Sep 14 2011

Kabir – The Lord is in Me

Published by at 8:27 am under Ivan's Story,Poetry

The Lord is in Me
by Kabir

English version by Andrew Harvey

The Lord is in me, and the Lord is in you,
As life is hidden in every seed.
So rubble your pride, my friend,
And look for Him within you.

When I sit in the heart of His world
A million suns blaze with light,
A burning blue sea spreads across the sky,
Life’s turmoil falls quiet,
All the stains of suffering wash away.

Listen to the unstruck bells and drums!
Love is here; plunge into its rapture!
Rains pour down without water;
Rivers are streams of light.

How could I ever express
How blessed I feel
To revel in such vast ecstasy
In my own body?

This is the music
Of soul and soul meeting.
Of the forgetting of all grief.
This is the music
That transcends all coming and going.

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

/ Photo by mtungate /

I spent much of my 20s in semi-retreat, meditating and fasting. I kept looking for more remote places to live. Thankfully, I have an adventurous wife who was a bit of a vagabond herself at that time. We moved up into the mountains of Colorado for several years until we decided we weren’t built for the intense winters up there. So why not go the opposite direction? We moved to Maui and rented a small ohana (cabin) up along the slopes of Haleakala. When I wasn’t working, I’d walk barefoot among the eucalyptus forests with my two dogs. I discovered a small cave hidden among the trees, not far from our place. It was just big enough for me to sit upright in. I’d hike there, sit and meditate, while my dogs roamed or napped nearby.

I don’t think of myself as claustrophobic, and this cave wasn’t deeply recessed, but feeling all that rock and earth, all that dense… silence, above my head and pressing in at my shoulders, would trigger an instinct to hop out and take a gulp of air. Meditation in a cave, within the embrace of the earth, can be like sitting with death, buried. Or in the womb, waiting to be born. Yet it is so profoundly quiet. When the body finally settles down and the sparks of mind calm, I would become so sweetly still and rooted.

Winter doesn’t have the same meaning in Hawaii as it does in much of the world, but it was there, in winter, my 32nd year, during a moment of spiritual desperation, that some part of me just… opened up. The person I normally thought of as “Ivan” ceased to be. And I was flooded with the most amazing sense of bliss and radiance. It rained down like cool water from above. Then it was like a flood. Then a warm fire glowing majestically in my heart. Everything, all the world, was quietly seated in my heart. That soft sound ringing at the base of the skull became a music that filled my awareness.

It was as if all my life I’d been a tight, cramped bud and assumed that was my nature. Then, in an instant, I’d blossomed — and found I was an entirely different, open being.

What stunned me most was that this heaven was flowering within me, not in someone else, not somewhere else. I knew what an unfocused mess my life — Ivan’s life — was, so how had this come to me? …But it hadn’t come to me. It’s simply what we are, what the whole universe is, beneath the surface appearances.

I remained steadily in that blissful space for several months. Normal social interactions, work, these were a challenge at first, but I slowly began to reconstruct an Ivan-like mask as a way to more easily interact with the world. I didn’t feel it was my role to remain withdrawn and floating in bliss. So I let it become a game, pretending to be Ivan. After a while, I noticed days when I wasn’t pretending anymore. Sometimes you wear a mask, sometimes you imagine yourself to be the mask. It’s now been ten years, with normal life dramas and the occasional crisis. Most days I am Ivan — a likable, intelligent, slightly flakey guy. Then some days I rediscover myself seated in such immense bliss where no simple identity can contain me.

I left my cave. We left Maui and returned to Colorado (but not back up in the mountains). I think of this as when I returned to the world. Or maybe it was my first time entering the world, since I’d spent my whole life up until then trying to run from it. I brought with me my love of poetry, my love of the human journey, and some extra bliss to hand out when no one’s looking…


Try re-reading this poem by Kabir now–

The Lord is in me, and the Lord is in you…

When I sit in the heart of His world
A million suns blaze with light…

Listen to the unstruck bells and drums!

Rains pour down without water…

To revel in such vast ecstasy…

I hope you can see that language like this is not simply an artistry of lovely words. This uplifting imagery is a technical language, very precise, describing something very real.

This is the blossoming that every soul craves as the natural expression of its nature.


Much love! Have a beautiful day!

Kabir, Kabir poetry, Muslim / Sufi poetry Kabir

India (15th Century) Timeline
Muslim / Sufi
Yoga / Hindu

Kabir is not easily categorized as a Sufi or a Yogi — he is all of these. He is revered by Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs. He stands as a unique, saintly, yet very human, bridge between the great traditions that live in India. Kabir says of himself that he is, “at once the child of Allah and Ram.”

He was born in Varanasi (Benares), India, probably around the year 1440 (though other accounts place his birth as early as 1398), to Muslim parents. But early in his life Kabir became a disciple of the Hindu bhakti saint Ramananda. It was unusual for a Hindu teacher to accept a Muslim student, but tradition says the young Kabir found a creative way to overcome all objections.

