My body is flooded

by Kabir

English version by Andrew Harvey
Original Language Hindi

My body is flooded
With the flame of Love.
My soul lives in
A furnace of bliss.

Love's fragrance
Fills my mouth,
And fans through all things
With each outbreath.

-- from Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from Sufi Wisdom, by Andrew Harvey / Eryk Hanut

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

This brief, beautiful poem by Kabir feels like it should be repeated during meditation. At first it is a sort of affirmation; it becomes a map, then it becomes actual experience.

My body is flooded
With the flame of Love.


With deep opening, there is a sense of being flooded or even overwhelmed by waves of heat, like flames or a fever. This is felt both on physical and subtle levels. These are the "flames of Love" that flood the body. When you relax into this awareness, the experience is not painful but one of indescribably peaceful delight. This is Kabir's "furnace of bliss."

My soul lives in
A furnace of bliss.


And it is in this furnace, this divine alchemical fire, where the "soul lives." It takes deep stillness and clarity to recognize it, but the soul is always at home within this warm embrace. This is where the soul is seated in perpetual rest, in this sacred, transformative warmth -- whether or not we are too distracted to notice.

Love's fragrance
Fills my mouth


Often accompanying the awareness of blissful heat is a sense of a very subtle, wonderfully sweet flavor in the mouth, at the back of the throat. This taste is so subtle that it could be described as a "fragrance," something just barely tasted, yet imprinting itself indelibly upon the awareness.

And fans through all things
With each outbreath.


In this state, when the awareness is turned inward, it is in bliss; when turned outward, there is only the unifying awareness of love. This is what Kabir means when he says, "Love's fragrance... fans through all things / with each outbreath." When we breathe out, when we turn the unified awareness outward, then the perfume of that bliss is carried outward and seen to permeate everything one's perception touches. This leads to a sort of supreme Self-recognition in all things: There is bliss within and bliss without, there is only bliss flowing everywhere, through everything. You yourself are not separate from That. This recognition is the mystic's Love. It is the recognition of unity, the "fanning" of one's identity, the pouring of oneself, one's breath and presence, into all things, with an unhindered and equal flow in return.

Kabir is giving us a map, a grand path of Love that endlessly circles between the inner and outer:

Love (outer) -- flood, flame -- Bliss (inner) -- flavor, fan -- Love (outer)



Recommended Books: Kabir

The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from Sufi Wisdom Islamic Mystical Poetry: Sufi Verse from the Early Mystics to Rumi Songs of the Saints of India One Hundred Poems of Kabir: Translated by Rabindranath Tagore
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My body is flooded