Knowing the inadequacy of words, the Indian mystic Kabir molds them into ulatbansis, paradoxical statements. An example of this is:
The sky rains and the earth soaks, this everyone knows;
The earth rains and the sky soaks, this only the rare understand.
What does this mean?
Yes, the words of the mystics are ulatbansi, playing on an inverted flute. First you have to understand this inverted flute, ulatbansi – it is a very mysterious and loving phrase to use. When someone plays the flute, there is the man who plays and the flute that is being played on. The inverted flute means that now the flute is playing and the one who plays on the flute is himself being played on. The reverse is happening. The one who should be playing is being played, and the flute which should be played on is now the player. The whole process is reversed.
Such a moment comes. If you know how to play the flute, you will have no difficulty understanding this. A moment comes when the flute player is so merged in playing that he does not experience anymore that he is playing the flute. The merger is so intense, the player is so submerged in the playing, that he starts feeling as if the flute is making music on its own. The doer disappears. And when the merger acquires the ultimate height or depth where it is so total that there is no way to go beyond it, then not only does one feel that he is not playing the flute and it is playing by itself, but one also starts to feel that the flute is playing him. The means becomes the end, the first becomes the last, the effect becomes the cause and the cause the effect – everything becomes inverted.
This happens not only in flute-playing, this happening takes place in any dimension of life where the possibility of dissolving goes on intensifying. One day the dancer comes to know that he is not dancing; the dance is happening on its own. And then the hour also comes when the dancer knows that the dance is dancing him.
The very idea of being a doer – that, “I am doing it” – is an illusion. This is why the mystic’s whole life is an experience of the inverted flute.
Kabir’s words are unique. It is difficult to find a mystic like Kabir in the history of the whole world because he is raw, uneducated; whatever he says, it does not come from the scriptures. He is quite unacquainted with the scriptures, he has no treasure or puts no great value on words. The words he uses are of the marketplace, for day-to-day use. But what has been difficult for even the seers of the Upanishads to pour into all the purest of word forms, Kabir has managed in these words. His experience is that in the enlightened state the world becomes exactly opposite of what we had known it to be earlier.