Power to Change

Kabiriyat – Episode 11 – Power to Change

By Dr. Ashwini Mokashi

Saint Kabir’s poem, Man na rangaye, Jogi, Kapada rangaye, talks about how we have the power to change our lives by controlling our minds. I found this poem mainly on the internet, so I could not go to the source. But if someone in the audience knows the source, please let me know.

Poem of Saint Kabir

तन को जोगी सब करे, मन को करे ना कोई,

सहजे सब सिद्धि पाइए, जो मन जोगी होय ।

हम तो जोगी मन ही के, तन के हैं ते और,

मन को जोग लगावता, दशा भई कछु और ॥

 मन ना रंगाए जोगी,कपड़ा रंगाए,

मन ना फिराए जोगी,मनका फिराए,

मन ना रंगाए जोगी,कपड़ा रंगाए |

 आसन मार गुफा में बैठे,मनवा चहुँ दिस ध्याये,

भव तारट घट बीच बिराजे,

खोजें तीरथ जाए,

मन ना रंगाए जोगी,कपड़ा रंगाए |

 पोथी बांचे,याद करावे,

भगति कहूं नहीं पाये,

मनका मनका फेरे नाही,

तुलसी माल फिराए फिराए,

मन ना रंगाए जोगी,कपड़ा रंगाए |

 जोगी होके जागा नाही,

चौरासी भरमाये,

जोग-जुगत सो दास कबीरा,

अलख निरंजन पाये,

मन ना रंगाए जोगी,कपड़ा रंगाए |



An ascetic does not paint their mind; they paint the cloth. A Yogi does not let loose their mind but controls their desires. People enjoy beautifying their external appearance, but not their internal mind. Those who decorate their mind and make them beautiful receive many psychic powers. The Yogis have influential minds, while the others focus on their attractive bodies. When the mind becomes powerful, our life changes for the better. People sit in yoga poses in a cave but let loose their minds in all directions. When we sit stable in this world, it is like an experience of going on a pilgrimage. We may be reading a spiritual book and even learning it by heart, but if we never know how to do Bhakti or devotion to God, there is no way to control the mind, no matter how many beads someone has used meditating. There is no point if a person hasn’t woken up on the spiritual path despite being a meditator. The pathway to God has taken the disciple Kabir to the highest goal of meeting God and being one with Alakh Niranjan. (Alakh Niranjan is God or Self or the Atman, that cannot be seen. It is a term used by the Nath Yogis.)


Spiritual Interpretation:

 While many people love to adorn their bodies and feel beautiful, it only serves a minimal purpose of looking appropriate for the time being. However, when we try to decorate our mind with good thoughts, control the mind to stay focused on our goal, and meditate with devotion, one’s mind has the potential to seek God, feel the supreme power, and relish life in ways that one can only imagine.

This message is straightforward, but the difficulty lies in that we cannot put our arms around it. The abstractness of the concept makes us not fully comprehend the concepts. We admire the saints like Kabir, but we do not believe that we can be like him. We respect the leaders of society, but we feel restrained in our daily lives. Saint Kabir gives us the key to changing the course of our lives, which is to control the mind from going in various directions, focus on Bhakti and devotion and see how one can gain powers enough to know God. As the Vedanta puts it, knowing Brahman is becoming Brahman.

For the Bhakti saints, doing Bhakti to obtain Moksha was a good goal for anyone. Life is a teacher, and all the experiences in life teach us new skills, guide us to reach our purpose in life, and open the doors for Moksha.


Modern Relevance:

The poem reminds us of our power to change the course of our lives by controlling our minds, training our minds to change, and transforming us to focus on our goals in life. It enables us to experience a higher level of vibrations, energy, joy, and happiness.

Normally we feel stuck in life, when we refuse to accept things as they are and attach negative emotions to the outcomes of the world. Then we experience sadness, grief, helplessness, and feel hapless. Whereas if we were to accept even bad things in life as something out of our control, we could apply our mental power to transform things into something better. A slight change in our attitude and habits can help us turn in the right direction. It will slowly but surely get us to our goal.

Our challenges and tough times remind us that we can learn new life-skills from these difficult situations. We can overcome them and get to the next level of joy and happiness.


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