Because of the whiteness, the purity…And it lives far away in the Himalayas where very few people have ever reached, the highest lake in the world, Mansarovar. Nine months out of twelve it is frozen; only for three months it melts. The swan for nine months comes down to the plains, but without fail it returns after nine months to Mansarovar.
And a strange mystery is that these months that he is not at Mansarovar are the months when the swan gives birth to children. Even when they leave, their eggs have not opened yet. When the time comes they leave their eggs behind and move away towards Mansarovar. The mystery is that the parents have never met the child, the child has never traveled the path; he knows nothing about Mansarovar, but still when the egg ripens and the child swan is born, it immediately starts flying in the direction of Mansarovar.
Because of this fact it became a tremendously important symbol: You don’t know where your home is; there is no guide, no map, you have to go alone. But every child swan reaches Mansarovar, without fail.
Metaphorically, we don’t belong to this mundane world. It is not our home. Sooner or later the moment comes: your consciousness opens its wings and flies towards its home.
Kabir is making this statement just before leaving the body. The body is symbolized as the cloak. In Hindi it is called chadariya.
I leave behind my cloak intact. Just as you have given it to me: I have not spoiled it, not even a small scratch, not even a small dark spot. As white and as clean and pure as you had given it to me, I am putting it aside. I wore my cloak with great care. This is to be understood. He is not against the body. He is saying, I wore my cloak with great care, I used my body with great care, with love, and then put it aside as I found it. Now the moment has come to put it aside, but I am putting it aside exactly as I had found it.
The words of Kabir are very beautiful. Almost untranslatable is their beauty. They have a certain music that is missing in any translation, but still you should hear those words:
Jyon ki tyon dhari dinhi chadariya
khoob jatan kar odhi chadariya.
With great effort I have used the cloak you had given to me and I am putting it back, Jyon ki tyon, just the way you had given it to me, without spoiling it, without impairing it in any way. Oh swan, and this he addresses to himself Oh swan, take off on the flight alone.
Now even this cloak, this chadariya that you have been using for your whole life, cannot go with you. Neither your wife nor your son nor your friends nor your disciples nobody can go with you; you have to go alone. It is a flight of the alone to the alone.
“Oh swan, take off on the flight alone.”