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Songs of Kabir

4.22  ·  Rating Details  ·  477 Ratings  ·  42 Reviews
"Kabir's poems give off a marvelous radiant intensity." — The New York Times Book Review.A weaver by trade and a mystic by nature, the 15-century poet Kabir created timeless works of enlightenment that combine the philosophies of Sufism, Hinduism, and the Kabbala. Expressed in imagery drawn from common life and the universal experience, Kabir's poems possess an appealing s ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published February 2nd 2004 by Dover Publications (first published 1518)
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Pramod Nair
Sep 02, 2015 Pramod Nair rated it really liked it
DANCE, my heart! dance to-day with joy.
The strains of love fill the days and the nights with music, and the world is listening to its melodies:
Mad with joy, life and death dance to the rhythm of this music. The hills and the sea and the earth dance. The world of man dances in laughter and tears.
Why put on the robe of the monk, and live aloof from the world in lonely pride?
Behold! my heart dances in the delight of a hundred arts; and the Creator is well pleased.

The Songs of Kabir’, translat
Sanjay Gautam
Aug 02, 2014 Sanjay Gautam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ultimate translation in english i have ever read.
Judy Croome
Jun 09, 2012 Judy Croome rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystics, spiritual seekers
I downloaded this free Kindle edition with some trepidation, expecting what I paid...nothing. Instead, as I became fascinated with Evelyn Underhill’s erudite and detailed introduction to this edition, translated by the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore, I realised I’d stumbled on a gem.

The introduction is essential to gaining a deeper understanding of the lyrical, mystical poems that follow. Reading it again after one has read the SONGS OF KABIR deepens both the enjoyment of the introduction it
There was a time when my naive, religious little self would’ve found comfort in these poems.

Today, however, they rang hollow.

Basically this is a beautiful collection of words, but its purpose remains useless to me. Many poems that began with an engaging start ultimately ended with ‘Lord this’ and ‘Lord that’—my nonexistent archenemy.

Frankly, my nihilistic brain doesn’t have time for this nonsense.
Mary-Jean Harris
These are beautiful, joyful poems. They're calming and enlightening to read. Kabir's insights about the unity of God and the follies of many other religions, and also the truths in all of them, is really great and quite modern for that time period. This is the kind of book you could take off your shelf and read a few poems and feel happy and peaceful for the rest of the day.
I wish this edition had a glossary though, because there were some words related to certain religions that I didn't underst
Oct 12, 2014 Bella rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been reading Osho's book. What is said in this book is parallel to what Rabindranath Tagore is saying. Only a mystic could really know a mystic
Apr 25, 2011 Michelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I stumbled upon this copy as a free book for the kindle. I could not have stumbled upon it at a better time. A young man very close to my son had just taken his life a couple of days prior to me reading this. The young man was a beautiful reckless spirit who had a deep love for music. He was a talented musician and his voice will live on in his recordings. The Songs of Kabir helped me to not dwell on my tears and stopped me from internalizing and twisting the events of the week into something pe ...more
Jul 19, 2011 Nick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every now and then I run across someone who seems to have figured it all out -- and by 'it' I mean life, death, the universe, meaning, all that stuff. The Songs of Kabir are astonishing. In the 1400s, when everyone else was killing each other over religious strife, Kabir was writing celebratory songs about the emptiness of religious dogma and the importance of finding meaning underneath all the superficial things that trouble us from day to day. We don't know much about him or his circumstances ...more
Barnaby Thieme
This collection of lovely and inoffensive poems is most striking to me for its unusual syncretism of Hindu and Sufi styles, generally adopting a standard nondualistic and apophatic view of the former, and embracing the ecstatic use of love-imagery of the latter. This syncretism is rarely explicitly thematized, as in this verse:

O Servant, where dost thou seek Me?
Lo! I am beside thee.
I am neither in temple nor in mosque: I am neither in Kaaba nor in Kailash:
Neither am I in rites and ceremonies, n
Sam Marlowe
Dec 18, 2013 Sam Marlowe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poetic verses of one of the leading saints of the Bhakti era. Excellent foreword and Tagore' s translation makes it very much possible to enjoy the colloquial wisdom of Kabir in the Anglo-Saxon tongue.
Doutor Branco
Nov 30, 2014 Doutor Branco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lidos-em-2014
Jul 14, 2016 Alina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 4.5

Kabir’s poems are truly fascinating because they form an interesting combination between Sufism and Hinduism. In this poetry collection you will find the well-known mystic metaphors depicting the transcendental bond between the mystic and God (the guru and the disciple, the Bridegroom and the bride, the Lord and the slave), the ecstasy or the longing for the presence of the Divine Teacher, Comrade or Fakir to whose feet the lover bows obediently.

But here the Lord is Brahma, who reveal
Michelle Despres
My first exposure to Kabir.

I liked:
-- This edition - its preface and introduction, clear citation of source texts, and notes throughout.
-- It didn't leave the reader on his/her own. It felt as though there were a guide for the journey.
-- Being exposed to a different way of translating.

I wasn't captured by Kabir as I expected to be. If the poems were to stand alone, it's likely an "it was ok."

