Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Words from a wise guy

So last night baby Aish recited 'Twinkle Twinkle little star' to me over the phone from halfway across the world.

Listening to her sing (in tune!) was totally thrilling. But later I wondered to myself, "What nonsense is this - Twinkle Twinkle? What is there to learn in Twinkle Twinkle? If anything, the kid is learning unscientific things - "little" stars it seems."

I guess at this point it's okay for her to learn whatever children all over the world are learning. Also, it's a good performance song for a 2-year-old because the song is universally known. But when she grows a little older, her self-appointed godmother will teach her something more meaningful, something hindustani - my favourite poet Kabir's dohe which have some amazingly simple but deep wisdom in them. I am a huge fan of Kabir (the dude was way ahead of his time), but sadly have not been able to implement a lot of his teachings. Casting aside visions of a hapless Aish strapped to her baby chair while her annoying mausi recites Kabir's dohas, perhaps she would actually be interested. But of course, by the time she grows up to an age where she can understand them, she won't have the patience to sit and listen to me ramble on and on about a guy who existed some 500-600 years ago. Like Anupam Kher says in Rang De Basanti, "SMS generation hai. Char line se zyada bol do toh lecture lagta hai." (I know I quote this line a lot in my blog, but it's so totally true for our generation.)

Going back to Aish and Kabir, I guess I will probably have to do up the executive summary of each of the dohas for her. What better time to do it than now? After all, it was the very Kabir who said:

Kaal karey so aaj kar, aaj karey so ab
Pal mein pralaya hoyegi, bahuri karega kab?

Rough translation: Do today what's due tomorrow. Do now what's due today. If the moment is lost, when will you do it?

Executive summary: Just do it.


Dheere dheere re mana, dheere sab kuch hoye
Mali seenche sau ghada, ritu aaye phal hoye

Rough translation: Everything happens in its own time. The gardener may water the plant with a hundred pots, but it will bear fruit only when the season comes.

Executive summary: Give it time - everything will sort itself out.


Kabira khada bazaar mein, maange sabki khair
Na kahu se dosti, na kahu se bair

Rough translation: Kabir stands in the marketplace, and wishes for everyone's well-being. He doesn't seek anyone's friendship, nor anyone's enmity.

Executive summary: Wish everyone well, but be your own best friend.


Aisi vaani boliye, mann ka aapa khoye
Apna tan seetal karey, auran ko sukh hoye

Translation: Say your words sans your ego. You will stay composed and others will be happy too.

Executive summary: Say it in your head first.


Bada hua toh kya hua, jaise ped khajoor
Panthi ko chhaya nahin, phal laage ati door

Rough translation: Eminence is wasted if it's like a date tree that provides no shade to travellers and the fruit is beyond reach.

Executive summary: Attitude determines altitude.


Jaise til mein tel hai, jyon chakmak mein aag
Tera saain tujhmein hai, tu jaag sakey toh jaag

Rough translation: Like sesame seeds that contain oil, like flintstone contains fire, your master is within you, find Him if you can.

Executive summary: You have it in you. Discover it.
(Like in many of Kabir's dohas, you do not have to necessarily look at only the religious angle of this one. It can mean many things.)

Keson kahan bigadia, je moonde sau baar
Mann ko kaahe na moondiye, jaamein vish hai vikaar

Rough translation: What harm have the hair done, that you shave them a hundred times?
Why not shave your mind, which is filled with poisonous thoughts?

Executive summary: Think positive. Keep a clear mind.


Chinta aisi daakini, kaat kaleja khaaye
Vaid bichara kya karey, kahan tak dawa lagaye

Worry is like a bandit that eats into you. The doctor has no cure for it, and no medicines can heal it.

Executive summary: Don't worry, be happy.


Jab tu aaya jagat mein, log hanse tu roye
Aisi karni na kari, pachhe hanse sab koye

Rough translation: When you came to this world, everyone was happy while you cried. Don't do deeds that will make everyone happy that you're gone.

Executive summary: Think - how do you want to be remembered?


Kabir so dhan sanchiye, jo aage ko hoye
Sar chadhaaye potli, le jaat na dekhya koye

Rough translation: Kabir says – preserve the kind of wealth that will be with you in the road ahead. No one has ever taken a bundle of material wealth with them.

Executive summary: Cherish what will last forever.


Mala pherat jug bhaya, mita na mann ka pher
Kar ka manka chhod de, mann ka manka pher

Rough translation: Eons have passed rotating the beads of the rosary, but the mind remains restless. Give up the beads in the hand, and rotate the beads of your mind.

Executive summary: Your peace of mind is indeed, in your mind.

And finally... my favourite:

Bura jo dekhan main chala, bura na milya koi
Jo mann khoja apnaa, toh mujhse bura na koi

Rough translation: I went in search of vice, but I did not find anything. When I looked within myself, I found that there was no one as vile as me.

