The Drop and the Sea

by Kabir

English version by Andrew Harvey
Original Language Hindi

I went looking for Him
And lost myself;
The drop merged with the Sea --
Who can find it now?

Looking and looking for Him
I lost myself;
The Sea merged with the drop --
Who can find it now?

-- from Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from Sufi Wisdom, by Andrew Harvey / Eryk Hanut

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Commentary by Ivan M. Granger

In this poem the Sea is, of course, a metaphor for God, the vast reality which includes each of us as individual drops.

Kabir says, "I went looking for Him..." The drop went looking for the Sea. There is an absurdity in that. How can a drop go looking for the Sea? The drop is already IN the Sea, part of it. In discovering the Sea, the drop recognizes that the Sea is water, just as the drop itself is water. Water within water. Finally recognizing this, how can the drop maintain the illusion of separation? There is no dividing line between water and water -- no skin, no barrier, no separation. The drop loses its false sense of being a drop. It loses itself, it loses its 'dropness,' and merges with the immense continuity of the Sea.

At that point there is no separate self, no one to go seeking. "Who can find it now?" There is only the Sea and no one to go looking for it.



Recommended Books: Kabir

The Enlightened Heart: An Anthology of Sacred Poetry Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from Sufi Wisdom Islamic Mystical Poetry: Sufi Verse from the Early Mystics to Rumi Songs of the Saints of India One Hundred Poems of Kabir: Translated by Rabindranath Tagore
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The Drop and the Sea