Gutenberg.org
This is what Robert Bly did with Tagore’s translation. From The Kabir Book: Forty-Four of the Ecstatic Poems of Kabir by Robert Bly.
Friend, hope for the Guest while you are alive.
Jump into experience while you are alive!
Think... and think... while you are alive.
What you call "salvation" belongs to the time before death.
If you do not break your ropes while you're alive
do you think
that ghosts will do it after?
The idea that the soul will join with the ecstatic
just because the body is rotten ---
that is all fantasy.
What is found now is found then.
If you find nothing now,
you will simply end up with an apartment in the City of Death.
If you make love with the divine now, in the next life you will have the face of satisfied desire.
So plunge into the truth, find out who the Teacher is, Believe in the Great Sound!
Kabir says this: When the guest is being searched for, it is the intensity of the longing for the guest that does all the work.
Look at me, and you will see a slave of that intensity.
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