Executive summary: Don't judge others. You suck too.



50 comments:

Lekhni said...

That's a great post! I loved Kabir's dohas as a kid and I see you have some of my favorites..

I'll add one more:
Paani kera budbuda, ass maanas ki jaat
dekhat hi chip jaayegi, jyon tara parbhaat

Translation: Life's short!

Bivas said...

Sona Liya Main Chala, Doosra Naa Koi
Poochhat Kavi Bivas re, Humse aage hai Koi?
hehe...those Dohes reminded me of my school days for the second time today...I remember ratta lagaofying a few of the uncommon ones for the exams with the doha-saraansh!
Lol at TT "sitting hapless & strapped to her baby chair while her annoying mausi recites"...sometimes a li'l unscientific fact is good for kids...spoil 'em a bit :D

Sayesha said...

#Lekhni,
Thanks! :) The pani kera one is awesome too! I had a lot more in mind, but some have a religious inclination and I don't really identify with them. :) This for example:

Dukh mein simran sab karein, sukh mein karey na koye
Jo sukh mein simran karey, toh dukh kaahe ko hoye?


#Kavi Bivas,
WAH!! Kya doha likha hai! Sabki chhuti! :D

Arz kiya hai... :P

Bivas akela jaagat hai, baaki sab hain soye
Ab jiske haath lag jaawe, sona toh uska hi hoye
:D

//sometimes a li'l unscientific fact is good for kids...spoil 'em a bit :D

You're right yaar... sometimes I get ultra-paranoid about Aish growing up in Amreekan culture. Want her to know some Indian things. :)

manju said...

Great words indeed !!! Makes sense in any time frame.

Aparna Menon said...

Absolutely wonderful...you are awesome...!!

I remember learning these dohas at hindi pracahr sabha classes long back...but to come up with a short executive summary for each, it does require some considerable potential and passion...Good work girl!!!

DesiGirl said...

aww! abso super! i learnt some dohas in school but never realised the depth in them. this makes me wish i had!

may be aish would do - cos the beauty in the dohas are unparalleled, she might lose a lot if she is given just the executive summary.

rantravereflect said...

executive summary-
yeh hai youngistaan meri jaan!

i dun understand hindi all tat well, but yeah the rough translation of the dohas did teh desried job, n i loved the exec summ...
:)

Sanchit said...

Superb words !!!

The one that comes to my mind is...

Rahiman dhaaga prem ka, mat todo chatkaye
tode se fir jude na, jude gaanth pad jaaye

Its Rahim's or not 'm not sure... Just remember it... Maybe the truest one :)


n yeah the executive summary rocked

Vaibhav Patle said...

Brilliant. Kabir and Tulsidas were original thinkers. What depth they had. Amazing.
Guess their readings got lost in today's western world.

asha said...

hi sayesha,

loved this post. 11.30 pm and the parivar is retiring for the night. i head for the computer, which is in the clutches of my 14 yr old nerd. he drawls - mmmm! now amma will go on to gmail,orkut and sayesha.blogspot.
today he was hanging around and i called out to him and read him the dohas and their translations. he was very attentive and he told me that just today in his class (10th std vacation class) he was taught one. Dheere dheere re mana...
and he excitedly read the other dohas and their translations. we talked about these and boy! it was reassuring to know that he enjoyed it. maa beta bonding big time!!

asha said...

hi sayesha,

loved this post. 11.30 pm and the parivar is retiring for the night. i head for the computer, which is in the clutches of my 14 yr old nerd. he drawls - mmmm! now amma will go on to gmail,orkut and sayesha.blogspot.
today he was hanging around and i called out to him and read him the dohas and their translations. he was very attentive and he told me that just today in his class (10th std vacation class) he was taught one. Dheere dheere re mana...
and he excitedly read the other dohas and their translations. we talked about these and boy! it was reassuring to know that he enjoyed it. maa beta bonding big time!!

asha said...

hi sayesha,

loved this post. 11.30 pm and the parivar is retiring for the night. i head for the computer, which is in the clutches of my 14 yr old nerd. he drawls - mmmm! now amma will go on to gmail,orkut and sayesha.blogspot.
today he was hanging around and i called out to him and read him the dohas and their translations. he was very attentive and he told me that just today in his class (10th std vacation class) he was taught one. Dheere dheere re mana...
and he excitedly read the other dohas and their translations. we talked about these and boy! it was reassuring to know that he enjoyed it. maa beta bonding big time!!

Kanan said...

Good topic and Kabir dohas are just brilliant! It is the implementation of them that's the hardest.

