Chapter 5: I Sing the Glory of Forms
O sadhu! Purify your body in the simple way.
As the seed is within the banyan tree,
and within the seed are the flowers,
the fruits, and the shade,
so the germ is within the body,
and within that germ is the body again.
The fire, the air, the water, the earth, and the ether;
you cannot have these outside of him.
O kazi, o pundit, consider it well:
what is there that is not in the soul?
The water-filled pitcher is placed upon water,
it has water within and without.
It should not be given a name,
lest it call forth the error of dualism.
Kabir says: Listen to the word, the truth,
which is your essence.
He speaks the word to himself;
and he himself is the creator.
There is a strange tree which stands without roots
and bears fruits without blossoming;
It has no branches and no leaves,
it is lotus all over.
Two birds sing there;
one is the guru, and the other the disciple:
The disciple chooses the manifold fruits of life
and tastes them, and the guru beholds him in joy.
What Kabir says is hard to understand:
the bird is beyond seeking,
yet it is most clearly visible.
The formless is in the midst of all forms.
I sing the glory of forms.
Truth is a challenge, the greatest there is. It is a challenge to inquire, it is a challenge to seek, and it is a challenge to be. It is not something that you will possess someday, it is something that you have to become. And, in fact, you can become only that which you are already, you can become only your being.
The challenge of truth is the challenge of your own innermost core, the challenge to come home, the challenge to come back to the center, the challenge to recognize yourself, the challenge to know, encounter yourself. It is arduous.
To face oneself is arduous - because we have invested too much in our ignorance; in our self-ignorance we have staked too much. So self-knowledge begins to become very, very difficult. Hence everybody is called, but only a few listen to the call. And those few who listen to the call, even many of them misinterpret it, delude themselves. Those who listen rightly, even they don’t respond rightly. Those who respond rightly, even they don’t persist for long. Hence, many are called, but very few arrive.
In fact, everybody is called. God’s challenge is for everybody; it is an open invitation. You are here for that challenge - to accept it, to go through the fire, to be purified through the fire. But it is a gamble; one has to stake one’s all. And this is the irony, that when you don’t have anything, you are very much afraid to stake. The irony. When you have, you can have courage to stake too.