Listen, Kabir, to the flute’s mournful lays
How it sings of the beloved’s loss wherever it strays
sun kabira baansuri kahe niraali baat
(listen kabir flute says unique talk)
nagar dhandora peet-ti hai choota pi ka saath
(in-city clamors it that parted beloved’s company)
Kabir, like Moulana Rumi before him, equates the body to the flute, and each life as a song that God plays on it. They also relate their poetry to a painful utterance caused by being separated from the divine.
The Moulana famously starts his Mathnavi with very similar verses:
Listen to this reed as it complains
As it tells of separations in its strains
(trans. Legenhausen, 2002)
I’m amazed at how close the verses are in their rendering- They could almost be used as translations for each other. I think the spiritual genius of both the poets has managed to cut through the illusions to arrive at the simple and universal sentiment they’ve both voiced.