कबीर मन निर्मल भया, जैसे गंगा नीर
पीछे पीछे हर फिरे, कहत कबीर कबीर
Kabir Mann Nirmal Bhaya, Jaise Ganga Neer
Peechhe Peechhe har fire, kahat Kabir Kabir
Clean your heart and mind, as River Ganga does
The world comes after you, chanting Kabir Kabir
This Kabir Saakhi has had an immense impact on me and every time I read it, it throws a new angle and new light to interpret it.
To understand this let us understand the word निर्मल – it is made of two words Ni + Mal. Ni means without or a prefix that negates. Mal means the excreta or the waste that the body throws out. So Kabir is talking about making your mann i.e. your heart and mind Nirmal i.e. without mal or without any filth.
Read More – Who is Kabir?
He gives an analogy with Ganga in this Sakhi – Kabir Mann Nirmal Bhaya. The inherent nature of Ganga is ( or maybe was) that it had self-cleaning properties. No matter what was thrown into it, it cleans itself. It does not do anything to others – it just cleans itself. It cleans itself of any filth that people leave in her. For this very reason, everyone runs to Ganga and chants Ganga, Ganga.
So, in essence, Kabir is saying – you clean yourself just as the River Ganga cleans itself and the world will come running after you. Not because you can offer them something, but because you can let them leave their filth at your doorstep and still be clean. Cleanliness can be taken literally as well as metaphorically where it can stand for strength of character.
Read More – Bhakti Dravid Upaji – Kabir Saakhi
It can also be interpreted as – irrespective of what you receive from the world – you should build the capability to clean yourself. The world will come and give you filth every now and then, your inherent character should not get impacted by that filth, at least not for a long time.
Read More – Man Lagyo Mero Yaar Fakiri Mein
When I look at all the great artists, scientists, scholars, achievers and observe their journeys, all they do is keep improving themselves and all otherworldly things like success, money, fame start piling around them. They are focussed on improving themselves – removing any flaws that exist in their craft one by one. In doing so, they create a magnetic power that attracts others to them. Think of the famous sportspersons or actors or even businessmen, all they are doing is improving themselves every day, bit by bit.
Read More – Kabir by Hazari Prasad Dwivedi
It also conveys that you focus on yourself, and let the world do what it wants to. It puts the onus of your quality of life on you irrespective of how the world is.
Word ‘Har‘ in the second line can also be interpreted as Hari – a word that Kabir commonly uses for God. Here he means to get Hari too, you need to clean yourself. Once you clean yourself, you would not have to run here and there searching for Hari, but Hari will come running after you – chanting your name.
If you have an interpretation of this Saakhi, please share.