You should know:
-- These are translations and modern interpretations (maybe not the right word). Mehro
May 05, 2012 اویس rated it really liked it
"KABÎR says: "O Sadhu! hear my deathless words. If you want your own good, examine and consider them well.
You have estranged yourself from the Creator, of whom you have sprung: you have lost your reason, you have bought death.
All doctrines and all teachings are sprung from Him, from Him they grow: know this for certain, and have no fear.
Hear from me the tidings of this great truth!
Whose name do you sing, and on whom do you meditate? O, come forth from this entanglement!
He dwells at the heart of
Keith Willcock
Oct 10, 2012 Keith Willcock rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Born around 1440 in Banares, India of Muslim parents, Kabir became a disciple of Ramananda, a Hindu ascetic, whose teachings represented a move away from strict Hindu orthodoxy and toward "a religion of love."

He attempted, quite successfully, to bring together the best of Mohammedan mysticism and Hinduism in a unique appeal to our hearts and this book reflects that very much. His poems range from an ethereal quest for the Absolute to intimate personal conversations with his inner God-Self.

I find
M Beal
Mar 02, 2015 M Beal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015, poetry
This is not the first time I have read this. Rabindranath Tagore received the Nobel prize for his translation. Beautiful words that sink into my skin. I do not read much poetry but this little volume was a wonderful gift from a friend. I will keep it and read it over and over.
Suresh Belgundi
Dec 30, 2014 Suresh Belgundi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great book. Though a small one, it is a must read. This generation isn't aware of Kabir. This book connected me to him. I will try reading all his original writings in Hindi.
Scott Whitney
Jul 24, 2015 Scott Whitney rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There is much wisdom in the book and I was very happy I chose to read it. I really like how much of the wisdom in the poetry transcends the religions of the area he was in.
Feb 13, 2014 Dustyloup rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
So very wise nuggets in here, though it may be hard for some to separate the wheat from the chaff. I'm looking forward to reading another translation to get a different perspective on the work.
May 16, 2016 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual, poetry, 2016
Quick read. Half the book was an introductory explanation of Kabir. And the poems are so direct and colloquial! Lovely.
Katie Daniels
May 23, 2016 Katie Daniels rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: india
Pretty much the most beautiful thing since Gitanjali.
Oct 04, 2012 B.e. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably a bit harsh on my part, but to be clear this is the translation of Arvind Krishna Mehrotra. Naturally, there are gems; however, the style is very, very colloquial and a bit cutesy with anachronisms abounding. I prefer Tagore's translation. That being said, many find Tagore a bit stuffy by today's standards. If a person doesn't cringe from contemporary poetry in free verse, s/he will probably get a fair bit out of it. If you like how Coleman Barks renders Rumi more than the efforts of Ni ...more
Taymara Stephania  Jagmohan
beautiful poetry
From Chandrahas' very good WSJ review: "Mr. Mehrotra is one of those translators who is not just a facilitator of the original, but almost a competitor...At many points in this book his use of a clipped, colloquial idiom ("Friend/ You had one life/ And you blew it"; or "I've taken a shine to this thug") perfectly realizes Kabir's tart message. Mr. Mehrotra's bucking, slangy versions attempt ambitiously to make Kabir sound in English as Kabir must have sounded to the Hindustani audiences of his d ...more
6-29-11I've savored this book slowly as it spoke to my soul on almost every page. Kabir was a l5th century mystic, a weaver by trade, born into a Moslem family and influenced by the Sufis, but also by the Hindus in his native India, as well as the Jewish Kabbala. These poems convey the wisdom of the ages from a passionate lover of God.

Jun 04, 2012 Ania rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysticism
My edition of this book had far too many errors, and I suspect bad translation, hence I wasn't able to enjoy it as much as I hoped I would. However, I particularly enjoyed the introduction by Evelyn Underhill.
I read the translations of Robert Bly. I was 16. I thought they were the best translations ever. Because I thought Robert Bly was the greatest poet ever. Because I had met him, heard him read, and had him critique my poems.

Later, I met Kabir. Different guy.
Chandra Bhushan Kasera
Read the free e-book copy of the book on my phone... didn't have much expectations but turned out pretty impressive.. Some quotes are brilliant... and it feels the book is talking to your soul...One of the few books which I would like to read again.
Amaan Ahmad
Mar 04, 2014 Amaan Ahmad rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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NYRB Classics: Songs of Kabir 1 7 Oct 30, 2013 06:34PM  
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Kabīr was a mystic poet and saint of India, whose writings have greatly influenced the Bhakti movement. The name Kabir comes from Arabic al-Kabīr which means "The Great" – the 37th name of God in Islam. Kabir's legacy is today carried forward by the Kabir panth ("Path of Kabir"), a religious community that recognises him as its founder and is one of the Sant Mat sects. Its members, known as Kabir ...more
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“You have left Your Beloved and are thinking of others:
and this is why your work is in vain.”
“Whether I be in the temple or in the balcony, in the camp or the flower garden, I tell you truly that every moment my Lord is taking His delight in me.” 7 likes
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