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Chapter 4: When the Heart Is Awake

Friend, wake up! Why do you go on sleeping?
The night is over - do you want to lose
the day the same way?
Other women who managed to get up early
have already found an elephant or a jewel..
So much was lost already while you slept.
and that was so unnecessary!

The one who loves you understood but you did not.
You forgot to make a place in your bed next to you.
Instead you spent your life playing.
In your twenties you did not grow
because you did not know who your lord was.
Wake up! Wake up! There’s no one in your bed -
he left you during the long night.

Kabir says: the only woman awake is the woman
who has heard the flute!

I played for ten years with the girls my own age,
but now I am suddenly in fear.
I am on the way up some stairs - they are high.
Yet I have to give up my fears if I want to take part in this love.

I have to let go the protective clothes
and meet him with the whole length of my body.
My eyes will have to be the love-candles this time.
Kabir says: Men and women in love will understand
this poem.
If what you feel for the holy one is not desire,
then what’s the use of dressing with such care,
and spending so much time making your eyelids dark?

Friend wake up! Wake up!

This has been the call of all the buddhas down the centuries. They have been shouting from the housetops. Everybody hears it, but nobody listens. Everybody knows it, but nobody understands. And knowledge is futile - it is only understanding that liberates. And hearing is of no use - unless you listen.

Anybody who is not deaf is capable of hearing, but listening is a totally different matter, qualitatively different. It has nothing to do with your ears: it has something to do with your heart. When your ears and your heart are joined together, listening happens. If the heart is not in the ears, you hear, but hearing is not going to help. It will make you more knowledgeable. But to become more knowledgeable is to create more hindrances between you and the beloved.

Knowledge can never become a bridge, it is always a wall. It divides you from the ultimate, from the immediate, from the whole. It cannot connect you - only love connects. But love is of the heart; it has nothing to do with the head. Knowledge gathers in the head; memory accumulates it. The ego enjoys it.

Love wells up in the heart. And love is another name for understanding. It is only the eyes of love which can see, and the ears of love which can hear.

Existence is not a problem that can be solved by the head. It is not a riddle to be figured out: it is a poem to be sung, it is a dance to be danced. It is a love affair. Existence is a mystery - with no solution, because it is not a problem in the first place. It cannot be solved: it has to be lived.

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