The story is told that on one particular day of the year, anyone can become a disciple by having a master speak the name of God over him. It is common for those who live near the Ganges to take their morning bath there in the sacred waters. The bhakti saint Ramananda took his bath as he did every day, by arising before dawn. On this special day, Ramananda awoke before dawn and found his customary way down to the steps of the Ganges. As he was walking down the steps to the waters, a little hand reached out in the predawn morning and grabbed the saint’s big toe. Ramananda was taken by surprise and he expressed his shock by calling out the name of God. Looking down he saw in the early morning light the hand of the young Kabir. After his bath in the early light he noticed that on the back of the little one’s hand was written in Arabic the name Kabir.  He adopted him as son and disciple and brought him back to his ashrama, much to the disturbance of his Hindu students, some of whom left in righteous protest.

It is said that what really made this meeting the most special is that in this case it, was only after Kabir’s enlightenment that Ramananda, his teacher, became enlightened.

Not much is known about what sort of spiritual training Kabir may have received. He did not become a sadhu or rununciate. Kabir never abandoned worldly life, choosing instead to live the balanced life of a householder and mystic, tradesman and contemplative. Kabir was married, had children, and lived the simple life of a weaver.

Although Kabir labored to bring the often clashing religious cultures of Islam and Hinduism together, he was equally disdainful of professional piety in any form. This earned him the hatred and persecution of the religious authorities in Varanasi. Nearing age 60, he was denounced before the king but, because of his Muslim birth, he was spared execution and, instead, banished from the region.

He subsequently lived a life of exile, traveling through northern India with a group of disciples. In 1518, he died at Maghar near Gorakhpur.

One of the most loved legends associated with Kabir is told of his funeral. Kabir’s disciples disputed over his body, the Muslims wanting to claim the body for burial, the Hindus wanting to cremate the body. Kabir appeared to the arguing disciples and told them to lift the burial shroud. When they did so, they found fragrant flowers where the body had rested. The flowers were divided, and the Muslims buried the flowers while the Hindus reverently committed them to fire.

More poetry by Kabir

11 responses so far

11 Responses to “Kabir – The Lord is in Me”

  1. tikkaweeroon 14 Sep 2011 at 1:00 pm

    see the clouds up high,
    not one word helped them get there.

  2. Old Oakon 14 Sep 2011 at 2:23 pm

    Dear Ivan,

    Welcome, fellow traveller!

  3. kairavaon 14 Sep 2011 at 4:07 pm

    Ivan, thank you for your beautiful, illumining comments. You have managed to convey so much of yourself and your experience in the story.
    Blessings to you for it all, the slightly flakey and the majestically blissfull ……

  4. Suzanneon 14 Sep 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Re your thought of the day:”Find the holy heart of the moment.” What a beautiful way to say this.Brings tears to my eyes because it makes me realise, right now, how so very precious a moment is and that I should put into it all my very best and the most Love I have, that I am able to give to it. Wow! Thank you Yvan XX •✿♥Ӝ♥✿•
    Tikkaweero your clouds are beautiful !

  5. emineon 14 Sep 2011 at 11:59 pm

    Dear Ivan, thank you for the poem, thank you for your commentary, they are beautiful…I wish with all my heart that we are all granted the grace to find the Lord within us, that we open up and blossom in this lifetime. Thank you for sharing your experience, it’s very inspiring and touching…


  6. Constanceon 15 Sep 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Exquisite, exquisite ~~
    yet so down-to-earth
    and gentle
    thanks & thanks & ever thanks

  7. joanhannahon 16 Sep 2011 at 10:39 am

    I LOVE this!! IT’s incredible. I write spiritual poetry myself, love Rumi of course. Please continue to send more poems, writings, etc.Thank you.

  8. Barbon 16 Sep 2011 at 5:48 pm

    Oh Ivan, how touched I feel after reading your story of Awakening to the Awareness of your SELF….Glory be to Ivan
    How geat is your glory
    For under your garments
    There is God
    Nothing but God

    Thank you so much for sharing your Godself with all of us.

  9. David Patrickon 20 Sep 2011 at 3:27 am

    Unvieled “Love” visited me like this. I have never been able to doubt Love/God/Heaven/Beauty …at least not for long or in the same ways, since

  10. jagwanton 22 Sep 2011 at 4:26 am

    Greetingh to all of you fellow travellers. You all also add on so much to what Ivan has to say. And ofcourse all strength to you, Ivan.

  11. Lakshmion 24 Sep 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Hi Ivan
    Reading what you had written, I just wanted to share my belief with you.
    The Bhagvad Gita tells us,
    ‘God can be seen not only with eyes closed in meditation,
    but also with eyes open at the time of work’.
    Lakshmi Bhat

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