Practical Spirituality – Rahim on Human Nature

Vakratunda Mahakaya Surya Koti Samaprabha

Nirvighnam Kurumedeva Sarva Karyeshu Sarvada

Meaning: O Lord with the large body, curved trunk and the brilliance of crore (10 million) suns, please free my work from all obstacles, forever.

The above mentioned mantra is a prayer dedicated to Lord Ganesha, son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is believed that chanting this mantra before beginning any activity, ritual or puja keeps away the negative energies from the surroundings. (For more mantras refer to Gayatri and other mantras)

Today, I begin my blog on the teachings of Hinduism that can be applied in the practical day to day life. These are easy to follow and have been written by some of the finest poets of Indian history based on their life experiences. I will be starting with the Dohas written by Rahim. Dohas are a form of self contained rhyming couplet in poetry.

Born on December 17, 1556, Abdur-rahim Khankhana popularly known as Rahim, was a minister and advisor in the Mughal kingdom of Akbar. Being a spectator of both the sword and shrewd politics played in a kingdom, his writings are about the fine line between the right and the wrong, the white and the black, caste and creed and above all relationships in human life. Insightful, witty and informative, these are some adjectives that describe his work. As a medium for expressing his thoughts he used the languages Brij and Avadhi, though he was well versed with Hindi, Urdu, Farsi, English and French. He died in 1627, aged 73.

I will start with some of his writings and their translations that highlight the essentials of human behavior. The works below are an example of his knowledge about the right and the wrong habits that people inculcate and then generally progress on to become their nature. He has highlighted the importance of various qualities like patience, will power etc. by either taking God as his support or through exceptional illustrations and examples.

The innate nature of a person

Rahiman nir pakhaan, budai pe sijhe nahi.
Taise murakh gyaan, bujhe pe sujhe nahi..

रहिमन नीर पखान, बुदाई पे सीझे नहीं ।
तैसे मूर्ख ग्यान, बूझे पे सूझे नहीं ।।

Translation: A stone will drown in the water and go till the river bed but it would not still soften. In the same manner, it is equally difficult for a person to act intelligent when he is not, no matter how much knowledge is imparted to him.

By this illustration Rahim concludes, that is indeed very difficult to change a person’s innate nature and tendencies.

Charity is the greatest nobility

Rahiman wai nar mar chuke, jo kahu maangan jaahi
Un te pahile wai mu-e, jin much niksat naahi.

रहिमन वाई नर मर चुके, जो काहु मांगन जाही ।
उन ते पहले वाई मुऐ, जिन किक्सत नाही ।।

Translation: Rahim says, a person who begs has a dead conscience but the greater truth is, the person who turns away from a beggar, and refuses to give anything, never had a conscience existing within him.

By this illustration he concludes, that helping people in need is the noblest deed in this world.

Patience and Balance

Ya Rahim dukh such sahat, bade log sah seet
Uvat chand jehi bhaati so, athvat taahi bhaati.

या रहीम दुख सच सहत, बडे लोग सह सीत ।
उवट चांद जेही भाटी सो, अथवत ताही भाटी ।।

Translation: Rahim compares happiness and sorrow with dusk and dawn. Therefore, these should not affect the temperament of a human towards extremes. It is the weak, who let the situation take over whereas the strong would remain calm and patient, no matter how the time changes. They have a balanced attitude and approach in life.

By this illustration he ponders over qualities like patience and balance in our lives

The power of strong character

Jo Rahim uttam prakriti, kaa kari sakat kusang
Chandan vish vyaapat nahi, lapte rahat bhujang.

जो रहीम उत्तम प्रकृति, का करी सकत कुसंग ।
चंदन विष व्यापत नहीं, लपटे रहत भुजंग ।।

Translation: Rahim says, a thousand snakes may be coiled around the sandalwood tree in cool marsh lands – but the fragrance of the sandalwood remain as sweet as ever. Similarly, people who have a strong character remain unaffected by bad company.

By this illustration he explains the importance of will power in a person’s life.


About the author

I hope you enjoyed the perspective of a new guest author on this blog. Please extend a warm welcome to Ms. Kritika by leaving her your thoughts in the comment section. I look forward to publishing many more articles from her. – Editor.

Hi, my name is Kritika and I am doing my graduation in Mass Communication from International School of Business and Media situated in Pune, India. I aspire to become a journalist and this blog is my first step in the journey towards my destination. One of my favorite subjects is poems and writings of the Indian poets back from the Mughal Era and before. Their writings are not only religious or spiritual but also have a great sense of practicality.