Kabir Das| Jara Halke Gadi Haanko Lyrics and Meaning

Today we will discuss the beautiful nirguna bhajan by Kabir Das. The bhajan shows the reality of life and false attachments which one makes throughout the course of life and ultimately the death comes and wipes away everything.

 

The couplets of Kabir are full of mystic concepts which are expressed in the adhyatmik symbolism. People have been listening to them for centuries however their original intent has been lost.

Kabir Das belonged to the Advaita Bhakti poets of medieval period. He was greatly influenced by Nath sampraday which was quite popular at that time. His many dohes have hidden meaning which can be only understood when one practices sadhana and goes to the experiences.

 

धीरे धीरे रे मना, धीरे सब कुछ होए
माली सींचे सौ घड़ा, ऋतू आये फल होए
Slowly, slowly oh my mind
Slowly, everything happens
The gardener pours 100 water pots
The season arrives and the fruits come

Here Kabir ji explains that the path of sadhana is very long and time taking. The path is so long that it is almost walking into unknown without knowing where the destination is. Or even without knowing that we are walking into right direction. Hence the most important thing in sadhana is patience. Without faith and patience one can’t proceed with single step on this path. On this path of sadhana you have keep on doing your karma and daily routine of meditation without even expecting anything in return and when the time comes ie when we are ready the fruits of sadhana will start appearing.
ज़रा हलके गाड़ी हांको
मेरे राम गाड़ी वाले
ज़रा धीरे धीरे गाड़ी हांको
मेरे राम गाड़ी वाले

O driver, drive the cart slowly

My cart belongs to Rama(Atman)

Here the essential symbolism is that the cart is this body. The person sitting on this cart is Atman. The atman sits on this cart observing the cart and also the driver of the cart. The driver is the ego which considers the cart to be himself. The sense of distance between the cart and driver is becoming negligent ie the driver is so involved with the cart that he has now started identifying with the cart himself.

So now Kabir instructs; O cart driver come in your conciousness. Know that you are not this body (cart). Increase awareness of yourself and your actions and try to find your attachments to this cart.

गाड़ी हमारी रंग रंगीली
पईया है लाल गुलाबी
हैंकन वाली छैल छबीली
बैठन वाला राम

The cart is colourful and wheels are rosy pink. The driver is very excited young girl and the the passenger in the cart is the atman.

In these lines Kabir is trying to compare the wheels and the cart to this senses and the body. They are they rosy pink showing that everyone wants to dress their body and provide it all the worldly comforts. The driver is a young person. Usually the young people in the society have great dreams ahead of themselves. This signifies that the ego is hankering after desires all the time. All the time it is planning for its future and seeking ways of self-plesure.

This ego hankering after these desires runs through the childhood, the youth and the middle age. In search of the destination of happiness, it keeps on running the cart here and there so that he ultimately gets nectar of pleasure in this world.
गाड़ी अटकी रेट में
मज़ल पड़ी है दूर
धर्मी अधर्मी पार उतर गया
पापी चकना चूर

But lo! now the cart have now starting taking hiccups and it has now stopped in the sand. Yet the destination is quite far. Now this body has reached the old-age and it has now started suffering from various disease. Yet the destination of hapiness is far beyond.

देस देस का वेद बुलाया
लाया जड़ी और बूटी
जड़ी बूटी काम न आई
जद राम के घर की टूटी

Now the time has come to call the doctors from far and abroad. They have brought a lot of medicine from the different regions. But now the time has come and none of these medicines are working and now the home of ram (atman) breaks. So after so much of expensive doctors and medicine when the time of death comes none helps and then the atman leaves the body.
चार जना मिल मतों उठायो
बांधी काठ की घोड़ी
ले जा के मरघट पे रखिया
फूंक दीनी जैसे होली

Now the dead body is lifted by four people and they tie this body to the woodden sling and they take this body to the cremation ground and then fire this body. Now the body which was always pampered with is gone.
बिलक बिलक कर तिरिया रोवे
बिछड़ गयी रे मेरी जोड़ी
कहें कबीर सुनो भाई साधो
जिन जोड़ी उन तोड़ी

Now after the death, the wife starts weeping loudly and laments that my pair has been broken. That is worldly relations our beloved wife, children for whom we were working are left here. Even after their loud crying, the atman once which goes will not come back.

So Kabir asks us to those people who are totally engrossed in the worldly life, looking after earning wealth, hankering after sensory pleasures and  considering their family as the center of their life to come to their senses. Remember your death, because death is going to part all this transitory identifications. So start working for your sadhana, the more you connect with the divine, the more will you connect yourself to ultimate reality.

 

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