Key to the universe - a poem by Kabir

From time to time, Kabir departs from his usual blunt debunking style and instead, he weaves cryptic narratives. These mystifying compositions, such as "Brother I've seen some" and "How do you," bear the name ulatbamsi, signifying "poems in upside-down language." In these verses, the aim appears to be guiding the reader (or listener) towards fresh perspectives and perceptions. Often these poems end with a revelation that it is impossible to understand God, or by extension us and our destiny.  Like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan Sings, "Tum ik gorakh dhanda ho."

Gurbani also has similar verses. 

Tu Tu Karta Tu Hua


By Kabir
Translated by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra

Brother, I’ve seen some
Astonishing sights:
A lion keeping watch
Over pasturing cows;
A mother delivered
After her son was;
A guru prostrated
Before his disciple;
Fish spawning
On treetops;
A cat carrying away
A dog;
A gunny-sack
Driving a bullock-cart;
A buffalo going out to graze,
Sitting on a horse;
A tree with its branches in the earth,
Its roots in the sky;
A tree with flowering roots.

This verse, says Kabir,
Is your key to the universe.
If you can figure it out.

Read more about this poem and poet on the Poetry Foundation website: