On Saint Kabir: Getting God is easy, tolerating Him is difficult

Acharya Prashant
14 min readOct 1, 2021

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Acharya Prashant (AP): Suffering is a fire that burns down a lot. It brings along a certain purification. One of the poets gave the example of a snowball. A Snowball, that is cleansing itself in its own blood; by melting down. When a snowball starts melting, it starts becoming cleaner. And the process of melting is surely not the pleasant one. In fact, at several points, I have been compelled to say that Awakening begins with suffering. And if there is no suffering, only so-called bliss then really you are not being purified at all.

The saints have all sung songs of intense longing, intense pain, an intense feeling of separation. Feeling of being devastated. Feeling of being burnt away. Feeling that house itself has come thrashing down. Most of that literature at least to the extent, my knowledge allows, is in vernacular Indian language, and is not in English. But I still hope that memory would serve the right ones right now.

It is Kabir who says:

Sukhiya sab sansaar hai, khaave aur soye (सुखिया सब संसार है, खावे और सोये)Dukhiya das Kabir hai, jaage aur roye (दुखिया दास कबीर है, जागे और रोये)

Sukhiya sab sansaar hai, khaave aur soye (The world is happy and smiling, it eats and sleeps)

Dukhiya das Kabir hai, jaage aur roye (Only Kabir is suffering. Kabir wakes and weeps.)

The world eats and sleeps and Kabir wakes and weeps. This is obviously contrary to our commonly hailed images of spirituality. We equate spirituality with Joy, and Joy with happiness. So we expect the spiritual one to look happy all the time. Kabir is saying the world will look happy, the mind that is waking up would be in turmoil because this world is coming apart.

In another one, in which He says:

Birhan odi laakdi, sakuche aur dhudhuaaye

(बिरहिनि ओदी लाकड़ी, सकुचे और धुंधुआय)

Acharya Prashant