“If You Find Me” by Hasan Askari

Muslims thought that Kabir was a Muslim. Hindus regarded him as Hindu. But he was independent of them both.

When the hour of his death drew near, the Muslims asked him whether he would prefer to be buried. He replied: If you find me. Hindus asked whether he would like to be cremated. He replied to them also: If you find me!

When that moment came, Kabir locked himself in his room. When it was opened, there were just a few flowers lying on his bed!

Kabir once cooked some bread, and as he sat down at his doorstep to eat, a stray dog came from nowhere and took away that bread from his plate. He ran after the dog with a cake of butter in his hand saying: Take the butter as well, for the bread will taste good with the butter. The people who saw this ridiculous sight started wondering that Kabir had gone mad. Yes, he said, Kabir is gone mad exactly as copper goes mad and turns to gold in the hand of the alchemist, or as an ordinary tree starts smelling sweet in the company of a sandal-tree, or as a river goes mad when it merges with the sea.

Kabir also said: A servant is his servanthood should be like a stone lying on the road. But it should not be so, he later corrected himself, for in that case it will injure the travellers. The servant should then be like dust. No, he said, this also is not proper, for it will rest on the hands and the feet of the travellers. The servant should then be like the lord. But of what use, he questioned, for the lord has power over all things. The servant, in truth, should be unable to do anything.

Baba Lal, one of the disciples of Kabir, once said to *Dara Shikoh: The Masters are of four kinds: Some are like gold and they, like gold, cannot transform others into gold; some are like the alchemists; whoever comes into contact with them turns into gold; some are like sandal-trees, and whosoever remains in their company becomes like them, and some are like the lamps from which thousand lamps are lighted.

(Alone to Alone: From Awareness to Vision, by Hasan Askari)

*Dara Shikoh: eldest son of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan builder of the Taj Mahal)