There is nothing but water
at the holy bathing places;
and I know that they are useless,
for I have bathed in them.
The images are all lifeless, they cannot speak;
I know, for I have cried aloud to them.
The Purana and the Koran are mere words;
lifting up the curtain, I have seen.
Kabir gives utterance to the words of experience;
and he knows very well that all other things are untrue.
I laugh when I hear
that the fish in the water is thirsty:
you do not see that the real is in your home,
and you wander from forest to forest listlessly!
Here is the truth! Go where you will, to Banaras or to Mathura;
if you do not find your soul,
the world is unreal to you.
Man’s quest for the truth is eternal. It is a long pilgrimage without any beginning. Though it comes to an end, it has no beginning. We have been searching and searching and searching; our search has continued through the centuries, sometimes in one form, sometimes in another form. Even those who don’t seem to be consciously searching for truth, they too are searching. Man’s very being is a search for the truth.
That is the agony of man – and the glory too. No other animal is in search, all other animals are contented as they are. The dog is a dog, and he is not trying to become anything else, there is no becoming. The dog is perfectly satisfied; he’s at ease. There is no pilgrimage, he is not going anywhere, there is no future. And so is it the case with every other animal.
Man is a strange animal, very odd, and the strangeness is that he is never satisfied; discontent is his very soul. He is moving; he is dynamic, he is not static. He is a flow, a river searching for the ocean – sometimes knowingly, sometimes not so knowingly, but the search continues. It is in the very being of man to be a seeker, to be a searcher; man cannot be otherwise.
Friedrich Nietzsche has said that man is a rope stretched between two eternities, the eternity of nature and the eternity of God. Man is a bridge. You cannot rest while you are a man, you have to go. For a while you may rest, but rest cannot become your life; you have to go – because man is not a being, man is a process.
The dog has a being, and the rock also has a being, but man has no being yet; the being has to come, the being has to flower, the being has to be achieved. Man is very paradoxical: he is, and yet he is not. That is the tension, the anguish, the anxiety: How to be?
A constant abyss surrounds humanity, and man is always facing the bottomless abyss and always afraid of not being, because he is not yet. Man is a promise: he can be, but he is not yet – so there is hope and there is fear, there is possibility and there is apprehension. It may happen, it may not happen, so man is never in certainty.