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प्रह्लाद सिंह टिपानिया : अनहद में विश्राम (हिंदी में)

In the journey of love, there is no failure, only grace and oneness

Here are some nuggets from our recent Awakin Talks with Prahlad Tipanya ji, a deeply devoted Kabir artist. In company, was also his wife Shanti ji.

Grateful for the many opportunities we get to come together in inquiry and action around kindness, service and love.

On early life and family background --

  • His father was a bonded labourer, used to work for 5rs monthly wage. He wanted to be a doctor. But one day an uncle advised him against it saying “you may not be able to become a doc”.
  • Regarding his studies, he had to leave BSc after 1 year, because there were no roads to reach the college. He used to walk 13-14 kms on foot daily to reach the college.
  • Someone suggested that Prahladji go and sit for an exam for becoming a government school teacher. The exam centre was 1 hour away from the village in which he lived. He ended up reaching 30mins late for a 1 hour exam. The examiner wasn’t allowing him in, but by some stroke of grace, the school principal was walking out of the examination centre and he somehow allowed him to sit for the exam. It was not very tough. In 20mins, he finished it. He got 11th place. In 1975, he was appointed to a middle school after 1 year of training.
  • Later on in his life, he studied LLB also. But by that time, he was deeply into music, to share the wisdom of Kabir and other saints. His interest in studies started weaning.

On first exposure to Tamboora
  • So in the village where Prahladji used to work, people would sing bhajans late in the evening. And Prahlad ji, used to hate it. He used to wonder why these ppl don’t let us sleep peacefully.
  • He got introduced to bhajans of Ramdev ji maharaj, Meera and Kabir. Till that time, he wasn’t aware that kabir’s bhajans existed outside of books, alive as an oral tradition. He recalls arrogantly asking a singer where those bhajans were being sung from?o which his teacher replied “The bhajans of kabir which I have sung, I don’t know whether they are in books. But we have learned it orally from our ancestors.”
  • Then Prahlad ji said he wanted to learn tamboor. So he went to their village and learned for 7 years. And they said, if you sing along with playing, you will be able to learn it faster.

On talent and identity
  • When a seed is planted, the seed first dissolves. Dies. Then from that, a big tree springs up. And more seeds come.
  • In a tree, when fruits come, it becomes more humble. In us, when we get talent, humility is the key.

Question -- There was a lot of casteism in the village you grew up. Even today, it exists. You were born in a very poor family also. Did you feel unfortunate or angry, how did acceptance come?
  • All dualities, inequalities- --- we were part of the lower castes. Dasguru Kabir was one person, who fearlessly said after experiencing inequalities in his life- - what is the point of your caste? When a child is born, he doesn’t know his religion, he also doesn’t know he should not go to someone's house, not eat somewhere etc. These all things are human imparted later on.
  • By learning from saints and experiencing it in one’s life, he also understood this fact. For example, “In a hospital, if you put 25 children together, if anyone can tell whether a child is a brahman, or vaishya, etc. then you can punish me whatever way you want.”
  • It's unfortunate that humans are creating these boundaries. It is dividing us due to our selfishness. Until we have boundaries, we will keep running into trouble.
  • If someone works as a blacksmith, then we made him lohar. Same way, we have Chamar. Mehtar, etc. Till our inner biases like these don’t get cleansed, till then, what can we do to change the outer world?
  • By the words of the saints, change is possible. When they sang bhajans in front of criminals, just through listening to the bhajans, many people through their intrinsic volition, stopped indulging in crime, alcohol, or even intoxicants.

On engaging with the world and spiritual life
  • When he started going to different places for signing: At that time, people used to respect teachers. Now, not as much. People used to have love and spirit of service. But now, we have expectations in love. Kabir says- dissolving self is service to the world.
  • When he was in 6th grade, he got wedded. Then had to appear for 6th grade again as he wasn’t allowed to write his exam by the relatives due to his wedding the first time around. Shanti ji (his wife) might have been 9 years old at that time, and he might have been 11-12.
  • Till we operate in the outer world, we will have to operate with boundaries, while the spiritual path is one of anahad (no boundaries). However, he feels that spiritual work can’t be done in seclusion. We have been born in the family, live in the society, so we should work in the society and try to work for betterment of all humanity, in our local context. That’s why Kabir used to say “Kabira khada bazaar mein” -- Kabir is standing in the marketplace.
  • Till we don’t have the eyes to see the beauty, the love and the divinity in all life, till then he is unsure if there is anything to gain from being a leader, or giving speeches, or opening big institutions. This movement towards unconditional love, in his experience, can be triggered through wise words of the saints.
  • We learn by experience when we live in the world. Like a lotus grows out of mud, only when it is deeply rooted in the mud. Whether it is in family, or through politics, he believes we can serve the community through those roles.
  • On his losing the Lok Sabha elections -- Kabir used to say “mai na jeeta, mai na haara.” For him, his purpose is to serve the community in whatever way nature allows him to, till his last breath. Contesting for election was something which at that point he felt was worthy of trying. He lost and that’s completely okay. His goal was serving the people; in what forms he serves, is much less material.
  • Your body is the real ashram. Till we have the body, let’s work hard. If we can earn our living, and we can serve people around, that’s seva. One’s spiritual practice can be deeper by living in a household. He expressed gratitude for having a highly understanding partner in Shanti ji.
  • Saint Ravidas used to do the work of making shoes, similarly Gurunanak, Tukaram, etc. all were householders and used to do their regular work also in the society. For example, if one does farming, not only through the produce many humans eat, but also thousands of birds and other creatures also get to eat, he sees that as a beautiful service to life. It's important to continue living and serving in society.