Don't you think you're expecting too much of the little kiddo? Let her be in her twinkle little star world while she can. Because that won't be for too long, I feel. If possible, when around her, be like how Kabirji describes we should be. Once she grows up and understands these doha, may be there won't be a need to teach them to her? She'd have already seen it happen around her. Sorry, got a little serious here but your post just made me finish typing up an year old post that I had been thinking about and am still thinking actually...

Interesting & thought provoking!

Maryum said...

such a beautiful post ... i have never heard of these dohas.. but they are beautiful.. ur translation was soo easy to grasp.. and i guess everyone loved and enjoyed the post so much that no one even bothered to claim the gold. u have magical sayesha..
Thank you so much for being a part of my life.

asha said...

hi again

keyboard tantrum! hence the 3 entries

sorry for hogging the commmentwa page

sd said...

Bhai awsome post. Apart from the summaries, enjoyed reading these dohas after such a lomg time! My favourite are "Aisi vaani boliye...". I had not read "Jaise til mein.." before. Thanks.

Sayesha said...

#Manju,
Totally agree! :)

#Aparna,
Thank you. :)

#DesiGirl,
//may be aish would do - cos the beauty in the dohas are unparalleled, she might lose a lot if she is given just the executive summary.

I think so too. That's why I have the rough translation too. Sometimes even the translation doesn't do justice to the original doha. :)

#rantravereflect,
Thanks! :)

#Sanchit,
Yeah I think it's Rahim's... maybe I should write a part 2 of this post sometime - with Rahim's dohas! :)

#Vaibhav,
Yeah... that's why I want to keep some of them alive for my Amreekan niece. :)

#Asha,
Wow... what a lovely comment! Glad I helped the maa-beta bonding. Some day I hope this post will lead to some Sash-Ash bonding too! :)

#Kanan,
Thanks! :)

//Don't you think you're expecting too much of the little kiddo? Let her be in her twinkle little star world while she can.

Yup, I think you're right. :)

//If possible, when around her, be like how Kabirji describes we should be.

She lives halfway around the world and I think I will only see her once every few years... :(

#Maryum,
Thanks! :)

#Asha,
Hehehe... no problemwa! :P

#sd,
Thanks! :)

soleil said...

I agree, this is one wise guy! I like your executive summaries :)

Me said...

if only you were my hindi teacher...hmmm...

Padma said...

This post brought back old memories and just like baby Aish reciting the nursery rhymes, I read these Dohas, just for exams sake without giving much thought to it though the first doha I always remember but never succeeded in doing it!

Padma said...

I forgot to add. the executive comment is awesome!

A G said...

Say rocks!

You really do! I know you know that bt you've made my day by this post!

Kabir is a fav! and i was so happy to see my fav doha in there too...

bada hua toh.... (i use it in many ways though :D )

realistic dreamer said...

was reading it seriously,including your executive comments, but the last one " dont judge others, you suck too" brought a sudden smile :)
you SHOULD patent that line!

t said...

Lovely post after a long time :)

Illuminatus said...

My grandfather's favorite doha


Bada hua toh kya hua, jaise ped khajoor
Panthi ko chhaya nahin, phal laage ati door

RP said...

tu es une célébrité!! you write an article nd within 24 hours you get 24+ comments!!! Phew!

nice article... actually amazed that you could remember so many of his quotes. cool.

asuph said...

kya zamana aa gaya hai! dohas are warrenting executive summaries!! it's more like summary execution :p

j/k. your executive summary rocks.

cheers,
asuph

Sayesha said...

#Soleil,
WOW. You actually read all of them? I bow to your patience. Next stop - Bollywood movies eh? ;)

#Me,
Hehehe! :P

#Padma,
Thank you. :)

#A G,
Thanks! :)

#realistic dreamer,
//you SHOULD patent that line!

Hmm... I think you're right. I TOTALLY should! :P

#t,
Thanks! :)

#Illuminatus,
:)

#RP,
Thanks. :P

//actually amazed that you could remember so many of his quotes.

No yaar... I had to google some of them to find the exact words cos I only remembered the first line. :P

#asuph,
//kya zamana aa gaya hai! dohas are warrenting executive summaries!! it's more like summary execution :p

Hahaha! Kya karein... niece ki khaatir kya kya karna padta hai! :P

satish said...

sahin post bhai. ossum. i thot i wud know almost every doha, but i was wrong.

gud work.

Urv said...

/*
"SMS generation hai. Char line se zyada bol do toh lecture lagta hai."
*/

Tabhi to Kabir bhai sirf 2 liners likhte tha. Apne zamaane se kitta aage ki socha :D

Aethyr said...

u actually remembered all these or it was google god?

just to spoil her and give her some dohas from sms gen
'aaj kare so kaal kar, kaal kar se parson,
inti jaldi kya padi hai, abhi jeena hai barson' :D

and

'aaram badi cheez hai jaalim, muhn dhak kar soiye
kis kis ko yaad kijiye, kis kis ko roiye'


don't kill me for this :D

PS: hope all is well.

ursjina said...

wow..indeed u prove urself as a great editor..:)..i shud have been learning with one of those books u edit..

