This union with the guru, O Kabir,
Sets me free; like salt mingled
With flour, I am no more I!

Now I have no caste, no creed,
I am no more what I am!

O dear brother!
By what name would you call me?

I do not quote from the scriptures;
I simply see what I see.

When the bride is one
with her lover,
who cares about
the wedding party?

I am not a Hindu,
Nor a Muslim am I!

I am this body, a play
Of five elements; a drama
Of the spirit dancing
With joy and sorrow.

A drop
Melting into the sea,
Everyone can see.
But the sea
In a drop–
A rare one
can follow!

I am looking at you,
You at him,
Kabir asks, how to solve
This puzzle–
You, he, and I?

Dying, dying, the world
Is dying only.
But lo! None knows how to die
In such a way
That he dies never again.

Man, here is your worth:
Your meat is of no use!
Your bones cannot be sold
For making ornaments,
And your skin cannot be played
On an instrument!

Translated by Azfar Hussain

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This is an excerpt from Reading About the World, Volume 2, edited by Paul Brians, Mary Gallwey, Douglas Hughes, Azfar Hussain, Richard Law, Michael Myers, Michael Neville, Roger Schlesinger, Alice Spitzer, and Susan Swan and published by Harcourt Brace Custom Books.The reader was created for use in the World Civilization course at Washington State University, but material on this page may be used for educational purposes by permission of the editor-in-chief:

Paul Brians
Department of English
Washington State University
Pullman 99164-5020

This is just a sample of Reading About the World, Volume 2.

Reading About the World is now out of print. You can search for used copies using the following information:Paul Brians, et al. Reading About the World, Vol. 1, 3rd edition, Harcourt Brace College Publishing: ISBN 0-15-567425-0 or Paul Brians, et al. Reading About the World, Vol. 2, 3rd edition, Harcourt Brace College Publishing: ISBN 0-15-512826-4.

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