For a long time, I was wondering why does Kabira cries when he observes stone-powered grinding machine working.

What is in the two stones that is making kabira so emotional, so sad. What had he find in that spinning piece of stones.

If you love listening, I fetched a youtube video that recites these beautiful verses.

चक्की चलती देख कर दिया कबीर रोई ।

दो पाटन के बीच में साबित बचा ना कोई ।।

Hinglish

Chakki chalti dekh kar diya kabira roye

Do patan ke beech mein saabit bachaa na koye

English

Looking at the grinding stones, Kabir laments

In the duel of wheels, nothing stays intact.

I had found good reference of various metaphorical translations of these words from https://www.boloji.com/doha-details/1/chalti-chakki-dekh-kar. I would suggest you to read that post and it’s discussion to get enlightened by various ideas.


I would try to bind my understanding of these phrase.

First, let’s go step by step:

  1. Chakki chalti - the continuous cycle

  2. dekh kar - observing and watching

  3. diya kabira roye - kabira is crying.

  4. do paatan - two stones (duality)

  5. ke beech mein - in the middle of

  6. saabit - proof, evident, alive

  7. bacha na koye - no one is left

Chakki is a grinding machine made of two stones with a hole with a rod in the middle. Basically, it is used by women in Indian villages in remote areas to produce wheat flour out of wheat seeds. Have a look of it:

Kabira had find a woman grinding wheat from two stones, which makes Kabira emotional. He sees the duality and it’s effect in it. He is crying because all those wheat grains (all those who are born) would be stuck in the cycle of two stones (cycle of duality) and would be vanished (their self would be erased from the world).

What is duality?

Kabira is laying emphasis on the word two stones (दो पाटन) i.e dual aspects or duality (द्वैत - dwait) and it’s continuous cycle (चलती चक्की).

Anything that belongs to this world has two aspects, this is the duality.

Examples:

  • man and woman
  • birth and death
  • happiness and sadness
  • sky and land/sea/earth
  • day and night
  • sun and moon
  • ego and emotions
  • speaking and listening
  • falling and floating

Basically everything in this world is dual (द्वैत - dwait).

Duality is the place of all sufferings.

Whenever I mention freedom, it’s this spiritual freedom I’m talking about, it’s this freedom that all saints have been talking about, it’s this freedom we see Mohammad, Christ, Krishna, Nanak, Buddha, Mahavira, Kabira, Sufis and seekers have walked and pointed us. It’s the freedom from duality, the cycle of duality. It’s also refered liberation and nirvana is many context.

Kabira is crying because he is continuously saying everyone here would vanish in this duality and no one is being able to truly understand Kabira’s lessons of advait (अद्वैत - freedom from duality). Everyone is stuck in this cycle (of birth and death, of repetition of duality). Kabira is sad because the world doesn’t understand the importance of liberation.

Duality is also Maya (the illusions of the world).


Is there any way out of duality?

Seeing Kabira cry over the grinding and vanishing of every grain into flour, the woman griding over it tells Kabira that not all grains would vanish, some would be left intact.

This amuses Kabira, how can any grain escape this cycle of two stones (duality)!

Let’s see

दूरा दूरा जो रहे, पीस पीस आँटा होय ।

शरणा लेवे कील का, बाल ना बाँका होय ।।

Hinglish

Dura dura jo rahe, pees pees aata hoye

Sharna leve keel ka, baal na banka hoye

English

Those grains that stays far away would be grinded

But not even a single hair would be damaged of those which take the shelter of middle rod.

Let’s decipher this words by words:

  1. dura dura - far away

  2. jo rahe - one who lives/exists

  3. pees pees - by grinding hardly

  4. aata hoye - is converted into wheat flour

  5. sharna - shelter/homage

  6. leve - one who takes/asks

  7. keel ka - of the rod (middle rod of grinding wheel)

  8. baal na baanka hoye - not even a hair is tangled (no damage is caused)

Kabira is metaphorically indicating us that, if you had seen your life being wasted ahead, you should take shelter of someone who had already had crossed this viscious cycle of Maya and duality or someone who is so strong, that duality can’t touch them.

Kabira wants you to find your guru (one who eliminates your ignorance) yourself who can help you cross this duality and surrender yourself completely to him. If you don’t find any guru, surrender yourself to Ram (the strong, the rod, the ultimate truth) and duality can’t touch you. By Ram, he is not pointing to the one linked with the domain of Ayodhya as in Ramayana, but something more abstract than him, something that is out of the world and hence out of the duality. That Ram is another word for Love seeped in yourself.

One who truly finds Ram and takes his homage (by sacrificing himself completely, i.e. body, mind and soul) is immediately liberated and they become fearless. Even time can’t harm him as time is bound by duality and Ram and his lovers are not.