Shanti ji-
  • If one has kindness and love in my heart, that alone is my “satsang”
  • Ashram to her means a place where anyone who needs love can come and receive some care and support. My heart and my humble home are my ashram. Whatever little bit one has in one’s house, one should be happy and delighted to offer that itself to whoever comes in, with love.

Back to Prahlad ji
What’s your relationship to money --
  • While in this life, in this body, none of us can completely segregate ourselves from the material world, from maya. And maya not only manifests in terms of money, but at a deeper level maya originates in the mind. Whatever can be perceived by senses, is in the realm of maya. So we try to live a life of simplicity, keep our needs less and serve with what we have.

What is your relationship to death -
  • He shared that he was doing some hard labour, and felt strong pain. Heart block was detected. Doctor advised an operation. In the body these things are bound to happen. Death is an eternal truth -- absolute for all life. But who will die? The aatma never dies. That’s immortal. When you know it's immortal, then of course, the fear will reduce. But when it is in the body, it is because you have to do work in this body. To do work, and then work for all.
  • One reporter asked him what is your favourite thing in the world. He said, “Death is my most favourite.” Sadhguru ko aapse jitna kaam karwana hai, wo karwayega. Kabir ji used to say -- “Jo kiya so tum kiya, mai kiya kachu naahi.”-- “Whatever has been done, it has been done through you my lord.” I have done nothing. So we are the medium. The consciousness, the supreme power in you is doing that.

To end, he sang a couple of lines. (you can see another rendition of that bhajan here)
Words of the Song:
जाजो जाजो रे, भाई म्हारा जाजो
इना समुन्दर पार, मोतीड़ा लाजो रे साधो, अणबीन्दिया
मिल गया मिल गया रे, हीरा मिल गया
मिल गया लख दोई चार,
मन का मोती रे साधो, ना मिल्या
मिल ल्यो मिल ल्यो रे, लंबी बांह पसार
अब के बिछड़या रे साधो,
कद मिलांगा जी?
उड़ गयी उड़ गयी रे, इना बन की चिडि़या
अपना मंदर वासा फ़िर किया जी
पड़ गयी पड़ गयी रे, इना मायला में गांठ
डोरी टूटे रे गांठण, ना छूटे हो जी
फ़ाट्या फ़ाट्या रे, सूर्या गाय का दूध
दूध फ़ाटे से जामण, ना जमे हो जी
बोल्या बोल्या रे, बोल्या धारू प्रहलाद
जुग जुग मिलो इना साधू को हो जी
Go, go, my friend
Across this restless ocean
Bring back a pearl -
An unpierced one, oh yes!
I found a jewel, my friend
Several thousand of them
But I couldn't find
The jewel of my heart
Reach out to others
Press them close to your heart
Parted this moment, who knows
When you'll meet again?
She's flown away, my friend
The bird of this forest
She's made another home
A knot has formed
Deep inside your heart
Now tug at it all you like
But the knot won't open
It has gone sour, my friend
The milk of the 'Surya' cow
Now you can't set curd
With split milk
Dhruv and Prahlad
Urge you with these words
In age after age
Seek the company of seekers
Translation credits - Shabnam Virmani
Some dohas/saakhis Prahladji cited during the course of his Talk :
Our body as our world, our God, our Guru
yaa ghat bheetar teen lok, ya hi mein kartaaraa
kahe kabeer suno bhai sadho, yaa hi mein guru hamaaraa
Grace of Guru
Saat dweep nau khand mein, guru se bada nahi koi
Karta to kachhu kar na sake, par guru kare so hoye
Love for all sentient beings / Interdependence among all living beings i.e. the intricate web of life
"Jeev daya kar paaliye, pandit karo vichaar...
jeev bina jeev bachey nahi, jeev ko jeev aadhaar!"

There is nothing like failure / Invitation to the Failure Club
"Kabir, tu haara bhala, aur jeetan de sansaar;
Aur jeetan ko jo jam mile, aur haara Hari ke dvaar"

Give, Receive and Dance
Liya diya, tera sang chalega; bina diye nahi milta hain
yeh kehna us rab ke ghar ka, kadva dil kyun karta hain
Service to others
Ek din ka sau gaj bunta, soi aath lai jaata
Jo koi dekhe nanga ughada, toke udhai pehre ne ghare aata"

Compassion is the key
Dayaa bhaav hirdey nahi ne gyaan kahe behad
Woh nar to narak mein jayenge, suni suni saakhi aur shabd

Giving as a law of nature :
daata nadiyaa ek sam, sab kahu ko det
haath paau jiske waisa hi bhar let

I am an instrument of Thee :
Jo kiya so tum kiya aur main kiya kachu nahi
Aur yadi bhool se kahu ki mai kiya to tum hi the mai maahi

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