Sayesha said...

#Satish,
//i thot i wud know almost every doha, but i was wrong.

Hahahaha! Tu toh mahapaapi hai re... dohe yaad karke kya hoga? :P :P :P

#Urv,
Wah wah! Chal is hafta ka tera hafta waived! :D

#Aethyr,
Hahaha! Of course I had to google some! Especially for the exact words cos for some I only remembered the first line. :P

//don't kill me for this :D

Sheesh! Fyi, when Aish grows up, I may just had to delete your comment to remove the sms gen dohas. :P

#Ursjina,
//i shud have been learning with one of those books u edit..

Hey! How old do you think I am huh huh huh? You think I was already editing when you were in school eh? Ya allah! When you were a kid, so was I!! :D Maybe your kids will read the books I edit and write. :P

Nidhi said...

Hey Sayesha,
Nice post...even I love Kabir's wise dohas (truly said...they r way ahead of his time)
U've already mentioned one of my fav "bada bhaya toh kya bhaya..."

Another fav of mine..to add to ur list...

"nindak niyare raakhiye, aangan kuti chavaay
Bin paani saabun bina, nirmal kare subhaay"

Exec summary - Take criticism in a sporting manner. It only helps you to improve urself :)

Keep rocking!

Vaijayanta Chattoraj said...

I thought Amitabh Bachchan first said "Don't Worry Be Happy"= in the song he sung in some film in the 70s or 80s.

Sudipta Chatterjee said...

Bhai senti kar diya aap ne!

Thank you so much!

ursjina said...

hehe..lemme rephrase it..maybe ur edited books r timeless..how does dat sound for the female ego?

anand said...

hi sayz bhai...i m posting my comments after a long time..although i m a reguler visitor of this space.

truly amazing post...reminds me of my school days...which used to learn this for 5 marks...but makes so much pertinent today as well....

wud love to read the poet side of sayesha more often...

Lekhni said...

oh yes, I thought of the "Dukh mein sumiran" one too, but couldn't come up with a catchy executive summary. "Be grateful", perhaps?

But you're right, most are too philosophical to be funny.

Tarun said...

Bhai these are solid dohe ...
Madhushalla a personal favourite though.
Why did u not write those in hindi?
Bloggers have started giving Hindi script.
I meant the couplets could be in hindi while the exe summary could well be in English.
Is not a grudge but would be happier if u post a few dohe in Hindi next time.:)

Anil said...

Loved it.

deepdowne said...

thanks for doing something so different and innovative. The last one is the one I loved the most. A real classic! Who is more vile than me?? Thanks again.

chirag said...

useful thought....

technoxplorer said...

Hii sayesha,
can you explain the meaning of the following doha from tulsidas....

आवत ही हर्षे नही नैनन नही सनेह!
तुलसी तहां न जाइए कंचन बरसे मेह!!

I'm kinda stuck on this, and google didn't help,

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Arun said...

Dukh mein simran sab karein, sukh mein karey na koye
Jo sukh mein simran karey, toh dukh kaahe ko hoye?


Keep the same discipline (behave the same) in happiness and in sorrow.

There, no religious connotations!

Arun said...

technoxplorer:

Tulasidas says - where people are not happy at your arrival and their eyes show no affection for you - do not go there even if it rains gold.

-Arun

Divya said...

karat karat abhyaaske, jadmati hot sujan, rasri aawat jaat k sil par padat nisaan.

Trans:by studying many times, a poor student may also become topper, just like as a rope rubs the walls of a well, it also makes marks on the stone edge.

Executive summary: hard work always pays off.

shuks sajal said...

hey sayesha, good job done. i appreciate kabie as much as i do your efforts to revive & rmind of his teachings. here is another one...
guru gobind dou khade, kake lagoon paaye;
balihari guru aapne, gobind diyo bataye..
trans: Guru (teacher) is superior to God.
pothi padhat jag bhaya, bhaa na pandit koy;
dhai akhar prem ke, padhe so pandit hoye.
trans: Its important to know how to love to achieve wisdom.
Sai itna dijiye, jaame kutumb samaye;
main bhi bhookha na rahoon, sadhu na bhookha jaye.
trans: make me capable pf helping self & others.
after reading the blog i felt nostalgic and rang up my mom who taught me these dohas & it was she who recited again them for me.
thanks....

Divya said...

My Favorites:
Karat karat abhyas ke, jarmati hot Sujan, Rasri aawat jaat k sil par padat nisaan.

mati kahe kumhar se, tu ka khunde mohe, ek din aisa aawega ki mai khundungi tohe.